I was almost twelve years old when John Kennedy was elected President and I was thrilled. The fact that I was a Catholic boy living on the Southwest side of Chicago might have had something to do with it. However, when Bobby Kennedy ran for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1968, I was a staunch supporter of Hubert Humphrey. So I'm not one of those professional Kennedy haters. But, by the same token, I'm hardly a Kennedy sycophant, waiting around in the hopeful expectation that any day now there will be a magical, mystical restoration of Camelot. Simply put, I respect the legacy the Kennedy family has left to the Democratic Party and to the country. But I can't turn a blind eye to the weaknesses and imperfections of Kennedy family members. And that's why I can categorically state here and now that I think Chris Kennedy is a boob.
If you think about it, Chris Kennedy has not left a single footprint on the sands of Illinois politics. Here is a man blessed with one of the most prominent family names in American political history. He has had the kind of universal name recognition that virtually every politician in the country would kill for. He has been a resident of this state for many years and yet the only significant political office he's ever held was Trustee of the Board of the University of Illinois. And when you look at the "success" of the athletic program at that honorable school of higher education, I'm not sure you could call Mr. Kennedy's efforts on the U. of I.'s behalf a "contribution".
What annoys me most about Christ Kennedy, however, is what might have been. He could have run for and won the governorship of this state in 2002, and thus spared this state the shame and degradation of a Governor Blagojevich. But he didn't. Instead he sat around like a latter day Hamlet, waiting to be begged to run. And even when there were people in this state who were willing enough to debase themselves and beg him to run, Chris Kennedy said NO!
So here we have a feckless boob, an empty suit if there ever was one, and NOW he wants to play at being governor. Well Illinois doesn't need a governor who views the state as the moral equivalent of an electric train. Being an effective governor is a real challenge involving a lot of VERY hard work. It's not a place for a dilettante who is more interested in the title than the responsibilities. And being an effective governor would be hard enough in and of itself, but being a Democratic governor trying to face down Speaker Mike Madigan is a trial more suitable for a political Hercules. Chris Kennedy in a showdown with Mike Madigan? It would be like throwing a sack of kittens into a pack of hungry pit bulls. Not a pretty sight!
I'm not saying Chris Kennedy is a bad man. I'm sure he's nice, polite, compassionate, friendly, loyal and well meaning, all wonderful character traits in a Boy Scout. But at the moment, a Boy Scout is the LAST thing Illinois needs. Let's face facts, this state has one foot in the grave and the other foot on a banana peel. A warm, fuzzy puppy dog of a governor is not what we need to dig us out of the hole we've dug for ourselves.
No, this is NOT an endorsement of J.B. Pritzker. We also don't need a know-it-all billionaire running things. We have one of those now and it hasn't exactly been pretty to watch. All I WILL do is reveal who I voted for in the Illinois gubernatorial primary. I voted for Daniel Biss. It wasn't a progressive vs. Establishment thing, it wasn't a left vs. centrist thing. I just think it's high time Illinois had a governor who really understood the plight of the middle class and that man is Daniel Biss. Enough said. Now, Illinois Democrats, let's get out there and VOTE!!
Filed under: Politics