Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wounded war vet; or “Rod Blagojevich protégé?” It’s gonna be ever so ugly!

One thing is for sure – the 2016 campaign for U.S. Senate from Illinois is going to be an ugly campaign from Day One.

Which literally was Monday; Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., wants to go from representing the far west suburbs in Congress to representing the entirety of Illinois in the Senate.

SHE MADE THE announcement that she will take on Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who is seeking re-election to a second term following a lengthy stint representing the North Shore suburbs in the House of Representatives.

I was aware that she had an announcement stunt planned, yet still have to admit to being caught up by the spin being put on the event by the various sides in this upcoming election cycle.

We haven’t even chosen a new mayor (or a sequel to the old mayor) yet, but already we’re being asked to get into the heat of things for 2016 in what could turn out to be the nastiest campaign that will take place in Illinois (we’re just not going to care as much about president this time around since we won’t have a ‘favorite son’ to root for, or against).

As expected, Duckworth kicked off her campaign by reminding us of her military service and the fact that she was a helicopter pilot who suffered severe injuries that cost her a leg. “Ten years ago, I nearly lost my life when an RPG tore through the cockpit of my Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq,” was how her campaign statement begins.

NOTHING NEGATIVE TO say yet about Kirk (who suffered a stroke shortly after getting elected to his current term in the Senate).

Although Duckworth did say in her introductory statement, “We deserve elected officials who will do for our fellow Americans what my crew did for me in Iraq; look out for our hardest hit and most vulnerable, work together for the sake of our mission and refuse to give up until the job is done.”

I’m not sure if she’s just saying that she’s a tough broad, or that Kirk is somehow less than capable. I’m sure there will be countless future statements and actions that will further elaborate on what we’re supposed to think of Kirk – who served for many years himself in the Naval Reserve.

Yet the Republican opposition that is determined to keep the Illinois post in the GOP column for partisan purposes has its own share of shots it will take at Duckworth, starting with the first three words of the statement issued by Illinois Republican Chairman Timothy Schneider in response to Tammy.


Literally, we’re told that Duckworth, “is not the kind of partisan politician Illinois families want to represent them in the United States Senate.” For she’s allegedly the, “extreme wing of the Democratic Party,” according to the party hacks.

Aside from reminding us of the Blagojevich tie – which was that she served as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs for three years back when Rod responded to the title of “governor” rather than “inmate” – we’re also told that Tammy voted “92 percent” in line with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Although considering how often rank-and-file members of Congress vote along with their respective party leaders, I’d wonder if the truth is more that she differed from Pelosi some 8 percent of the time!

IT’S ALL POLITICAL trash talk. None of it should be taken too literally.

Particularly since in my case, the statement from Schneider showed up in my e-mail box some 40 minutes before I got the Duckworth statement telling me she was running. Tammy was slow on the draw, it seems.

It wouldn’t have mattered what she said or did; the key was to get the names “Blagojevich” and “Pelosi” into the political discourse. Just as Duckworth wanted to remind us of her personal tale – which offends the conservative ideologues who want to believe anyone with military experience is naturally a Republican.

“How dare she be a Democrat!?!,” is what the GOPers think. Just as da Dem partisans are sputtering with disgust at the mention yet again of Blagojevich. And the rest of us will stock up on Tylenol for the statewide headache we’re going to experience between now and Nov. 8, 2016.


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