Friday, March 7, 2014

Can ‘da Coach’ jolt Harold to victory?

The phenomenon of Erika Harold as a political entity has taken on another chapter – she has the backing of one-time Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka.

HAROLD: Will she ever win again?
As though the only Bears coach to lead the team to a Super Bowl victory is the key to the one-time Miss America (back in 2003) actually achieving her dream of becoming an elected official of sorts.

FOR THERE ARE now radio spots that will air on central Illinois radio stations in which Ditka tells us that Harold deserves to be in Congress because she’s a leader, a conservative and “tough.” Coming right before her national appearance Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, to be held in Washington.

Whether that’s enough to give her a victory in the March 18 Republican primary is questionable; she’s lagging behind the incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., has no campaign cash to note and has a political establishment that wishes she’d wither away.

That’s usually what political establishments think of anyone who dares to challenge an incumbent – even one as un-noteworthy as Davis.

The reality is that Harold is the Urbana native who stayed at home to attend the University of Illinois doesn’t fit into the vision that the local Republican Party has. Which is why she may have enthusiasm, an appealing personality and ambition.

BUT SHE’S PROBABLY never going to be the favorite of the GOP officials from the greater Champaign-Urbana and Danville area. She’s always going to be the candidate looking in to the party, rather than being a part of it.

Even if ideologically, she has given a consistent spewing of rhetoric on social issues consistent with the modern-day Republican Party. She’s the type who could easily apply the “Republican In Name Only” label to others – except that those people are being motivated by the GOP establishment to think of Harold herself as the RINO.

DITKA: Is he really a political maker?
A part of me has always wondered if Harold would have a better chance of political success if she were running for office in the Chicago area. The fact that she’s a black woman would not be seen as being as much of an aberration as it seems to be perceived in a central Illinois congressional district.

Of course, her talk about abortion (she opposes it strongly, which is why the Family PAC activist group is one of the few GOP-leaning organizations to endorse her) and other social issues would make her the misfit here.

WHICH IS WHY after living a few years in Chicago (working for law firms – she is a Harvard Law School graduate, paid for with all that Miss America scholarship money), she returned to her native central Illinois.

She’s not about to renounce her beliefs. But some don’t see her as the type of person they want representing him. I’m stating that mildly. One ought to check out the rancid (and anonymous) rhetoric that gets spewed on various conservative-focused websites to see just how hostile our society can be.

I don’t know that Harold will ever get elected to public office. She seems to be “ahead of her time” no matter which part of Illinois she were to try to run for. I do have to admit to having a bit of respect for her for choosing to run from her home community – knowing full well she’d have to face the “outsider” label if she tried to become a Chicagoan and suddenly adopt the “D” label.

DAVIS: The preferred Rep.
Then again, she’s getting treated like an outsider by the political operatives in her home community.

ALTHOUGH AT LEAST if she were running in the Chicago area, the fact that the Chicago Tribune chose to endorse her might mean something.

As would the fact that Ditka (the man who fantasizes he could have stopped the Barack Obama phenomenon if HE had run for the U.S. Senate back in 2004) wants Erika to go to Washington.


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