Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Tribune and Rich Millers CapitolFax Seek to Discredit Oberweis, Kovarik. They Report Inconsistencies and Miller Cites Cellinis Disinclination to Attend Rallies or Socialize as Rebuttal of Kovarik
Very interestingbut they dont comment much on the key charge.
The charge of serious impropriety from the former deputy Illinois state treasurer about the record of Judy Baar Topinkasupported by some mediais treated largely as he says, she says by the Tribune. CapitolFax newsletter and blog-writer Rich Miller cites inconsistencies from the AP when the Renaissance and Holiday Inn deal broke. All the while, Miller gives Bill Celinis denials equal weight to the allegations of Martin Kovarikwith Miller also relying on anecdotal recollection: anyone who knows Cellini, knows hes a backroom kind of guy if he knows up at all and the testimony of Irv Smith that what Kovarik said is not so. For even deigning to criticize Topinka, always treated tenderly by Miller, with what are some serious charges, Miller has one word: slime.
Both seem to dismiss what was the biggest charge Kovarik made: that a commercial drivers license tester at the notorious McCook facility, since convicted,, brought money to Topinka, first in the form of cash and, when admonished, in the form of checks as a token of friendship from George Ryan. Is that slime? Miller, a very good polemicist, seems to write it off as the product of a soured love affair between Topinka and Kovarik. He takes a statement from Oberweis that Kovarik was as close to Topinka as her aide Nancy Kimme is now as a slur, adroitly implying that Oberweis meant something prurient and demeaning. That is Miller implying dishonor by playing dirty pool. Only Miller could find something disreputable in a statement I and others have read as stressing the political closeness of Topinka and her political adviser. Millers insult to Oberweis is a kind of thumb-in-the-eye. Millers entitled to his views which are in some cases as pungent as those you find herealthough we try to stay away from hints of personal impropriety here.
The alienation between Miller and Oberweis stems from early in the dairy magnates political career. Ever since Oberweis who began as a laissez-faire hands off libertarian on abortion to become a social conservative he has been catching flack in a newsletter that, for news and analytical interest, is often top-drawer and indispensable reading for anyone following Illinois politics and gossip. The conclusion seems clear: You cant be pro-life, pro-2nd amendment, anti-gay rights views and insist on immigration enforcement without being disqualified from serious consideration as a statewide candidate by Miller. The Tribune is more delineated in its critique of Oberweis but Millers views against Oberweis, emotionally white-hot, he wears on his sleeve. Notwithstanding, Millers newsletter is about as good as a state inside publication gets. Soon he will begin as an Op Ed columnist for the Sun-Times. Youre not surprised, are you?
He makes big bucks in his media empire, well up in six figures, and is incredibly well regarded but for one who dishes out salvos of criticism, Miller is incredibly thin-skinned. Some years ago I telephoned Miller to complain about inaccuracies in the newsletter. He listened, asked are you finished? I said yes and he hung up. I was holding a disconnected receiver: Click-bzzzzz. This just to tell you that like the rest of us, Miller is very much controlled by the human condition. And now Id like you to go after me in Readers Comments, not that you havent already with views that in almost all cases are extremely helpful.