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Kennedy decries insiders, promises “radical change”

Monday, May 15, 2017

* 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.

Thank you,

Chris

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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    I seem to recall Kennedy courting many of those very same insiders at the Democratic National Convention. Now he decries them because they seem to be coalescing around someone else.


  2. - Lance Mannion - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 2:55 pm:

    Chris Kennedy as a rich man’s Bernie Sanders? Truly rich. ;)

    That said, there’s nothing to doubt the likelihood of party regulars (read Madigan) lining up behind the inherited money of Pritzker. We’re talking Chicago politics here, after all.


  3. - Snucka - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    Clearly, the establishment is trying to end this primary early. Senator Mulroe is the latest elected official to send one of his staffers to join the Pritzker camp. I haven’t heard of many electeds sending people to other campaigns.


  4. - The Captain - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    Here’s my issue with Kennedy, let’s take these three examples 1) the elevator scene at the DNC, 2) his complaints about the budget questions he was getting, and 3) this item above, they’re all a variation on “you’re being mean to me”. I’m not saying he’s Bobby Newport, there does seem to be some substance there, but I’d like to see him show some purpose too.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    The Kennedy Crew is doing Chris a terrible disservice that invoking a parallel in 21st century Illinois politics to a time, wait for it, 57 years ago.

    That’s… Fifty-Seven… years ago.

    Woah.


  6. - Responsa - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 3:35 pm:

    Let us know how this turns out, Chris, m’kay? It is indeed very likely that what you say, suspect and insinuate is true. But ultimately will it make a difference to donors and voters?


  7. - DuPage Saint - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 3:35 pm:

    I am tired of outsiders including the ultimate outside/insider Quinn. Give me a a POLITICIAN a person who walked precincts came up through the ranks can work both sides of aisle and get a deal done. George Ryan Jessie White


  8. - Hit Em With the Hein - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    Love these that these tables are turned! Can’t be an outsider when you literally come from the most inside family in the history of the US politics. Can someone tell me the path for Chris or Biss to victory now that JB has been anointed?


  9. - Chicago J - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 3:47 pm:

    I really think the Dems need to learn from the national primaries and election last year and make sure the nominee is someone the people want! Not just billionaires. I think Biss and Pawar have much more “people appeal” for Illinois. I’m rooting for one of them…


  10. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    –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.–

    If the legends are true, they sure came around in the general, though.


  11. - walker - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    Rich is dead on that it’s about the money. Let me make it easy: With Pritzker, DPI can significantly fund ten more “competitive” legislative races than with Kennedy or Biss. (The GA can work with any of the three.)


  12. - VanillaMan - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 3:51 pm:

    Kennedy is so 1960.
    Something more recent…

    NIXON FOR GOVERNOR


  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 3:56 pm:

    ===Can someone tell me the path for Chris…===

    With 44%, mostly name ID existing and Kennedy leading the pack, it’s up to the Kennedy Crew to build a structure and narrative that while he’s a Kennedy, he’s really Chris, a proud Illinoisan that has the answers to lead Illinois. They need to parlay some traditional Democratic organizations while his Crew embarrassingly tries to decry endorsements, and make the case that Kennedy can connect with those Rauner is hurting throughout Illinois…

    ===Can someone tell me the path for… Biss to victory====

    Biss is running a campaign that looks at the primary first as an opportunity to be the “alternative” to them all… Rauner, Pritzker, Kennedy… and energize thise in the Democratic Party that feel their voices aren’t being heard, and make the difference that 2016 didn’t.

    There’s paths. There’s always paths.

    You need the cash, the cache, the organization, the message, and the ground game.

    ===now that JB has been anointed?===

    If that was the case, Kennedy and Biss and their reception when they go places sound be quite different publicly… public-ly… that hasn’t happened yet.


  14. - molly maguire - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 4:20 pm:

    I would love to see it, but CK has shown zero ability to do that so far, and I have not hope he’s going to be able to do it at this late date. He’s no Bernie Sander or RFK.


  15. - Responsa - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 4:30 pm:

    I wonder if Kennedy and his campaign team have thought about, and are prepared to address Chief Illiniwek and Chris’ role in that. A decade after the Chief’s highly controversial forced demise alums and many others in IL (especially in Central Illinois) have not forgotten and never will. This is a type of personal, emotional, negative connotation about Kennedy that some voters have and will tap into as opposed to their caring about and getting incensed over whether the IL Dem party is being mean to Chris.


  16. - @misterjayem - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 4:31 pm:

    Kennedy is so 1960.
    Something more recent…

    NIXON FOR GOVERNOR

    Worked in Missouri.

    – MrJM


  17. - Anonymous - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 4:32 pm:

    == 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.==

    That’s an interesting way to spin mob ties and bootlegging.


  18. - VanillaMan - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 4:42 pm:

    The last Kennedy to run for governor - lost.


  19. - wordslinger - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 4:43 pm:

    –The Kennedys are used to burying opponents under an avalanche of money and making light of it afterward.–

    Yeah, that one time, 57 years ago, in the West Virginia primary.

    Thanks for the update, Jim.

    What about those Beatles, with the hair and the yeah-yeah-yeah? Are they some kind of beatniks on reefers or something?


  20. - Moe Berg - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 4:57 pm:

    Bill Daley supports Kennedy so much he’s donated nothing to his campaign fund. But, the advice is…priceless.


  21. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 5:08 pm:

    CK can also ask JB whether his little property tax issue has been solved.

    Funny that the anointed aparatus candidate can bIgfoot some major property tax bennies for himself.

    You have to be a brain stem to support this union busting guy.


  22. - wordslinger - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 5:35 pm:

    For the record, JFKs 1960 Democratic primary run was the only time the Kennedy’s muscled anyone with money.

    Nixon outspent Kennedy in the general — $10.1M to 9.7M, if you can believe that.

    Ted Kennedy won in Massachusetts on his name — and in 1994 had to take a second mortgage to finance a last minute TV buy against Mitt Romney.

    In 1964, RFK was elected Senator in New York, but ran two million votes behind LBJ.

    The various Congressional Kennedys — name-power, not money.

    What’s the Kennedy name worth in 2018 Illinois? Maybe Bill Daley can answer that.

    http://cfinst.org/pdf/HEA/137_financinpreselectusis.pdf


  23. - Rocky Rosi - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 7:10 pm:

    He is an insider. All of them running are insiders. I’m thinking about running and I have my own resources to run.


  24. - blue dog dem - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 8:28 pm:

    The more the Democratic insiders shove something down old blues muzzle, the less likely I vote for a Dem in the governors race. Gonna have to leave that one blank.


  25. - peon - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 9:15 pm:

    If our IL politicians were playing 4-D chess all the time, would we be in this mess ? We give them too much credit for strategic genius.

    Chris Kennedy has a good chance in the primary. Because I don’t think either party can tie their own shoelaces, never mind pre-cook a primary.


  26. - filmmaker prof - Monday, May 15, 17 @ 11:35 pm:

    Word - check into Patrick Kennedy’s first congressional campaign. burying his opponent in money.


  27. - Rogue Roni - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 8:33 am:

    With the outsiders in the governors mansion and the White House I think we’re ready for an insider


  28. - ZC - Tuesday, May 16, 17 @ 8:54 am:

    I get the logic. A purely adequate challenger, who can match Rauner’s pocketbook, is favored to win IL in a Trump midterm year … and JB may be more than adequate.

    At the same time it bugs me a bit to hear some people saying he’s “out-hustling” other candidates, or “he’s really working hard” or “he’s out-strategizing the competition.”

    He has a net worth of over $3 billion. You can buy a lot of “hustle” or “strategy” these days.

    It disturbs me that he’s the front-runner for the mere reason - and make no mistake, it’s the only reason - that he’s filthy wealthy. That’s just depressing.


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