Saturday, September 9, 2017

Gubernatorial dreamer’s inexperience brings Israel into Ill. gov. campaign

Daniel Biss may be running for Illinois governor in the upcoming election cycle, but I have no doubt a part of his mindset is already thinking ahead to a future campaign for Congress.
WALLACE: Can she make Biss backers forget Rosa?

Perhaps he thinks he’ll be the representative from the North Shore suburbs when the day arrives that incumbent Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. – who has been an elected official in Springfield, Ill., and in D.C. for nearly three decades – decides to retire.

IN THAT CONTEXT, it makes total sense for Evanston resident Biss to replace his original choice for a lieutenant governor running mate, Carlos Ramirez Rosa, with Litesa Wallace.

Although the fact he had to go scrambling at the last minute to find someone willing to be his “number two” candidate who could potentially serve as governor if he becomes incapacitated could show more how inexperienced Biss is when it comes to electoral politics.

Either that, or how careless he was about vetting his so-called preferred pick.

For what it’s worth, Biss had to dump Rosa, a first-term Chicago alderman – when it became known Rosa is one of those people who believes that boycott and sanctions against Israel are justified because of the Israeli government’s efforts to restrict Palestinians living in the area.
ROSA: How will his own political aspirations end?

THAT KIND OF talk amounts to “fighting words!” among many Jewish people, particularly many of the North Shore residents whom Biss was counting on to be the bulk of his political support to actually give him a chance in hell of winning a Democratic primary against the “big money” candidate J.B. Pritzker and the “big name” candidate Chris Kennedy.

They’re the ones who will toss out the argument about how Israel’s existence as a Jewish state is threatened by the Palestinian presence, and that the history of harassment and persecution justifies taking a hard line.

Of course, I’ve also known Jewish people who were more than capable of spewing out rhetoric such as, “the only good Arab is a dead Arab.”  Which is what provokes those of various Arab ethnic descents to insist that it is the Jewish people who are truly bigoted and prejudiced.
BISS: Future congressman? Or political nobody?

And now, the kind of rhetoric that rarely comes up in a state government campaign has the chance to take over a battle for the ultimate right to live in the Executive Mansion in Springfield.

THAT IS, UNLESS you believe Wallace, a second-term state legislator from Rockford, is capable of making people forget this issue.

Which isn’t likely, because she’s not exactly a veteran political operative of the state government scene. She may give some attention outside of the Chicago-area to the Biss campaign, but no more than Democratic opponent Ameya Pawar will get from having Cairo Mayor Tyrone Coleman as his running mate.

Now I know Biss has said he had to dump Rosa – who calls himself a Democratic Socialist just like failed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and had hoped Sanders-leaning Illinoisans would turn to him for governor as a result – because he is Jewish and has relatives who survived the Holocaust of Nazi-era Germany.

But now I’m wondering about those Arabs who are not inclined to look sympathetically toward the existing Israeli government. Are they going to view Biss as the guy who turned on them by not remaining loyal to Rosa – himself a Chicago native who is the first openly gay Latino to serve in the City Council?
Usually not a place of concern for state pols

IS THE BISS campaign going to get dumped on over the Israel issue, regardless of how he handled it? Is his interest in not getting branded over the issue in a future congressional going to create interest in the governor’s race by people who otherwise might not have cared one bit about the Springfield Scene?

Now I’m not defending Rosa, or criticizing him. Personally, I think that both of Biss’ picks for lieutenant governor are relatively uninspiring.

They probably show more than anything else that Biss has all the political experience and knowledge of a typical mathematics teacher – which is what he was prior to his 2012 election to the Illinois Senate.

He couldn’t properly “vet” the person whom he would have made governor in the event of his own demise – which is why he may well wind up finishing behind all the major Democratic primary candidates come the March 20 election.


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