Well, it didn't take long for fellow Dems to weigh in on the slating of Paul Mangieri
for State Treasurer. Mangieri, the Knox County State's Attorney, was slated in a vacuum when nobody else stepped up to seek the only statewide seat not in Democratic hands, and after outreach by the party to other potential candidates came up empty.
In his column today, Bernie Schoenberg did a good job of laying out some of the objections to Mangieri
by fellow Dems, including those on the State Central Committee who even supported him in a voice vote.
Attack on one flank came from some of the Latino electeds:
State Sen. MIGUEL del VALLE, D-Chicago, said he was “really disappointed in the slate as a Democrat.” “An effort should have been made to try and identify an ispanic candidate,” Del Valle said. He knows that the chairman of the party, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, wanted somebody from downstate to balance the ticket geographically, but del Valle said he doesn’t think that should have precluded finding a qualified Hispanic person. “They do live outside the city of Chicago,” he said. “You can’t say that you’re for diversity and then not practice it,” del Valle said of the central committee. (emphasis added)
State Sen. IRIS MARTINEZ, D-Chicago, who is one of three vice-chairs of the state party and is also on the Democratic National Committee, said she gave a voice vote, along with others Sunday, for the ticket including Mangieri. But she also wondered, “Where is the real diversity?” and said she would have loved to see a Hispanic candidate.
Now both of them said that they would like to have been considered for the spot, but if that's the case, then they should have stepped up to the plate. When I stated some time ago that I wouldn't seek the office because I didn't think we should have another Chicago Democrat on the ticket, I also presumed that somebody with name recognition and a good record would step forward. But nobody seems to want to take a shot without being the chosen one. Strange and unfortunate.
I think that the more poignant attack on Mangieri came from pro-choice Democrats troubled by the slating (once again) of an anti-choice candidate. The former head of Illinois Democratic Women, Carolyn Brown Hodge, had this to say:
“I worry about the way this country’s headed,” she said. “As we look at the face of the Supreme Court, I think we have to be very careful on this issue, and that’s why I would not want to run a statewide candidate that’s not pro-choice.
Now I know that we have a lot of good Illinois Democrats who do not support a woman's right to choice. But the fact is that we have a pro-choice plank in our party platform, and if that is the case, then we should be backing candidates that support that platform or scrap the plank. (Now that would make for an interesting battle.) And what is more troubling is that we have a number of staunchly pro-choice people on the State Central Committee, but none of them stood their ground on this issue.
I don't know Mangieri, and my comments have absolutely nothing to do with the guy personally. But this goes back to my belief that while our party is big on backing individual agendas, we aren't as committed to advancing a party agenda. Shouldn't be this way in a blue state. But at the same time, I guess that it insulates us from the constant infighting and sniping that we see coming from the Republican party.
So what it may come down to is what is healthier for a party, sprited debate at the risk of unity, or loyalty that is blind to principles? I'm not sure that I'm thrilled with either option.