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Mark Brown and Eric Zorn on Chris Kennedy

Monday, Jan 22, 2018

* I’ve already told subscribers what I think of Chris Kennedy’s comments about Bruce Rauner on Friday (click here if you missed the action), so I’ll just leave it at that.

But here’s Mark Brown’s take…

It’s obviously been very helpful to Chris Kennedy’s underfunded campaign for governor that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is sinking millions of dollars into campaign commercials slamming Kennedy’s chief Democratic rival, billionaire J.B. Pritzker.

But does Kennedy have to sound so appreciative?

That was the question Friday after Kennedy set off a firestorm of intra-party criticism for opining that Rauner “should be applauded” for running attack ads against Pritzker before the Democratic primary.

If that was all Kennedy said, he might not have caused such a big fuss. But he also praised Rauner for “trying to do what he thinks is best for the state of Illinois” and for being “willing to speak truth to power.”

Ahem. Bruce Rauner? The guy who is almost physically incapable of saying Donald Trump’s name aloud let alone criticize him? Speaking truth to power?

Only when what Rauner is saying serves his own political interests. […]

I made the comment earlier in the week that no matter what they think of each other, the major Democratic candidates must certainly find each other preferable to re-electing Rauner.

Now, I’m not so sure.

* And Eric Zorn focuses his take on Chris Kennedy’s response to JB Pritzker, who said yet again that he wouldn’t call out individual Democrats (like Joe Berrios) “for their failures” because it wouldn’t be “productive”

Businessman Chris Kennedy jumped in with his take: “That’s why we have a divided government,” he said. “For gosh sakes, if we’re not going to call out other parts of government — if you don’t see your role as governor to call out a mayor who’s not representing the people of a certain city, if you’re not willing to call out an assessor who’s violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act — if you don’t think that’s the proper role of government, you should go read the Constitution …

“We want elected officials to call each other out to provide better service, and to stop dooming the next generation to a life of economic servitude, which is exactly what these insiders are doing when they underfund our schools by (lowering) property taxes for big buildings downtown.”

Well, yes, I’m all for calling politicians to account — pointing out their failings and demanding they do better. And while I understand that constructive criticism and attempts at engagement and compromise aren’t politically fashionable, I don’t think Kennedy set the table for long-term success, should he be elected, with his over-the-top accusation earlier this month that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is leading a “strategic gentrification plan” to drive African-Americans and other minorities out of the city.

Like the casual flinging about of the accusation “corrupt,” such rhetoric generates more heat than light and is the enemy of progress.

Zorn also pointed out that lowering property taxes for downtown buildings shifts the burden to others and doesn’t directly “underfund” schools as Kennedy claims.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - Keyrock - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 6:36 am:

    There are no perfect candidates. But Sen. Biss is looking better, by comparison.


  2. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 7:31 am:

    No way Kennedy can walk this back. It has probably doomed his campaign. It probably cost him donors, and cost him support from party faithful. All Biss has to do is quietly stand back, try to act classy, and enjoy the implosion.

    And then there were two.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 7:46 am:

    Here’s what’s real…

    Chris Kennedy IS the Bruce Rauner candidate.

    Chris Kennedy applauded Bruce Raunrr for exactly…

    Crippling social services
    Damaging higher ed
    Holding the state hostage
    Forcing choices that only lead to destroying Labor

    Chris Kennedy applauded that.

    That’s who Chris Kennedy is.

    Everything else is a phony charade that this Kennedy, Chis Kennedy would support Bruce Rauner over a Democrat.

    Democrats, vote accordingly. Know who is the Rauner candidate.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 8:00 am:

    Also… lil perspective…

    Ken Dunkin “applauded” Rauner.

    Chris Kennedy is leaving the impression he’s the Ken Dunkin of the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary.


  5. - Ray del Camino - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 8:03 am:

    If Chris Kennedy is not ready for prime time by now, he never will be. Is he incapable of embarrassment?


  6. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 8:11 am:

    It’s Pritzker or Biss for me. Oh yeah, who’s that third guy, again? Kennedy blew it. Giving credence to Rauner, who’s agenda is to bust apart his middle class opponents and remake the state as a poorer red state at any cost should be a political death blow.


  7. - NoGifts - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 8:11 am:

    Sorry, but the more he appears in public the goofier he sounds.


  8. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 8:40 am:

    I think Kennedy has locked down the pro-Rauner, anti-strategic-gentrification vote in the Dem primary.


  9. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 10:00 am:

    I kept wanting for Kennedy to make a smart move. He is a poor public speaker but seemed to have a sense for business and government. Now he should fold his tents and go away.


  10. - Jocko - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 10:10 am:

    Kennedy’s written response to Friday’s kerfuffle told me all I needed to know.

    Chris should call Saints cornerback Marcus Williams and invite him over to cry over their beers.


  11. - Arsenal - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 10:14 am:

    ==I think Kennedy has locked down the pro-Rauner, anti-strategic-gentrification vote in the Dem primary.==

    So, Ken Dunkin?

    Kennedy’s campaign has had a hint of bitterness and resentment for a while now. This is just the pot boiling over.


  12. - Langhorne - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 10:34 am:

    Kennedy couldnt sound any more like a bought and paid for mushroom if he tried.

    If, by some disaster, kennedy won the primary, how much of a buy would bruce put behind that quote?


  13. - A Jack - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 10:52 am:

    There’s “Outsider.” And then there is being so far outside that no one can even tell the party to which you belong.


  14. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    As it seems the formerly meek (if not cloying) press may actually asserting the obligation of the 4th Estate, please ask this governor if he can still say he’s succeeded in everything he’s done. It’s not his bs reply, but the aggressive follow up questions that would make for some fun reading.


  15. - @misterjayem - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 11:19 am:

    While Dan Biss botching his lt. gov. pick will likely remain the single biggest bungle of the Democratic primary, Chris Kennedy may yet beat him on cumulative points.

    – MrJM


  16. - Soccermom - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 11:39 am:

    Mr. JM — there are also issues of scoring on technical difficulty vs. artistic impression.

    (And yes, I strongly encourage you all to go see I, Tonya)


  17. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    ==Kennedy’s campaign has had a hint of bitterness and resentment for a while now. This is just the pot boiling over. ==

    I feel like he expected, as a Kennedy, that he would be given a pass on campaigning and ushered into the Governor’s mansion. Maybe he’s mad because that isn’t happening.

    Folks expect some effort on the campaign (fund raising, taking on Rauner, showing up). Kennedy doesn’t appear interested in doing the basics, and then he seems upset that the party faithful are looking elsewhere.


  18. - Chicagonk - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 11:51 am:

    Zorn’s point might be technically correct, but from a practical standpoint, the political will to raise property taxes is a lot harder when residents primarily bare the burden.


  19. - Arsenal - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 11:52 am:

    ==I feel like he expected, as a Kennedy, that he would be given a pass on campaigning and ushered into the Governor’s mansion. Maybe he’s mad because that isn’t happening.==

    Yeah, like he felt like he’d just have an operation gifted to him. And maybe if it were just him and Biss, that would’ve happened. But when JB actually has more money and works much harder for what he wants…


  20. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:04 pm:

    ==Chris Kennedy IS the Bruce Rauner candidate.==

    You got to be kidding? Maybe they have in common that they both are talking reform. This keeps Kennedy in the news a bit. Kennedy is a clumsy politician and we all thought he was going to have a more professional campaign.

    Kennedy is drawing a clear distinction to Pritzker who really is quite status quo. Great media pieces, rather boring and idea-less candidate.


  21. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 12:32 pm:

    ==Kennedy is drawing a clear distinction to Pritzker who really is quite status quo.==

    I don’t think you know what “status quo” means. After three years at the helm, Chris Kennedy’s good buddy Bruce Rauner and his incompetent form of government IS the “status quo”. Changing the “status quo” would be electing a governor who knows how a legislative body actually works, who doesn’t increase taxpayers debt by $12 Billion in 3 years, and who can go more than four days without tripping over his……third leg. Literally anyone except GovJunk falls outside the category of “status quo”.


  22. - Ron - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 1:23 pm:

    Kennedy is the best Dem in the race.


  23. - Ron - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 1:24 pm:

    Too bad he’s anti pot legalization.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 1:26 pm:

    ===You got to be kidding?===

    No.

    Chris Kennedy made clear. He applauds Rauner.

    No other Dem I’ve heard anywhere, outside Ken Dunkin has said anything like that.

    Kennedy IS the Rauner candidate.

    ===Kennedy is drawing a clear distinction to Pritzker who really is quite status quo.===

    Rauner, currently the governor and his governing style applauded by Kennedy IS the status quo.

    Good try thou.


  25. - Arsenal - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 1:31 pm:

    ==Kennedy is drawing a clear distinction to Pritzker who really is quite status quo.==

    Sure, if you ignore a progressive income tax, legalized marijuana, leadership term limits, and independent maps. If you ignore all that, then maybe you can explain how a Kennedy, backed by a Daley, is the supposed change agent.


  26. - Veil of Ignorance - Monday, Jan 22, 18 @ 2:37 pm:

    yikes…really unfortunate. Kennedy was just starting to catch his stride…sort of.


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