Saturday, June 29, 2013

Too many people trying to translate heckles about a distant election

Excuse me for not being impressed with the people who are trying to interpret Friday’s Grant Park rally for the Chicago Blackhawks as evidence of how much we can’t stand Gov. Pat Quinn.

QUINN: Do we hate him, or all pols?
Yes, it’s true! The governor -- who shouldn't have gotten any more involved than placing a bet with the Massachusetts governor -- was given a chance to say a few words while also being seen wearing some sort of red-and-black garb (including a Blackhawks cap) to give him a moment of glory with the Stanley Cup trophy.

AND YES, IT’S true that the people at the rally (perhaps as many as 2 million) behaved like Homer Simpson in thinking he had “the right, no the duty, to make a complete ass of myself” while in a large sports-related crowd.

It’s a good thing they didn’t follow the other Homer Simpson rule about sports; “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how drunk you get.”

The bottom line is that any political person who shows up at a sports event is going to get booed. Only part of it is an expression of political opposition.

Much of it is the fact that the people on hand want to see a ballgame. Or on Friday, cheer on a championship team. Anyone who doesn’t actually play for the Blackhawks was going to get booed.

THE LAST THING anybody wanted to see or hear was a government official.

EMANUEL: Slipped in, and out, of rally unscathed
Which is why I couldn’t help but notice the fact that the Capital Fax newsletter pointed out the fact that when Mayor Rahm Emanuel made his brief comments at the rally, he just went up to the microphone and spoke.

Unlike Quinn, who received an introduction to the Grant Park masses!

Considering how far most of those people attending the rally were from the stage, I suspect most people had no clue that Rahm was Rahm – at least not until after it was too late to boo and any heckling would have seemed to have been directed at a professional athlete.

WHICH ON FRIDAY would have appeared to be downright uncouth!

MADIGAN: Will he stay, or will he go
It’s just one of those unwritten rules about when it is appropriate to heckle a political person. In fact, about the only time I can ever recall a politician NOT being booed at a sports-related rally was last autumn when Emanuel appeared at Mount Carmel High School to help celebrate the Woodlawn neighborhood school’s state championship in high school football.

Although I suspect it was more the presence of Catholic brothers who would have cracked down on any students who misbehaved. Perhaps that was what Quinn needed to prevent himself from being heckled – some clergy from his own alma mater, Fenwick High School, to provide crowd “control.”

Not that Quinn’s appearance was the only prognosticating on Friday. The Chicago Sun-Times came up with a pair of stories attempting to downplay the chances of potential Quinn challenger Lisa Madigan of being successful in next year’s gubernatorial primary.

DALEY: Benefits if Quinn and Madigan fail
LONG-TIME POLITICAL OPERATIVE David Axelrod told the City Club of Chicago that he thinks it will be an obstacle to her campaign if her father, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, refuses to step aside from his long-time (three decades-plus) post.

Which is what another candidate, William Daley, wanted us to think when he made public his own poll results earlier this month that said people would not vote for her because of her father.

I kind of admired the Illinois attorney general’s response to all this – telling the Sun-Times at an EMILY’s List event in Chicago that she’s NOT going to be the one to tell her father that it’s time to leave the Legislature. “I’m not going to give my father political advice,” she told the newspaper.

MADIGAN: Not about to tell father, 'it's time to go'
All of this makes me suspicious of the people who want us to believe. They’re too eager to campaign for something we’re not going to be asked to vote for until March of next year.

IT MAKES ME want to dig out the earplugs to try to avoid all the rancid rhetoric we’re going to get in coming months.

Too many people are trying to put this thought into our heads – as though we’re supposed to dismiss her before the campaign gets seriously underway. Just like the same kind of people who want us to discredit Quinn because he got booed.


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