December 15, 2008
By Bruce Walker
The Illinois State Legislature is going to quickly remove the power of senatorial appointment from its latest disgraced governor. That means some other politician will fill the seat held by another politician, all of whom are steeped in the corruption that is Illinois politics. The bipartisan slime includes the oldest and biggest city machine in American history, Daley and Son. In the 1920s, Mayor Daley's office was held by a hand picked candidate of Al Capone. It includes Blagojevich's imprisoned Republican predecessor. It includes the whole rotten mess, and it is safe to say that almost no one who is the next Junior Senator from Illinois will take office with clean hands. Except Mike Ditka.
The legendary player and coach almost ran against Obama when our president-elect won his Senate seat. He ought to do so now. Not every citizen of Chicago is happy with pandemic political putrescence. Not every person who calls Illinois home likes the fact that an honorable Speaker of the House, Danny Hastert, resigned from the second highest office in the land in utter repulsion. Not every Chicagoan enjoys the fact that the town once known as the "Second City" is viewed by the rest of America as something of a sick joke.
Coach Ditka gained fame and fortune with bare knuckles and a bullying thunder - but his fighting was honorable, gritty, character-building fighting. He earned everything he ever had with hard work. Can anyone imagine trying to bribe Senator Ditka? Can anyone imagine trying to intimidate Senator Ditka?
Mike Ditka doesn't want the job of senator. That is exactly what our country needs. Someone who reluctantly, led only by love of his country and what it represents, runs for office is the cure for what ails us. Mike Ditka doesn't need to be a senator. He became a household word in our nation and an honored name among all sports fans because he worked his tail off, never backed off from any fight, and never earned a dime on the taxpayer's tab. We need someone sick of politics to run for political office.
Would Ditka win? His Chicago Bears Super Bowl winner is, arguably, the best pro football team in history. He raised the Bears into the pinnacle of sports excellence, just like Ditka, the college football player and Ditka, the NFL tight end, represented pure excellence. Fixing the vote in Chicago against this icon would be almost unpatriotic, and if he gets a significant percentage of the vote in Chicago, Ditka wins office easily in Illinois.
His personal life has had a few ups and downs. But Mike Ditka has never pretended otherwise. What is true about this tough American is that he never backed away from anything, never lied about his life, never pretended to be perfect, and he comes across as a real, John Wayne type- a straight shooter at a time in which our country desperately needs straight shooters. Moreover, his decades in front of television make Ditka easily appear to be just who he is: A genuine, authentic, real American. He is a communicator, a very forceful communicator.
Is Ditka conservative? He describes himself as an "ultra-ultra- conservative." Enough said. A man who grew up in the industrial heartland of Pennsylvania, clinging to guns and to faith, a motivational speaker whose message is to work, to fight, and to win. A few short weeks ago, Mike Ditka was proudly introducing Sarah Palin to Americans. Does anyone doubt he would vote the way he believes or that he believes in what is best for America?
Would Mike run? Only if we asked him too. There is nothing - and I really mean nothing - in it for him. That is just why Mike Ditka might run for the Senate. He is not a young man any more. A few years ago, Ditka had a real touch with the mortality of man with a heart attack. Ditka would not gain a single thing out of being a United States Senator, except the knowledge that he was helping to save his country. We need to ask Mike Ditka to run. We need to challenge him to take this last, biggest, toughest job in his very rugged life. America needs Ditka. If we tell Mike that, and if he listens to his heart, Mike will run.