Two years later, dŽjˆ vu in the 3rd

By Joan Hadac

Two years ago, after Congressman Dan Lipinski earned enough votes to win the Democratic primaryÑand challenger Marie Newman made a juvenile, sore-loser remark on election night (saying publicly that she “would like Mr. Lipinski to have a very painful evening”), I used this space to throw in my two cents.

Two years later, I reflect on the rematch between Lipinski and Newman to see if anything has changed.

But first, a bit about me. Politically speaking, I’m like many thousands of other women and men on the Southwest Side and in the southwest suburbs. I am what pundits used to call a Reagan Democrat. Steady and loyal to my party in local elections, but capable of drifting to the GOP in national races, especially in cases where Democrats have slipped too far to the left.

For the most part, I like the job Congressman Lipinski has done over the years.

He strikes a common-sense balance between being pro-business and pro-labor.

Lipinski encourages patriotismÑbut not the mindless, up-yours patriotism fashionable among President Trump and too many Republicans. Instead, a thinking patriotism that always puts America first but recognizes that other nations are to be respected, as well.

He is one of the few representatives in Congress who is truly pro-science and pro-environment.

Speaking of science, the congressman also understands that life in a woman’s womb is exactly thatÑhuman lifeÑand he has the courage to say so, publicly and clearly. That matters to this mom. And that used to be a given in this country, but not any more in a nation of political expediency.

And yes, like his father before him, he brings home the bacon for the district. Space does not allow me to list all the federal resources he has brought here. But those things matter. Those resources are jobs, as well as services for us all.

When Marie Newman launched her challenge to the congressmanÑand re-launched it two years later–I looked at her candidacy with a respectful and open mindÑas we all should, as voters. We owe that to her and all office seekers.

But I have to say I was profoundly disappointed and remain so.

What I sawÑand I think a lot of voters sawÑwas a national campaign disguised as a local effort, and poorly disguised at that.

While the congressman went about the day-to-day work of serving his constituents, Newman was busy boasting to anyone who would listen that her campaign “has been recognized nationally as one of the top races to watch,” as she said again and again in press releases. She noted that her left-leaning campaign “has gained endorsements from top progressive voices across the map” including NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Human Rights Campaign, SEIU, Senator Bernie Sanders,, EMILY’s List, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis GutierrŽz, Gloria Steinem, Reclaim Chicago and a slew of other left-wing individuals and organizations.

Well OK, but what about the people here on the Southwest Side and in the southwest suburbs? What about our bread-and-butter issues here locally?

While the congressman was fighting for and getting federal dollars to improve roads, bridges, public transit and address tie-ups at railroad crossings right here where we live, Newman was being feted at fundraisers outside the district.

The fact that she didn’t seize any local issues in any meaningful way tells me what I need to know. All too often, political candidates are so busy talking about saving the world, they don’t make time to help their next-door neighbors who are suffering.

In 2018, I said that if Marie Newman were to run again against Congressman Lipinski, she should keep it local. “Worry less about what Gloria Steinem thinks and more about what Gloria Garcia thinks,” I wrote.

Sadly, that has not happened.

And regarding her “very painful evening” taunt from 2018? When asked about it this year by the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board, she actually doubled down. She said she doesn’t regret saying it but wishes she had not said it publicly.

Of course she wishes she hadn’t. Saying such a mean-spirited thing publicly means we all got a glimpse into her characterÑor lack of it.

Joan Hadac is a news reporter and columnist for the Greater Southwest News-Herald and the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound.

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