Saturday, June 20, 2015

Playing the partisan game by accusing opponent of being politically partisan

Illinois state Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, let it be known he’s not running for re-election come 2016. He’s going to finish out his term in the state Senate, but he’s bringing an end to his legislative career.

SULLIVAN: GOP already eyeing his seat
Which isn’t of much interest to Chicago-area political geeks, unless you think of his hometown as being near the city of Quincy – which once had a Chicago Cubs minor league baseball affiliate. I’m sure the locals will find themselves another person to represent their needs in the Illinois Senate.

BUT HIS ANTICIPATED departure brought about a reaction from the Illinois Republican Party that ought to be of interest to political observers across the state.

For it seems that the party and Gov. Bruce Rauner are determined to keep pushing for their ideological desires over the wishes of the people of Illinois by trying to play one of the old regional favorites – Chicago versus the rest of the state.
Just as Rauner has been issuing many statements pointing out that Democrats from parts of Illinois outside of the Chicago area are too supportive of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, the political party put the spin on things Friday that Sullivan is running scared because he is a Democrat and a Madigan-backer on several issues.

“Sullivan’s announcement is an early sign that the Democrats controlled by Mike Madigan are afraid of answering to voters after their repeated failure in Springfield,” the party wrote.

EVEN THOUGH THE fact is that Sullivan has represented a Republican-leaning legislative district since 2002, yet manages to get elected over and over even though he has the “D” following his name. He must be doing something right that appeals to the people of that western Illinois city on the Mississippi River.
VRDOLYAK: Became a 'nobody' w/ GOP
Or is it just that Rauner and the Republicans want someone whose blind political faith will be to the GOP, rather than the D?

What amuses me about this particular tactic is that it is so old. So much for the idea that Rauner represents a “turnaround,” a shake-up of the old way of doing things on the political scene.

It reminded me of the old (sort of) days of the late 1980s and early 1990s when Republican organizations used to routinely issue statements any time someone who had been connected to Democrats shifted to the Republican Party. They used to have a running count that pushed into the thousands (nationally). It was supposed to create the impression that anyone of sense was a part of the Party of Reagan.

OF COURSE, IF you read beyond the rhetoric, you’d see how silly this became.

PUCINSKI: Became a judge after returning to Dems
There may have been some Southern legislators who permanently shifted their political party allegiance (usually for racial hang-ups they refused to give up), but locally so few of those transitions lasted.

Edward R. Vrdolyak may have been the alderman and Cook County Democratic Chair who became a Republican and never went back. But it can also be argued that his political shift was the exact point in which he became practically irrelevant!

More typical were people like Aurelia Pucinski, the Illinois appellate judge who for a time went Republican, but then decided that being Democrat was the way to get elected to office in Cook County.

THIS IDEA OF Democrats being damaged goods just comes across as ridiculous. If anything, the Republicans run the risk of damaging themselves by coming across as absurd if they keep up the nonsense rhetoric.

I realize the purpose of a political organization is to enable its candidates to have the best chance of actually winning election. I don’t expect the Illinois Republican Party to “play nice” with Madigan – whom I’m sure will fight back with “great vengeance and furious anger” (remember actor Samuel L. Jackson’s “Jules” character from “Pulp Fiction”?).
RAUNER: Becoming the next Bill Brady?
But this attempt to gain victory by putting Chicago at the weak end of the Illinois “urban vs. rural” split has so much potential to backfire. For Rauner won his electoral bid last year by managing to get a share of the Chicago vote to combine with Republican voters in the rest of Illinois.

Becoming the blatantly anti-Chicago candidate could get the local electorate so worked up that they do whatever it is Rauner dislikes -- just like in 2010 when William Brady’s Republican gubernatorial bid went down to defeat because his rural Illinois strategy so blatantly offended Chicago interests.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aurelia Pucinski changed parties like some people change their socks.