Mike Flannery, Political Director of Channel 2 News in Chicago (CBS), is one of the most astute and articulate political reporters on the Chicago political scene today and he asks a legitimate question, “Will Illinois Dems Lose U.S. Senate Seat?”
As I discuss in my recently released book, Mr. and Mrs Grassroots, candidates become complacent and feel a sense of entitlement. There is the “entrenched incumbent” syndrome, and many of the “entrenched incumbents” are not the incumbents at all. But they feel a sense of entitlement for a variety of reasons.
So I say to the Democratic candidates for United States Senate, none of you are entitled to be the next United States Senator from Illinois. You must earn and work it. You must ask for every vote, recruit every volunteer, ask for every dollar, plant every yard sign, send friend cards, make phone calls, and do all of these things, one at a time. Slowly, steadily, confidently. But with complete resolve and a belief that what you are doing is the right thing.
So I say to all of the major Democratic candidates for United States Senate from Illinois: Alexi Giannoulias, David H. Hoffman, Cheryle Jackson, Jacob Meister. None of you own that seat and if you want it, you must fight for it and make a convincing case why you should be the next United States Senator from Illinois. This particular seat, I point out in my book Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots, is jinxed. In 1992, Carol Mosley Braun was elected to the United States Senate with much fanfare and hoopla. And she squandered her opportunity. Her successor, Peter Fitzgerald, who pointed out her weaknesses and flaws during the campaign in 1998, beat Braun. But he squandered it too.
And Then Came Obama. It seemed the jinx was lifted. He took running for office to a new level. He knew why he wanted to be the United States Senator from Illinois and could brilliantly articulate it. But alas, Blagojevich reinstated the jinx with his shenanigans. Selling the seat. All that mess that has been written about to death and is not even that interesting any longer.
So I say to Alexi, David, Cheryle, Jacob. Have a good primary fight and for the general election, run like you are the underdog. Make every voter and every vote count. Chicago City Hall Examiner and The Chicago Grassroots Political Examiner.
John is the author of an upcoming book, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. The book can be ordered from many places, preferably your local independent bookseller at Indie Bound. It can be ordered from another great independent, Powells Bookstore in Portland, OR. Or if you insist, from Amazon.com. Or Barnes and Noble. Or Borders. Or even Sears.
Read the Chicago City Hall Examiner’s and the Chicago Grassroots Political Examiner’s recent pieces on many issues: First booksigning for the Obama book that celebrates books and bookselling. Robert Gibbs lashes out at Limbaugh. Mayor Richard M. Daley is vulnerable. Obama book is a celebration of books and bookselling. Pamela Cotten is endorsed for Subcircuit judge of Cook County.