Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It’s still too early for campaign nonsense

In theory, I comprehend what the two major candidates for U.S. Senate from Illinois are trying to do. They want to be like then-Gov. Jim Edgar back in 1994, who in the weeks following the primary elections that year tagged his Democratic opponent, Dawn Clark Netsch, with so much campaign trash talk that set her public image in stone.

By the time she got around to campaigning and trying to define herself, it was too late. The public already had its image of a woman who would let our taxes rocket sky-high!!!

SO I SEE why both Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., the Democratic and Republican nominees respectively for the Senate seat now held by Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., are eager to campaign hard and aggressive in April and May.

They both have dreams of being like Edgar, putting away their opponent for good by June 1.

The problem is that neither one of these people is Jim Edgar – a veteran politico with a track record statewide. For people outside of the North Shore suburbs, Kirk never existed until this year, while Giannoulias remains the kid politico who would have been better off serving another term or two in state government before trying to move up to a Top of the Ticket electoral office.

Which means that the effect of all their combined politicking is making me convinced that our state is going to get a rube representing us in the U.S. Senate – regardless of who actually wins. There are times I don’t think either one of them is qualified.

WHICH IS WHY I already am tired of the television spots that both campaigns have run (Giannoulias is a corrupt banker getting bailed out by our tax dollars, while Kirk is nothing but a George W. Bush flunky) in recent weeks.

Which is why I am not taking seriously any of the polls that are being taken by any campaign or any other group with an interest in this election’s outcome.

The most recent was the one that Giannoulias’ people paid for – it has the two candidates tied (44 percent support for each). Giannoulias is touting it all over the Internet as a significant step, because just a couple of weeks ago, his own polls showed him with only 37 percent support, compared to 43 percent for Kirk.

Of course, I have no doubt that the Kirk camp, if it were so insecure about itself that it felt the need to do so, could come up with a study of its own showing it with a large lead over Giannoulias.

NOW THE POLITICAL observers are saying one possible reason for Giannoulias being able to “close the gap” in recent weeks and make this a dead heat is because of his ads, which have emphasized the areas in which the Republican representative from Kenilworth was aligned with the former president.

Which means that many poll-goers who really don’t have a clue about anything specific about either candidate merely reacted to the most recent visual statement that they half-listened to on television. Kirk = Bush. Bush = Bad. Therefore, “yes” to Giannoulias.

It is a simple-minded logic at work here. It also is about as deep as the line of “logic” at work for those who indicated a willingness now to vote for Kirk come Nov. 2. That one goes, Alexi (they probably can’t spell Giannoulias) = Dem. Dem = Bad. Therefore, “yes” to GOP.

The bottom line is that it is ridiculously early for either of these candidates to be thinking they can nail down this particular campaign. Edgar in 1994 was a very specific set of circumstances that I don’t think either one of these guys could duplicate.

CONSIDERING THAT THIS is an election I don’t think most real people (political geeks who get all worked up over a November election six months in advance are NOT real people) will think much about until somewhere about Labor Day at the earliest, I wonder who these candidates think they are fooling.

Does Giannoulias and his followers truly believe that the people of Illinois were swayed into believing that the dynamic of this campaign has suddenly shifted in his favor, as was the tone of all the reporting I read Monday about this latest poll?

Can’t he see for himself just how trivial he made himself appear to be, and how he probably gave the GOP hard-core a few laughing points to consider when discussing their opposition for Nov. 2. Before one gets the impression that I think it only Alexi who is behaving in an annoying manner, Kirk’s backers aren’t any better.

It has reached the point where I now dread looking at my e-mail account, because I know there are several entities that on a daily basis send me messages meant to make me look down on Giannoulias.

MONDAY’S “KEY QUESTIONS for the Giannoulias Campaign” that is meant to make me once again think of the Broadway Bank on the GOP partisan terms was so annoying and pointless that it is starting to make me think that WBBM-TV may have the right idea in saying it will no longer cover anything Kirk says about that particular issue.

As for the “Illinois’ Biggest Loser” statement based off the “Chief Executive” magazine story that said Illinois was the sixth worst state to do business in, I’d say that is because the partisan climate in this state has become so convoluted that no one can tell what politicians of either party are going to do (if anything). This isn’t something either side should be claiming as a “victory” for themselves.

Perhaps I am living a little bit idealistically. But for once, I’d like to have one of these clowns tell me why he thinks I should want him in the Senate. It is not like either one of these guys could claim to be Mr. Smith.

Whatever statement these guys would come up with would probably be nonsense. But trying to evaluate that kind of statement would tell us more about whether or not either one of these guys ought to be in a position to represent the people of Illinois in Washington, or if our “wildest dream” come true should be a do-over of the Feb. 2 primary elections that gave us these two as nominees.


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