CHICAGO, March 8, 2013 — Illinois’s 2nd Congressional District is the seat once held by the infamous Jesse Jackson, Jr. Paul McKinley won the GOP primary for the special election to replace the disgraced congressman.
If it were up to the Illinois GOP, Republican voters would not know this. The party is acting as if McKinley did not exist. In reality, the Illinois GOP is acting as if there were no special election. That could only mean they are rooting for the Chicago Machine candidate, Robin Kelly to win. Illinois Republican party leaders are being true to form.
McKinley, 54, is an ex-felon. In his youth prosecutors described him as a violent career criminal. He served twenty years in prison and was released in 1998. Since then he has been working in the construction industry and as a community and political organizer. Paul Mckinley works hard to get African Americans into the construction trades in Chicago. McKinley has worked harder for impoverished African Americans in Chicago than all the Chicago career Black elected officials put together.
Paul McKinley not only reformed his life, he transformed it.
McKinley is refreshingly honest about his criminal past. It is not shady. It is in the disinfectant sunshine, unlike the typical Democratic Machine hacks with murky pasts that run Chicago. One of Chicago’s most “respected” career aldermen is a former armed robber. That is not supposed to be mentioned unless you want to be accused of racism.
“No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.” (United States Constitution Article I Section II)
There are few constitutional requirements or qualifications to run for the United States House of Representatives. For that matter, there are few requirements or qualifications to run for the United States Senate or the Presidency.
You do not need a college degree, you do not need so-called political experience, and you do not even need experience as a community organizer. You do not have to be literate or sane. Any citizen, no matter his or her education, literacy, vocation or social status can run for office. Background checks are not required.
Paul McKinley is constitutionally qualified to run for congress, and better qualified than most politicians in Chicago. He has every qualification under the only document that matters, the Constitution. He has every right to any and all assistance the Illinois GOP can and should give him, right? Wrong.
The only right Paul McKinley has is to be denigrated by the Chicago media, ignored by the leaderless and feckless Illinois GOP, and branded by a sordid past he left behind decades ago. This is the shame of Illinois Republican politics.
Why is this important? The Illinois GOP shot itself in the foot again. They could and should have recruited one or more candidates to run in the primary. There were plenty of people in Chicago and the suburban political world to choose from, including current elected officials in Cook and Will Counties.
The Illinois Republican Party wrote this special election off as a non-winner. They refused to put any time, effort, or money into it. The election is not even mentioned on their website’s candidate page. This is typical of the Illinois GOP.
During the November 2012 election, three very competent women ran for key Cook County offices held by Democratic Machine hacks. The Illinois GOP ignored them. They were more concerned with clownish publicity stunts attacking Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
The Democratic Machine hacks won. If this is the way the Illinois Republican Party operates, they may as well fold up their tent and go home. Who needs them? Illinois Republican voters don’t.
Paul McKinley courageously and fearlessly stepped up to the plate. He put his name and sordid past on the ballot. He won the GOP primary fair and square. He is constitutionally qualified to run for congress, and he has shown himself to be a better man than most Chicagoans have elected in the last generation, and better than the Illinois GOP leadership. He deserves the full public support and backing of the Illinois GOP, whether he can win or not.
Paul McKinley is their candidate. They don’t have to like him. They just have to support him. McKinley is waving the Republican flag. That is way more than the Illinois GOP is doing.
The Illinois Republican Party should be fighting their opponents against all odds. They will not even enter the stadium, let alone the ring. Better to cede to their pals in the Democratic Machine. Maybe they will get some favors in return.
The Illinois Republican Party has lost all credibility as a legitimate political party in Illinois. They are part and parcel of the corrupt Combine described by former one-term Republican Senator Peter Fitzgerald.
Peter Fitzgerald was a one-term senator because he upset the cozy Illinois Republican and Democratic Combine apple cart. He did not run for a second term, citing total lack of support from the Illinois GOP. The Illinois Republican Party stabbed him in the back. They ran a clown, Alan Keyes, for the Senate enabling the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama to win. The Illinois GOP is responsible for launching Barack Obama’s run for president.
Paul McKinley has a long uphill battle to defeat the entrenched Democratic Machine candidate, Robin Kelly. The least the Illinois GOP can do is provide him the ammunition to fight. By standing on the sidelines, the quislings in the Illinois GOP will allow another Democratic Machine hack to win without a challenge.
The Illinois GOP outlived their usefulness. They belong on the trash heap of history.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association, Illinois Press Photographers Association, Online News Association, Chicago Headline Club, and the Society for Professional Journalists.
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