Friday, November 13, 2015

‘Queen’ Dunkin trash talk not all that surprising, nor is his opposition

I’ve been trying to ignore the rants and rages that have taken place in recent days against state Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago; mainly because many of them seem to be coming from political people who are jealous that they didn’t have the initiative to grab at a piece of political power like he did.

DUNKIN: Inspiring political jealousy?
Dunkin, of course, is the representative who earlier this week refused to vote in accordance with the other Democrats in the Illinois House of Representatives on a measure that wound up giving Gov. Bruce Rauner a political victory in the ongoing spat with the Democrat-led Legislature.

IT SEEMS THERE already are two Democrats willing to publicly say they’re challenging Dunkin for his legislative post in the March primary elections.

Supposedly, one legislator took Dunkin’s nameplate on the Illinois House floor and tossed it over to the Republican side of the chamber – saying they could have him now.

I’ve lost track of the number of attacks I have read that make reference to “Queen Dunkin” serving at the beck and call of “King Rauner.” I’m sure someone thinks that making a borderline homophobic putdown of Dunkin is oh so clever.

It strikes me as being more of a lame joke. But I do comprehend the fact that Dunkin, who in the past has offended his alleged Democratic allies by deciding not to show up for certain key votes, think that he is selling them out.

BECAUSE IT IS only with their collective unity that the 71 Democrats in the 118-member Legislature have that “veto proof” majority that enables them to thumb their collective nose at the governor and his talk of “turnabout agendas” and government reforms that really are nothing more than telling labor unions to “stuff it!”

MEEKS: Can Dunkin advance this far?
Dunkin all by himself can refuse to support them, making it possible for there to be movement on an issue.

That’s a lot of power, similar to the thrill that James Meeks used to feel back during his decade in the Illinois Senate whenever he would refuse to support the party line of the Democrats who voted to send him to Springfield in the first place.

Meeks, of course, also has been a Rauner backer, and it got him a state cabinet post – Illinois State Board of Education president, to be exact.

I DON’T KNOW if Dunkin expects some sort of similar appointment in the future should one of the challenging Democrats (one of whom has ties to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle) actually manage to win the primary.

RAUNER: The short-term winner?
But I would sense that Dunkin is now the lone member of the Legislature’s black caucus whom the general public (or at least those who are political geeks who follow this sort of minutia) actually pays attention to. It must be quite an ago boost to shoot above the general anonymity level of a state legislator from Chicago.

So do I view Dunkin as a political sell-out? Or more just as a guy who’s taking advantage of a political opportunity to advance himself?

Perhaps the real question is to wonder why more legislators haven’t done the same.

AS FOR WHETHER Dunkin can be defeated, it will be tough. Too many legislators are able to benefit from knee-jerk reactions amongst voters to keep sending them back. It won’t help the cause for removal if Dunkin continues to have multiple challengers – they could wind up undercutting the effort of those people absolutely determined to “Dump Dunkin” at all costs.

Besides, let’s be honest and concede that organized labor doesn’t have the best of histories when it comes to African-American people. All too often, the unions were more interested in protecting their established interests to bother including them.

So the idea that some black voters might have a touch of respect for someone who’d be willing to tell labor unions to “stuff it?” Anything is possible.


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