GOP Convention Notebook 2
"The tension in the air between Dan Rutherford and Aaron Schock might be subtle this week in Tampa, but it's present," the Daily Herald reports.
"The two Republicans who reportedly are mulling Illinois gubernatorial bids in 2014 also have important - and strikingly different - roles in Mitt Romney's campaign for president."
Well, it's not clear yet whether any role will be something to brag about or run away from, but let's play along.
"Rutherford, the state treasurer from Chenoa, has spent months traveling around the state as Romney's Illinois campaign chair, telling voters that with his help, the former Massachusetts governor is going to fight for 'every inch' of territory, winning independent and moderate votes in President Barack Obama's backyard.
"Schock, a two-term Congressman from Peoria, is taking advantage of the national spotlight. His youth and close friendship with vice presidential pick Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have vaulted him onto a larger stage, aided further by the Romney campaign's fall plans to utilize him on college campuses and as a surrogate in tough swing states."
So Rutherford has exploited his role as Romney's state chair to further his own campaign for governor, just as he's used the Treasurer's office as an extension of his campaign.
Meanwhile, Schock is using his role to build a larger national footprint, which could come in handy with out-of-state donors for a gubernatorial run, or more likely raise his profile in Congress and maybe even fetch a role in a Romney-Ryan administration.
Personally, I don't think Schock is running for governor and I think Rutherford would be a disastrous nominee. So let's call it a draw.
"Schock, 31, gained fame as the youngest member of Congress, lending a youthful face to the GOP. He claimed his first election win at age 19 when, just after he graduating from high school, he was a successful write-in candidate for school board in Peoria.
"Campaigning for his first congressional term in 2008, he was the only speaker from Illinois to take the stage at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. This week, he was scheduled to take part in several convention events, including a Medicare panel with Newt Gingrich."
Memo to Schock: Do your homework.
"[H]is work as Romney's Illinois campaign chair is once again generating campaign connections for Rutherford, but high-ranking Illinois Republicans and staff members say he's been frustrated to find Schock included in Romney's national strategic planning meetings during the primary and general election."
"Schock also has not confirmed whether he will run for governor in 2014, but recent actions - including a June MSNBC debate with Gov. Pat Quinn and a subsequent standoff at a governor's mansion event for the Special Olympics - indicate that he could be readying himself for a potential fight.
"Some speculate that Schock might also be considering a U.S. Senate bid in two years, if Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin does not seek re-election. The national perspective he's gaining through his work with Romney helps keep those options open."
I had a dream last night that included a sequence in which Durbin announced his retirement from the Senate. No kidding.
Hatchet, Axe And Saw
"In 1860, Republican Party bosses had groomed New York's William Seward for the nomination. But the convention was being held in Chicago, Abraham Lincoln's home turf. And location, as they say in real estate, is everything."
Myths And Metaphors
I'm not sure his best pals Tony Rezko and Emil Jones would agree. Or these folks. Or Rod Blagojevich, whom Obama endorsed twice. Or any of the opponents he knocked off ballots. Or the poor constituents he left behind. What more would he need to do to be part of the club?
"And plenty of moderate Republicans in the Illinois delegation understand that."
Like Ray LaHood (D/R-Combine).
Mark Brown, also in the Sun-Times, is also stuck on the Obama myth of 2008.
"Here we go again with this business about Barack Obama bringing 'Chicago ward politics' to the White House," Brown writes.
You mean bringing Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley into the White House doesn't count?
"John McCain pushed that notion to no effect four years ago, and one of my counterparts has never let up."
McCain barely pushed the notion, and if one of his counterparts, presumably Kass, has never let up, that's only because the rest of the media has never caught on.
"May I just point out that you can't even get elected mayor of Chicago any more on the basis of ward politics, not to mention U.S. senator, let alone president of the United States."
If you're defining ward politics as the system of the first Mayor Daley, sure. But we know what what they mean; it's a metaphor.
"I still can't sit back while others pretend that Barack Obama is just another ward hack who miraculously rose above his station - or that he's 'Daley's boy.'"
I mean, remember all those times he challenged the corruption oozing out of Daley's City Hall? Neither do I.
Obama wasn't on the city council, he was in the state senate; when it came time to make his move, he sewed his hip to that of uberhack senate leader Emil Jones. All he had to do to keep Daley's favor was to keep his mouth shut. Which he did.
Brown knows all this. He gos on to write:
"I stand by that - not having forgotten that Obama's first two White House chiefs of staff were Rahm Emanuel (who, yes, first got elected to Congress with some help from Don Tomczak's troops, but hardly owed the election to them) and Bill Daley, brother to former Chicago Mayor Rich Daley (who dismantled the traditional ward political apparatus because it only got in his way.) In the most important election of Obama's life, the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, the mayor was on the sidelines.
"Nor have I forgotten Obama's strange real estate deal with the now-convicted Tony Rezko, his first big campaign donor. I'm still troubled by their friendship, and still waiting for the day we hear the whole story. [But the editorial boards praised him for coming so clean in 2008!]
"I've never tried to tell anybody that Obama was a reformer. He was no crusader in the state Legislature, although nobody ever mistook him for just another hack either. It's obvious he was always trying foremost to protect his options for pursuing higher office."
So he's a phony. Isn't that true of nearly all Chicago pols who find it convenient to adopt the reformer label to protect their options? Isn't that classic Chicago politics?
Just because the old ward political apparatus doesn't exist anymore, as Brown points out, doesn't mean that the old ward political mindset doesn't exist. After all, our mayor is Rahm Emanuel - the president's former chief of staff. And make no mistake, Tomczak's workers went a long way in securing that congressional seat.
The Sun-Times editorial "board" is also offended. Apparently only Chicagoans can make jokes about the Chicago Way. When outsiders do, it's time to defend our dishonor.
"We love the cheap shots that have been hurled against our city during the last two presidential campaigns," the Sun-Times writes.
"They're meant to hurt President Barack Obama, of course, tying him to every sin of Chicago's political system.
"But the cheap shots fall flat. Few people outside Chicago really care about the city's politics. And, most important, the charges are usually off base and cartoon-like."
Only in their shallowness; if they only knew how deep the systemic corruption runs around here.
"That's why we love them. It's like meeting a foreigner on a far-away mountaintop who, upon learning where you're from, offers the obligatory 'Rat-a-tat-tat, Al Capone.'"
Oh lord, the obligatory rat-a-tat-tat Al Capone. What's next, the zillionth retelling of how Robert Michel and Dan Rostenkowski used to drive to Washington together?
"Never mind that Obama had little to do with ward politics. And never mind that the charge implies that he keeps a tight lid on his minions, enforcing his rule with patronage jobs and an iron hand.
"We can only wish Obama had that control over the nation's do-nothing, divided Congress. That, indeed, would be the Chicago Way."
So the Sun-Times is arguing that the Chicago Way of an iron hand at the tiller with patronage jobs to dispense is a caricature even as it wishes Obama ruled over a one-party Congress in just such a manner because that, indeed, would be the Chicago Way. The one that doesn't exist.
Posted on August 29, 2012
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