Why the Democrats Love Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth is running for Congress again and this time it doesn't appear anything can stop her, not even a Republican smear group called “Black Hawk Veterans For Truth."

Sen. Dick Durbin recruited Duckworth to run for retiring Rep. Henry Hyde’s seat in 2006. In that Democratic year, she nearly won in the conservative Northwest suburban district.

State Sen. Peter Roskam defeated Duckworth, 51-49. One of the issues that hurt her: Duckworth lived just outside the district. She and her husband had built a house to accommodate her disability, and were not willing to move. After Duckworth’s defeat, Democrats continued grooming her. Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed Duckworth head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. President Obama took her to Washington as an Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

This time around, Democratic mapmakers in Springfield solved the residency problem. Instead of making Duckworth come to the district, they brought the district to Duckworth, creating a notch in the newly designed 8th District that takes in her home. They also made sure she wouldn’t have to face an incumbent, by placing current 8th District Rep. Joe Walsh’s home in the adjacent 14th District. According to an article in Sunday’s Daily Herald, Walsh may challenge 14th incumbent Rep. Randy Hultgren instead of running against Duckworth:

Walsh has not yet committed to running in that district, and said he plans to announce where he will be running by Labor Day. However, signs — including parade appearances and the location of town hall meetings — indicate he is very seriously considering a bid in the 14th.

Today, Durbin will endorse Duckworth at a press conference in Elk Grove Village. Why are the Democrats so determined to put Duckworth in Congress? Duckworth can question American militarism abroad without being called unpatriotic or weak on defense, always a weak spot for Democrats. As an anti-war warrior, her criticism of Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was unimpeachable, because despite her misgivings, she fulfilled her Army National Guard duty, and lost both her legs after her Black Hawk helicopter was hit by a grenade. After coming home, she said,  “We should have been fighting the enemies that attacked us at home on 9/11...We should have been out there trying to catch Osama bin Laden.”

When Tammy Duckworth says that, everyone listens.   

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