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Chris Kennedy weekend roundup

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Neil Steinberg

I’d been hoping that Kennedy would drop out before I felt obligated to say anything about him. But he seems to really be running, still, so this is as good a moment as any to explain that, when dealing with Kennedy, I am compromised. I won’t use the word “friend” — I wouldn’t ask him to help me move, or loan me $20 — but we’ve been friendly acquaintances for a decade. Both my boys volunteered a summer working for his Top Box Foods. My family has had dinner at his house, and gone sailing at Hyannis Port. So keep that in mind should the subject arise.

However, I do pride myself on a well-exercised professional ingratitude. When I wrote a book about my father, my dad didn’t talk to me for six months.

In my view either Kennedy or Pritzker will lose to Rauner. Kennedy because he can be awkward as heck and the romance of the Kennedy name (his father was Robert F. Kennedy) is cool ash at this point. Look what being a Clinton did for Hillary. My sincere personal advice, while he was contemplating the run, was that he absolutely shouldn’t. “Everything you consider an asset is really a liability,” I said.

We’ll get to Pritzker later today.

* Mark Brown

Comparing a potential Pritzker takeover of the state’s Democratic leadership to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s tight-fisted control over Illinois Republicans, Kennedy told me Friday that Democrats should “make sure that no matter what, we don’t end up with a Democratic Party that’s silenced and intimidated and bullied.”

“Do I think that J.B. Pritzker is going to act like a tyrant like Bruce Rauner has? I don’t know that. But why take the risk?” Kennedy said. “He doesn’t need your money. He doesn’t need your advice. He doesn’t need your help. He doesn’t need to listen.”

It’s definitely a little rich (using the other meaning of the word) — and arguably hypocritical — for Kennedy to be the one throwing the money stone. […]

I asked Kennedy how much money he does have. Thus ensued an awkward silence.

The “tyrant” question is legit and, as I told subscribers last week, it’s something that Democratic legislators are also talking about.

* Anyway, the Illinois Republican Party posted video of that “awkward” silence mentioned by Brown

* And here’s the party’s accompanying and totally predictable slam

“Chris Kennedy runs, hides and dodges from reporters, even going awkwardly silent when pressed,” said Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe. “If Kennedy melts down by talking to reporters, he’ll never be able to stand up to Mike Madigan.”

* Related…

* Tom Kacich: Chris Kennedy, the former University of Illinois board chairman and current Democratic candidate for governor, last week reported another $403,960 in campaign contributions. Of that sum, $99,400 came from donors with New York state addresses, $21,600 came from Connecticut addresses and $10,000 came from California addresses. Precisely zero dollars came to Kennedy from addresses in downstate Illinois.

* New wave of Kennedys cresting across the country: “They’re thunderstruck by what’s happened to them,” said Chris Kennedy, standing in the living room, addressing about 40 people. “They feel like the promise of this country, the notion that any of them can make it, can arrive here like the Kennedys did and rise from rags to riches, that that promise, which they refer to as the American dream, that that promise has not been kept. And they’re raging mad.”


  1. - Saluki - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    Whew, Kennedy just does not look good at all some times. He’s gonna have to become more trained in talking to media, develop some talking points and work them.

  2. - Earnest - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 9:53 am:

    >Rauner’s tight-fisted control over Illinois Republicans

    This is a good point and an important one, but can Kennedy or the IDP translate into a cohesive, consistent message?

    >totally predictable slam…

    Totally cohesive, consistent, effective message.

  3. - On the stump - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 9:53 am:

    Kennedy has real issues with public speaking. Not sure this ends well for him.

  4. - Roman - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    That Steinberg column was a fun read. Best line:

    “Friends don’t let friends run for office.”

    So true.

  5. - Arsenal - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    ==This is a good point and an important one, but can Kennedy or the IDP translate into a cohesive, consistent message?==

    No, because voters just don’t care about issues like that. They expect Republicans to all vote with Rauner. That’s what makes them all Republicans.

  6. - Arsenal - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    Elevators, trashing school, dropping mics, awkward silences…Kennedy never fails to step on his own press.

  7. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    “This is a good point and an important one, but can Kennedy or the IDP translate into a cohesive, consistent message?”

    No, because nobody who has ever met JB would think of him as a bully. It’s pretty antithetical to his character. The guy is a listener. I get why some folks might be worried, but that just ain’t who he is.

  8. - Arsenal - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    ==No, because nobody who has ever met JB would think of him as a bully. ==

    The vast majority of voters will never meet Pritzker.

  9. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    Rauner has never said exactly how much money he has. Maybe the GOP should ask him?

  10. - Clinton, you're no Kennedy - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:34 am:

    Comparing the Kennedy name to Clinton is bizarre. One name is beloved. The other is synonymous with dishonesty and responsible for trade deals that destroyed most of the small town Midwest.

  11. - A guy - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    In the greatest of all ironies on this day; Neil Steinberg with whom I could disagree upon almost everything, is making the precise point I’ve been making about Chris. Our big difference is that I haven’t been up to Hyannisport to sail. Here’s something I can agree with Neil on. Wishing his family and all the families of my Jewish friends a Blessed Passover.

  12. - Arsenal - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    ==One name is beloved.==

    The “Clinton’s name didn’t help her, so Chris’ won’t help him” argument is definitely missing a few steps, but I’m not sure the Kennedy name *is* so beloved anymore; if it is, the love is a mile wide and an inch deep.

  13. - Fax Machine - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    Has Chris ever opened up about the trauma of losing his father at such a young age and how his family stepped up to raise him & his 10 siblings? I would imagine it would go miles towards shutting people up about his being a “rich guy”

  14. - Downstate - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    Kennedy’s shaky voice is a problem. Even if he’s not being challenged by a tough media or debate question, it doesn’t come off as strong and decisive. I feel the for the guy.

  15. - Earnest - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 11:10 am:

    >They expect Republicans to all vote with Rauner.

    That’s what I don’t get. Then again I thought it was wrong that Rauner thought Social Services could be a wedge issue with the Democrats over unions. I thought there would be enough Republicans who were union-friendly that it would be an ineffective approach.

    Maybe it would be an effective message with independents, if not Republicans?

    I must admit, it’s very confusing to me these days who will support who, and over what.

  16. - Mr. Smith - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    Chris Kennedy may be a really great guy. And I wish him well - but not as a candidate for Governor. As much as I can’t stand Bruce Rauner, even I acknowledge that Rauner will mop up the floor with Kennedy.

    Family name aside, he has nothing to recommend him - he’s a poor speaker, he seems to have next to no charisma, and no clear message other than “I’d be better than Rauner”. Again - I’d be inclined to vote for anyone but Rauner. But a Democratic candidate needs more than that, and I am not seeing it from Chris Kennedy (at least not at this point).

  17. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 11:18 am:

    “Cool ash”. What a neat, descriptive phrase of the Kennedy name.

  18. - Louis G. Atsaves - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    Glad to see there is no “tight fisted” control of the Democratic Party of Illinois. (snark)

  19. - Downstate Dem - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    Kennedy moved to Illinois 30 years ago to join the fight against hunger. After working downstate in Decatur for ADM, he traveled to Peoria and the Metro East to learn the ag/food business. At the Merchandise Mart, he helped recruit and retain more than 5,000 businesses. He led on education at the U of Illinois and he has worked hard to build a successful anti-hunger non profit. Great resume and background to take on the enormous challenges.

  20. - Chicagonk - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    The digs at Kennedy are all superficial. Not saying image and presentation aren’t important attributes in a politician, but I think the jabs are overdone.

  21. - Boone's is back - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:04 pm:

    ===“If Kennedy melts down by talking to reporters, he’ll never be able to stand up to Mike Madigan.”===

    LOL, and so begins every conceivable tie in for dem candidates to MJM. This is really absurd, even for the IL GOP.

  22. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 2:56 pm:

    Downstate, signing up tenants in the family property, of which half was sold to meet cash flow on Chris’s watch, is NOT recruiting and retaining businesses by any reasonable definition.
    I’m also quite sure that you won’t find many actual examples of “leading on education” during his tenure as UI Board Chair, a function not necessarily vested in that Board.

  23. - Responsa - Monday, Apr 10, 17 @ 3:07 pm:

    People who are counting on the Kennedy name to still have a magic ring to IL voters are likely to be over 50 years of age. That ship has sailed.

  24. - To fill the silence - Tuesday, Apr 11, 17 @ 8:51 am:

    With wealth comes responsibility to the whol, my family has given two of it’s members at the prime of their lives as they fought for a better America and that all should have a chance at the American dream.

    It’s not how much money you have, it’s what you decide to use that money for. My record stands on its own.

  25. - oldguy - Tuesday, Apr 11, 17 @ 8:28 pm:

    chris kennedys family has given up 3 of its members in public or military service.that speaks to his courage. has anyone asked raauner how much money he has?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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