Now, I know this may not be the best metaphor to use when referring to a conservative Republican candidate, but just like it is with that crazy ex you want to see succeed despite her best efforts to the contrary, I keep pulling for Jim Oberweis.
Perhaps it’s his prescience in predicting the GOP’s panderingly absurd right turn. Maybe it’s his unique brand of persistence – most folks would’ve given up after spending upwards of $6 million only to lose four consecutive high profile elections. It could be the fact he’s managed to run more than one successful business.
Then again, his unbridled capacity to wholeheartedly commit to his infamous campaign faux pas certainly is endearing. Most of us wouldn’t even consider using a fake newspaper headline to make a point.
All kidding aside, Jim has moderated his views over the years which reveals a propensity for growth, he can – and has – bounced back from almost anything, and if you take the time to talk to him, you’ll discover he’s actually a nice guy who really wants to make a difference.
Add all that to my general disdain for Dick Durbin and, despite the fact we definitely don’t need any more Republicans in Washington, I find myself silently supporting our U.S. senatorial underdog.
I wouldn’t put too much stock in the polls putting the challenger just seven points behind the incumbent because Sen. Durbin hasn’t even lifted his little finger yet. But given Jim’s current comportment, and making the most of small victories, I was starting to feel that lapses like last January’s “I have a dream” debacle were rapidly receding in the rear view mirror.
Note to white politicians everywhere; while it’s safe to stand behind the black guy, look serious and nod your head on MLK day, never, ever try to co-opt the “I have a dream” speech for your own purposes. It’s just like watching Justin Bieber rap. You’re horrified by the prospect, but you can’t take your eyes off it!
But I digress.
Sadly, I suppose it’s safe to say the only time Jim Oberweis surprises me is when he doesn’t surprise me. Though thankfully, on the 1 to 10 Oberweis Richter scale, his latest effort probably falls somewhere around a 3.5.
After calling his opponent “arrogant” for refusing to take part in seven separate televised debates, Durbin dropped the following neutron bomb, “He (Oberweis) ought to be a little more humble when he starts asserting his love of debates. When he had to make the decision in the primary, he allowed only one debate with no TV coverage.”
Apparently Jim and his minions forgot that they gave Doug Truax just one bite at the dimly lit debate apple. But as I read that portion of the recent Tribune piece I suddenly found myself internally shrieking, “don’t respond Jim, don’t respond Jim, don’t respond Jim, please don’t respond Jim!” And then he did.
He said his vast Springfield legislative workload was the real culprit and he “never declined an opportunity to debate” during that primary season adding he had no clue that his dastardly campaign staff were declining Truax’s overtures behind his back.
First, being an Illinois legislator has gotta be one of the easiest half-time gigs on the planet. And second, when will politicians finally realize that if you keep saying stupid shit like “I really don’t know anything” people will start to believe you.
Jim, Jim, Jim! The appropriate response to Durbin’s rejoinder would’ve been something along these lines; “I didn’t debate Doug Truax because we didn’t think he was a legitimate contender with the resources and backing required to beat Dick Durbin. We felt our time and energy was better spent elsewhere. Dick Durbin and the Democrats know I’m a legitimate contender and that’s what scares them.”
And here’s the thing, Durbin did agree to a total of four debates which is four more than I would’ve gone for. With nothing to gain and everything to lose, were I the incumbent, I wouldn’t debate Oberweis at all.
In the end, pulling for Jim Oberweis is a lot like rooting for the Chicago Cubs. No matter how many times they disappoint you, you’re still willing to grasp at whatever minor success they have only to have those reignited hopes dashed faster than a Fox News anchorman’s advances at the Lilith Fair.
Jim! What the bleep were your people thinking when they let you offer that kind of semi-suicidal response to the Tribune? You need to get rid of the all the yes men and ancillary players and hire someone who’s actually gonna tell you the truth because this is your last shot at the big time (unless you want another divorce). Considering the current level of anti-Democrat antipathy (and with a decent campaign strategy) you might actually have a shot.
Ah well! I suppose it will be interesting either way.