Monday, February 25, 2013

Bring on the G-men? I don’t think so

In the quarter of a century that I have been observing and writing about electoral politics, I have developed a few “rules” for myself as to when to write off a candidate as a “Loser!”

Too much like Facebook? What do you think?!?

The first person to don a sombrero to try to get the Latino vote. The first person to complain, “My opponent won’t debate me.” And anyone who wants to rant and rage in generic terms about the “corrupt Chicago machine.”

THE LATTER ALWAYS means that they merely want to demonize their opposition, and can’t even come up with anything original to use against them.

So we get to hear venal tales of corruption, as though the (usually a) political no-name is somehow different and is the person who can save us from ourselves – even though they usually have no background or experience to indicate that they should be regarded in that context.

So it is with that “rule” in mind that I scoff at the e-mail message I received Sunday from Ernest B. Fenton’s campaign for Congress.

He’s one of the people who has dreams of replacing Jesse Jackson, Jr., on Capitol Hill, and he’s the one who has been using the Facebook logo in his campaign fliers – telling us we should “like” his campaign while using the Facebook “f” in a blue box to help spell out his last name.

PERSONALLY, IF I were the Facebook people, I would sue him for misusing their logo. I doubt they want his campaign dragging their image down, and I doubt he’s paying them any kind of fee for use of their logo.

But I’m not the Facebook people. I’m just a person who was born and raised (although I no longer live) in what is now the Illinois Second Congressional district. I have a personal interest in what has become of my “old neighborhood,” even though I won’t be casting a ballot on Tuesday.
Election gaining attention far outside the district

Fenton is the guy who tipped off reporter-types that he plans to make an announcement on Monday – one in which he wants the Justice Department to monitor the elections.

He’s convinced that it will be stolen away from him – on account of all that money spent by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s committee that is trying to undercut the National Rifle Association influence on politics.

AS THOUGH HE’D be at all significant in this campaign even if Bloomberg had done an Edith Bunker and stifled himself with regards to our special election.

Fenton claims, “The election is meant for the people and it should be decided by the people and not an outside source.” Yet his “solution” is to bring in an “outside source” to influence the election.

Could it be that Fenton just did a terrible job of trying to distinguish himself from the pack of just over a dozen people who want the Democratic Party nomination for the congressional seat? I say that because of all the candidate forums I attended, I cannot recall a single answer he gave to any question.

I know he was present, and my notes indicate he spoke. But there is nothing about him that we can’t find in any of the other candidates.

YET RATHER THAN acknowledge that he’s just one of the masses who didn’t attract any significant level of attention, he wants to rant and rage about corruption and how this election was “stolen” from him!

But without real details of corruption, it comes across more as sour grapes. I'd say that Republican candidate Paul McKinley is more ridiculous with his constant use of the phrase "corrupt Chicago machine" to answer every question, no matter what the topic. But nobody's seriously looking to the GOP for a new member of Congress in this election cycle.

Although I suspect that by writing this commentary, I have just played myself right into the Fenton campaign’s hands – he gets public attention that he otherwise wouldn’t be worthy of.

Not that I think it will matter much. The real “mood of the people” with regards to replacing Jackson in Congress is apathy. I suspect many people who voted for Jackson last year figured that someone better would come along in the special election that inevitably would have to be held.

NOW THAT WE’RE at the point of that special election, the field of candidates has been so big, so massive that it seems like a lot of deadwood – even amongst the so-called favorites.

Perhaps that’s the real reason that voter turnout for Tuesday is expected to be low.

So low that some are figuring it could take as few as 12,000 votes to win – presuming that only about one-fifth of the district’s registered voters actually bother to cast ballots.

What a shame. My old neighborhood deserves better!


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