Pritzker keeps pummeling GOP nominee Bailey over Holocaust comments

State Sen. Darren Bailey kept the story alive, and Pritzker took full advantage, pounding away at his opponent every chance he got.

SHARE Pritzker keeps pummeling GOP nominee Bailey over Holocaust comments
State Sen. Darren Bailey, left; Gov. J.B. Pritzker, right.

State Sen. Darren Bailey, left; Gov. J.B. Pritzker, right.

Facebook; Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times file

The ongoing uproar over Darren Bailey’s 2017 claim that the Holocaust “doesn’t even compare on a shadow” to the lives lost to abortion reminded me of a scene in an old movie called “A Bronx Tale.”

The claim Bailey made on Facebook exploded into view courtesy of a brutal TV ad by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s campaign. The ad begins with an announcer previewing an already-used video clip of Bailey saying he would not allow a woman who was raped or a victim of incest to have an abortion.

“You may have thought you heard everything that Darren Bailey had to say about abortion,” the voice-over person says before the clip is played. “But that’s not all Darren Bailey has said,” the person continues as the newly unearthed clip is shown to viewers.

Columnists bug


In-depth political coverage, sports analysis, entertainment reviews and cultural commentary.

The closing tagline of “Darren Bailey, too extreme for Illinois” is then flashed on the screen. That’s pretty close to the same language used in Democratic ads that aired during the Republican primary.

There are those who say judging from experience, if Pritzker is using something this over the top in August, then oh my goodness he must have some really strong opposition research in store for voters when the campaign cranks up this fall.

That could very well be, and it doesn’t help matters much right now that Bailey’s billionaire GOP primary benefactor Richard Uihlein has not directly contributed any money to Bailey’s campaign since the primary, so attacking when your opponent can’t fight back has its advantages.

Bailey released a response video to another Pritzker TV ad (calling him out for hypocritically taking millions in federal farm subsidies while opposing other government social programs) that has so far received views in the hundreds, not the millions who would see something on TV.

Either way, this is a true political beat-down. And it didn’t stop there. Bailey at first walked his comments back by saying, “The Holocaust is a human tragedy without parallel. In no way was I attempting to diminish the atrocities of the Holocaust and its stain on history. I meant to emphasize the tragedy of millions of babies being lost.”

Then, the very next day, Bailey told Fox 32’s Dane Placko his words were “taken out of context as they typically are” and blamed reporters.

Then, Bailey was asked by a Fox Valley radio station host if he needed to apologize. Instead of doing so, Bailey laughed and said, “The Jewish community themselves have told me that I’m right,” and he went on to claim “the Jewish rabbis” he’d met with had told him he was “actually right.”

Bailey inexplicably kept the story alive, and Pritzker took full advantage, pounding away at his opponent every chance he got. And since then, the Pritzker campaign has piled on by providing some opposition research to reporters about other Bailey Facebook posts.

The Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition recently issued a press release complaining that “Multiple social media posts by gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey and his wife are Islamophobic, antisemitic, and xenophobic.”

Opinion bug


And that brings me back to the movie, which follows a young Italian-American boy as he learns life lessons from those around him, including from some mobsters.

In the scene, a biker gang known for busting up bars unwittingly walks into a mob-owned bar and, after being told they could stay for a couple of beers, begins to cause trouble. The top mob boss tells the bikers to leave. After being rudely rebuffed, he quietly walks to the front door and locks it, then turns around and faces the bikers: “Now youse can’t leave,” he says.

The mob boss’ underlings immediately stream in through the back door brandishing baseball bats, pistols and other implements of destruction and absolutely pummel the bikers, who are then dragged outside and beaten some more, including by bystanders.

And that’s basically how the rest of this campaign is going to go, even when/if Bailey’s coffers are replenished. Pritzker never took his foot off of Bruce Rauner’s political throat four years ago even though he was way ahead in the polls, and he kept whacking Richard Irvin long after Irvin was clearly no longer viable in the recent GOP primary.

It’s just how they roll over there. Toss in the fact that Pritzker helped found a Holocaust museum and abortion rights is an issue that appears to animate him, and you can understand the desire to go all-out on this one.

Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and

The Sun-Times welcomes letters to the editor and op-eds. Check out our guidelines.

The Latest
Figueroa fue condenada a 50 años de prisión. El bebé, Yovanny Jadiel López, murió varias semanas después de los hechos.
Lyrical film juxtaposes the innocence of 10-year-old best friends in Cabrini-Green with the real-life murder of young Dantrell Davis.
Chicago fire communications operator Amanda Garr and retired Chicago firefighter George Ma’Ayteh met for the first time Wednesday morning, months after Garr instructed 911 caller Paula Anast how to save Ma’Ayteh’s life through CPR.
The Cubs optioned Daniel Palencia and Luke Little and brought up Hayden Wesneski and Colten Brewer.