Adam Kinzinger’s “Renegade”: A Break from the Republican Party and Trump
Former U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s latest book, “Renegade,” details his departure from the Republican Party and his criticism of Donald Trump. However, what will catch the attention of local readers in McLean County are the numerous references and appearances of familiar faces from the community. Kinzinger, a native of Bloomington-Normal and an alumnus of Illinois State University, still visits the area regularly despite now residing in Texas after choosing not to run for re-election in 2022.
A Republican Congressman’s Transformation
In the introduction of his book, Kinzinger describes U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood as a “former moderate” who swiftly aligned himself with the extreme Right and tied his fate to “the most unethical and least transparent president in history.” LaHood, who represents parts of Bloomington-Normal, is the son of Ray LaHood, a prominent figure in the moderate wing of the Republican Party. Kinzinger states that LaHood embodies the archetypal average Republican congressman, whose primary focus is re-election and climbing the political ladder.
The Impact of Redistricting
Although the post-2020 redistricting by Illinois Democrats grouped Kinzinger and LaHood into the same deep-red congressional district, Kinzinger’s decision to break from his party following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol prevented a GOP primary showdown. Kinzinger emphasizes that he had already made up his mind not to seek re-election in 2022, even if the attack had not taken place, as he believed that serving 12 years in Congress was a sufficient tenure.
Politics in McLean County
Kinzinger’s book delves into his upbringing in Bloomington-Normal, highlighting his parents’ strong religious beliefs and the intersection of politics in their lives. He writes about the politically active friends of his father, Rus Kinzinger, namely John Parrott and Lee Newcom, who held leadership positions in the state branch of the Christian Coalition. Kinzinger’s political career began at the age of 20 when he was elected to the McLean County Board while still a student at Illinois State University. Serving on the board enabled him to gain valuable insight into the everyday lives of constituents who were not deeply involved in politics.
From Local Politics to the Military
Kinzinger also recounts his involvement in his father’s campaign for the Republican primary of the Illinois Senate in 2002. Despite their efforts to highlight the shortcomings of opponent Bill Brady, Kinzinger’s father ultimately lost the race due to his discomfort with soliciting financial support. Kinzinger’s military service is a significant part of his story, as he enlisted prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In a chapter titled “Defend Your Country, See The World,” Kinzinger vividly describes his deployments overseas and his fascination with visiting historical sites. These experiences exposed him to the tragic consequences of conflicts arising from misunderstandings between different cultures.
Emerging as a Prominent Figure
It wasn’t until the later years of the Trump administration that Kinzinger gained national recognition for his willingness to criticize the president. He played a crucial role as one of two Republicans on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack and was among the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in 2021.
A Lifelong Independent Thinker
Kinzinger’s book reflects his independent mindset, which he developed from a young age. He questioned his faith as an adolescent and often sought his parents’ advice before making decisions that followed his own path. Despite having a well-developed conscience, Kinzinger admits that there is no simple answer as to why he stands out as one of the few prominent Republicans willing to criticize Trump. He attributes his outspoken opposition to Trump’s lack of concern for the well-being of the American people. Kinzinger recalls his commitment to sacrificing his own career for the sake of the country when he returned from Iraq and decided to enter politics. He firmly believes that the lies about the election system following the events of January 6 posed a significant threat to the nation.
Currently residing in Texas with his wife and child, Kinzinger explains that death threats directed at him after his break with Trump compelled him to move from his Illinois home address. While he does not rule out the possibility of returning to Illinois one day, Kinzinger’s focus for now is on raising his child and temporarily escaping the threats to his safety. As for his future in politics, Kinzinger ponders whether the Republican Party will distance itself from the Trumpian ideology. He also contemplates whether Democrats would accept someone like him—a former moderate Republican—and whether there will ever be an environment conducive for independent candidates to run for office. Kinzinger hopes to make a positive impact on the political tone, provided the conditions are favorable.
Read More of this Story at www.wglt.org – 2023-11-09 22:11:24
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