Huckabee was in Marion to stump for Bill Brady. Now, Brady doesn’t need any help Downstate, where he’s beating Pat Quinn by a 2-1 margin. But the hills of Southern Illinois are the northern salient of the Ozark Mountains, which rise in Huckabee’s home state of Arkansas -- and it’s a 90-minute drive from Cairo, Illinois, to Blytheville, Arkansas. If Huckabee is going to win the Illinois primary, he’s got to sweep Little Egypt, which shares his home state’s social conservatism and Southern heritage.
“Governor Huckabee’s visit to Southern Illinois is politics at a couple of levels,” said David Yepsen, former political editor of the Des Moines Register and now director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. “First, he’s helping the Republican candidate for governor. Second, he’s helping himself run for president in 2012.”
The Illinois primary is March 20, 2012. Winning in Obama’s home state just might make a candidate look like the man to beat Obama himself.
“Republican candidates will come out of the contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada and they’re going to be looking at Illinois, Barack Obama’s home state, and they’re going to want to do well,” Yepsen said.
Meanwhile, here in the big city, Rudy Giuliani, who was once mayor of an even bigger city, pandered to his urban base.
Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor who cracked down on crime in New York City, appeared with Mark Kirk to endorse a national anti-gang task force. They compared the struggle against the Latin Kings and the Vice Lords to the effort to take down Al Capone. Giuliani, who is obviously not a student of Chicago or its politics, predicted a Republican could win the mayor’s race. No Republicans are running, and, ironically, our last Republican mayor, Big Bill Thompson, was Al Capone’s man in City Hall.
Giuliani also went on Don Wade & Roma to bash Alexi Giannoulias, saying, “The only experience that this guy has with crime seems to be that his bank was lending money to criminals.”
As a politician, Giuliani has always been an abrasive jerk, looking to pick a fight with someone. It worked in New York. Chicago loves a loudmouth, so it may work here, too.
P.S. Here’s a tip for you guys. Campaign with Brady and Kirk in Moline. The local TV station there is WQAD. That’s in Davenport. IOWA.