THE MAN WHO WOULD TAKE OBAMA'S SEAT – AT 9:46 A.M. ET: There is a very spirited race going on in Illinois, political garden spot of the nation, for the Senate seat rarely used by Barack Obama before he was elevated to royal status. NRO reports on the defective-on-delivery Democratic candidate:
Republicans are well positioned to do something extraordinary in November: Win the Senate seats vacated by a Democratic president and vice president in the next election cycle. In Delaware, Republican Mike Castle leads his opponent by approximately 20 points — game over, in all likelihood. In Illinois, things are getting interesting. Polls show a tight, volatile race between Republican Congressman Mark Kirk and former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a Democrat.
In Illinois, Republicans have nominated attractive Congressman Mark Kirk. And the Dem candidate? A chip off the old cell block:
Alexi Giannoulias is a young, exceedingly ambitious politician with extensive ties to the very worst elements of the sordid Illinois Democratic machine. (With impeached/indicted former Governor Rod Blagojevich and convicted felon Tony Rezko in the mix, the TV commercials practically write themselves):
Friday's Chicago Tribune featured an in-depth look into the financial troubles of Giannoulias's family bank, including the role the candidate himself played in loaning $20 million to known members of organized crime:
"The family bank of Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias loaned a pair of Chicago crime figures about $20 million during a 14-month period when Giannoulias was a senior loan officer, according to a Tribune examination that provides new details about the bank's relationship with the convicted felons."
Look, these people have to eat, and they need proper guns.
Oh, and Obama has a walk-on in the drama:
Incidentally, how did a certain good-government, transparency-advocating, hopey-changey presidential candidate react to this news about his hoops buddy?
"After the press revealed that Giannoulias had basically lied about Giorango, Obama said he was "concerned," but he didn't actually do anything about it. Nor did he have any problems taking about $14,000 from Giannoulias, his family members, and at least one other manager at Broadway during his 2008 presidential campaign two years later."
Yes. Very, very "concerned."
It's no secret that Illinois has been plagued by political corruption for generations. Despite Illinois being a solidly blue state, there's a reasonable chance that its citizens simply won't abide a dishonest mob banker representing them in the U.S. Senate. Stay tuned: Between the Democrats' Chicago Way tactics and Giannoulias's disreputable background, this race could get ugly.
COMMENT: Get? It already is ugly. But we wait for the White House press corps to ask the president a single question about the strange doings in the land of Lincoln.
April 5, 2010