Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fioretti may be longer-shot political comeback than that of Pat Quinn

Robert Fioretti is ambitious, we’ll have to give him that much.

FIORETTI: Wants to be county boss
The one-time alderman of Chicago’s 2nd Ward was among the people who tried challenging Rahm Emanuel for his mayoral post in the 2015 election cycle – finishing fourth with just over 7 percent of the non-partisan election that year.

NOW, HIS DESIRE to be able to call himself a prominent political person is being resurrected with his talk that he’ll run for the Democratic nomination for Cook County Board president.

In short, he’s willing to challenge Toni Preckwinkle – gambling on the fact that people so upset over the pop tax that will cease to exist in a couple of weeks will remain so peeved that they’ll vote for Anybody But Toni.

Maybe even Bob.

It’s obvious that Fioretti has no intention of letting this issue go. He kicked off his active campaigning for county board president with an appearance Monday at the Lansing Municipal Airport.

THE AIR STRIP in that south suburb literally has as its eastern boundary the Illinois/Indiana state line. Making it possible for Fioretti to engage in a lot of political trash talk about how the people of neighboring Dyer, Ind., have lesser tax rates than those who live in Lansing and Cook County proper.
PRECKWINKLE: Won't be unopposed

Ignoring the fact that Indiana-based municipal governments usually offer far less in the way of services to their residents than the ones in Cook County do. Which basically means you get what you pay for – and I view that as one of Illinois’ and the Chicago-area’s strengths.

But back to the voter choice coming up March 20 in Cook County as to who should be our county board president (the Republican Party structure is too weak to come up with a credible challenger, meaning the primary likely will be the election).

Maybe it’s because I remember Fioretti’s time as an alderman as being one where he was one of the most-outspoken of the aldermanic creatures in the City Council. It meant he got quoted in the news reports far more often than many of his colleagues – and it gave him a prominent name on the political scene.
EMANUEL: Beat Bob badly in 2015

BUT TO BE honest, a lot of his talk just came across as cheap. As though it was someone talking just for the sake of hearing himself speak. Not because he necessarily had much of anything worth saying.

Reporter-type people who cover government bodies at all levels learn to deal with such people. You learn to tell the difference between the people who actually have some comprehension of what government does and which ones are merely good for a quote that helps fill out space in the many stories that get written about government activity.

So was I shocked that Fioretti would be the type with the bloated-enough ego to think that all of Chicago (and not just the residents of the Second Ward) was ready for his feisty rhetoric about how fouled up Emanuel and everybody else was?

Let’s remember that when the City Council district boundaries were redrawn the last time, Fioretti was the one whose home suddenly wound up in a new district. He lost his supporters. He has to try to run for something different – or else face irrelevance.

SO WHEN HE couldn’t become mayor or even make it into a runoff election (the Anybody But Rahm voters preferred Jesus “Chuy” Garcia instead), he needs to pick another post so as to avoid irrelevance.

GARCIA: Rahm critics preferred Chuy to Bob
So now, he’s going for the county board, where without him it seems that Preckwinkle would be unopposed for the post she has held since 2010. Not that I think Toni is entitled to run unchallenged – competition is always good.

But it’s best if it is a serious challenger who has a vision for why we should vote for them – and not just “Dump Toni!” because she tried to plug a hole in the county financial picture that Fioretti himself might wind up having to concoct some sort of tax hike to fill if he were somehow capable of getting himself elected.

We’ll get to see for ourselves just how petty our electorate is capable of being come the 2018 election cycle – and whether Fioretti gets to become the Chicago version of Pat Quinn; the former governor who has run for so many offices throughout the years and will be making his own political comeback bid next year for state Attorney General.


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