Bill Kelly has been trying to position himself as a different kind of Republican in his bid for state comptroller, and now a montage of his drunken antics made by opponents might prove it for him.
After first circulating amongst Illinois conservatives, the montage of a lubricated Kelly penetrated the national blogosphere this past week.
"Look at all the Jagermeister- and regret-based beverages that Bill Kelly consumes before harassing three (3) blond women, one (1) misbegotten Eagle Scout, and countless (∞) others," the Washington, D.C., political gossip site Wonkette noted on its post of the video. "69 body shots off Wonkette operative 'Andrew L.'"
Kelly also posits in the video that beer is proof of God's existence. Now that's pandering.
The video was actually made by Kelly's political enemies, though. Kelly hardly disavows it.
"I am not a pansy trying to hide that I like a beer and to have some fun," he told Warner Todd Houston at Red County. "Yes, I’m conservative, yes I like to go out and have fun. I’m not going to stop being who I am. If you want to be a politician, you have to be able to relate to people."
Kelly has a tough road to the GOP nomination given that he'll have to beat former state treasurer and former Republican nominee for governor Judy Baar Topinka.
And he's obviously not likely to get the support of conservatives put off by his antics, which include hosting Sportsaholic, a (very) late-night show on Comcast Sportsnet that promises "Mischief & Mayhem, duels to the death, & ass-kicking cheerleaders."
He did, though, win the endorsement of the Illinois Federation for Right to Life, which is perhaps somewhat congruent with a candidate fighting for your right to party.
This is not Kelly's first rodeo. He previously failed miserably when he challenged Bobby Rush for his congressional seat. He is also a former executive director of National Taxpayers United of Illinois, so his interest in fiscal conservatism isn't new either.
Still, it's a bit curious that Kelly chose to run for comptroller, especially with the gruff and down-home Topinka in the race. Kelly has also spent a lot time talking smack about Alexi Giannoulias, including challenging him to a boxing match. Giannoulias is the state treasurer, not the comptroller, and he's running for U.S. Senate, not comptroller.
On his campaign website, Kelly promises that if he wins the office he'll conduct a top-down audit of the whole of Illinois government. "We will make this information available to all interested media outlets," he writes with a seeming mix of naivete and cluelessness.
If he were to deliver a dramatic reading of the audit from a local watering hole, he's get all the interest he could want.
Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review that also likes beer.