Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Personal Asides: Blagojevichs Mistake was in Ransoming the States Future to Meeks Emanuels Liberal Influence Jeopardizes Tammy Duckworths Campaign
Increasingly it looks as if Gov. Blagojevich made a crucial mistake that could cost him reelection, even to a shallow candidacy like that of Judy Baar Topinka. It was allowing himself to be bullied by a pompous, ambition-driven immature young minister and state senator who has been blinded by his own aspirations and the uncritical fawning he has received from his parishioners. The incense is getting in his eyes from people who have mistakenly confused the worship of the Almighty to the worship of James Meeks.
It is time for Illinoisans to ask publicly: just who is this Reverend James Meeks and how does he get away with blatantly strutting around on an altar where he shamelessly mixes personal politics with religion in defiance of his 501(c) (3) that other religionists could not do? If the media were not so cowardly they would be investigating the admixture of church contributions and political ambition. The last time anybody did it, it was the Sun-Times which wrote a series of articles exposing the hustling of Rev. Jesse Jackson. But so frightened have been the new managers that they gave the pouting political minister a weekly column which he uses to recycle the Democratic National Committees talking points.
Bad as the senior Jesse has been as a shameless proponent of his own ambition, Meeks is worse because he has bullied a weak governor into handing away the states fiscal future.By allowing this political extortionist to bully him to the extent that he wants to privatize the lottery for short-term gain, Blagojevich surrendered the respect his office normally retains. The bogus privatization of the lottery is so transparentso filled with short-term bargaining at the expense of the long-termthat the truth is beginning to filter out. Meeks use of the pulpit for his political gain is a sacrilege but the docile refusal of the media to probe his empire which exists as a testament to the shameless entwining of his political ambitions and use of his church is a low point in journalism.
There are those who say that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are similar: both have been investigated by the IRS but they are not similar to Meeks. Unlike them, Meeks is a political office-holder (Robertson resigned the ministry when he unsuccessfully sought the presidency) who uses his church as a lever to build his preening ambition to either become mayor or governor. Instead of reporting on Meeks misuse of politics and religion, the liberal media are so frightened of seeming critical of an African-American that by neglect they have assisted the extortion. With a number of highly rated investigative journalists on television and in the newspapers, it is far beyond the time when Reverend-Senator Meeks gets the same treatment anyone else would get regardless of race. Let us say a white evangelical minister-pol holds office, stomps up and down the altar on Sunday television, raising money for mis-named tax exempt purposes which is really his own politics and seeks to extort a weak governor by threatening to run on a third party line unless the governor bargains away the states future. Such a white con man would be probed and denounced by the editorial boards in a quick minute. Journalisms inclination to look the other way because an arrogant African American minister has quite a following on the South Side is unconscionable and reverse racism in its most virulent form.
However by unwisely yielding to Meeks and allowing himself to be blackmailed, Blagojevich may well have sealed his own political doom. What journalism and Blagojevich are afraid to doand Ms. Topinka is unable to do by lack of campaign funds due to her own ineptitude and unpreparedness as a candidatethe voters will have to improvise by grassroots objections to the deal without help from the media. The best solution for voters would be to negate the governors line altogether but that is impossible. What is not understandable is the cowardice of the once proud journalism profession. That and the willingness of the Bush IRS to face up to the flagrant misuse of its tax exempt privilege for political gain
Tammy Duckworth, the seriously wounded ex-helicopter pilot of the Iraq War, was, all are agreed, an initially brilliant choice for Congress and has a sentimental argument to make to go to Congress. But having cooperated with Sen. Dick Durbin to install her as Democratic nominee in the 6th district, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (already hearing the siren call as possible successor to Nancy Pelosi) has marred her chances by insisting she bow to a harsh, ultra-liberal standard on social issues. By all odds, Ms. Duckworth should not have been forced to accede to the liberal Beltways view that she must oppose parental consent and embrace the full complement of lefty social issues. But there she is, running in a moderate-to-conservative district with a social agenda that fits San Francisco, courtesy of Emanuel and his liberal campaign goons.
If she loses in a year that admittedly is not a good one so far for Republicans, Democratic leaders in the House should think twice about installing the fitting representation of Budd Schulbergs character from a prize-winning novel to the sequel: Sammy Glick goes to Washington as party leader. Bad as Botox Nancy is, the substitution of this lean and hungry Cassius would do the Democrats in.