* From a Chris Kennedy fundraising e-mail…
Politico reported yesterday, “There’s mounting evidence” that “powerful forces within the Democratic establishment” are steering political support to get behind billionaire J.B. Pritzker.
In 1960, party insiders tried to push my uncle John Kennedy out of the race for president, but he took his message directly to the primary voters.
The thing about history is, if you don’t learn from it, you are doomed to repeat it. If a group of political insiders think that they can bypass the voters and select a nominee, they have learned the wrong lessons from 1960 and from last year’s presidential primary too.
I am going to take our message of radical change to the voters in Illinois.
Insiders don’t want to hear the truth and they don’t like me because I’m the one telling it. They want to silence us because we threaten the status quo. But that’s not going to stop me from working to bring change to a system that hasn’t been helping families and residents across Illinois for a long time — and I hope it won’t stop you either.
We need a government that works for the people of this state: a property tax system that can’t be abused by the wealthy and insiders, fair funding for our public schools, expanded voter access to include more people in our political process, and comprehensive tax reform that includes a progressive income tax.
Please contribute today to help spread our message of radical change across the state — and show the political insiders that we won’t be intimidated or silenced.
The people of Illinois are angry about the current state of our politics, our government, our economy, and our leaders. For many, the politics of the establishment, the economy of the establishment, and the representatives of the establishment have become the enemy.
Our current leaders have a choice: they can bury their heads in the sand — or they can embrace the change needed to rebuild the future of our state and renew the promise of the American Dream.
I know where I stand, and I’m grateful you’re with me.
The insiders don’t want Kennedy out of the race because of his ideas or because he threatens the status quo. At least not yet, anyway (although that line about insiders abusing the property tax system is starting to come close). They want Kennedy out because dey want dat guy over by dere with the bottomless checkbook.
* From the above-referenced Politico story…
There’s mounting evidence that powerful Democratic players in the state — from House Speaker Michael Madigan to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — are steering unions, interest groups or politicians to throw their support behind billionaire J.B. Pritzker, the brother of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
The subject isn’t discussed in public. Kennedy’s campaign says he hasn’t explicitly been asked to get out, and officials in various state and county party groups insist they will remain neutral in the primary contest.
But there’s no mistaking the political calculus at work. For all the nostalgia and political romance wrapped up in the Kennedy name, J.B. Pritzker has pledged to bankroll his own campaign against Bruce Rauner, the wealthy Republican governor with whom Illinois Democrats are engaged in an all-out war. Since 2014, Rauner and billionaire ally Ken Griffin have poured millions of dollars into winning the governor’s mansion and cutting into the Democratic majority in the state legislature. In December, Rauner deposited $50 million into his own reelection account.
“I get it. A lot of the politicians are looking at the Rauner model, saying: ‘We want that. We want the guy with unlimited resources,’” said Bill Daley, the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama who is supporting Kennedy. “It’s an automatic, instant pot of gold. It’s understandable from a raw, crass political standpoint. I’m not sure that it works in the long term.”
Maybe, maybe not. I’m not sure I’d rely on Bill Daley for political advice these days, either.
* Speaking of Kennedy, Jim Dey writes something that I’ve been thinking lately…
The Kennedys are used to burying opponents under an avalanche of money and making light of it afterward.
Consider the laughs 1960 presidential candidate John F. Kennedy generated when he responded to accusations by his rivals that he was trying to buy his party’s presidential nomination. “I have just received the following telegram from my generous father. ‘Dear Jack: Don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’m not going to pay for a landslide,’” JFK joked.
He was, of course, referring to family patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy, who built the family’s mammoth fortune through astute stock market investments and forays in the banking, movie, real estate and liquor businesses.
So it’s more than ironic that Chris Kennedy, the son of the late U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy and former chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, finds himself on the outside looking in at the party establishment.
Since necessity is the mother of invention, he’s rebranding himself as an underdog who won’t be pushed around by the big dogs.
Yep, but, like Jim writes, it’s absolutely necessary. Kennedy has to get out of that old mindset. Whether he truly can or not remains to be seen.