Monday, at Maggiano's Restaurant in the Loop, U.S. Senators John McCain and Dick Durbin appeared together in front of the City Club of Chicago. The event was billed as a discussion of immigration reform before about 400 business leaders.
Each of the senators spoke for several minutes, spending considerable time praising each other and discussing immigration reform before the U.S. Senate. Then they fielded seven written questions from the audience on various topics including foreign policy, transportation funding, and healthcare. (During one of the answers, somebody's cell phone went off with the "Godfather" theme music as the ring tone. Professor Paul Green - who was moderating - asked which senator was the Godfather which brought laughs.)
One of the questions asked during the Q & A was mine - about the rift between conservative TEA Party Republicans and others, like John McCain. McCain seemed annoyed as he indicated the "misplaced priorities" with the funding of "extreme candidates" in the Republican Party. I guess he was talking about U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. See the YouTube video for his answer.
There have been serious concerns about the direction of this so-called "Establishment" Republican Party in Washington and here in Illinois. Many say the Tea Party Conservatives are the base of the Republican Party. This had increased the use of the term "RINO," that is Republican In Name Only. By the way, I did not say McCain was a RINO, but others have questioned his views and comments lately. There is no question that he has been a great American and a war hero.
McCain and Durbin did a separate press conference in a side room after the breakfast. Most of the mainstream coverage seen today came out of those questions. After the breakfast meeting, Senator McCain headed over to see former Obama Campaign spokesman, Chicagoan David Axelrod. Later that same day, McCain was scheduled to speak to students only at the Institute of Politics at University of Chicago which Axelrod heads. The press was barred from this event.
Later in the evening. Hillary Clinton hit Chicago to attend the Jewish United Fund event. For Monday, at least, Chicago served to the center of national politics. No word if John McCain met up with her, too.
Mark Weyermuller is a citizen journalist and contributer to Illinois Review. If you'd like to contribute, send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.