Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Vote for Common, Not Big & Rich

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Common is playing for free in Chicago this Saturday! Which is a big deal for me, because the last time I saw Common, I had to pay 40 bucks.
 
The Chicago-born rap star -- who recorded a song called "Changes (A Tribute to Obama)" -- is coming home so Obama can show Illinois that there are benefits to having a favorite son for president. We may have lost 200,000 jobs, we may be $13 billion in the hole, but thanks to Obama, Common…will...be…in…the…house.

The Common concert, with special guest Barack Obama, is part of a last-weekend campaign tour that’s also taking Obama to Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Ohio -- all states where Democrats are in close races for governor or Senate. Obama’s political team obviously did some triage, and found the states where a) Democrats have a chance to win and b) Obama won’t turn off voters. That’s why he won’t be seen in Arkansas or Utah.

Obama isn’t risking any prestige by throwing himself back into Illinois politics because his prestige is already on the line here, especially in the Senate race. If Alexi Giannoulias loses, Republicans will claim that Obama’s own home state has rejected Obamaism. That’s not true at all: Giannoulias is behind in the polls because he’s an immature candidate carrying the baggage of a failed family business. But that’s how the Republicans -- and the Sunday morning talk shows -- will spin it.

There’s no election Obama can influence more. Kirk and Giannoulias are in the closest Senate race in the nation, and a personal appeal from the president might be enough to drag Alexi -- who’s been clutching Obama’s coattails since 2005 -- across the finish line.

“A vote for Alexi Giannoulias,” he should tell the crowd, after Common leaves the stage, “is a vote for the kind of socially-conscious hip hop flavored with old school R&B for which Chicago is so well-known. We got Common. We got Lupe Fiasco. We got Kanye … no, no, wait a minute, I know Kanye’s been acting like a jackass lately, but he put out some dope s--- in the 2000s. Give the man a little credit for that. A vote for Mark Kirk, on the other hand, is a vote for Taylor Swift and Big & Rich. Yeah, that’s right. I’ll bet he listens to Rascal Flatts, too. Yeah, you know what kind of music that is, and you know what kind of people listen to it. They’re not even from Illinois.”

Just imagine a Big & Rich reunion concert, on the hallowed ground of Hutchinson Field. That should seal the deal for Giannoulias.

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