David Hoffman, Democratic Party candidate for Illinois U.S. Senator, did not show in a scheduled meeting at Books on First last Tuesday. He canceled on that morning or late enough the previous night to count as same day. Even though Books on First sent out a blast e-message to our e-list, that did not prevent several people from coming at the appointed hour. John Laesche of Hoffman's campaign came to apologize and field questions.
When a Chicago resident on that e-list first received the original e-message, announcing the visit, he had commented that he questioned the political wisdom of Hoffman, also a Chicago resident (who seriously should have upplayed his wife's downstate connections), visiting Dixon so close to the date of the primary. I think I heard him say, "Unless he also has scheduled stops in Rockford, Geneseo, the Quad Cities, Aurora, ... it doesn't seem worth the time. Nothing against Dixon, but it's hardly a population center."
"Two words," a loyal Books on First (Republican) customer responded, "Barack Obama."
Dixonites still remember the pandemonium which visited First Street just outside Books on First more than five years ago, when Obama was running for the open U.S. Senate seat for Illinois. Accompanied by Senator Dick Durbin (D), he had attended a breakfast in Rock Falls, IL, and running late, the motorcade hurried the 20 miles to Downtown Dixon for a scheduled visit inside Books on First, but then spent precious minutes inching towards 202 W First Street, the crowds were so thick. He stood across the street from us and spoke. Television cameras and photographs would show Trein's Jewelry, the Edward Jones investment storefront, and the Paper Escape, even when captions would say that he had come for a scheduled stop to Books on First. Unlike Durbin, Jesse White, Lisa Madigan, Dennis Hastert and many other candidates and elected officials before him, Obama never did come into the store, for which he has never apologized and I have not yet excused him for that dissing. Local Democratic Party officials said he was running late, that it was his handlers who prevented Obama from coming into the store. Our own Larry said, the store was so crowded, Obama wouldn't have been able to enter the door (that was not true, I should point out: the store at that point was empty, because everyone had gone out to the street).
That was probably the second or third to last scheduled stop he made running for U.S. Senate. He had made a huge hit speaking at the Democratic Party Convention in New York, and many were already whispering that Obama would become President one day. After that, the Democrats took his shining star and raced around, using it to get out the vote and to help many other fellow Democratic candidates, since Obama's own election seemed (and was) assured.
And, so, Books on First (and Dixon) is snubbed by Hoffman, and although I do not wish the situation upon him, the reason was not even because his father had passed away (which just occurred to Republican gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard, to whom we express our condolences).
Meanwhile, the "front runner" Alexi Giannoulias made an unannounced visit on Friday. He obviously heard about that event five plus years ago.
And, Congressional House Representative Bill Foster (D) was in on Saturday, 30 January, to speak a bit, on his way to a Mayors' Luncheon. Unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination, he is not going to focus on what is happening on the Republican side until after the Tuesday. However, he still seemed to know a lot more about it than I do. It is always good to hear about all the negative and possibly true mud being slung around in your opponents' primary.
I was wondering if you knew the exact date of Barack Obama's speech in front of Books on First? An acting student of mine had him sign a copy of Othello that day, and I have been trying to piece together the narrative.
We are working on it, Jason. How interesting that it was Othello that your student had and that Obama signed, a Shakespeare play with a black protagonist (the only one which Shakespeare wrote).
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