Alexi Giannoulias flubbed the Peoria Journal Star's local knowledge triva test, and it, among other defects, cost him the newspaper's endorsement, which went to Congressman Mark Kirk:
When asked, the Democratic candidate for Illinois' U.S. Senate seat, Alexi Giannoulias, could not name the mayor of Peoria or Caterpillar's new CEO. When likewise asked, Republican Mark Kirk quickly rattled off Jim Ardis' name, then Doug Oberhelman's, noted that former Cat CEO Jim Owens had endorsed him, and then threw in Peoria Police Chief Steven Settingsgaard for good measure.
We don't mean to go all parochial on everybody, and running for high office is not a mere trivia contest, but the difference in the two responses should be important to voters because it's emblematic of some critical characteristics regarding public service: that you do your homework, that you care enough about the communities you represent to get to know something about their most influential citizens, that you don't intend to forget those places after the votes have been counted, that their issues are your issues. It's forgivable, perhaps, not to recollect one mayor from among hundreds, but if job creation is a centerpiece of your campaign, wouldn't you make it your business to learn about the head honcho at one of the state's biggest employers?
This is no shock to anyone who knows Alexi. He thinks the only people who are important to know are Barack Obama and Dick Durbin. Neither of those guys has much of a record of creating jobs. Next time, Alexi, try to learn a little bit about what keeps up the locals when playing Peoria, and who they are, and maybe you'll impress them a little more.
UPDATED: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch lauds both Kirk and Lexi, but goes for Lexi because they believe that Lexi would better serve the apparent socialist (or communist) ideals of the Post-Dispatch editorial board by supporting President Obama's goal of wealth re-distribution and government take-over of our lives:
Alexi Giannoulias is the choice for Senate because he understands the existential threat caused by the reality that 20 percent of Americans control nearly half of the nation's earned income and 84 percent of all forms of wealth.
"Income inequality has been the cause of the downfall of every great nation," he said.
The Senate is a place where those inequalities can begin to be reversed, through tax policies, job creation and public spending on infrastructure and education.
My wife is from St. Louis, and when I'm down there visting the in-laws, I always look forward to picking up the Post-Dispatch in the morning because it is so devoid of actual content I can skim the entire paper in less than five minutes. Then I go online for the real news. Their endorsemnt of Lexi is sad, but not surprising.