Monday, August 28, 2006

Personal Asides: Pardon Me! My Goof! My Goodness! Chuck Johanns Scores Two!...Neil Steinberg Gets a Phone Call from Africa…Birkett and Schuerer an Interesting Duo…Randy Stufflebeam…Another Trivia


Chuck Johanns.

My error: somehow I missed Chuck Johanns getting the quote from Theodora and the purple shroud. Good contributor David Graf noticed it too (and I guess also had the right answer but came after Chuck’s). That was unforgivable of me but absolutely brilliant of you, Chuck. Not only that, he comes back with the correct president who gave the quote last time: Calvin Coolidge. Chuck, what can I say? Fantastic work. And thanks for spotting my error, David.

Neil Steinberg.

To appreciate columnist Neil Steinberg you must (a) appreciate a clever scatological joke (which I do)…(b) understand that all home-grown columnists on the city’s Democratic newspaper of record must endorse liberalism with near-religious intensity to keep the paper’s tone intact as per its marketing posture (which I do)…and (c) celebrate trendy mores and morals that reflect youth. Youth, youth, youth: that’s the driving point of the Sun-Times. Some of the more sluggish columnists do it poorly: witness the publisher’s wife, Jennifer Hunter, who bored everyone silly the other day with a wistful séance over an ex-girl friend who insists on staying alienated. Who cares? But then Mrs. Cruickshank beamed up a derogatory reference to her own supposedly out-sized derriere to keep it interesting (well, not knowing the expanse of territory and not wishing to it was not). But I digress.

Steinberg has two things going for him. First, he is undeniably the best writer in the house, with a subtle sense of irony that improves the paper. Second, he observes the canon that he is supposed to appeal to the youth market—in his case the young married male Jewish (he refers to his Jewishness frequently, as when he considered taking a job in New York city but decided against it saying New York city does not need yet another Jew) upper-class sophisticated category, which he does superbly. But every so often Steinberg takes a risk with his liberal marketing niche—but not so much as to risk replacement. He is the only columnist to softly ridicule the Barack Obama phenomenon that is being pushed heavily by Marketing. Lynn Sweet is over in Africa with him and her breathless dispatches reflect the early days of liberal infatuation with communism i.e. “I have seen the future and it works” of Lincoln Steffens: in this case, I have seen the young black man who will be the president of the future and I am enthused.

Steinberg is the only writer in that uniformly left-wing Apparel Mart propaganda trap who has the guts to question the absurd media binge that has captivated not just his paper but the entire Chicago media market. He wrote a gentle statement, rephrasing a view that has not been published except on this Blog: that it would have been more fitting for Obama to visit the white mother who gave him sustenance after his black father skipped out to Harvard and never returned. To soften the effect, Steinberg wisely said that he would vote for Obama for president (see: Steinberg’s not a racist!). And he deftly suggested that perhaps the time has past when we have to atone for guilt by putting on a media circus like this. Yesterday Steinberg reported that he had received a phone call from Kenya from the Senator himself who expressed with steely phraseology that he loved his mother and that he viewed Steinberg as suggesting the opposite. Well, then, why doesn’t young Galahad give some attention to her in the public media?

The reason he doesn’t…and Steinberg has alluded to this…is that this is a media promotion for his presidency—and it is far more valuable to appeal to the half of his nationality that is black which more interests the heavy constituency of the Democrat party that is black rather than the half that is Kansas white. Perhaps David Axelrod who from his Chicago p. r. boiler room is pulling the wires for this African circus might be better to talk to. But if he were to do this, Neil Steinberg, a very good columnist, would be looking for a job and might have to settle for a column-writing job where he would be just another Jew in New York.

Birkett and Scheurer.

Joe Birkett and Bill Schuerer were very good on my show last night. All ten lines were jammed. About Joe: you know I favor him and supported him in the Conservative Summit—the only one to vote for him for governor. About Scheurer you don’t know much, but he is the Moderate party candidate for 8th district Congress, collected sufficient signatures on his petitions, was accepted as a bona fide third party candidate. So he will be on the ballot. Let me say he is a very presentable gentleman with whom I disagree—but you knew that. He was perspiring profusely during the show but he needn’t have. The show produced some interesting statements from Schuerer.

He is far more appreciative of Republican David McSweeney’s candor and character as a candidate for Congress in that district than he is of Democrat Melissa Bean.

Not that he agrees with McSweeney but that he shares with me the belief that David is sincere, well-versed and thoroughly at ease with the issues of the Congress. I personally believe that if he gets a fair hearing and presentation of his views in the media…which is problematic…he would be far more attractive to the Democrats of the 8th than Ms. Bean. I have met Ms. Bean only twice: once when she was on my show. She is a very attractive lady but for several things.

She utterly refused to have any opinions about public life that were not in her handy Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee kit she carried into the studio. She insisted on her staff aide sitting beside her at the desk and pointing with a grubby finger to the sheets she had spread out before her in answer to my questions. And when I asked her who she was most impressed with in the House she paused…hemmed and hawed…hawed and hemmed…and came up with the answer. Now usually a first term Congressman, especially one who is a Democrat in a heavily Republican district, would be well advised to say that Speaker Denny Hastert impressed her. After all, he is only the third Speaker to come from Illinois. So what was she afraid of?

The fact was that Ms. Bean’s tutorial image-maker didn’t allow her to say this and she followed his direction meekly. After some thought following his scribbling a note to her, she said that the Congressman she was most impressed with was…are you ready?...Rahm Emanuel. I don’t think a Congressman Bill Schuerer, no matter how much I disagree with him, would have to hem and haw…and certainly wouldn’t come up with the name of Rahm Emanuel.

Schuerer did not disavow for a moment that he would consider voting for the impeachment of President George W. Bush if, under a Democratic House, a bill of impeachment would be submitted—not only on the Iraq War but on other things (what they are he didn’t specify). That was a significant statement that has never come out in the campaign before to my knowledge.

Schuerer said that if elected he would go to the House and vote “present” on election of a Speaker…between Denny Hastert and Nancy Pelosi…unless the House was so mathematically tied that by his single vote he could decide the issue. That strikes me as disqualifying the voters of the 8th in participating in a key decision they have every right to perform—the election of a Speaker from a party that will govern the House. What is the sense of electing someone who would only vote in case of a tie?

Randy Stufflebeam.

I hope I never get so jaded with this political stuff…so absorbed with two-party politics…that I can’t spot a genuine idealist, even an impractical one, when I see one. And Saturday afternoon I had coffee with a man who really impresses me, notwithstanding the fact that because he’s engaged in a futile write-in for governor he doesn’t stand a chance—but his conservative freshness, idealism and good spirit is highly impressive. He’s not unlike the Jimmy Stewart character in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Only he wants to go to Springfield.

He is Randy Stufflebeam of Belleville who is running on a write-in for governor for the Constitutionalist party. He is not the loose cannon that Howie Phillips, founder of the national party is. Somewhere along the line Howie got unhinged and seeks to establish a theocratic state—not the one that fellow eccentric Kevin Phillips (no relation) fears but one Howie is really working for.

But there is no need for Kevin or anyone else to worry about Howie. One of these days somebody is going to run around his office with a net, scoop him up and carry him away. But Howie has really no connection with the bright young man who is running on a write-in for the Constitutionalist party here, Randy Stufflebeam. There is no talk of a theocratic state governed by Governor Stufflebeam for instance. His program can be found at .

The other day he and his Dad, Cal were in town. Seeing them I thought immediately of the hardy souls who sat down in another coffee house with Sam Adams: the Stufflebeams, solid social conservatives, are that genuine—with Randy having served two hitches in the U. S. Marine Corps. His father is his driver, a husky ex-semi trailer trucker: the two of them representing the best that Illinois can offer. My good friend Eunice Conn, formerly of Niles who now lives near Danville, is his volunteer campaign manager. Randy just may have solved my problem for me. I just have to practice spelling R-a-n-d-y S-t-u-f-f-l-e-b-e-a-m if by chance I forget to take his literature with me to the polls. We could do a lot worse, folks, than Randy Stufflebeam…and we have…and this November we will.

Another Trivia.

Switch now from great orations to something probably only someone of my age will remember. It was a radio show on Saturday night…before television. It dealt with sports and the commentator was Bill Stern. There was a jingle when his show finished which tied him to the product sponsoring the show. Do you remember it? I can hear it now sixty some years later. I’ll start it and see…without search engine help…if you can complete it.

It went: “Bill Stern the Colgate Shave Cream Man is on his way…”

Can you finish it?


  1. I read Neil Steinberg's column about his 'parsing' of Obama the pol and taking a hot phone call from the Senator.

    Personally, I feel that Steinberg's column should have a place in an anthology of good prose. I re-read the column four times and each time came away with a better opinion of the piece.

    He is it for the Sun Times, as Laura Washington does not appear near enough, as far as great writers go.

    I thought yesterday's column stood ten feet tall! Great Job, Steinberg.

  2. Tom, I think many Republicans agree with you about Topinka being an unacceptable choice.

    But how can you still cover for Birkett, her principle shill? What's the theory, that he's such a good conservative that he got behind someone even more liberal than Blagojevich? It just doesn't make sense.

    Birkett seems to repeat over and over again how he doesn't agree with Judy on everything. He comes up with that they agree on parental notification. Well that's wonderful. But where have the two been? Where are the editorials, the letters to the editor, the ads, the push for legislation?

    Stop kidding yourself Tom. Birkett is not a man of principle and the only thing he and Judy agree on is that her campaign is going to repay his remaining campaign debt from 2002.

  3. Paul, Just This Guy, You Know?August 28, 2006 at 9:23 AM

    Tom, you're 100% right about Randy! I met him the same day you did, but I've been blogging about him for months. He'd be a much better governor than either major party nominee!

  4. Tom--
    you didn't get it quite right. It goes

    Bill Stern the Colgate Shave Cream man is on the air.
    Bill Stern the Colgate Shave Cream man with stories rare.....
    I forget the rest--skomething about tuning in each Thursday night.

  5. Been out of town but I agree with your praise for my candidate for governor.

    I read Pat Buchanan's new book while away and it is excellent - a must read for conservatives and people who love America.

    Pat also had an excellent article scouraging the Weekly Standard for supporting Joe Lieberman for the 2008 GOP VP nomination.

    "In short, The Weekly Standard wishes to see, on a Republican ticket and a heartbeat away from the presidency, a proud liberal Democrat who supports partial-birth abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, gay rights, affirmative action, reparations for slavery, gun control, higher taxes on the top 2 percent, distribution of condoms in public schools and driver's licenses for illegal aliens.

    What does Joe oppose? School prayer, the American Legion's flag amendment, Sam Alito, drilling in the ANWAR and any phase-out of death taxes....

    But as long as you support war in Lebanon, war in Iraq and a "war-fighting Republican Party," in the Weekly Standard's phrase, you get a pass on everything else. Beat the drum for permanent war for global democracy and against Islamo-fascism, and all other sins are forgiven you.

    Such is the state of conservatism, 2006.

    Pat Buchanan - An American Patriot!

  6. There's no doubt with continued blogs like these, Stufflebeam CAN WIN!!