Saturday, August 12, 2017

For way Dems backed J.B., we might as well have been at Bismarck Hotel of old

We’re several years into the 21st Century and we’d like to think we’re urbane and sophisticated. Yet when it comes to electoral politics, the spirit of the smoke-filled room and political party hacks gathering together to tell us what is for our own good come Election Day still prevails.
PRITZKER: The officially-preferred Dem gov hopeful

For the Cook County Democratic Party, the heart and muscle of Democratic organizations in dominating Illinois, decided Friday amongst themselves that the gubernatorial campaign of J.B. Pritzker is the officially-preferred choice come the March 20, 2018 primary.

FORGET CHRIS KENNEDY and his family aura, or the idealism of Ameya Pawar or Daniel Biss, or the political delusions any of the other gubernatorial dreamers may have.

The party will put its money, so to speak, on the member of the Pritzker family whose wealth originates with the Hyatt Hotels chain, betting he is the most likely to have a chance to defeat Gov. Bruce Rauner’s dreams of re-election come the Election Day on Nov. 6.

Actually, that phrase about “put its money” is a misnomer, since the party hacks largely see the advantage of a Pritzker campaign is that he has a large private fortune and has expressed a willingness to make many large donations to himself in order to pay the costs of a political campaign.
Political spirit of the one-time Bismarck Hotel ...

Democratic Party organizations won't have to make a priority of trying to raise money for a governor's race where they will be outspent overwhelmingly by Rauner's own personal fortune.

DEMOCRATIC REGULARS SEE that as absolutely essential to compete with the significant private wealth that Rauner is prepared to spend to try to get himself re-elected, and also to alter the General Assembly composition in ways to create political allies for himself.

Because it has been a hostile Legislature run by urban Democratic Party interests that has been the buffer between the public interests and the many anti-union fantasies that Rauner repeatedly tries to portray as “reform.”

Cook County Democrats gathered Friday at the Erie Café restaurant (Italian food, but the prime rib looks scrumptious) to come to their decision to officially slate Pritzker’s campaign over all others for governor.
... carries over to a Near North restaurant

But the spirit may well have been that of the one-time Bismarck Hotel where politicos used to merely have to walk across the street from City Hall to gather in those aforementioned smoke-filled rooms to decide which candidates were worthy of political support.

THAT ACTUALLY IS the key to comprehending what the value of the party’s slate truly is.

It means the party regulars are now bound to back Pritzker for governor. They’re bound to have their campaign workers out on the streets trying to stir up the vote for J.B.

If by chance they are absolutely appalled at the thought of a Pritzker as governor, they’re required to keep their mouths shut about it. They can’t go off and offer support for anybody else – unless they want to be viewed as renegades.

Although Pritzker’s preferred status by the party isn’t really surprising – he did have a sister, Penny, who served as Commerce Secretary under President Barack Obama. The family isn’t new to electoral politics.

AS FOR WHAT the other gubernatorial candidates wanted was for the party to slate no one. Which would have given the individual party regulars the ability to make up their own minds and allow their campaign workers to push for votes for whomever they truly supported.

Now, J.B. has something of a political army willing to do the legwork to try to gain him more political support beyond what he hopes to buy during the election cycle.
BAULER: Some sentiments never change

Dems may think this is a strength, but it also is potentially the Pritzker weakness – one that Biss already is trying to play off of. He says that a “Gov. Pritzker” would be no different than a “Gov. Rauner,” just another rich guy who won’t have the public interest in mind.

So while we might be nearly two full decades into the current century, there’s just enough of the old sentiment remaining that the idea of letting political people pick which pol they prefer may just be too modern a concept and the decades-old ideal of one-time alderman/saloon-keeper Mathias “Paddy” Bauler (“Chicago ain’t ready for reform”) still applies.


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