Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pols put impersonal ‘personal’ touch to their pleas for our money

In my e-mail inbox Wednesday when I woke up were messages from “President Obama” and “Governor Quinn.”

No, I’m not trying to claim that I’m some sort of big-shot who has the ears of the top officials of federal and Illinois government. In the case of Quinn, I’m fairly sure that on the rare occasions he thinks of me, it’s as some sort of colossal pain-in-the-behind.

IT’S JUST THAT I couldn’t help but be amused by the latest fund-raising pitches made by both officials; resorting to that now-common political tactic of sending out these messages to make it feel like they’re reaching out to me, little old me, for a bit of help.

In the case of Quinn, he wants money to pay for his re-election bid against venture capitalist Bruce Rauner – who has millions of his own money to spend and has shown a willingness to use it in his crusade to get votes by convincing us that, “Pat Quinn is Evil!”

So Quinn is asking us for donations. Not much of one, actually. Only $5.

But that supposedly gets us entered into a raffle, with the result being two people will “win” the big prize of attending a Chicago White Sox game with Quinn – who himself is a season-ticket holder, but insists on maintaining a man-of-the-people image by having his seats in the upper deck that causes so much derision for U.S. Cellular Field.

A BALLGAME WITH the guv. While the rest of us chip in those dinky donations that add up to significant amounts of money for Quinn to campaign against Rauner.

Personally, the thought of a political ballgame isn’t that thrilling. Many years ago, I accompanied then-Illinois Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka to what was then-New Comiskey Park, and had her turn on me during a lull in the game to point out past stories I had written that she thought were snotty in tone.

There also was a time about a decade ago when I went to a rare weekday afternoon White Sox game, and encountered a legislative chief of staff in the beer line, former state Senate President Phil Rock mingling with the crowd, and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan relieving himself (along with many other fans) following the ballgame.

So a hot dog with the governor? Actually, I view baseball as something to follow to get away from the nonsense of the political world (although the story behind the construction of U.S. Cellular Field is the ultimate commingling of the two).

ALTHOUGH IT’S REALLY not about baseball. It’s about money. It’s meant to be a different pitch to get people to dig into their wallets for political purposes.

Just like the president is doing. Only he’s not offering to take anyone out to the ballpark. He’s trying to stir up resentment among the public to the lawsuit that Republicans in Congress want to file against Obama – contending that he’s violating all sense of decency by trying to go around their desires by using executive authority powers.

Considering that Congress, because of the Republican House of Representatives majority, is deliberately stalling so many issues, a part of me wonders if a more legitimate lawsuit would be to sue GOPers for governmental inactivity.

But in recent days, I have been getting repeated e-mails bearing the names of assorted Democratic Party operatives and officials (including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who the Washington Post reported Wednesday was talking about how she has dreams of retaking control of the House come the Nov. 4 elections) asking for money, telling me how House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will win and cause irrevocable harm unless I kick in my money for the cause.

AND ON WEDNESDAY came the similar, almost identical, message in the name of the president himself.

The bottom line? I didn’t give Quinn my $5. Nor did I make the $3 donation desired by Democrats (who like to come up with daily causes, it seems, for me to kick in my three bucks).

Partly because I don’t donate money to political people or sign their petitions. Partly because I’m cheap.

And partly because I did what I suspect many real people wish they could do to much of the politically partisan rhetoric they hear these days – I hit the “delete” button.


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