Monday, March 19, 2018

Is it finally Danny Boy’s time to leave Congress, or will he gain another term?

Dan Lipinski has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years, and by all rights ought to have all the political benefits of incumbency when it comes to getting re-elected.
Does Dan Lipinski wish he could be ...

Yet the realities of partisan politics may have changed enough that Lipinski is now at risk of losing the Congressional seat he inherited when his father, William, retired following a political career that saw him rise from the ranks of a South Side alderman to a member of Congress.

OR MAYBE HE isn’t going to lose. That is the big unanswered questions on the Chicago political scene this election cycle.

Every cycle, Lipinski has to answer allegations that he’s too conservative to be a Chicago-area congressman, and in fact has so many ideological leanings to the right that he has no business identifying himself as a Democrat.

Not that it has worked in the past. There are many people who  have tried challenging Dan Lipinski since he gave up a university teaching position in Tennessee in 2004 to return to the Chicago area and replace his father on Capitol Hill.

None of them put up a serious challenge. To the point where I understand why Lipinski, the younger, would go into this election cycle feeling confident that he could beat off yet another “misguided liberal-type” of political dreamer.

BUT THIS ELECTION cycle is turning out to be the one in which a liberal-type might actually win the primary election to be held Tuesday. Which, of course, would result in a Nov. 6 general election victory, since even the Republican Party is openly appalled at the thought that they’re likely to nominate Art Jones, a white supremacist, to run for them.

So will Marie Newman, a small businesswoman, manage to elevate herself to Congress by the benefit of running at the right time? Or will Lipinski manage to gain himself yet another two-year term representing Chicago’s Southwest Side neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs?
... same old-school Dem as his father, Bill?

Is Lipinski, a Democrat with a significant voting record in line with Republican partisan interests, truly out of line with his constituents?

That is a question I have been pondering for several months now.

BECAUSE THE DISTRICT is one that is pretty much the remnants of the old South Side of Chicago – one that was ‘white ethnic’ in composition and one that most definitely didn’t think of itself as sympathetic to the interests of African-Americans.

A part of me jokes that the people who support Lipinski in Congress are the children and grand-children of the same Chicago residents who, back in 1968, cheered for the Chicago police officers who beat up the ‘hippie freaks’ who protested in Grant Park during the Democratic National Convention and who were offended when the resulting investigation classified the incident as a “police riot.”

As though the rest of the world was out of whack with their sense of morals. Just as I’m sure Lipinski-backers feel about Newman and her supporters.

Personally, I’ve always understood Lipinski’s Democratic Party identity is tied to his support for issues related to organized labor and unions. I have no doubt that someone like Gov. Bruce Rauner, with all his ideological rhetoric on such issues that he tries to bill as “reform” probably thinks of Lipinski as being just as much a part of the “problem” as Michael Madigan.

TO THE POINT where I don’t expect the hard-core Republicans think much of him just because on abortion or many other social issues, he sympathizes with their political party’s platform. There are those who have no problem thinking of Dan Lipinski as a Democrat. They're the ones who are the target for a Twitter campaign trying to portray Newman as anti-Catholic -- so Vote for Dan!
NEWMAN: Will she bring Ill. 3rd into 21st Century?

Newman is trying to inspire the people whose political leanings are influenced primarily by those very social issues to rise up and vote for her. Dump Dan Lipinski, is their battle cry. Many Democratic-leaning national organizations are offering up support to her.

But will it work. Is the motivation amongst many progressive-minded voters to dump anyone perceived as not openly hostile to Donald Trump capable of providing enough voter support to enable Newman to beat Lipinski?

Or is there still enough of the old spirit of the Sout’ Side remaining to send Dan back to Capitol Hill? We’ll know better come Tuesday night.


EDITOR’S NOTE: I happened to read through some of the old copy published at this weblog when I found this Feb. 3, 2008 commentary about Lipinski being challenged by Mark Pera (remember him, I don’t). It amazes me about how some realities of Chicago and its political scene haven’t changed one bit during the past decade.

No comments: