Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Campaign talk is definition of cheap

A lesson I learned many years ago from hanging around political campaigns – the cheap talk and accusations we hear about the candidates rarely bears any resemblance to reality.

KELLY: More rational firearms view?
The impressions we’re given by the campaigns about their opposition usually have only the tiniest element of truth to them. And by the time a campaign cycle is over, that tiny truth has been stretched to the point where we have to wonder how we ever got there.

I COULDN’T HELP but think of this on Monday when I happened to be at a luncheon event where newly-elected Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., was the speaker.

Kelly, of course, is the woman who replaced Jesse Jackson, Jr., managing to prevail in a crowded Democratic primary field of candidates by letting herself get tagged as the ultimate gun-control freak.

The woman who is willing to push for strict laws concerning firearms regulation – to the point where her victory was a smack in the face for the National Rifle Association.

In fact, a part of me wonders if a part of their hard-core push for “concealed carry” and the desire to dump on local interests that want their part of the state exempt from such a loose attitude toward pistols is a reaction to Kelly’s solid victories in the February primary and April general elections.

THAT IMPRESSION STUCK – to the point where at this luncheon, one police officer asked Kelly why she hated firearms so much!

QUINN: Better if he were a political hack?
To which Kelly said something on Monday that would have been anathema during the campaign cycle – she doesn’t hate them.

She claims to have relatives who were police officers both in New York City and in Chicago (personally, I have two Chicago cop uncle types, both now off the department), and she even told the story of the family grocery store in Harlem.

One time, when someone tried to rob them, her grandfather in a back room heard the commotion, grabbed a rifle that he used for hunting, and wound up wounding the would-be robber.

SHE SAYS THE incident was determined to be self-defense, and that the robber did not die from his wounds. Although she also said the family store was a cop-friendly neighborhood business. “We were the store all the police officers came to,” she said. “We were like their doughnut shop.”

But just envision how that story would have dumped all over the image Kelly played along with because it made her stand out from the Democratic candidate field that at one point had 20 or so people in the running.

BRADY: Will old image haunt him?
For the record, Kelly on Monday said backs gun laws that require people to use their firearms in a “responsible” manner. “Why don’t we have more background checks,” she asked.

It is a reasonable question. And goes to show that Kelly is not the cartoonish image that got her elected to Congress.

JUST LIKE WILLIAM Brady (who is tossing out hints of trying again next year to run for governor) is not the complete rural buffoon and ideological nutcase (though many of his supporters were) that he was made out to be during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

No more than Pat Quinn was the Chicago political hack that all his opponents desperately want to believe he is. Although a part of me wonders if Illinois would be better off if we had a leader who had a touch of “strong-arm” tactics in him (or her)?

Maybe something would actually get done on issues like pension funding reform – rather than Quinn talking about trying to merge the dueling proposals into a single bill in such a way that the courts would probably rule it unconstitutional on the grounds that nobody understands what is being done!

So as we move into the period when people are going to start campaigning seriously for government posts, keep in mind that most of the messages you’re going to hear about everybody is stuff that deserves to go straight to your computer’s recycle bin.


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