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The Battle for America 2010: Chicago Dems Just Not ‘Feeling’ Giannoulias

Things are complicated for Illinois Democrats in the race for the U.S. Senate seat to fill the unexpired term of Barack Obama.

by
Bill Baar

Bio

August 29, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Today the eyes laze about while pundits and bloggers go negative on mob banks, and embellished resumes. The eyes are unfocused, or maybe more apt, the eyes are focused on mortgages underwater and lost jobs. Sunk in murky waters, our eyes need goggles to focus in Illinois today. Voters haven’t found them yet in the Senate race.

My two activist friends found Scott Lee Cohen in the race for governor. Cohen’s campaign of job fairs in the primaries caught their eyes, but they’re still waiting when it comes to the Senate race. I suspect they’re not alone.

Democrats are counting this year on a big vote from Chicago to offset Schumer’s “sour” voters elsewhere in Illinois, but if Chicagoans aren’t tea-party-sour, they’re sure not feeling any love from Giannoulias.

On the gut issues, they’re not feeling him. White and black alike, and much of the rest of the rainbow, might go Green in the city because Rep. Rush’s issues aren’t unique to African Americans. They’re crushing everyone in this state.

Rush told WBEZ he’s waiting for Durbin, Daley, and Obama to quiz Giannoulias. Oddly, Rush omitted Illinois House Speaker and Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Mike Madigan on this approaching quiz moment with Alexi. Illinoisans know how those quizzes go when something golden is to be had among Democrats with those Blagojevich tapes fresh on our minds.

Maybe it will convince Rep. Rush and he’ll finally come out for Giannoulias, but otherwise this focus session among the party bigwigs might just be fodder for the Greens, who can leverage the situation with some social networking to get Jones’ name and story out there. Jones is sure to hammer away within the black community, asking why the Durbin, Daley, and Obama trinity are so special that they can decide for all Illinois voters. Didn’t Illinois just go through that mess of a quiz with Burris’ selection as senator? How’d that work out?

A buddy of mine in suburban Bellwood, sitting on a house he can’t sell, told me to expect a split election when it comes to the races for governor and Senate. Republicans are going to win the governorship, and Obama will bring the big money, big names, and big influence to push Giannoulias into the Senate. It is too high-profile a race for Obama to see a loss to a Republican.

Go join Scott Lee Cohen’s Facebook page though and look at some of the pictures from his recent job fair at Jefferson and Lake Street last week. There are gut-wrenching images of long lines of Chicagoans dressed in their best for interviews in the worst times they’ve known.

Democrats seem to have lost the core message of work and jobs. They’ve ceded it in favor of talk about mosques and Kirk puffing up his resume. Those turning out for Cohen’s job fair have bigger issues on their minds. They’re not feeling Giannoulias on Jefferson and Lake, or on the West Side, or in Albany Park or Bellwood. They’re not going to wait for Durbin, Daley, and Obama to quiz the candidates. They’ll focus soon and it’s likely a big chunk of city voters aren’t going to focus their eyes on Democrats.

Even President Obama isn’t going to be able to bring the money, big names, and big influence to make them feel Giannoulias.

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Bill Baar's a practicing Unitarian Universalist with a politically conservative mind. He blogs at Bill Baar's West Side.
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