Friday, October 24, 2014

Do celebrity backings mean much to pols? Or just to their wallets?

Long-time women’s activist Gloria Steinem plans to be in Chicago on Friday to throw her backing to Gov. Pat Quinn in his bid to get one more term in elective office.

Which might seem to be a bigger deal, except that Quinn has been going hog-wild in recent days on the appearances by celebrity pols and activists to try to draw attention to his campaign.

WE GOT TO see President Barack Obama earlier this week in town for Quinn, although the president seemed to have got more attention for the incident at an early polling place when some guy told him to keep his hands off his girlfriend – who happened to be in the voting booth right next to the president.

Both former President Bill Clinton and possible future president Hillary R. Clinton have been in town to tell us we should vote for Pat come Nov. 4.

Vice President Joe Biden (who deep down has to be miffed that he’s NOT regarded as the automatic front-runner for president come the 2016 election cycle) was in Chicago to be seen with the “Mighty” Quinn.

And now Steinem, who according to the Chicago Sun-Times will be hosting a rally to sway female voters and a fundraiser to collect campaign cash for Quinn.

ALTHOUGH I’M WONDERING if she’s going to get more attention for the fact if she actually shows up for this event.

Let’s not forget that she was supposed to be in Chicago in late September to tout Pat Quinn – only it turned out to be the same day of the incident at the FAA facility in suburban Aurora that knocked both O’Hare International and Midway airports out of commission.

If Gloria Steinem can’t get a flight to Chicago on Friday for some yet-to-be-known reason, should we take it as a sign from the heavens above that she is not meant to be as a backer of the Quinn campaign?

That’s a lot of heavy-duty names to show up in Chicago in such a short time span. Perhaps actor Martin Sheen should have held off a bit longer so he could have been squeezed into this week.

JUST THINK OF how much of a hissy fit Republican gubernatorial challenger Bruce Rauner could have if all those people had touted Pat Quinn during a seven-day span of time? Then again, he’s managed to throw enough hissy fits about Quinn just the way things are.

Perhaps Rauner wishes he could get his share of “names” to come out and say how wonderful he is. Unless he’s satisfied that newspaper publishers, a usually GOP-leaning group, are all uniting in support of him. Ho-hum!

What has me wondering about these appearances is that I question how much they really work? And I don’t mean just these particular individuals. Do any “celebrity” offerings really make much of an impression on the electorate?

I’ll be the first to admit that they enable the candidates to justify charging ridiculous sums of money for people to attend the fund-raising events that all of these stunts were.

WHICH MEANS THEY have helped Pat Quinn come up with the kind of cash that almost lets him keep up with the tens of millions of dollars of his own financial wealth that Rauner has been able to spend on his attempt to gain a political office.

Be honest. Do you know anyone who seriously would pay the thousands of dollars per plate to attend one of these events? Insofar as the average voter is concerned, what matters is the television footage of the candidate with the so-called “name.”

It creates a trivial impression that perhaps these people really have some contacts with each other. Even though I have found in my own contact with political people that they usually detest each other privately and will say some of the most mean-spirited things about each other when they think no one else is listening!


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