Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Midland National

Interested in learning more about life insurance and annuities?  Head over to read more about Midland National - which is a brand of parent Sammons Financial Group.  They're headquartered in Iowa.

If you're interested in learning more about the company history of Midland Life, check it out at their new history site:  http://www.midlandnational.life/2017/.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Griffin: Bob Grogan Needs To Get Audited

Bob Grogan is running for Illinois Treasurer in the GOP primary against Tom Cross - the former House Republican Leader.  The winner of that primary is set to take on Democrat State Senator Mike Frerichs in the fall of 2014.

Joel Griffin takes Bob Grogan to task and points out how he was sitting 'behind the wheel' during most of the largest DuPage County scandals.

DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan has served as county auditor through some of the most significant county-level financial scandals in Illinois history. Now he seeks a higher office—that of Illinois State Treasurer. If only his county auditor’s office had uncovered the scandals which burst forth into public view, this may have been a viable career option. However, as it turns out, outside entities- including the federal government—discovered the shenanigans while Auditor Grogan completed just over two dozenfar less substantive audits. In a stunning display of misplaced priorities, the county office issued a reprimand for two workers paid overtime in a manner “not recommended” by the office and uncovered some questionable weatherization projects; during the same five year stretch, the feds uncovered millions in misappropriated funds throughout other county agencies.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Your Memories of Tom

Sun-Times:  Political Voice, Social Activist Tom Roeser Dies at 82

Mr. Roeser is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, the former Lillian Prescott, four children and 13 grandchildren.

Visitation will be Friday, 4 to 9 p.m. at Nelson Funeral Home, 820 Talcott Road, Park Ridge. A funeral will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday at St. John Cantius Church, 825 N. Carpenter St. in Chicago followed by burial at Interment All Saints Cemetery, 700 N. River Road in Des Plaines.

Please your memories of Tom in comments below.

Monday, May 16, 2011


        Q.  What’s this?  A spouse decides whether one runs for president?  Has this ever happened before?
       A.  No.   Of course not.  I think it’s a joke and makes a laughingstock out of Daniels who on a number of fronts…budgetary expertise, excellent governor…is a well-qualified candidate.  The proper way would be for the couple quietly to make that decision up or down and then either go for it or no.  Throwing the ball to Cherie in public to make the decision for Mitch makes Mitch a sad joke of the GOP candidates—the weenie runt of the litter. 
        As we all know, Cherie left him and their daughters  for another man, divorcing Mitch and marrying an old flame because she despised Mitch’s chosen vocation of politics…and then did a reverse switch,  divorcing him and returning to Mitch. Do they think this device…leave it to Cherie… will insulate her from another switcheroo when the press heat comes on?  Looks a lot like it.   But with her already demonstrated instability I’m not so sure.  This stupid p. r. device should disqualify him from election if anything does.   This smacks of Dick Lugar,  his topmost adviser.
       Q.  And what’s this Condi Rice for vice president stuff?
       A.  Daniels made the suggestion carelessly over cocktails with some college kids after Cherie spoke to a Republican audience. Smart, huh?   Earlier he had been quoted as saying he did not feel qualified at this point to debate Obama on foreign policy.  Smart, huh?    What a laugh after all the goof-ups Obama has made!   Now he evidently wants an architect of the George W. Bush foreign policy to be considered for veep!  Thus from the outset the negatives of that policy will be used against him and the cameras will switch continually to Condi to defend it. Thus one woman decides whether Mitch will run—not Mitch—and another woman will be asked all the big foreign-defense policy questions—a vehemently pro-abort woman at that…..with Mitch presumably left to drive his motorcycle alone down the highways.
       The Bush tie-in has already been glaring….Laura calling up Cherie to steady her nerves….the big media serving a trumpet fanfare that here is the truly super-duper candidate…with  smoothly the George W. and  Poppy rolodexes clicking into place.  That’ll mean we face a return to Wilsonianism…our mission being to lead those nations involved in the Arabian Spring to democracy—no how much blood and treasure it takes.
        And why Condi?    Does he remotely think that Condi Rice is going to lead him to a treasure-trove of black votes when blacks already have a president?     God, I hope not.  But “My Man Mitch,” as “W” calls him has made all by his own-self the most spectacular screw-ups any pre-announced presidential candidate has done…with a laudable pro-life record, he announced it would be off his table if he were to run—thus sacrificing an army of social conservative volunteers.
        He then angled back and signed the Planned Parenthood state funding ban which didn’t allay social conservatives but proved he was trying to be cute.   Anyhow, he vitiated much of the so-called “moderate” vote he had gained previously which had made him so exciting to big secular media.  Then he booted his big decision...whether or not to run…to his wife.  Finally denying himself a free hand postulating a foreign policy at odds with Obama’s…a great natural advantage…he hoists the white flag by suggesting  the point-person in the Bush foreign policy be his veep.
         What we have here, friends, is a wimp who has proven he isn’t worthy of serious consideration for the presidency because all  by himself he has blown it.

PS:  Help a friend of ours:  Tom Cross for Illinois Treasurer.  Join him at www.jointomcross.com.        .

Friday, May 13, 2011


Many so-called “business approach” candidates…especially liberal Republican ones…fail to start first with the question—is this a job government ought to do? Mitt failed to ask this question first.
      Q.  Please explain.
     A.  Relativists, ultra-pragmatists…and that approach made Mitt Romney a multi-millionaire in business…see a problem….insist there should be a solution and hire an army of experts to crunch numbers and come up  with a popular liberal, governmental solution—because the trend lies that way—government leading the way.   Traditional conservative thinkers ponder a problem, determine if government or private sector is the route to the solution and postulate from there.    In 1994 when he ran for the Senate against Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts a heavily pro-abort state, Mitt Romney decided he would craft a strategy on abortion thusly—Under Roe v. Wade legal abortion is the law of the land.   I happen to oppose abortion but the law is the law and I respect a woman’s right to make that choice freely.
        He had calculated that a pro-abort answer was correct for his candidacy and then crafted a rationale that seemed to hint he was more amenable than Kennedy to pro-life views. A so-called businessman’s pragmatic “solution.”
        But ironically Kennedy won the argument by pointing out that if Romney felt personally abortion was wrong, a moral evil, he should forthrightly oppose it and seek to root it out.   It was the closest election Kennedy ever won…and at the beginning Romney was leading him….but the tables turned ever so slightly and Romney’s wobbliness on abortion helped Kennedy a fast-and-forever pro-abort.   Years later, when he planned a run for president, Romney said his views on abortion were “developing” and came out as a full-blown pro-lifer but was tied up trying to reconcile his earlier and present views and show that he had not….as suspicioned…changed  his sails to square with the national GOP’s consensus on pro-life.
     Q.  Now on RomneyCare…
     A. On RomneyCare, he made the same basic error—calculating via hunch that universal health care was the wave of the future. As Massachusetts governor, he hired an army of experts, drafted the legislation and added some juicy pro-Republican parts  such as tort reform. But in the bill was the mandate that everyone in the state had to buy health insurance or pay a penalty which is the same as contained in ObamaCare.  Because RomneyCare is a state bill it does not have the constitutional ones that ObamaCare has. 
         But the thing is pesky enough.    He signed the bill with great fanfare….Ted Kennedy was there applauding…but now the unpopularity of ObamaCare has taken much of the issue away from him.   So until yesterday he had two strategic choices.  Both unappetizing. 
     He could join the full-throated Republican candidates who urge repeal of ObamaCare by saying it had already been tried in the laboratory of state government….Massachusetts….and had been shown to be inefficacious. He could thus renounce his own child.   Here he would have to confess he had been wrong.
      Q.   ..or--?
      A.   Or he could stick with RomneyCare and say it failed by failure of execution by his successors in the state.  That’s the course he’s taken …and the rationale is not working.   It clearly points out…as The Wall Street Journal’s lead editorial said yesterday…the fault is in Romney’s flawed philosophy and ultra-pragmatic theory of government.  Too damned pragmatic by half, Junior by a man who has always been called the smartest guy in the room.
     Q.   What’s likely to happen?
     A.   Although a brilliant salesman, he’s got a lemon with this one and I can’t fathom he can make it to the finals.  His game-plan is to drown out all the others with kabillions and be the last guy standing by convention-time.  I don’t think he can do it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


    Q. If so…if it made a simple sampling mistake,  how bad is that for the wire service?   
    A. If it’s far off, it can say hello to the Literary Digest of 1936 (of which more later).
         Yes indeed. Its poll yesterday showed Obama’s approval rating hitting 60% with 53% saying he should be reelected…which the formerly objective old-line service attributed to a terrific  bounce from the Osama bin Laden killing—unrecorded let it be said by every other major polling agency. But what AP did was spike sharply upward the sample to favor the Democratsby a whopping 17%, something which doesn’t square with realistic demographic numbers.  It was a hedge based on a hunch that Obama’s strength has zoomed and there has been a thus far unnoticed (but by it) massive dislocation of political allegiance to the Democratic party.   But here the AP stands alone. 
       In almost 40 polls taken since the middle of 2009, Democrats and Republicans are seen to range in the 40s with the split…as in most Gallup samplings… at most 7 percentage points.
         For example, in late April it showed the American public at 31% Republican,36% independent,32% Republican.   The AP is betting somehow the party IDs have changed that drastically since Obama killed Osama.  It alleges the country today isnearly one half Democratic and less than a third Republican.  Wow—if so, the election’s over before it even began…on a par with the FDR halcyon days.  Does it seem like that to you?  As one who lived through FDR, it sure doesn’t to me.
        Gallup has the two parties ID about even. Pew’s latest poll shows Dems ahead by 7.
         Speaking of FDR in 1936 a prominent magazine devoted to public opinion, the Literary Digest foretold a massive Alf Landon victory over Roosevelt based on another hedge—that the election results in Maine, then held in September, would translate across the country due to the fact that the then truism  “as Maine goes, so goes the nation” would be validated. It was true that for years Maine elections were a bellwether for the nation and the magazine just went along. 
It took the Maine numbers…heavily Republican…and spiked them proportionately across the country. Its  conclusion: FDR was a goner for reelection. In reality the November election was the heaviest, one-sided victory in history up to that point…for the Democrats and Landon carried only Maine and Vermont.
        That was the end of the Literary Digest and the upshot for a fledgling polling company, Gallup.  All right—it may be the AP’s hedge is better than anyone else’s…but if it isn’t, the one-time conservatively written and edited service (in contrast to the  early flamboyant UPI) may lose all its credibility. 
What bothers me….as one who in his youth strung for the AP from central Minnesota…was how conservative that organization was not just in fact gathering but in toned-down writing.  The wire service that was always more colorful and made more inaccuracies was UP, United Press, later to amalgamate with Hearst’s International News Service as UPI.   On a string assignment for the AP in 1955,  I interviewed Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt in Minnesota, she being then the permanent representative to the UN….an appointment made by Harry Truman and which continued over in the Eisenhower administration. She was traveling in the state with Ambassador Eugenie Anderson…the first woman ambassador to Denmark.   What I gleaned from Mrs.R  was a blow-by-blow back-and-forth between she and the Russians on drafting the UN’s “Universal Declaration on Human Rights.” . 
       I wrote it up and got a call from AP New York and a guy who questioned me up and down about the authenticity since the wire-service’s old line diplomatic correspondent hadn’t been able to shake loose those facts. After questioning me for a half-hour with lengthy cross-examination, he sighed and said,  “okay kid but if you’re wrong your ass is on the line.” I wasn’t wrong and my ass was promoted at my paper after that…the weekly salary hoisted to a massive $67.50 a week—from $45.00 which meant that I wouldn’t  have to work nights as a barroom pianist at a shot-and-beer farmers’ tavern any more.

         Since Obama’s election I must say I have never seen any news agency take a more dramatic turn to the Left than the AP.   Slanting the news is one thing..making  a goofy hedge as with its poll baseline numbers is another.   Now it’s the AP ass which is on the line.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


       Q. Are all these media serenades to Daley too much?
       A. They are--with the notable exceptions of John Kass’ stirring column and Fran Spielman’s excellent dissections of what happened to his good appointments—Mary Rose Loney, named because she would be an honest O’Hare official, fired because she wouldn’t kow-tow to clout-connected suppliers which made her an honest O’Hare official….
       …the team of Paul Vallas as school superintendent and Gery Chico as president of the school board because they would put educational quality on a  priority basis over bowing to the teachers’ unions—fired (quietly, the way Daley prefers) because they wouldn’t bow to the teachers’ unions to the disadvantage of the children.
         I won’t surprise you by saying I especially cherish the Kass column because it demonstrates how close Daley has been to the Outfit.    But the payoff for me is how this fat little whelp after taking bows for beautifying the city with its own money does not feel its rewards enough that he has the no class to ask for five cops and two police cars to convey him around in private life.  This because his life has been threatened.  He has no shame; you’d think Maggie would restrain him but no she has her grubby hand outstretched too.  
       We authenticist Catholics have had to put up with this scoundrel who eschews 2000 years of theology embraced by the Church he falsely insists he belongs to…supporting abortion rights, gay marriage,  selling his honor by courting the gay rights “community” by funding a building for its…er…use. He gets by with high-fiving his Irish ethnicity which is supposed to account for these moral transgressions.   
        Q.  But if his life is really in danger, what should he do about it?
        A. What he should do with his amassed next largesse…a high paying directorship from AON…is to pony up and retain a private guard service.  Or rally his pals who have benefited from his association to put on fund-raiser in his honor that will meet the estimated $400,000  cost. And break down and buy a car he can drive himself.  He reminds me of Nero, so obsessed with the trappings of power, playing fiddle by cutting ribbons on projects taxpayers shouldn’t have had to pay for…while the city burns.  He’s really disgusting.

Monday, May 9, 2011



       If you want to put your finger on when it all began, it was at the dedication of an Outer Drive Bridge, Oct. 5, 1937 with an unsufferably arrogant speech by “Dr. Roosevelt” who would put whole nations in quarantine.
        The second in a series tracing how foreign-military policy  interventionism became a staple of both parties—and how a quiet, studious thoughtful leader, Robert Taft emerged to lay down a legacy of constitutionalism that can well be applied by the next Republican president.
        As the year 1938 dawned, five years after Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated with the hope of ending the Great Depression with massive public works and government intervention, there was little hope this could be done soon.  The historian of the Depression Amity Shlaes writes in The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Depression [HarperCollins: 2007]that shockingly there was another downturn. By August there came the sharpest drop in industrial production ever recorded.  Unemployment stood at 17.4%.
                               Two New Deal Octogenarians.  
     When New Deal guru Rexford Guy Tugwell, then 83 spoke at my 1975 political science class at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance on the 30th anniversary of Roosevelt’s death, April 12, he told me, “at first we didn’t know what the hell to do; we were bewildered and confused.  Our formulae seemed not to be working at all.”
     Tugwell told me that to his great surprise that from 1933 to `38 there was “no real alternative to the New Deal” coming from congressional Republicans (there was but he was looking for liberal Republican ideas of the Fighting Bob LaFollette variety). In 1936 Kansas Gov. Alf Landon had lost spectacularly to FDR on a “dime store New Deal” program: a me-too, carbon-copy facsimile of Roosevelt’s program just trimmed a bit around the edges.  But all changed as the jobless figure neared 20% in 1938.  Gallup found that 66% of the American people thought FDR had turned the wheel too far to the Left.
     “That just reinforced me and others with the need to give our redistribution and government planning programs some impetus before the country turned back to the reactionaries,” he said using the radical terms that got him canned as a U of Penn. professor of economics—and which ultimately forced his resignation from government after his farm resettlement plans gained him the appellation “Rex the Red.” Knowing him 36 years ago I can say his critics had him pegged rightly as a Communist in ideology although he was probably just an academic theorist and never got enmeshed in the subversion network since he was too much a dreamer and abstruse.
         Tugwell thought he and others had time to spare to fight joblessness—but it was not to be.  In the congressional midterms of 1938 a heavy voting majority resolved to turn New Dealers out in the midterms while keeping the Congress moderately Democratic.    Tugwell…who later became FDR’s far left appointed governor of Puerto Rico… was one of two oldest-living relics of the FDR administration whom I interviewed in 1975.  A strange kind of agriculturalist who was prevented by extreme hay fever from visiting the fields, he was retained by the administration to think of radical new means of stimulating farm prices (he came up with the Agricultural Adjustment Act that paid farmers for cutting production). When I asked him whether FDR veered to interventionism in the late `30s so defense arms buildup would gin up the employment and reelect him to a 3rdterm, the old Ph.D dismissed it.  “The war just caught up with us, that’s all.”
      The other octogenarian I interviewed closely was a man nearer my own temperament—Tugwell’s old nemesis in the New Deal, a devoutly Catholic Dem, Jim Farley, 86, whom I questioned for  a day and a half in his Manhattan office where he served as chairman of the Coca-Cola Export company. The post was a sinecure: Farley just made the office his home. Later we rode in his private limo to the exclusive New York city restaurant 21.  He was eager to talk.
       “Without a doubt,” he said when I asked him if FDR deduced that he could only solve our unemployment by putting us into a war.  “And,” he said with a smile, “tell Rex I said this will you?”  
         Jim Farley was—and is in terms of modern political history—a legend of political management and strategy.   He managed Roosevelt’s 1932 and 1936 campaigns, serving as Postmaster General and who mobilized heavy patronage to push FDR’s program through early Congresses, ultimately splitting with his old boss on the issue of a third term in 1940. The Hatch Act was passed by Congress to stop Farley midway in hiring armies of political workers.
                 Angling Toward War to Solve Joblessness.
      Unlike Tugwell Farley candidly acknowledged that Roosevelt decided to play the war card as early as 1937 when joblessness rose spotlighting the New Deal’s failure to get the country back to work—and he didn’t care for it one little bit.   “I know the boss had decided to change the subject and get involved in international affairs,” Farley told me.   “He was convinced that what would put men to work was a peacetime national defense effort pumped up by psychosis of fear.   I was getting very uneasy with that.”
      War clouds were on the horizon, begging to be exploited he said.  In 1937 Germany and Italy intervened in the Spanish Civil War; Japan invaded China; two years earlier Italy invaded Ethiopia to harvest her African colonies. “The time was ripe for The Boss to capitalize on this as a change of subject,” Farley told me.
       That year—on October 5- Roosevelt came to Chicago, an event I remember as a child of nine fortified by a Dad to whom politics was as savory as filet mignon. Roosevelt came here to dedicate the old Outer Drive Bridge running south from Navy Pier over the Chicago River, hailed as an historic linkup between two major park systems, Lincoln on the north and Grant on the south.
        The president gave what was then seen as an engineering marvel a brief kiss-off, calling it a “civic betterment.” He chose Chicago because two publishers here—Robert R. McCormick and William Randolph Hearst—dominated the media. They charged what he wanted to do was change the subject, from joblessness to tailor himself as a potential wartime leader and thus gain employment from a so-called “national defense” effort.
         The Tribune was by far the stronger paper. For days before the speech workers labored on a creation hidden under a tarp across the river facing the speaker’s rostrum.   Workmen pulled away the tarp unveiling a massive billboard.  It featured garish white letters on a dark blue background, reading: The Chicago Tribune: Completely Un-dominated.  The paper had received a tip on what he would say in a speech that was one of the most influential speeches any president would make.  (When he held his next news conference, Roosevelt said “Is Walter Trohan of the Chicago Tribune here?” When Trohan stood up, FDR said, “Thank you.  I just wanted to see what a completely un-dominated newspaper reporter looks like”).
           The Tribune predicted this speech would launch a drive to join Europe’s war.  It was right.  What FDR did in the speech was to suggest that a nebulous community of nations should “quarantine aggressive nations”—unspecified although it was clear he had in mind Germany, Japan and Italy.  Yes—he meant “quarantine.” The word was immediately understood by all Americans. In the 1930s “quarantine” was applied as a precaution to families whose members were infected with polio—even measles, scarlet fever and whooping cough.  A health department worker came to your door and actually affixed a sign attesting that you were to be incommunicado.  Health Commissioner Herman Bundeson had a sign with red letters nailed to our door, too, since I had chicken pox.
       Roosevelt could not have gotten away with that speech today.  It was overbearing, brimming with I-know-better-what’s-good-for-you-than-you-do-yourself sophistry.  His speech was a shot across the bow to signal that if we were not to be the world’s policeman, we would serve as its health officer, barring nations infected from associating with others.
          “My Friends,” he began in his usual unctuous patronizing, radio announcer-resonant patrician tone which would be unacceptable for any politician to use today, flourishing what his friends called the “Endicott Peabody accent” named after the  Brahmin Episcopal headmaster of Groton School for Boys which Roosevelt attended, the exclusive 5-year college preparatory school in Connecticut, “…It is because the people of the United States must, for the sake of their own future, give a thought to the rest of the world that I, as the responsible head of the nation, have chosen this great inland city and this gala occasion to speak to you on a subject of definite national importance.”
        A few paragraphs down after he emphasized he sorely wanted to preserve international peace he issued one of the most arrogant precepts the head of a nation ever enunciated in peacetime:
       “When an epidemic of physical disease starts to spread, the community approves and joins in a quarantine of patients in order to protect the health of the community against the spread of the disease.”
          Thus “Dr.” Roosevelt, the world physician in a massive show of effrontery, would decide what nation should be ruled out-of-bounds in the international community.
          “I knew then,” Farley told me in 1975, “that we were moving out of the domestic into the global in the drive to change the subject for the American people which would ultimately lead us to war.  I guessed then he was aiming for a third term—never anticipated by most presidents including the founders—and I figured I would do myself a big favor by not being around when he tried it.  Not that I thought he couldn’t get it—but that he shouldn’t try.”
                         1938 and the Rise of Robert Taft.
          Quarantine the Aggressors or not, in the congressional midterms of 1938, voters had had enough of FDR’s failure to solve unemployment—and though they didn’t defeat the Democratic congress, they rewarded the GOP with 80 new seats in the House, eight in the Senate and eleven governors.  One of the Senate victors was 49-year-old Robert A. Taft of Ohio.   Except for a famous surname as the oldest son of the 27th president, no one expected this quiet, studious workaholic to be anything more than a nerdy backbencher. But Taft was one of the greatest senators in history—and his constitutionalism and courage has always stayed with me, leading me to suggest that he should be the model in foreign-defense policy for future Republican presidents.   By which I mean not neo…not seeking to democratize the world as George W. Bush articulated in his Wilsonian first inaugural…nor like Ron Paul wishing to disband our foreign intelligence defenses,  repeal the Patriot Act that protects us from domestic terrorism cut back our military to the size of the scrub armies at Lexington and Concord and curtail our navy to the status of privateering vessels under John Paul Jones.
        From the outset, Bob Taft of Cincinnati  seemed an anomaly.  Totally unlike his gregarious jovial chief justice  father, he seemed dry and antiseptic, seemingly unnourished by human juices.  Yet he was anything but under-motivated.
        Topping the academic lists —undergrad at Yale, law at Harvard—he came from a wealthy family (though by no means equal to either the Roosevelts or Kennedys), he sought twice to enlist in WWI, being rejected for poor eyesight, served as a young lawyer with the U.S. Food Administration run by Herbert Hoover under Wilson, was elected to the Ohio House, being elected Republican floor leader and later Speaker, went to the Ohio Senate where he rewrote the law for city, county and school finances which he jammed through by overriding a governor’s veto, and headed a joint tax reform legislative commission that repealed the old personal property tax.
         He was defeated in the landslide Dem year of 1932 and decided he had enough of politics and started making a bundle at his prominent law firm.  But the New Deal’s demagogic radicalism drove him nuts and he made the circuit in his state delivering studious speeches on the need to return to constitutionalism.
       In 1938 a Democratic kingpin, Sen. Robert Bulkley was running for reelection and was seen as a sure thing.  To everybody’s astonishment Taft decided to take him on.   At first watching Taft on the stump and making a botch of handshaking was a painful embarrassment.  His gregarious wife Martha told him so.
      “For God’s sake, Bob, loosen up!” she said in Columbus. “Think of something civil to say to these nice people rather than boring them to death—or I tell you I’m going to take you home!  Be more like your father or your brother Charlie [the mayor of Cincinnati]!  I tell you—I’ve never seen anybody…anybody!...less suited for political life than you!  You’re a wet blanket!”
      But his cousin Dave Ingram who was running Taft’s campaign said “lay off, Martha! You can’t make Bob be what he isn’t!  You’ll never change him!  I tried that! If he loses he loses but let him be the dull old  Bob Taft God meant him to be!”
       Martha did.  And lo and behold, the Bob Taft God meant him to be took hold and won election over Bulkley by 170,000 votes.  
        Next week how Martha Taft’s nerdy,  wet blanket husband became the uncrowned leader of conservatives in the U.S. Senate and a model for what this country needs in its next Republican president.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


                             Look at the Birdie, Osama!
       Q. You mean the controversy over Obama’s decision not to release the photos of the dead Bin Laden is a waste of time?
       A.  Of course.  The authentic photos of the mass murderer will be released in the time-honored American way through free enterprise.  Somebody snitching them and after getting his palm greased sneaking them to Reuters. Indeed, we’re told this has already happened.
       Q. Did you favor Obama’s clamping down on their release?
      A. To show you how cynical I am, yes if it prevents a dust-up that infuriates the Muslim street.   But I know that we’ll get the pictures the old fashioned way so why worry?
                               Mitch Daniels the Stealth Candidate.
        Q. What do you mean by stealth?
       A. It’s a put-on by our RINO friends to slip in a quasi-liberal who will be the fall guy for Obama.   The slick job is being run surreptitiously by 79-year-old Dick Lugar which is appropriate.   I dealt with both Lugar and Daniels years ago when I was a lobbyist for Quaker and our meetings increased after we bought Stokely-Van Camp in Indiana which owned Gatorade.  It made pork and beans which we dumped, selling it to ConAgra.
           The thing about Lugar that always intrigued me…dating from the time he was Indianapolis’ boy mayor at the age of 35 and hailed as Dick Nixon’s Favorite Mayor until now…has been that he has been a master of ideological disguise—floating as a conservative who has a maddening way of swallowing his words, rolling them around in his saturnine mouth and allowing them to be emitted in such garbled fashion that nobody really knows what the hell he’s talking about.   He has been the leading protagonist of the philosophy “when in doubt mumble.”
           So when I would try to hustle him for a vote and meet him off the Senate chamber he’d say: Well you must remember that glubniff…bochara…and when the vote comes up I necessarily will have to puffiff and for a time it might look like I’m not with you—but bluffough and balooka you’ll see that we’ll get it recommitted to the Committee where finally we’ll have a chance to plubinitff so you might be happy with it.
           Actually, dating from the days when he was a Rhodes Scholar Dick Lugar has always been with the liberals on all key items that matter…and next year the jig will be up for him. He’ll face a Tea Party that’s well on to him.   With respect to Daniels, I dealt with him when he was Lugar’s staffer, when he was with Eli Lilly…heading its North American operations…running a marketing campaign that saved its product Prozac from assault by the Church of Scientology.  He started as an intern to Lugar in the Indianapolis mayor’s office and the two are almost indistinguishable in the way they muffle their words and intentions.  Lugar is a kind of surrogate spiritual father to Daniels.
        Q.  Daniels is an expert in federal budgeting—no?—basis his head of OMB under George W.  Bush where he got the moniker “My man Mitch”?
      A.  He has all the demeanor and personality of a third-rung federal bureaucrat…probably a GS-16…with utterly no blazing conviction or passion. Utterly no view of how priorities should be reordered as Paul Ryan has demonstrated.  No, Daniels is like his mentor Lugar.  You see the problem with federal spending is blomoff…duhommana…and clontatarff…  George Will, the bow-tied columnist who likes to impress with his masterly erudition which when examined boils down to very little….famed for informing us that the first instinct for consumerism started with the Norman Conquest of 1066…thinks Daniels is ducky because he is so dull in contrast to Obama—which makes George think he’s what the country needs now: unflashy.      George introduced Daniels in a flowery speech at CPAC.    
       Daniels is indebted to his mentor Lugar for leading him to eschew social issues so as to romance the country club…the country club never really understanding what Reagan meant when he said that the key to GOP national elections is a three-legged stool: fiscal integrity…emphasis on national defense…and social issues: pro-life etc.  That has never been Lugar’s or Daniels’ way.  They may support social issues privately in order to get their noses clean with conservatives but their heart and souls are with the pro-choice Establishment.
      Why is George Will so ga-ga over this balding,  seedy-looking little Syrian extract who rides a motorcycle in order to seem one of the people?  
        The trouble is that George is easily intimidated by numbers guys…as he was with David Stockman when he ran OMB.  The trouble with Stockman…whom I knew very well since he was the top-staffer to John B. Anderson…was that David had no inner conviction.  He could support John Connally for president as he did privately until Reagan offered him the job.  There was a chasm of ideological difference between Connally and Reagan.   Stockman could never be true to anyone and at the end when he savaged Reagan by consorting with a leftist journalist he showed his true colors—that of a charlatan. 
           Q.   But Mitch signed the Indiana bill depriving Planned Parenthood of state funding did he not?
           A.  A necessary expedient.  
           Q.   Finally the columnist Sneed is quite taken with Joe Biden whom she labels a “devout Catholic” because he was fingering a compact rosary during the Navy Seal raid on the bin Laden compound.
          A.  You have to understand that every liberal who is a Catholic is to Sneed “devout.” Ask Joe why he voted straight pro-abortion in the Senate if he’s such a devout Catholic.  That fact never entered Sneed’s fluffy little gossiper’s head.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


       Q.  What makes you say that?
       A.  Just because I know how the Archdiocese thinks. “Can’t we all get along?” The namby pamby Bruce Dold-orderedTribune editorial reflects a disjointed p.r. sense that means a lot to the wishy-washy of which that paper is the true exemplar.  The Sun-Times would be thrilled.  Jimmy Lago would be celebrated for putting it together.   Msgr. Ken Velo would do individual TV cameos.
       Ex-priest Bob McClory would blow kisses and say now the Church here is truly inclusive. Barbara Blaine whose face ordinarily looks contorted with grievance like a clenched fist would relax.   Hans Kung-influenced theologians would declare Pfleger’s soul has been spared from his threat to leave the Church.    The parishioners of Sabina’s would be pacified and tend to accept their new pastor knowing that Pfleger is happy.       Nothing better than sublimating a split  and papering over real conviction. Oh how Ms. Marin would be happy.   And Laura Washington and those experts on Catholic theology—Neil Steinberg and Richard Roeper.   The Cardinal would be celebrated as a true statesman of the Church.   Would that make him happy? Would it? Do kids like ice cream?  
       Q.  Not that you have a glimmer of what a possible settlement would be?
       A. I don’t. But suppose…just suppose… there comes an offer for Pfleger to head up a newly created archdiocesan office of Social Justice…so he could visit a number of parishes and do variants of his St. Sabina’s act with a hand mike where he bounced off the walls imitating Hillary Clinton. Wouldn’t that be ducky?
        Q.  Changing the subject, what was the most revealing thing that has happened about the Osama bin Laden killing since the original announcement?
       A.  A statement that I guarantee you won’t appear in the Sun-Times or the Tribune or The New York Times  or any of the network news shows.  The fact that Central Intelligence Director Leon Panetta has acknowledged that early waterboarding under Bush  produced in part information that eventuated in bin Laden’s killing.  Certainly this will not appear  in any of Lynn Sweet’s breathless daily diaries that convey how fast her little liberal heart is beating at the prospect that Barack Obama may get some mileage out of this.   Has anybody wondered why Sweet doesn’t cover the Illinois congressional delegation despite the fact that she carries the title chief of the paper’s Washington bureau?  Easy title since she’s the only one on the bureau.  She is entirely given over to Obama and his wife.  Moreover, she has now become not just incorrigible but utterly shameless—nothing more than a stenographer hewing to the party line.