Republican congressman skeptical about Obama-Biden ticket

Rhys Saunders

While there was near euphoria among supporters of Barack Obama as he appeared with his newly announced running mate Saturday, one Illinois congressman said the newly announced Obama/Joseph Biden ticket is “destined to fail.”

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, who represents parts of Springfield, Sangamon County and several counties in southern Illinois, said Saturday it is ironic that Obama picked Springfield as the location to begin campaigning with Biden.

“Senator Obama has been absent from the state of Illinois for most of the last two years,” said Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville. “Those who watch Illinois government know that of all the places where dysfunction is at its height, it’s in Springfield.”

Obama and Sen. Dick Durbin constantly have professed leadership qualities yet have done little to lead the charge in their own state, he added.

“Where it might be a nice photo op, it should highlight the problem of Democratic governance in the state of Illinois and the party that has brought Barack Obama to the national stage,” he said.

Shimkus criticized Obama for choosing Biden, who has been one of the presidential hopeful’s harshest critics in the past, saying on several occasions that Obama lacks the experience to be the nation’s leader. Obama, Shimkus said, likely selected Biden as a running mate to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

Shimkus also was critical of an Obama/Biden ticket’s energy policy.

Both Biden and Obama have been opposed to opening up 85 percent of the outer continental shelf for oil drilling, and Biden is completely opposed to expanding nuclear power, Shimkus said.

“For the liberal Democrats and the leadership team that can lead their ticket, supply is not part of the equation,” he said. “For small-town, rural America – the middle class and the lower middle class – it’s almost an attack on the poor and the middle class.

“Any ticket that can’t bring themselves to support American-made energy and American jobs…I think is destined to fail.”

Springfield State Journal-Register