Monday, May 15, 2006

Are You There Rod? It's Me, James

If you're at all a political junkie, you can't help but me fascinated by the potential candidacy of State Sen. Rev. James Meeks. When he first discussed the concept with me some time ago, I thought it made for interesting conjecture, but was far from convinced that it would go anywhere.

But to know Rev. Meeks is to know his passion, and his intelligence. And one of the things that about which he is passionate is the manner by which we fund our schools. I have seen him speak to audiences of every stripe, from his congregation to business leaders, and he has an uncanny knack for relating to people. Almost as if you crossed a preacher with a politician. Uh, never mind.

Many people initially wrote off Meeks' talk as one of political extortion. What they missed was that Meeks' acknowledged as much. He wants to improve how we fund our schools, and if the Governor were to present a plan with which Meeks agreed, Meeks was quick to say that he would relent from the threatened run. About a week ago, Meeks presented an education plan to the Governor's office. As of Saturday, he said that he had heard nothing in response to the submission. Meeks is not one to be taken lightly, and I can't believe that ignoring him is a good game plan either. If you listen to the man now, he sounds like a man that is going to be in this race.

Meeks has put forth May 20 as the day that he will announce his slate (maybe with Republican St. Clair County Board member Steve Reeb as a running mate), which is still different than a drop dead date for committing to the race. The conventional thinking is that if he does declare and file, the rest of the ticket would then withdraw, but who knows what will ultimately happen.

Should he run, everybody can argue about the impact that it will have on the race, but one thing is for sure, it will forever change the course of Illinois politics, forcing people across the state to rethink how they vote, why they vote, and who they vote for. Couple this with the potential of having the 'Protect Marriage' initiative on the ballot, throw in any fallout from the Ryan verdict, Sorich trial, and pending investigations, and you have what could be the most interesting Statewide election in a long while.


At May 14, 2006 at 9:16 PM, Anonymous Diva said...

I believe they call it entertainment.

At May 14, 2006 at 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Rev. is serious, and I also think it is obvious the rest of the slate would drop after they get placed on the ballot. However, John, perhaps you can clarify... what would happend with the Lt. Gov. spot if the person in that slot dropped?

At May 14, 2006 at 11:33 PM, Blogger respectful said...

I agree that the good Senator Reverend makes this election less predictable. Anything that helps loosen the Democrat monopoly on the black vote is healthy,.

At May 15, 2006 at 12:37 AM, Blogger Levois said...

I need to know if Meeks is serious and he has a serious slate before I'd give him serious consideration before Topinka or Blagojevich.

At May 15, 2006 at 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give black voters a little credit; they have issues that they care about, too. The fact that Meeks is black isn’t going to guarantee him a huge chunk of the black vote.

With the exception of his school funding/tax increase idea, the message that he is going spread is going to appeal to the far right conservative, the people that don’t have a candidate in this Election. One thing is for sure; a Meeks run will take votes away from one of the two currently running. Hmmm, go figure.

He’s in!

At May 15, 2006 at 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if Grod gets indicted, starting to look a little more possible given the Fraties episode and the feds' alleged interest in it [although Ms. Fraties might decide not to talk to save her hubby's very high-paying state job], Meeks might be sitting in just the right place. Minority with pro-life, education focus. The goo goo libs might vote for him in hopes of a tax increase, pro-lifers, African Americans en bloc,other Dems concerned about GRod's smelly politics.

If GRod gets indicted, JBT might well disappear. She has practically disappeared already and might not be able to resurrect in time to hold back the Rev. in a Blago indictment scenario. Remember, all he has to do is be indicted to scare off a lot of voters, given his ridiculous claims of cleaning up government.

At May 15, 2006 at 11:13 AM, Blogger ChicagoJason said...

This goo-goo lib wouldn't touch Meeks with a 30-foot pole. He's a raging homophobe, and I don't think that most liberals would toss gays and lesbians overboard for an outside chance that school funding--just ONE of this state's many problems--would get fixed by Meeks.

I really hope one of his petition gatherers asks me to sign--that will be fun.


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