Thursday, February 9, 2006
Thoughts While Shaving
The latest Chicago Tribune poll has a ho-hum quality to it: Judy Baar Topinka at 38, Jim Oberweis 17, Ron Gidwitz 11, Bill Brady 8 and undecided 25. Why ho-hum? The Tribune poll, especially for primaries, has been totally useless. Remember the poll that showed, until the very end, Bob Kustra winning the primary over Al Salvi who was hardly more than a blip on the screen? Remember the poll that showed George Ryan getting 28 percent of the black vote? He got about 7. The fact that Topinka is ahead is no shocker. Topinka has campaigned statewide for many years. Ever since I first met the Market Share people Ive had the ideaI cant prove it butthat they shade the outcome to please the client.
Anyhow: Oberweis is about where he should be before any media surge. Gidwitzs rise is due to the big bucks hes spent on TV advertising. Brady is still stuck on 8 and not moving (although now that Rauschenberger isnt running for gov, downstate senators are moving to Brady: an important development the media havent caught up with yet).
If we give the poll any credibility at all, what it means is that Jim Oberweis has to go negative on a certain prematurely-orange-haired accordionistbut go negative in an adult, not juvenile, way. Simply use her record against her: her attempted deal on what was the Renaissance hotel in Springfield in order to get big donor Bill Cellini off the hook, with the opposing decision nixing the deal by then Attorney General Jim Ryan. Let Jim Ryans statement of the time do most of the work. Thats first.
Secondand Im sure the Oberweis people will do thisfind the clip of JBT doing the polka with Gov. George Ryan while the wording carries the message that she has been in the hybrid for a long, long time i.e. her not saying a peep during the big spending years of George Ryan. Third, they will go easy on her gay-rights stuff and her participation in the gay rights parades but allude to it in subdued fashion. You dont have to hit people over the head with a dead fish in order to get the idea across. Fourth, they will with a little more definitude her flip-flop on abortion, from when she was a pro-life legislator to her more recent pronouncements.
Fifth, they will go into a little history. A few years ago, Jim Nalepa was a sure-fire winner over Bill Lipinski and the only thing that prevented that victory was Riverside Committeeman Topinka sending out a mass mailing for Democrat Lipinski. Im sure theyll show the sample ballot from Riverside. Sixthand this is a big onethe name Peter Fitzgerald is now golden because hes not running, became a sort of martyr by paying the price for naming Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation) as U.S. District Attorney whereupon he indicted George Ryan. Peter Fitzgerald also saved the Lincoln museum from being turned into a patronage dump by G. Ryan and his boys. While Peter was considering whether or not to run again, Judy was state Republican chairman. She refused to endorse him for reelection: imagine, the state GOP chairman refusing to endorse the Republican U.S. Senator for reelection! On a 50,000-watt station. It is the litmus test of belonging to the hybrid. Then after the show she denies she refused to endorse him.
The key would be to produce hard-hitting but deft commercials, stressing her stands but not demonizing her. Would there be a backlash, to Brady, for instance if the commercials are tough? Sure, theres a chance of that but I dont think Brady has the financial ammunition for the long haul. Hell be in there until the end when, if hes lucky, Oberweis will be nominated and bygones will be bygones and if hes not, Topinka will be nominated and nobody will forget that Bill Brady was the spoiler.
For us oldsters who remember the early days of the civil rights movement when vigorous speakers made rhymes and got the crowd swaying, the politicized funeral of Coretta Scott King was a blast from the past. Here was Joseph Lowery of the SCLC, 87, who hasnt been on TV since Selma finally mustering up a string of firecrackers in old-time Baptist style to link, in mushy, emotional fashion, the billions spent on Iraq and billions not spent for the poor. How nostalgic.
And out trots Jimmy Carter, who assuredly was the worst president of the 20th centuryfar worse than the fictional worstWarren Harding (who really accomplished things by cutting taxes, sending the economy spurting) that Jimmy Carter who accomplished what few did before: build high inflation and high unemployment plus botching a recovery of Iranian-held hostages where three helicopters went bust in the desert, aborting a raid on Teheran. Yes, that Jimmy Carter, sour, unrelenting. And what does he say? He says that Katrina killed more blacks than whites (when in a proportionate sense, fewer blacks died than whites, given New Orleans population ratio). Also: Martin Luther King was wire-taped without his knowing it. That was supposed to be a zing at Bush? Who wire-taped King: the royal Democratic family of the Kennedys, JFK the president, his brother Bobby the AG and later LBJ through help of his aide Bill Moyers. But it was a fun time, even though it took 6 hours: the biggest Democratic boomerang rally since the one held in Minneapolis for Paul Wellstone.
Political Shootout Sunday should be ve-e-r-y interesting. On the Republican side, Rod McCollough, a consultant for Sandy Wegman for Lieutenant Governor who wants to clear up things concerning Joe Birketts indictment of him for falsifying candidate petitions. Ive promised him only a few minutes on that topic. On the journalistic side, our old friend Russ Stewart, lawyer, political analyst for Nadig Newspapers. Should be good: thats Sunday night at 8 on WLS.