Saturday, March 22, 2014

Does Quinn’s Juarez tribute boost him amongst Chicago’s Latino population?

It may be pure coincidence. Perhaps I’m reading way too much into this.

QUINN: Seeking Latino vote?
But I’m sure Gov. Pat Quinn doesn’t mind the way the timing worked out over his participation in a ceremony held Friday in Chicago to pay tribute to the memory of one-time Mexico President Benito Juarez.

AS IT TURNS out, Friday’s events at the Thompson Center state government building to mark the 208th anniversary of Juarez’ birth allowed for a proclamation that said Friday was Benito Juarez Day in Illinois.

Which came one day after Quinn’s current political opponent, Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner, released his first campaign advertising spot of the general election cycle – and it’s in Spanish.

I suspect that reaching out to Latino voters is going to be a crucial part of Rauner’s attempts to unseat Quinn – and that first ad telling us en Espanol how inept Quinn has been is just the first step.

Not that I think Rauner (“Mr. .01 percent?”) really cares about the growing Latino population. But any votes he can steal from Quinn help benefit his own desires.

WHICH MAKES ME wonder how much of Friday’s activities were Quinn’s way of showing he, too, cares about the Latino segment of the electorate?

He makes a gesture to show support to Latino (actually in this case, Mexican) culture. It doesn’t win him an election all by itself.

But it does show that at least somebody on his staff had a sense of history in mind, which allows for the governor to gain the benefits of a Friday morning ceremony at the Thompson Center – where a display had been erected in recent days to pay tribute to Juarez’ memory.

Cinema's takes on Juarez ..
For those of you whose sense of history doesn’t go back any farther than the name “Ronald Reagan,” Juarez was a Mexican political leader who became president in the 1860s – a time when the United States was split in civil war and Mexico had its own mess with the French attempting to intervene by trying to reassert an American colonial presence at Mexico’s expense.

JUAREZ SPENT MUCH of his presidency in exile, but was able to maintain a movement of an independent Mexico that kept the French from establishing themselves permanently in North America, while also keeping the French from being able to offer aid and comfort to the concept of a Confederacy that would have split the United States in two.

... and Lincoln
He also had a vision of Democracy for Mexico, modeled after the United States. Which is how he got the tags, “the Abraham Lincoln of Mexico” and “Father of the Americas.”

It also is noteworthy that when Lincoln was elected president following the 1860 elections and was preparing to travel to Washington to assume the post, it was an emissary of Juarez who first met with Lincoln at his downtown Springfield home to offer congratulations.

So it’s not like there weren’t ties between Juarez and Lincoln. It becomes a matter of Quinn aides knowing their history that they were able to make the connection and stage the event that will make Quinn seem more aware.

AND THE FACT that officials from the Dominican Republic and Colombia took part expanded it beyond a merely-Mexican event, although I’m sure Quinn will now try to find ways to reach out to the Puerto Rican community (which does comprise the other third of Chicago’s Latino population).

RAUNER: Who would he honor?
It certainly is a better response by Quinn than that nonsensical (and Internet-only) ad the guv gave us Thursday that compared Rauner to “Mr. Burns” of “The Simpsons.”

Now as to Juarez’ birthday, how will Rauner retort? Is there a financier with Illinois ties whom Rauner can praise?


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