Monday, September 16, 2013

When do endorsements matter?

It never fails to amaze me the degree to which political people think that official endorsements mean much of anything.

QUINN: He wants the state slating!
You’d think the fact that officials see how low they turn up in political polls ranking their approval, and they’d realize that we’d think just as little of the people offering up the endorsements as we do of the officials who supposedly are being supported.

IT IS WHY I’m going to find it amusing if the Democratic Party of Illinois sticks to its plans to meet Sunday in Springfield for a formal slating session.

Of course, the only statewide election of any significance on March 18 where there is a likelihood of a contested Democratic Party primary is the fight for governor.

That is what will be at stake – will the official mechanism of the Democratic Party at the statewide level make a formal statement that it prefers to have Pat Quinn seek another term as governor?

Or will there be enough dissent that the party won’t take a stance – which would leave the state committee chairmen (two from each congressional district; one male and one female) to say whatever it is they really feel next year when the gubernatorial campaigning reaches its peak.

IF THERE IS an official candidate slated for office, it means the party officials have to publicly back that choice. They may secretly want the other candidate, and may do things in private to undermine the slated candidate. But publicly, they will not oppose the preferred candidate.

The Chicago Tribune reported last week that the reason the party is bothering is because Quinn, himself, asked for a slating session. In theory, it means that he’s confident enough that HE will be the official pick.

DALEY: Does he win by losing slating?
In reality, it will be embarrassing for his campaign if the party can’t get a sizable majority of support for Quinn. They don’t have to back the Bill Daley opposition campaign for Quinn to come out a loser.

Will there be enough Democratic Party love for Quinn (or distaste for Daley) that the party officials (particularly those from the rural areas who think the incumbent governor is too Chicago-oriented) put aside the fact that many of them think of the Mighty Quinn as the political equivalent of a cocktail weenie?

AND IF, BY chance, the Democratic Party of Illinois (whose chairman, by the way, is none other than Michael J. Madigan himself) takes a solid stance, will anybody take that endorsement seriously?

FRERICHS: He wants backers
Will anybody in today’s day and age care about what the party officials think?

Heck, I don’t think it means much that the Cook County Democratic Party decided already to officially slate Quinn for governor come 2014!

In fact, to the Chicago city voters who will be the basis of whatever support Quinn does get in next year’s primary will probably think it more important that the Cook County party organization took a stance than that the Illinois party people did.

THIS COMING WEEKEND, if it actually takes place, could wind up being a complete act of futility. Except for the fact that political people seem to want to believe that political organizations can still deliver significant numbers of voters to their campaigns WITHOUT having to go out and deal with those voters on a one-on-one basis. It just sounds so nice to say that an impressive-sounding (to some) organization offering their support means anything.

FIELD: She played a 'first lady,' would she beat a pol?
Which is about the only reason I can think of that the campaign of Mike Frerichs for Illinois treasurer felt compelled to tell us this past weekend that the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association (the organization that makes the rural Dems feel like they have a say) endorsed his bid in the Democratic primary.

Considering that he’s the only candidate (as of now) in the running for the nomination, the state senator from Champaign who wants to be a statewide name just seemed a little too eager to brag that somebody likes him right now. As in really likes him.

Somehow, I’d vote for Sally Field over Frerichs for just about anything, if I had the opportunity.


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