Wednesday, November 9, 2005

We’re All Zealots Now: Green’s Analysis in Crain’s

Paul Green is a dear friend and colleague on the board of the City Club of Chicago but this doesn’t spare him from deserved criticism on his Crain’s column this week. This erudite and witty writer scholar really ought to get off the age-old kick that we are living in the `60s when in order to get elected Republicans should ape the Democrats. Illinois missed the Reagan revolution because of a hold-over from that era. So Paul gives us his usual serenade for his great and good friend Judy Baar Topinka. Polls that show Topinka topping Blagojevich and the remainder trailing measure at this early date only name familiarity. Green will be surprised when the fighting really starts over the accordion-squeezer’s close political squeeze, Bill Cellini and her old squeeze, George Ryan.

The most offensive part of the Green column has him in a tirade against “zealots.” That is code for pro-lifers whom he calls—in a tip-off to his cultural bias—“anti-choice.” “Anti-choice” is the phrase of choice for the abortion lobby and what used for the left-wing of the Democratic party which is scrubbing the term and making an exception now that Bob Casey, Jr. is running for the Senate in Pennsylvania—although possibly to Green, Casey’s a zealot, too. Evidently the new talking points haven’t gotten to Green yet. Anyhow, almost everyone in Illinois’ GOP but Judy appears to be zealots because they’re pro-life: Peter Fitzgerald, Henry Hyde and the entire Republican House delegation except, I guess, Judy Biggert and Mark Kirk. Yes, inferentially it means that Denny Hastert, too, is a zealot. Applying Green’s handy identification, please note that Ronald Reagan was a zealot, George H.W. Bush was a zealot. Of George W. Bush, it goes without saying, he’s a zealot.

Fly-specking the intended stretches of point by Green:
“In the past, the `zealot’ wing of the Illinois GOP has opposed former Govs. Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar, both of whom won statewide victories many times, running center-right campaigns.”

Whoa! Jim Thompson ran “center right campaigns”? Build Illinois center right?

“Yet the conservative zealots in the GOP—individuals who say they oppose the governor on many issues, while in reality their only real concern is abortion—denigrate, debase and defile any party player who does not agree with their rigid anti-choice views.”

Has anybody been heard criticizing Rep. Mark Kirk? Com’on, get a new liberal song-book, Mr. Green.

“Undoubtedly, no Republican can win statewide without the conservative base. But this base is also incapable of carrying Illinois by itself for any GOP candidate.”

The point is, dear Dr. Green that a good vote-getter starts with the full base and expands it. The fact that George W. Bush lost Illinois in 2000 by a landslide might just have something to do with the fact that (a) the Bush campaign by run by Gov. George Ryan who had a vested interest in Bush losing, (b) that Ryan met with Richard M. Daley for a conference on election day and (c) before the polls closed, Ryan was on the radio praising Daley for his part in the Democratic win: the point being that Ryan assumed the Dems would win and go easy on his scandals in federal court.

If so-called liberal leaning Republican candidates are good for Illinois, why did a litany of pro-choicers, er excuse me, anti-anti-choicers lose in the past?


  1. Tom -
    Just my opinion, but "anti-choice" is more of a correct moniker for the folks in the "pro-life" wing of the GOP. Firstly, the "pro-life" phrase is a bit arrogant and self-serving, as it assumes that the other side is "anti-life." That sets up all kinds of arguments on whether someone who supports abortion when it's needed is "against life" (and what does that really mean, anyway?).
    In fact, "pro-choice" means that a person is in favor of allowing a woman and her doctor to make the choice when it comes to an abortion. Those who are "anti-choice," however, oppose women having that choice. Therefore, they are anti-choice. There isn't much arguing that, and those on the anti-choice side of things probably couldn't argue that they were in favor of giving a woman that choice. However, one who is pro-choice could give an argument that they are pro-life as well.
    Regarding the Republicans turning away from the zealots of their party, it's a good idea. I've never bought the theory that the Christian Coalition and other far right-wingers helped push Bush over the edge. Rather, it was an apathetic and lazy left-wing that failed to rally for Sen. Kerry, as well as an equally apethetic electorate that simply wanted things status quo.
    If nothing else, one could turn to last year's Illinois U.S. Senate race and Alan Keyes as proof that zealots only hurt your party, rather than advance it.

  2. Pro "choice" is arrogant and self serving. Abortion is murder.