Like many other people, I got a chuckle Friday when I checked out the Illinois Democratic Party’s website (which usually is a worthless place to go if one wants relevant information).
Seeing the place where one could download an application to be considered for the political party’s nomination for lieutenant governor made me laugh, then sigh when I read various reports that said filling out an application was not a guarantee that the Democrats’ State Central Committee would actually take it seriously.
IN SHORT, THIS is a lame attempt to make it appear that the party is being open to new ideas, when they really want nothing more than to find someone who will fill a niche within the overall impression that Democrats want to convey to voters come the Nov. 2 elections.
But seeing that I have, at times, voted for Democratic Party candidates and even cast my ballots in their primaries, I figure I have something of a vested interest in the way things turn out. So it is with that thought in mind that I hereby declare my own candidacy to be Pat Quinn’s running mate in this year’s elections.
The Chicago Skyway and Cairo are both places where Illinois borders against other states. Yet no one would ever confuse the East Side neighborhood with Little Egypt, and might have a hard time believing the two are the same state. Skyway image provided by Library of Congress collection.
I’m feeling a bit lazy in terms of filling out their application. Plus, my priority is trying to fill the space provided by this weblog I created just over two years ago to offer up my own commentary and analysis of public policy as it affects Chicago.
So following is my version of an application to the party to fill the hole created when we learned after the fact far more than we ever wanted to know about Chicago businessman Scott Lee Cohen.
First Name: Gregory
Middle Name/Initial: M (as in Michael)
Last Name: Tejeda
Birthdate: Aug. 31, 1965
Address at which you are registered to vote: At various times in my life, I have been registered to vote in Bloomington, Chicago, Homewood, Springfield and Tinley Park. For all I know, someone has continued to vote in my name at each and every one of those addresses – long after I moved away.
Mailing address: Anybody dumb enough to let that get posted publicly on the Internet deserves to have their identity stolen. Knowing my luck, it would be someone who’s even further in debt than I.
Email & website: Look to the right-hand column of this weblog, and this weblog (and sister site The South Chicagoan) in general.
1 – Why are you a Democrat?
I was born in Chicago and raised in Chicago and its inner suburbs. Which means I was taught to think that people who willingly identified themselves as Republican were not only weird (kind of like people who put ketchup on their hot dogs), but completely irrelevant. Either that, or they never knew the joys of living in the great city of Chicago.
2 – Have you previously held elected office? If so, which one(s)?
I have never been elected to anything, unless one wants to count the one year I served as secretary/treasurer of a media honorary society at my collegiate alma mater (Illinois Wesleyan University, Go Titans!!!! – both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are participating in the CCIW tournament this weekend to try to clinch an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournaments taking place during March).
My political experience comes from seven years hanging around the Statehouse in Springpatch, sitting in the press boxes on the chamber floors, sitting on the hard marble floors outside the governor’s office waiting for officials to emerge to say as little as possible, and occasionally making the walk across Second Street to see the Illinois Supreme Court issue a ruling that reigns in the more blatantly stupid moments of our state politicians.
I also have had lesser stints hanging out as a reporter-type at City Hall, the Cook County Building (I've seen it all from Harold Washington to Todd Stroger), assorted municipal buildings in the Chicago suburbs, and even a little stint hanging around political types in Washington, D.C. – I was in the nation’s capital back when Fawn Hall (remember her?) was all the rage.
All of this is to say that I probably understand the realities of public policy and political process more than most rookie politicos.
3 – What do you believe are the greatest challenges facing the State of Illinois and areas of greatest opportunity?
In my one serious answer provided to this questionaire, Illinois’ greatest opportunity is tied in to its greatest challenge – the degree to which we let our regionalism dominate our way of thinking. To me, that regionalism was proven yet again when I saw a new poll showing that Quinn has a huge lead over likely gubernatorial opponent Bill Brady. Looking at the breakdown, the overwhelming Chicago-area population threatens to overcome the rest of the state, regardless of what people may think about Rod Blagojevich.
This ought to be a state that combines the advantages of one of the world’s great cities, a huge suburban area that helps bolster the urban area and cover up its potential flaws, along with rural areas that combine significant history (Abraham Lincoln really did once walk the streets of just about everywhere in central Illinois) and the natural beauty of Southern Illinois (anyone ever been to the Shawnee National Forest?).
Yet we ignore each other, which means at times we are all hanging separately (who would have ever guessed Ben Franklin would be talking about Illinois, even before Illinois came into existence?) Because at times, it seems like we have two different states, if not three. There are times when the counties south of Interstate 70 are a whole ‘nother land where the people sound like Dixie and where some literally are closer to Jackson, Miss., than they are to Chicago.
Or maybe those people from Cairo (not the place on the River Nile) think we’re too close to the U.S./Canada border for their comfort. We ought to be putting the energy that we expend on distrusting each other into realizing why our state is so far superior to our neighbors such as Iowa, Missouri or Indiana.
At the very least, no one calls us anything as absurd-sounding as “Hoosier.”
4 – What strengths would you bring to the ticket?
I could provide a diversion of sorts to the political people who seriously are trying to develop policy for the good of the public (in short, the 1 percent of elected officials who seriously try to do “the peoples’ business). My sarcastic temperament (often exhibited in the commentary published on this site) would likely make me the lightning rod for press coverage as I managed to tell one of my reporter-type colleagues off for asking a stupid question. Of course, I’d be just as likely to tell my newfound political colleagues that they had provided a stupid answer. Which ultimately, is the greater offense.
5 – Please list any organizations or elected officials that have endorsed your candidacy for lieutenant governor.
None that I am aware of. In fact, I would guess that the list of government officials, past and present, who have throughout the years told me off or let me know how much they were displeased would be longer. I prefer to think that having such a list of political characters being skeptical of me means I probably am doing something right. Chances are good that you could run through the list and find the name of someone political whom you despise. What’s the old saying? The enemy of my enemy is my friend? That’s me, your previously unknown best bud.
SO THAT’S MY application. Although the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced I serve a greater good by offering my observations of public policy through my reporting and commentary. Perhaps helping people to understand what is taking place in government is my niche within our society.
Back in the primary election, I cast my ballot for state Sen. Mike Boland, D-East Moline, out of a belief that he would provide some sense of regional balance.
However, I’m starting to come around to the idea of Raja Krishnamoorthi getting the nomination for lieutenant governor. He is a Peoria resident, which means he technically offers the same advantage of a non-Chicago-area candidate on the Democratic ticket.
I realize he lost his bid for Illinois comptroller (http://www.rajaforillinois.com/free_details.asp?id=1). But his campaign came very close to beating David Miller for that nomination, and he scored a lot of popularity points during the primary. Besides, the candidate whose ethnic origins lie in India would add that other sense of diversity to the Democratic ticket that would appeal to Chicago-area voters more than picking a rural white guy just because of his home address.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Go file your own (http://www.ildems.com/ltgovnominees.htm) application to be lieutenant governor. It probably will be taken as seriously as this application.