By John Ruberry

The Democratic gubernatorial primary in Illinois is more than a year away but the field of candidates to challenge Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner is taking shape. On Thursday Christopher G. Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy, announced on YouTube that he’ll be running for the Democratic nomination for governor of America’s fifth-most populous state, after several abandoned flirtations with running for public office.

Kennedy is by no means a carpet-bagger, he’s lived in the Chicago area for three decades; he moved to Illinois to work at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, which was once the jewel in the crown of the Kennedy family empire. The Mart was sold in 1998, but Kennedy still was the president of Merchandise Mart Properties from 2000-2012. He also served as chairman of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau and the University of Illinois Board of Trustees; in the latter post Kennedy famously and correctly prevented Barack Obama’s terrorist pal, Bill Ayers, from receiving emeritus professor status after retiring from the University of Illinois at Chicago. A book by Ayers’ Weather Underground group was dedicated to a slew of creeps they described as political prisoners, including Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of RFK.

As for the YouTube announcement, such a move on the surface appears to establish Kennedy’s credentials as a 21st-century candidate, but that tactic betrays his biggest flaw as a politician. He’s not a people person. I can’t remember who said it, but a wiser scribe than me said something along these lines about Hillary Clinton, “Some chefs can’t cook in front of an audience. And Hillary can’t do politics in front of people.”

And that’s Kennedy too.

Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times alone of mainstream media mouthpieces noted the significance of the YouTube announcement. Kennedy prefers the safer climes of one-on-one and telephone interviews. And controlled environments such as YouTube.

At a gathering of Illinois delegates during the Democratic National Convention last year Kennedy gave a speech, after meeting with Illinois House speaker and Democratic boss Michael Madigan of Chicago, where he strongly criticized Rauner. The Republican reformer’s “turnaround agenda,” which includes such needed items as term limits, a ban on gerrymandering, and tort reform, has been blocked by Madigan, who until last month, enjoyed supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.

After their DNC meeting, Madigan said that Kennedy would make “a very good candidate” for governor.

In his speech, Kennedy bemoaned the changing media landscape. “With the decline of daily newspapers and other media,” he said, “there is [sic] simply fewer reporters than there used to be to tell the rest of us the truth.”

As you’ll see here, a deer-in-the headlights Kennedy refused to answer questions from some of those remaining reporters, including a basic one from Fox 32 Chicago’s Mike Flannery, “Are you running for governor or not?”

Kennedy’s reply to that reporter? “Please, I don’t need to address you,” concluding with, “What have you become?” All he had to say was that he was still considering his options for the future.

Illinoisans–meet your snowflake candidate for governor, Generation X-er Chris Kennedy.

Since last week’s announcement Kennedy has been asked about Madigan–and in his replies he has either dodged the queries or countered with criticisms of Rauner, who three years ago became the first candidate for governor to win a majority of the vote since 2002.

Madigan is a one-man advertisement for term limits. He’s been a member of the General Assembly for 46 years and he’s been speaker of the state House since 1983, except for the two years in the 1990s when the Illinois Republican Party rode Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America campaign into power. Later this year Madigan will become the longest-serving state House speaker in American history. He’s also chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. Members of the House or the state Senate who cross Madigan will find that campaign funding from the party will evaporate and they’ll be removed from meaningful committee assignments. If those rebels somehow survive, their political careers will be gerrymandered out of existence. Yes, Madigan controls redistricting.

And now for the exclamation point: Madigan’s daughter has been Illinois’ attorney general since 2003.

Illinois Policy Institute caricature of Madigan

Let’s put things another way. Imagine Illinois as a hockey game–with Mike Madigan as the puck and the goaltender on both ends of the rink. And in Madigan’s Illinois, which is not a fantasy version of the state, the players don’t move the puck around, the puck moves the players around. Watching the matchup is a declining base of fans–Illinois is one of the few states that is losing residents. With Madigan–the most powerful politician in Illinois even when there is a Democratic governor–in charge of the state, Illinois has the worst-funded public-public pension system and the lowest credit rating of the fifty states. And it has accumulated $11 billion in unpaid bills, despite the state constitutional requirements that all Illinois budgets be balanced.

But as Kennedy likes to remind people, Illinois hasn’t had a budget passed in two years–which he blames solely on Rauner—Kennedy just can’t find a way to criticize Madigan or even comment on him. In one of those telephone interviews, this one was a Quad Cities NPR affiliate, when he was asked about Madigan, Kennedy replied, “I have a good relationship with much of the leadership in the state–and I think it’s important to be able to work with others.”

Blogger outside of the Merchandise Mart a few years ago.

Snowflake Kennedy offers no solid answers as to how he’ll balance Illinois’ budget, fix the pension bomb, or stem the state’s population exodus.

But he’s a Kennedy. And he thinks it’s important to be able work with others.

Why is Chris Kennedy running for governor?

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Illinoisan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. Both of his parents voted for John F. Kennedy for president in 1960.

Question:  Why was Claire McCaskill practically alone among democrats in tweeting out this yesterday

generating angry responses like this from leftists like this

and this

and this

and this

and this

forcing her to send out responses like this

and this

in the face of angry leftists?


McCaskill knows that unlike Kellogg’s which has to market to an entire nation and thus has to worry if said tweeters might (like me) no longer be buying their products hers is a niche market within the state of Missouri against a party that likely won’t be foolish enough to let Democrats pick their nominee.

She was one of the few swing state senators to survive her vote for Obamacare she’s going to do her best to survive once again and she does this by playing the long game:

According to the US census Missouri has a black population of 11.7%. It has a hispanic population of 3.4% Additionally while Democrats have been winning the Governor’s mansion since Missouri have held the governor’s mansion since 2009 both the House and Senate in the state have gone Republican since 2003.

In other words Missouri has been trending red and while the media has been giving a lot of latitude to protesters in Ferguson, riots by left leaning mobs and attacks on police are not likely to cause the state to turn any bluer anytime soon.

So seeing the lay of the land and understanding that the next senate election she is facing is in a midterms she had to quickly establish her independence from the two most unpopular Democrats in the nation, Harry Reid and Barack Obama.

You might say: But DaTechGuy Barack Obama was very popular? My answer. Clever Claire McCaskill knows fake news when she sees it.

So she will rejoice in stories like this and posts like thisand highlight them to distance herself from the violent protests because regardless of the face she presents to the twitter world the radicals in her state who turned a thug like Michael Brown into a gentle giant know that the reality is she has their back.

Lucky for us most Democrats aren’t as smart as her.

Closing thought, If I was running the RNC or a conservative pac I’d encourage donors to quietly start financing a radical leftists, possibly a black nationalist to primary her and point to this event as a reason to do so. However I suspect with a Romney now calling the shots that thought will never come to mind.


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Yesterday I lead with a piece on the #ObamaChinaDeal & the #ObamaEPARegulations and strongly suggested that the GOP get right up in front of this, first by attaching Obama’s name to it, second by pinning it and by extension Obama to them.

The idea being if you want to establish a meme or a message to the voting public it  needs to be started early then you can refer to it over and over during the course of months and years and create a fixed point of conventional wisdom, in this case:  “Democrats running in 2016 will be continuing Obama’s job killing policies.”

This is conservatism 101, if you want to accomplish things you have to plan and prepare well  ahead.

And that brings us to Claire McCaskill “big” news:

McCaskill was the first Democratic senator to publicly announce her opposition to Reid.

McCaskill wouldn’t say if she was considering a run for governor, which many speculated was her motivation. She said her “only” concern is Ferguson, where racial tensions erupted this summer.

The second-term Missouri Democrat said before leadership elections Thursday that Reid, who has led his caucus since 2005, would not get her support.

From Doug Mataconis at outside the beltway,Noah Rothman at Hotair,  Peter Sullivan at The Hill and others considered this worth pixels writing stories about trouble in the Democrat caucus in the Senate even though Reid was again voted head of their caucus.

However Claire McCaskill move isn’t about Harry Reid and Election 2014, it’s about election 2018.

You read that right, not election 2016, election 2018

According to the US census Missouri has a black population of 11.7%.  It has a hispanic population of 3.4%  Additionally while Democrats have been winning the Governor’s mansion since  Missouri have held the governor’s mansion since 2009 both the House and Senate in the state have gone Republican since 2003.

In other words Missouri has been trending red and while the media has been giving a lot of latitude to protesters in Ferguson, riots by left leaning mobs and attacks on police are not likely to cause the state to turn any bluer anytime soon.

So seeing the lay of the land and understanding that the next senate election she is facing is in a midterms she had to quickly establish her independence from the two most unpopular Democrats in the nation, Harry Reid and Barack Obama.

While she has to thread carefully on Ferguson as she can’t afford to lose any of the black vote that the Democrat party is built on The Keystone Pipeline vote will give her an excellent change to contrast herself with the president, you can expect a lot more of that soon.

However being the very first major Democrat to publicly declare herself opposed to Harry Reid is the best of both worlds.  It made absolutely no different in his election while garnering headlines across cable news and the internet so that in four years (or two if she decides to go for the Governor’s seat when someone googles Harry Reid and Claire McCaskill those headlines will make the case for her “independence” from the Washington liberal Democrats that Missouri voters are rejecting en masse.

That is exactly how to do it.

I may not think of Senator McCaskill but If pushing quietly backing Todd Akin didn’t convince you that she is among the most [politically  savvy members of the Democrat Senate her performance yesterday should do it.

I wish the GOP had more senators as canny.

Update:  Maybe Hillary with Politico’s help is planning the same thing on offense vs Sen Warren.  More on that this weekend.

 

 

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