Monday, November 29, 2010

Carol Moseley-Braun for mayor? It makes as much sense as anybody else’s bid

If there is one aspect of the 2011 mayoral election that I am dreading, it is the fact that we’re going to rehash the six-year time period during which Carol Moseley-Braun represented our state in the U.S. Senate.
MOSELEY-BRAUN: She's back!

For Moseley-Braun is among the 20 people currently on the ballot for the Feb. 22 election, and I am not aware of any serious effort to try to boot her from the ballot. It means that she will be among the masses who will be in the political fight to qualify for the likely runoff election to be held April 5.

WHICH MEANS ALL the other campaigns will make sure to remind us of her “baggage,” which allegedly makes her unfit to hold political office – even though her career record as an Illinois House member, Cook County recorder of deeds, U.S. senator and U.S. ambassador to New Zealand is as impressive as anything on Rahm Emanuel’s resume and more than any other candidate can offer.

We’re going to hear a lot about Moseley-Braun having personal meetings with dictators from Uganda, and letting her campaign aide-turned-boyfriend get too involved in her political affairs (he wasn’t a U.S. citizen, which alone probably offends some people).

What about her mother’s finances when she went on Medicare and Medicaid. Did Carol concoct a scheme to cover up financial assets while her mother’s medical expenses were covered by the federal programs?

It was taking these bits of political history into account that I read the Chicago Sun-Times account of an interview Moseley-Braun gave to the newspaper, where she said she thinks she was, “being held to a different set of standards than everybody else was.”

I’M SURE SOME people are going to dismiss that sentiment as Carol being Carol, somehow thinking she is above the kind of attacks they would make on any other political person.

That is the attitude they always expressed back when she was a senator. Even before her time in the Senate, to be honest. After all, I remember a Moseley-Braun press conference held during the 1992 campaign when she first tried to resolve the controversy over her mother’s assets and receipt of Medicaid and Medicare.

She said it was ridiculous to think the federal government would want her mother to be broke before she could qualify (even though that is their exact intent). Then, she said she felt all the questioning was wrong and she felt like she personally was being assaulted.

So yes, Carol Moseley-Braun can be full of herself (she was a presidential candidate for about 10 seconds, back in 2004). She has an ego. Then again, so does every person who actually thinks they have what it takes to run for public office. Without that bit of confidence in oneself, it is unlikely that anybody would put themselves in a position where everything they do will be criticized by somebody – regardless of what actions they take.

BUT  THAT DOESN’T eliminate the fact that there were some people who had a hang-up with the fact that Moseley-Braun managed to win that 1992 election cycle to become the first (and thus far, the only) black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.

The same Rush Limbaugh who recently denounced President Barack Obama’s view of the Thanksgiving holiday as being too sympathetic to the American Indian tribes also used to refer to Sen. Moseley-Braun as “Weezie” (as in actor Isabel Sanford’s “Louise Jefferson” character from “All In The Family” and “The Jeffersons”) and use the television theme song “Movin’ On Up,” whenever he was preparing some segment to mock her for whatever petty thoughts were running through his mind on a given day.

So Moseley-Braun isn’t being ridiculous when she says she was treated a bit differently. There were people in our state who wished that the “first black woman in the U.S. Senate” had come from some other state. So they were looking to nit-pick every single thing into major controversy.

Such as any time they could mention “Uganda” or talk about Africa in disparaging terms.

THIS IS THE stuff we’re going to re-hash in coming weeks as the other mayoral campaigns will want to ensure that Carol doesn’t gain any political traction. They’ll probably take the attitude expressed throughout “The Godfather” films and insist that, “this is business, not personal.”

After all, there is now a generation of people for whom next year’s election will be their first. They weren’t even alive on that November 1992 day when Moseley-Braun got elected to the Senate (and local Republican partisans literally weeped at the damage and destruction they were convinced that Bill Clinton would wreck upon our country). They will feel like it is a public service to recite the names “Sani Abacha” and “Kgosie Matthews” – while they likely butcher their pronounciations (Kgosie is KO-see).

But it’s going to be trash-talk, just the same – which is why Moseley-Braun, in speaking to the Sun-Times, made a point of saying she has “never been cited, fined, censured, nothing.”

Even though I personally doubt I would vote for Moseley-Braun in this particular election cycle, it will be the reason I keep grabbing for the Tylenol bottle – I feel an intense political headache coming on.


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