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May 12, 2009
A Kennedy may run for Illinois senate seat
Obama learned well the tough lessons of Chicago politics including nepotism, bullying and how to smoothly get his way. Discussing disgraced Illinois former governor Rod Blagojevich (D) in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago, Scott Simon noted
As Mayor Richard J. Daley once famously exclaimed when caught trying to shovel city insurance business to one of his sons (not Richard M. or Bill Daley), "Any father who doesn't do for his son isn't a good father, and if they don't like it, kiss my ass."
A Chicago alderman once complained to me about modern reform hiring laws -- the line was so good, I borrowed it, unembellished, for a novel -- "What's this world coming to when a guy can get a job for a stranger more easily than he can for his brother in law?"
But there is a practical side to this--ostensibly the hired relative will be extraordinarily loyal to the sponsoring relative that hired him/her by working hard to retain the family's name and reputation--and the job.
And so it should come as no surprise to have learned in gossip girl Michael Sneed's column in the Chicago Sun Times last week that a member of one of the nation's most prominent political families, with relatives elected to office on the basis of the family name--and wealth, is thinking of shoving his way to the head of the line by running for a relatively high office although he has no elected experience.
Christopher Kennedy--yes that family--is "mulling" a bid to run for U.S. Senator from Illinois on the Democratic ticket. The seat is currently filled by Senator Roland Burris (D) who was appointed by former Governor Blagojevich when former Senator Barack Hussein Obama (D) won his presidential race. Whatever the circumstances of Burris' appointment, he is a man of political experience; he was the first black to win an elected Illinois statewide office, that of Attorney General, and he did it without inherited wealth and/or family connections.
Kennedy? Well his late father became a carpetbagging NY senator after his brother appointed him Attorney General, his uncle is a Massachusetts senator; his cousin Caroline Kennedy, who hails her own cabs, was not chosen NY senator although she tried after carpetbagging Senator Hilary R. Clinton (D) resigned. Other cousins, using the family name, connections and loads of money have run for office; many have won their election where, once in office, like other humans, they perform their duties with varying degrees of competency.
Other Christopher Kennedy qualifications:
The rationale: Top Dem party sources tell Sneed a Kennedy candidacy would come with instantaneous name recognition. "He's also lived here for 25 years, is in his late 40s, comes from a business background, and has that Kennedy magic," the source added. (snip)
The backshot: Sneed reported last December Kennedy's name was wafted into the inner circle of Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who would have been the guy to choose Obama's replacement in the Senate -- had Blagojevich resigned. Sneed was told Kennedy was likely to accept if asked, but Kennedy's name had been floated as a possible candidate for years.
The big question: Will an offspring of the legendary Kennedy line finally become a senator from Illinois? Stay tuned.
So, apparently Sneed believes the name Kennedy is enough to guarantee a Kennedy win in Illinois. This is not far fetched.
Familiar names are checking out the land of Illinois for a possible Kennedy run:
Sneed is told Kennedy, who runs the Merchandise Mart, is using Obama pollster John Anzalone -- and has reportedly talked to media consultants Larry Grisolano and John Kupper, who now run the firm once headed by David Axelrod, Obama's senior adviser.
These incestuous relationships are not a coincidence--they will zip the inexperienced Kennedy along.
Nearly 50 years ago, the first Mayor Richard Daley, eager to have the first Catholic--especially one of Irish descent as himself--elected to office, tilted the outcome of the Illinois presidential election to guarantee that John F. Kennedy won the state, although Richard M. Nixon had previously outpolled him.
Thank goodness a Catholic test--or a Jewish or Protestant one--isn't much of an issue for most Illinois voters. So will Kennedy run? What about Burris? Representative Jesse Jackson Jr? Others? As Sneed says, "Stay tuned." Illinois politics are, if nothing else, interesting.