Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pure partisan politics at work

I’ve been going out of my way to avoid writing about the lawsuit filed against Illinois state government from back in the days when Tammy Duckworth was a state official.

DUCKWORTH: Decade-old trivia?
Specifically, she was head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs for a time back when Rod Blagojevich was governor. A couple of people who were either fired from their jobs or refused raises claim Duckworth did so purely for political reasons.

DURING THE PAST decade, there have been lawsuits filed in the federal and state court systems by those employees, and judges have been inclined to reject both of them. That led people to alter the lawsuit slightly, and file it again in the state court system – specifically in the Southern Illinois-based court where the initial incidents occurred.

Now I’m not claiming to have first-hand knowledge of what Duckworth did or did not do. Maybe on some level, Duckworth did act inappropriately (although I’m suspicious because of the fact that multiple judges have said “no”).

But what I think stinks about this case is the fact that most of what I know about it comes from countless e-mail messages I have received from Republican sources whose point in sending them out was to let us know what a sleazy character Ms. Duckworth truly is.

And those messages always make a point of telling us that Duckworth likely will be the nominee for U.S. Senate who challenges Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., in the 2016 election cycle.

AS THE CHICAGO Tribune reported on Tuesday, the lawsuit will have several hearings in court this year – but won’t actually go to trial until April. By then, the primary election will be over.

Which makes me suspect that the people now leading the effort are merely using the plight of those one-time state workers to score political points for their own interests..

This lawsuit is about whatever trivial tidbits can be rooted out to try to throw the Duckworth campaign out of whack. I don’t think the GOP political operatives are even interested in defeating Duckworth at this point.

KIRK: Needs a weakened opponent?
They want her to have to go through a primary election cycle getting stained with so much in the way of nasty factoids becoming attached to her that she theoretically winds up in the general election cycle against Kirk as a flawed candidate.

IF DUCKWORTH WERE to lose the primary to the one-time Cook County prosecutor Andrea Zopp, that would be the GOP fantasy come true – because then those Republicans who are racially inclined would then dig out their nasty tricks against the African-American woman.

Which would be a challenge for Illinois voters to overcome, but one that I’m sure they would. Some political people just can’t accept that the old rules against race just don’t firmly apply to our modern-day society.

This is so political because it is likely there won’t be a ruling until after the primary election is over. The actual ruling doesn’t matter.

The courts could easily decide for a third time that the lawsuit doesn’t have much merit. But the political dirt could still stick. Which wouldn’t do the one-time employees any good, but would help the political operatives immensely.

THIS IS ALL because of the fact that Kirk is considered vulnerable – and not just because of questions about his health following a stroke or some of the dumb comments he has made. Let’s not forget that Kirk is not the conservative ideologue on social issues that some Republicans desperately want.

He’s not exactly someone that the party faithful are going to eagerly await their chance to vote for. So for Kirk to win, the opposition has to be taken down to a level where she gets less support than the incumbent senator does.

Which is why we’re hearing tales about decade-old happenings from people who have their own axes to grind.

And the only people who will really benefit are those who believe elections are about getting fewer people to cast ballots – provided they’re the “right” people who vote in an appropriate manner.


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