Buddy Roemer coined one of the greatest political slogans in American history when white supremacist David Duke managed to win the a general-election slot in 1991 for Louisiana governor in the open primaries. Roemer, the incumbent, came in third behind Duke and Democrat Edwin Edwards and just missed a chance to vie for re-election. The newly-Republican Roemer told his fellow GOP voters to support Edwards by saying, “Vote for the crook — it’s important.” Edwards won in a landslide, although as Roemer more or less predicted, Edwards wound up serving over eight years in prison for corruption in office.
Perhaps the most audacious plea came from West Side Democratic elected officials who urged voters to support an Illinois House member charged with bribery. It looks bad, they acknowledged, but it will prevent the seat from falling into the hands of Republicans.
The rally in support of appointed state Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) featured U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), three aldermen and a county commissioner and even adopted a catchy moniker: “No defeat or retreat — keep the Dem seat.” …
Smith was arrested last week by federal prosecutors after being secretly recorded while allegedly accepting a $7,000 bribe in exchange for writing a letter of support for a daycare center seeking a $50,000 state grant.
The most amusing part of this story is that Smith’s opponent is … also a Democrat. Tom Swiss switched parties to run for the seat, which is why this has come up in the primaries. Even more amusing, the Illinois Democratic Party apparently has no other candidate qualified in this race, so Democrats have no other choice but to vote between someone filmed taking a bribe and someone who just joined their party.
What does the highest-ranking Democrat in Illinois think about this? Here’s Governor Pat Quinn, not auditioning for the next volume of Profiles in Courage:
Gov. Pat Quinn on Saturday tiptoed around Smith’s bribery charge, calling his race against Swiss a “tough call for voters,” but one “they’ll be able to sort out.”
No thanks to you, Governor. As for Chicago Democrats being asked to vote for the crook, they might be most surprised by the suggestion that they have any other choice.