Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Personal Aside: In Every Election There’s a Surprise. Where Shall it Be in This One?...Gary MacDougall Should be Convinced to Return as State Chairman.



In every election I’ve participated in there’s a “surprise”—an occurrence that makes you say: “Damn, if I had only been paying attention, I would have spotted it!” Sometimes it’s the election of someone the newspapers have dismissed…sometimes it’s the rather easy victory for someone the pundits had said would be locked in a “too close too call” effort. Remember the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan? I well remember “Washington Week in Review”—composed of four liberals agreeing with each other—saying as all shook their heads solemnly that the race between President Carter and Ronald Reagan would be “too close to call.” That was because the pundits, dismissing the evidence, wanted Carter to pull it out. It was over relatively early on election night.

What will be the “surprise” this year? Write in Reader’s Comments and tell me. Let me run a few by you. Will it possibly be the Kirk-Seals race where Democrat Dan Seals who has impressed lots of people in the 10th who nevertheless say, he’s a good candidate but--…will defeat supposedly one of the GOP’s rising stars, Mark Kirk? I’m told that in a recent debate Seals really trounced Kirk. He would be Illinois’ second African American super-star, the first to triumph in the Brahmin North Shore district since Abner Mikva. Will it be Dan Seals?

Or will it be David McSweeney who has always been touted as a very good candidate but whom some pundits say, with the political breaks running against Republicans, he can’t pull it out. I would really, really-and-truly want to celebrate that one because I have been a fan of McSweeney’s before he ran. His winning that thing would cheer me enormously.

I obviously hope Peter Roskam will win in the 6th to carry on the tradition begun by my old hero Henry Hyde—but with the polls going, albeit slightly his way, I don’t register that victory, even close, as a surprise…but in a disastrous year I’ll take whatever I can get. Of course a real surprise would be Andrea Zinga triumphing in the downstate 17th which would be cause of celebration by me well into the morning—after I finish celebrating for David McSweeney. Tony Peraica’s victory would be inestimably good but am I wrong to imagine it won’t be a surprise? Nevertheless it would indeed be wonderful to savor.

Don’t tell me that the surprise will be the election of Judy Baar Topinka, God help us. Just don’t tell me that. But if you must…you must. (Incidentally, I never felt sorrier for anyone in my life than for Steve Huntley, the “Sun-Times” editorial page editor, who has always had a high regard for Topinka, who was told to sit down and craft an editorial supporting Rod Blagojevich. And after that support for the Democratic candidate for state treasurer. And after that support for Todd Stroger. That is a triple headed penance that no one—least of all Steve who is a decent, moderate…and I stress moderate…conservative…should have to endure. For those three things he should get a hefty pay raise.

Tell me where you think the surprise will come! And for those out of state, including Frank Nofsinger, go across the map, if you will. Does Frank even care if Connecticut’s liberal Republican Chris Shays wins, I wonder? It’s a game all can play and the winner will be celebrated in this web-site’s Hall of Pundit fame!


Gary MacDougall was one of the best state Republican chairmen I’ve ever seen…and I’ve seen a few in two states. He was unceremoniously dumped through Bob Kjellander’s machinations for Judy Baar Topinka who refused to endorse a sitting, honorable, outstanding Republican U. S. Senator, Peter Fitzgerald, for reelection. Now that the worm has turned and Topinka is adrift in the wild, blue seas without a paddle and with no intellectual resources or knowledge of government to sustain her, there should be a just retaliation—but more than retaliation: the return of an outstanding party official with the highest integrity and acumen.

Just as an example of how highly he’s regarded, I was attending a Dave McSweeney reception featuring Senator John McCain…no one whom I have an interest in supporting for president but whom I had wanted to scout nevertheless. I was standing by the door talking to Gary and his family when McCain and his entourage enter and McCain makes a bee-line for MacDougall and spends a vast number of minutes conferring with him. That’s the kind of stature that an Illinois state chairman should have. It’s my hope that after this is all over…and I write in Randy Stufflebeam…the GOP will wisely regroup and draft MacDougall! (I hope he’s not committed irrevocably to McCain for president, however).

A “First” for Jesuit Education: A Real Pre-Roe v. Wade Illegal Abortionist Addresses Loyola As Vatican Archbishop Makes Busy to Avoid Answering Letter of Protest from Catholic Citizens of Illinois.

Hastert’s Religious Guru Prays Over Him 40 Minutes, then Tells Him to Resign as Speaker. Number 2 in Line for Presidency Falls for Quack.

A column from The Wanderer, the oldest national weekly Catholic newspaper in the U. S.

By Thomas F. Roeser

CHICAGO—Protests against the militant anti-Catholic secularism of so-called “Catholic” universities here go ignored by Rome, all the while Loyola University has featured an instructional course for its students: an address by an abortion provider who gave students an inside-look at her work. The presentation was a live infomercial.

The lecture was promulgated with the sanction of the Jesuit university. Indeed, all that was lacking was a fervent endorsement of death in the womb by the university’s president, Fr. Michael J. Garanzini, SJ. Fr. Garanzini does not respond to phone calls from news media including The Wanderer which may ask him questions he disdains as critical—but he has been front and center as the university sponsored a good many productions, many of them gay, including “The Vagina Monologues.”

Last week the production could be called a uterus monologue. Dr. Judith Arcana was invited by the Loyola University Chicago “Women’s Studies Department” to be a guest lecturer for a bioethics class entitled “Bioethics 395: The Ethics of Human Reproduction” to do what the university described as a “performance” of her work.

Dr. Arcana was a member of the Abortion Counseling Service of the “Chicago Women’s Liberation Union”—better known by its nickname “Jane.” “Jane” was a Chicago underground abortion service roughly five years prior to Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton in 1973. The Women’s Studies department touted that “`Jane’ performed 11,000 safe [sic] abortions. ” Far from the usual run-of-the-abortion-mill advocates of death in the womb who strive to describe the operations as unfortunate—even tragedies—Dr. Arcana happily told the Loyola students that the service was “caring” and “compassionate.”

“Women joined the service through periodic orientation meetings and learned the necessary tasks from those who had come before them,” she said. “Once their counseling skills had been developed in new recruits, and the group had come to trust them, they could learn more—doing everything from basic record-keeping to becoming a medic—one who performed abortions.

“Ultimately we learned to do abortions in all three trimesters. Although we did only a handful in the third, as you may imagine, there were many in the second, no doubt because illegality forced women and girls to take so much time searching for abortionists and saving up money. The methods that we learned, we primarily learned from one man. He was not a doctor but he was the best [sic]. Once we understood that many of the people doing abortiona at that time were not doctors, we realized that we could do it, too. This would mean women would not have to be charged a lot of money, could even come through the service free. So we pressed this man to teach us as he had been taught. He was an extraordinary man in many ways, had been doing this work and maybe other illegal work virtually all of his life.

“`Our’ abortionist liked us, thought we were cool (which we were) and we liked him so it was a good arrangement all around. He eventually taught one of us and then let others watch. Eventually the one he had taught then taught others.”

A Loyola student, critical of abortion, describes Dr. Arcana as believing “that abortion can and should be done with grace, compassion and care. She accepted that abortion is the taking of a human life and justified it by means of compassion.”

Earlier Dr. Arcana had spoken of her experience in London: “I think there is a need for us to talk more about what we are doing, when we carry out or support abortion. We—in the States—have dealt heavily, up top now, in euphemism. I think one of the reasons why the `good guys’—the people in favor of abortion rights—lost a lot of ground is that we have been unwilling to talk to women about what it means to abort a baby. We don’t ever talk about babies. We don’t ever talk about what is being decided in an abortion. We never talk about responsibility. The word `choice’ is the biggest euphemism. Some use the phrases `products of conception’ and ‘contents of the uterus’ or exchange the word `pregnancy’ for the word `fetus.’ I think this is a mistake tactically and strategically and I think it is wrong. And indeed, it has not worked—we have lost the high ground we had when Roe was decided.

“My objection here is not only that we have lost ground but also that our tactics are not good ones. They may even constitute bad faith. It is morally and ethically wrong to do abortions without acknowledging what it means to do them. I performed abortions. I have had an abortion and I am in favor of women having abortions when we choose to do so. But we should never disregard the fact that being pregnant means there is a baby growing inside of a woman, a baby whose life is ended. We ought not to pretend this is not happening.”

Attempts to protest to Fr. Garanzini SJ have been futile because Loyola, like many other establishmentarian Catholic universities, long ago handed over practical control to secular boards of directors. They in turn named presidents wearing roman collars but who are priests in name only--amenable to the de-Catholicization of the university.

While not responding to protests on this or other topics which he deems impolitic, Fr. Garanzini is noted for his great interest in Renaissance art. Last year he convened an art festival at Loyola and, with no obvious relevance, speculated to the Chicago Tribune that the great 17th century artist Caravaggio was gay. The comment received wide attention in the gay community which endorsed the artist’s presumed sexual orientation. But the distinguished art critic Paul Johnson in his landmark volume Art: A New History [Harper-Collins: 2003] disagrees. Michelangelo Merisi, known as “Caravaggio” [1571-1610] had two mistresses, was engaged regularly in roundhouse tavern brawls, was brought to trial for assault eleven times, killed a policeman, fled to avoid execution, but was never charged with sodomy then a capital offense. Johnson ascribed the Caravaggio story as common rumor similar to those circulated by aesthetes and gay activists about famous people whom they recruit posthumously.

Catholic Citizens of Illinois has protested not just secularism but anti-Catholic teaching at Chicago’s two large purportedly Catholic universities—DePaul and Loyola. Protests signed by Mrs. Mary Anne Hackett, its president, weres sent to Rome including to Archbishop John Miller, an expert on renewal of Catholic higher education. He has talked extensively about the need to re-catechize Catholic universities in the United States. But once in Rome, he became not just distant but incommunicado. There has been no response to Mrs. Hackett’s letters. Francis Cardinal George, the archbishop of Chicago, has said that he has talked to Archbishop Miller on these matters but received what George called “a Roman response.” That is generally interpreted as implying that the Hackett protests have gone to the dead letter office in the Vatican. While the archbishop is facile in writing about renewal of Catholic education, he is dilatory in responding to laymen’s entreaties.


In election years, Republicans issue dire warnings about “an October Surprise” where last-minute news is generated to cause voters to lose respect for Republican office-holders. But last week an October surprise came not from the Democrats but from House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) who seemed to play a trick on his Republican party.

In this state Hastert is well known as a former high school wrestling coach and history teacher. Earlier this month, a number of congressmen including the House Majority leader said that they had warned him several times about Cong. Mark Foley’s circulation of inappropriate I-mails to a teen-aged boy page. The Speaker reportedly twirled his spectacles to and fro, raised his eyebrows meaningfully which evidenced serious thought but nothing happened. In the furor that followed, suspicion has grown in some state circles that he is a dim bulb. Others reacted angrily and said no, he is very cogent. How could it be so, they ask, when he is second in line for the presidency of the United States? The answer seems to be that since all the smart guys above him in the House GOP leadership were leaving for one reason or another—due to womanizing or legal troubles--the GOP might have had to choose a Speaker from the dregs.

Impossible counted Hastert’s supporters. But since last week they have been very quiet in his defense. As erupting from Hastert himself, a story came out that was an unwelcome October surprise.

The Speaker, who has been staying at his home in tiny Plano, Illinois rather than campaigning, decided one night last week to go out for dinner to the town’s only restaurant. He was accompanied (as he always is) by three secret service agents on guard to protect him from assassination. The only other customer in the place when Hastert and his body-guards walked in was one Dennis Ryan who was devouring a small prime fillet (rare). Ryan is an advance man for an evangelist K. A. Paul whom some call a quack. He had stopped off en-route from South Bend, Ind., where Paul had conducted a tent rally.

Ryan beckoned to Hastert who was attentive to what the sawdust trail advance man said. He told Hastert that Dr. Paul believed the Cong. Mark Foley scandal was blown out of proportion and was distracting attention from global poverty.

After Hastert agreed, Ryan suggested that Dr. Paul visit the Speaker the next morning to reiterate his concern. As the secret service stood by and looked bored, Ryan rang up Dr. Paul on his cell-phone and moved the instrument to Hastert’s ear. After hearing Dr. Paul, Hastert invited the evangelist to visit him the next morning at his Plano home. Usually this procedure would necessitate a federal screening for anyone to see a man who is number three in line for the presidency—but this was waved aside as unnecessary for a man of Dr. Paul’s stature.

The invitation was eagerly received. Dr. Paul and Ryan alerted the Associated Press and hired a photographer. They rang the doorbell the next morning at 7::30 and the door was opened by Hastert. Dr. Paul ordered his hired photographer to take a succession of photos of him with Hastert. The session ended with the evangelist praying over the Speaker for 40 minutes the portly top lawmaker, shown sitting and listening in rapt attention to the preacher as the minister raised his hands in dramatic fashion.

Once outside, advanceman Ryan professionally distributed the photos and to the Associated Press reporter, Dr. Paul announced that he had urged Hastert to resign as Speaker immediately and that Hastert agreed. That would have precipitated yet another crisis of succession to the presidency. When told that he had agreed to resign, Hastert denied it emphatically but stayed inside his house all day, answering no more questions.

But on his way to more evangelical sessions, Dr. Paul had much to say about Hastert’s need to resign and about Dr Paul’s views that it is imperative that the U. S. withdraw its troops from Iraq immediately. .

Dr. Paul, born Anand Kilari in Andhra Pradesh, India has made millions of dollars with his ministry, claiming to have counseled Saddam Hussein, Muammar al –Khaddafi, Slobodan Milsoevic and al-Qaeda’s Abu Musab al-Zarquawi. His ministry lost its membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability because Paul announced he asked God whether he should do disclose his financial records but God was so non-committal he has refused. In news reports he says he told Hastert to quit because if he didn’t the Republicans would lose control of the House and in 35 days or so he’d be out anyhow so he might as well beat the exodus to spare his reputation. He says Hastert gave this some thought. All in all it was quite a news day for Hastert—and for the voluble Dr. Paul.

Others who have listened to Dr. Paul’s spiritual counsel include the late Nelson Bunker Hunt, the Houston mega-multi-millionaire, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, himself a former evangelist famed for losing 110 lbs. over a year in a crash diet producing an improved appearance with the result that he is regarded by some as a dark-horse Republican candidate for president; Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney and boxer Evander Holyfield. In recent months Huckabee, McCartney and Holyfield have been taciturn about their religious experience with Dr. Paul—but none more so than has Speaker Hastert since last week. Nor has the Speaker’s secret service detail been particularly forthcoming.

Media have been instructed not to bother Hastert with questions concerning Paul but to refer them to his press secretary. However, Dr. Paul informs reporters that he will continue to take personally all the questions they will ask and interviews they seek concerning his prayer session with Speaker Hastert.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Personal Asides: The “Trib’s” Anti-Life Editorial Bigotry…Dear Peggy.



Not long ago the “Tribune” was noted for its tend-to-the-left news coverage, op eds that contradict each other and wishy-washy editorials ending “time will tell” or “we will see” with the proviso that just before the election, the page would generally endorse Republicans…so as to effect a balance making it seem that a vestige of the old gutsy conservativeness endured. Not this year. The paper has tend-to-the-left news coverage, op eds that contradict themselves (with the exception of the best political columnist the paper ever had: John Kass)…wishy-washy editorials ending “time will tell” and “we will see” but candidate endorsements that go heavily to the left.

What’s interesting is that generally the paper reflects a kind of libertarianism and pro-business outlook in its editorials—but increasingly its candidate endorsements do not reflect the philosophy: which is par for a newspaper that is confused about where it stands. Its economic views sound like Peter Roskam’s but it endorses Tammy Duckworth whose positions are far different. The only conclusion is that Roskam, who is a pro-lifer is objectionable from that standpoint to a newspaper that increasingly shows its anti-life bigotry. The view is harder to pin down by its endorsement of Melissa Bean who has a pro-business attitude but again, it is clear, that David McSweeney’s pro-life stand is objectionable.

Yet another indication of its anti-life bigotry is its renunciation of Maureen Murphy, the Republican candidate for the Board of (Tax) Appeals. Typically beating around the bush, it criticizes Murphy for being insufficiently transparent in her office. But that is a falsehood because the record of every transaction is on the computer and available to the public. Strange for the paper that cherishes a fig-leaf of tax accountability, the editorial complains about “too many appeals”…which has been a taxpayer’s prerogative since the American Revolution. The real cause for opposing Murphy can be surmised as hostility to the fact that as state Rep and Republican county chairman she has been adamantly pro-life. That seems to be the unmistakable reason why the newspaper…tip-toeing around to avoid admitting its reliance on the issue…has to invent other reasons in order to clear the decks of Republican social conservatives.

Subdued but evident in code language throughout the legislative endorsements is anti-life bigotry: the view that if a candidate is consistently pro-life, he is “rigid,” “doctrinaire” and insufficiently “flexible.” Such is the case with the paper’s refusal to endorse Republican state Rep Terry Parke (R-Hoffman Estates). The paper has a reason not to endorse Parke because his awarding U of I scholarships to a kid whose parents contributed to him raises a kind of suspicion. But get the language the editorial uses: probably coming from the ex-cookbook editor who is on its “editorial board” for the all-important goal of diversity—not diversity in views necessarily but diversity in the wish to add culinary arts to the merry madcap of its membership which also included a professed gay Latino activist. How about a heterosexual black dwarf to complete the tango?

Anyhow, after the page rightly censures Parke on the scholarship thing and endorses his Democratic opponent, this is how it describes Parke, one of the social conservatives’ strongest and most reliable defenders. He “has always been politically rigid.” That’s code for: you should change your attitude on pro-life to conform with the flexibility of the “Tribune.” On another issue of interest to social conservatives, “Parke earned an `A’ rating from the National Rifle Association”—which is the bugaboo that faint-hearted liberal New York Times-wannabes apply…while his opponent, somebody named Fred Crespo says he supports “common-sense gun laws.” That’s enough for the “Tribune”: “common-sense gun laws” whatever that means. One thing is sure: if a candidate is a firm conservative and holds strongly to well-defined social views, he can be sure that he will be nixed by the paper for his “rigid” and “uncompromising” views. Yet “rigid” and “uncompromising” views on the left are never disqualified—as was the case with the most rigid, autocratic and doctrinaire liberal in the House who was endorsed by the paper: Barbara Flynn Currie. Let’s say Mike Madigan’s majority leader is “rigid” and “inflexible.”

Also there’s one point I’d like to make about the “Trib” which I’ve written before. It likes to spin up a mélange of sophisticated, balanced and nuanced solutions to public problems but in its endorsements largely supports flat, unchanging, unblinking liberal Democrats—as in the case of Rep. Marlow Colvin (D-33rd). He succeeded Todd Stroger in the legislature and he’s endorsed because “he’s certainly done more than his predecessor.” That’s a recommendation? So has the House janitor. A newspaper looking for improvement might have endorsed the Republican Nathan Peoples, a city business consultant but that would not be figure to be elected in an all-black Democratic district. Which shows you that the vaunted editorial board is as cynical as backroom politicians in selecting those who can get elected rather than ones who support a program the duplicitous “Trib” so piously supports on other days.

Dear Peggy.

Some uncounted years ago, I stopped in on Quaker Oats business to visit with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce’s chief economist. A photo of a blonde in alluring Hollywood pose was on his desk. Who is that? I asked.

“My wife,” he said. “She’s a speech-writer for President Reagan.”

After I expressed admiration for the cover-girl picture, he said, “yes, others have made the same comment. Telling me that is one thing but men make a big mistake with her when they tell her she’s good looking.”

What an odd comment, I thought but then changed the subject back to economics.

Not long ago, interviewed on TV, there she was, forefinger grazing her cheek to represent thoughtful, later removing her reading classes in mid-thought as to show straining for clarity. At times I think I get what her ex-husband meant.

A clever wordsmith, she is now a “Wall Street Journal” weekend columnist. She was a loyal Reaganite, discovered long after many, that Pope John Paul II was important—and for a time was on the George W. Bush wagon. Not any more. The other day she opined that it would be good for the Republicans to lose the Congress—but the social strains are very tough for one not getting any younger who wants a national TV gig requisite for being adored in Eastern circles. There’s an establishment to impress out there and conservative dissidents are in vogue just now. So it’s important to watch carefully what ancient pot inhaler William F. Buckley thinks between inhalations of blue smoke which go up his nose and make his eyes bug out as he ruminates the Iraq was a mistake in that particularly effusive way that makes him so convivial to the left that they can tolerate him as token. Then the junior league Buckley…the man with the inevitable bow-tie who these days can see a tie-in between a joke told by Pliny the Younger with the “rigid inflexibility” of President Bush: George Will. Dear me, it was a mistake. Although with Will, we social conservatives with whom he was once an ally, have become a kind of tedious bore: always ragging about the unborn when there are more important issues at stake such as the next international free trade compact…and yes, for self-humanizing, there are the Chicago Cubs.

The point of this web-site is this. It is not trendy to back this president; in big-foot media circles you may lose prospects for the TV cameo on Sunday mornings that Cokie Roberts lost for being too predictable and wrinkly. But the fact remains that the president is as stubborn as an old boot and will not be moved by assaults, imprecations or insults…least of all by the discomfiture of fair-weather friends like Noonan, the effete Buckley and the oleaginous Will. About Iraq he made this point which will stay with me forever: If we leave, they will follow us here. His resolute firmness is in line with that of Reagan and Eisenhower: “My biggest issue,” he says, “is the next attack on America because I am fully aware that there are people out there who would like nothing more than to have another spectacular moment by killing American people. And they’re coming. And we’ve got to do everything we can to stop them. That’s why we need to be on offense all the time.” That’s why the justification for the terrorist wiretaps, the Patriot Act and interrogations and the Iraq War.

But this is, oh so tiresome, for the aforementioned trio. How times have changed. Reagan got creamed by the media when he used the phrase he had used repeatedly: “the evil Empire.” Buckley was younger, then and he supported Reagan; it made good sense jousting with old John Kenneth Galbraith which made the country clubs titter. Will was winning applause and on the upswing with David Brinkley. Noonan, working for Reagan with no other place to go, stuck with him: a savvy choice, prelude to her book “What I Saw at the Revolution.” Now Buckley wants to be serenaded by the New York elites with which he always felt comfortable and whose approbation he savors as he draws his creaky old bones nearer the fire and anticipates his obits. Will needs to have something different to say so his refrain does not ramble on interminably about statecraft…soulcraft which he has abandoned…and the Chicago Cubs.

And looking now to be new and different, Peggy who has got religion and writes occasionally what for her are deep things needs at least one weekly TV shot where she will be more attractive now that she’s bailed out.

Remind me never to say again she’s good looking.

Flashback: Back to Minnesota With the Quaker Oats Job, Undisclosed, in My Pocket. Michelson and McCarthy…and a Re-Telling of Rumors in the Bars.

[More reminiscences of fifty years in politics for my kids and grandchildren].

I returned to Minnesota with the Quaker job , undisclosed to any, in my pocket. It would be a month and a half—until after the Republican national convention—before I would leave and I didn’t want to be sitting on the side while a prospective successor would be broken in wherein I would lose my clout. I’d give the party the obligatory two-weeks and spare myself the interminable liver-damaging boozy farewells that accompanied such lachrymose partings…and I didn’t want the Heffelfingers to try to make a bid to match the deal which could embarrass me with Quaker. I really wanted to go to Chicago as did Lillian. Besides, I needed the time to privately study…unobserved… how Nate Crabtree of General Mills, Bill McFadzean of Archer-Daniels-Midland and John Verstrait of 3M did their jobs which involved public and community affairs and state legislative and congressional lobbying. I’d been on the receiving end of their lobbying in the governor’s office for so long I’d dismiss their work from my mind but never really paid much attention to how they did their jobs.

Meanwhile, Art Michelson, my old TV ally, had assimilated well in Washington as news secretary to Eugene McCarthy and I wanted to stay in the loop. On a recent trip to Washington to coordinate with the Republican National Committee, I was invited to Michelson’s house for dinner at which were both McCarthy and his administrative assistant, Jerry Eller (an old classmate from St. John’s). All told there were three Johnny alumni there: McCarthy, Eller and me. I wondered why McCarthy’s wife, Abigail, wasn’t there. The possessor of shrewd instincts as befits the stridently ambitious Quigley family of Irish-Catholic Democratic Wabasha, Minnesota, it seemed she should have been there. But she frowned on much frivolity and certainly did on the irreverence Gene showed for Humphrey. Indeed, it seemed she rarely was with Gene—but no matter.

It did not take long after a few scotch and soda belts when the Senator opened up about what he deemed the possibility…and then elevated to the likelihood…that President Lyndon B. Johnson might offer him the vice presidential nomination later on that summer in Atlantic City. I asked about Humphrey’s chances for vice-president which spurred a flurry of anti-Humphrey talk including derogation for Humphrey’s role in the bogus Highway 35 “scandal that never existed.” McCarthy liked my old boss, Elmer L. Andersen, a lot and noticeably didn’t chime in on the attack.

“Karl Rolvaag, the former drunken lieutenant governor, is now the drunken governor,” he said. “Thanks to Hubert and that unethical last-minute diversionary attack. He is held by me and others to be personally responsible for that travesty. I told him personally I was ashamed of his role in that endeavor. Sandy Keith, the lieutenant governor, is so turned off with Rolvaag’s incompetence that he is privately planning to run against him in 1966. And so turned off with Hubert that if he had to run with Hubert in the same year, he’d sooner become a Republican. [NOTE: Keith did become a Republican several years later]. That’s when Elmer should run again, in 1966. I will do everything I can to see that this injustice to the voters is remedied.”

This was a diversion and not related to Humphrey’s chances for vice president with Johnson, a subject to which I returned.

“Of course, I don’t know,” said McCarthy. “But I can tell you that Humphrey’s strident, peppery liberalism won’t add a thing to the ticket. Lyndon Johnson is going to take care of the liberal side of the equation, mark my words. He’s going to be the greatest civil rights president in history. His natural inclination has long been as a populist. But the Kennedy precedent—an Irish Catholic as president—would require, and this he has said to me, that an Irish Catholic return to the ticket. It would also require a kind of conservative brake on Lyndon who can get carried way. By the way,” he added drolly, “has anybody checked as to whether Hubert, who has some Irish in his heritage, is taking instructions these days?”

“Taking instructions” is Catholic talk for undergoing a conversion to Catholicism.

“I’m sure he would do this” said McCarthy and he put on a side-splitting imitation of Humphrey in his staccato voice reciting the Nicene Creed. We were well along in the evening but I didn’t think I would ever recover from the gasping attack of hilarity that caught me just as I had taken a gulp from my glass, prompting an explosion of coughing until I thought I would die. Then to make matters worse, McCarthy imitated Humphrey reciting the Hail Mary, the Memorare and singing the Te Deum. My face turning blue from the frolicsome exercise I begged him to stop. Which made him perform all the more—including reciting Yeats in Humphrey style with Humphrey’s oracular gesticulations copied to a “T” in the poetic cadence.

But McCarthy was up for reelection to the Senate in 1964, the same year he would have been on the ticket with Johnson. I asked him if he felt he would miss the Senate if he moved up to a do-nothing vice presidency under an activist Johnson.

“He’d invite him to visit Dallas,” said Michelson drolly pouring himself another scotch.

“Shut up, ” said Eller.

“Well, I wouldn’t miss sitting next to Gale McGee in Foreign Relations,” said McCarthy which prompted chuckles of inside Capitol mirth from Michelson and Eller. I took it that McGee of Wyoming was a dullard.

I must say I thought Johnson would have been astute to choose McCarthy. I returned to Minnesota to receive a telephone call from Wheelock Whitney…a name that could easily have been used by the Marx Brothers in the film Duck Soup. He was a mega-multimillionaire from Wayzata who had been instrumental to bringing the Washington Senators to Minnesota under the rubric of the Minnesota Twins—with a stunning equally rich wife, photogenic children and all the other accoutrements. Whitney had circulated rumors that he was interested in running against McCarthy. Here I had just returned from an epic evening of irreverence with the Senator—at that time the most popular Democrat in the state…more so than Humphrey (thanks to misgivings about Highway 35)…to have lunch with the intense, humorless young somewhat obtuse scion of inherited wealth who was notoriously slow on the uptake.

“I am told you are acquainted with the Senator,” he said importantly.

Only somewhat, we both went to the same school. I never let on to anyone how close I was because I never had trouble designing strategies to oppose liberals, Humphrey and McCarthy included, no matter how well I knew them. Besides, now it would never matter; I’d be in Chicago when the campaign against McCarthy would begin.

“I’d like to try you out on what I see as the issues of the 1964 campaign.”

They were strictly boilerplate Goldwater stuff mingled with Babbitt pro-enterprise puff and how he landed the Twins. I sat back and imagined what McCarthy would do in debate with this guy.

“Well,” I said, noncommittally, “of course it will take a lot of money.”

“That’s what we have a lot of,” he said confidently. “I want to apply business marketing principles to my campaign so that it sells Whitney like it would a loaf of bread.”

Dear God, I thought: I can’t believe he said that; he’ll be easy pickings for the ironic, subtle McCarthy.


After some correspondence with Bayne Freeland of Quaker Oats, I decided to tell the Minnesota Republicans immediately that I would be leaving in a month or so--telling them much earlier than I had intended. There were, after all, inquiries about me that would be made in Minnesota by Bartell’s employee relations department and I didn’t want the word to get out without my giving our people a heads up. So I started the long folderol of calling around…starting with the Heffelfingers and then my immediate state chairman boss…to say I was leaving.

“Well,” said Brad Heffelfinger, “we will hate to lose you but it’s a smart thing. Nobody’s getting elected in this state for a long time, residually, after Mr. Goldwater finishes. Besides, I know Bob Stuart and he’s a dream of a good-looking guy. We’ll keep on seeing you because we’ll continue to work together, you and I. They keep talking out there about Chuck Percy this and Chuck Percy that. Listen, I remember when he [goofed up] the platform-writing at the last convention and they had to get Mel Laird to help. The guy they should be running out there is Bob Stuart. I will say that—and don’t you dare repeat this outrageous thing I’m about to say to Peavey after we’ve been married thirty years –but your friend Bob Stuart can park his shoes under my bed anytime. But I’m sure he has better offers.”

I demurred from comment but privately I added: I would imagine.

One of the last things I did before leaving Minnesota was to organize a general campaign headquarters for all the candidates, a unified headquarters, by taking over an old but comfortable resident hotel on the outskirts of Minneapolis—the Lenox—and apportioning various floors to the state ticket. The state GOP committee would be on the top floor. Wheelock Whitney’s U. S. Senate campaign would be installed on the first floor…the candidate for state attorney general on the second…candidate for secretary of state on the third…for state treasurer on the fourth…candidate for auditor on the fifth…the congressional department—handling duties for the House candidates on the sixth…the legislative department—handling duties for the state House and Senate candidates—on the seventh…the state finance committee, raising money for the campaigns, on the eighth. On the ground floor was a cozy bar which served sandwiches and coffee to noon and early evening patrons. Nobody went to one particular floor because one of our state candidates was conducting a flagrant affair with a young secretary there. I was deputized to break up the familiarity which I did by getting him scheduled for a round of Rotaries in the International Falls-Bemidji area of the state. He was gone so long that the secretary quit; thus I saved a marriage. Maybe two: hers as well.

Before the national convention opened with Goldwater’s nomination not in doubt, a bland, nice-appearing fellow showed up at my door and led me through one of the weirdest episodes that ever happened. I have dined out on this story and if you have heard it from me or have read it elsewhere, just scroll down further but this is the appropriate place to tell it. In preparing for their coronation in San Francisco in August, the Goldwater people had come into a ton of money and hired specialists who appeared at our doors every few weeks; most seemed to come from the outer side of the moon: one more weird, supernatural and occult than the other. But this guy seemed normal.

He was a buttoned-up banker or businessman-type from Phoenix, who, we were told, would add Goldwater money to our pot for a unified campaign which would include Goldwater. Wheelock Whitney was not involved, didn’t even know of the guy’s presence. He came in announced by a telegram from the Goldwater HQ in Chicago—a missive I received the night before his arrival.

He showed up on schedule, was very polite. He took my proposed budget for press services and pulled out an expensive pen with which he scribbled some additions. The additions were to be funded by the Goldwater people. He handed it back to me. The first line said, “Rumors in the Bars…$15,000.” I asked him what this meant, specifically. He said he would show me. Where was the nearest bar? I said: it so happens on the main floor of this hotel. We took the elevator down to the bar where we would have lunch. The place, full of noon-break salesmen.

He looked around, listened to the buzz of conversation and said: “This is the perfect place for me to show you.”

We took adjoining stools at the bar. He ordered a double scotch to start off with, then a ham sandwich and coffee. Watching him carefully, I did the same.

When the bartender came up with our scotches, he took his glass, held it aloft, stared at it through the light from the window. He turned to face me and said--in a voice that was not particularly loud but carried through the smoke, conversation, the soft blathering of a black-and-white TV and an underplay of recorded music so that it was distinctly heard down the bar—“It’s a terrible shame. That he’s to be cut down in the prime of life.”

He began with a delicate sip—then with finality and some evident inner depression, downed it in a gulp. He beckoned to the bartender for another refill.

As the bartender poured, he said: “Gene McCarthy is a great Senator. This news is…well, it’s tragic.”

The bartender was interested but decided not to betray his interest so he pretended to use a towel to polish glasses.

“What a fine, good Senator Gene McCarthy is,” said my companion. “And to have his life to end like this. Tragic.” He began to munch his sandwich, fastening his eyes on me. I didn’t know what to say.

“Leukemia is a terrible thing,” he continued, addressing me.

Conversation in the bar tapered off now, as people studied him.

“It starts with a dreadful pallor,” he said. “One is very pale and drawn. How long does McCarthy have? Oh, probably several weeks. Months with good care. One thing he should do. McCarthy should spend his last days with his family—wife and kids.”

The bartender finally asked mildly, “Did something bad happen to Senator McCarthy?”

The Phoenix visitor didn’t give an answer directly.

“Leukemia is like that,” he said continuing to address me. “You’ve seen how pale McCarthy is The continued pallor, the fatigue. Then one day you can’t get up from bed.” He snapped his fingers. “ And that’s it.”

“I have noticed how McCarthy looks pale,” a salesman sitting on the other side of me. “Tell me, is there no cure?”

Now my colleague raised his head, looked beyond me, to him and said in a sepulchral tone: “None that medical science knows of.”

A woman at a booth had overheard.

“How long he has had it?”

He swiveled to face her.

“How long has he got left is the question.”

By the time we finished our sandwiches and coffee and left, the bar was silent as if in presence of a corpse.

We rode up in the elevator silently. Back in my office, he said: “That’s what I mean by `rumors in the bars.’ By the end of the day, that rumor about McCarthy a walking dead man will be rooted in the bar. Your Minneapolis field man should take it and go to several bars you have on Hennepin avenue. I have already scouted them and have their names. Just several: no more. Then every field representative you have…scattered throughout the state…should use these funds to pay for drinks as they go into bars and plant this rumor. There’ll be one new rumor a week about Lyndon Johnson.”

I said: How do you square this tactic with the moral issue?

He said: “Pardon me?”

How do you live with yourself spreading false tales of his health like this?

“I didn’t say McCarthy has leukemia. I said first it’s a shame. I added McCarthy is a great man. Then I said leukemia cuts a man down in the prime of life.”

I asked: how do you know this won’t engender a sympathy vote for Senator McCarthy?

He looked at me incredulously.

“Come on. People don’t want to vote for a dead man. Or one who will shortly be dead. That’s not to say this is the deciding factor. It’ll hold the vote down a bit and will act like a tin can tied to a dog’s tail and worth the money we expend. Just see that it’s put to work if you please and keep your high-toned morals to yourself. I’ll call you to check. “

I said: “One thing: we’ll have to change the designation on the budget from rumors in the bars to “personal communications.”

“Okay by me. But keep it separate from the general communications item.”

He left. Then he popped his head in the doorway again.

“Oh, one thing I should have mentioned. This thing works ideally in elevators, too. Your staff guy gets on an elevator with another guy in a tall building—preferentially an elevator that goes express to the fifteenth floor. He starts in on McCarthy in mid-sentence. Then they get off and ride down. Do that several times a day and it really works. See that the $15,000 for rumors in the bars is distributed. It’s an order from the national Goldwater committee to be applied to some congressional races like McCarthy’s.”

I told him I will not be around to implement it but will see his views are passed along.

“If they aren’t,” he said, “I want the money back or stored in escrow—not applied to anything else. I’ll check with your state chairman. And failing that, your national committeewoman, Mrs. Heffelfinger. Do you think she would object?”

She is a liberal, progressive, a philanthropist, a humanitarian and a visionary. Yet at heart a militant Republican and street brawler so she will not object. You don’t anticipate her sitting around in the bars spreading this, though, do you?

“Of course not.”

He did a double-take.

“Would she consider it? It’d be very effective…”


It was just about my last official day working for the Minnesota Republican party. Not long thereafter, in Chicago I picked up a New York Times to read that Sen. Eugene McCarthy—while far ahead of his Republican challenger in the polls—had to call a news conference to try to stifle a rumor that he was stricken with leukemia.

McCarthy not only won that race going away—but, angered at not being picked for vice president by Lyndon Johnson—turned against the president in 1967, with his always subdued but lingering dark Irish-German central Minnesota malevolent streak for being passed up for vice president. He ran in the New Hampshire primary early the next year; he shot upward in the polls and denied he had leukemia. To scotch the rumor, he donned skates and played ice hockey outdoors (in college he was all-state). That seemed to end it for a while. His near-victory prompted LBJ to decide not to run for president in 1968. McCarthy faced an anti-war challenge from Bobby Kennedy which superseded his; but there was a recurrence of the rumor and to the media he denied he had leukemia. Kennedy was assassinated and McCarthy went to St. John’s for a retreat. When he came out a week later he was asked about his health by the press including Johnny Apple of the “New York Times.”.

Humphrey had the nomination wrapped up in Chicago but McCarthy came anyhow, met with a dissident group in Grant Park, termed them
the government in exile”—and denied he had leukemia. He refused to endorse Humphrey until it was too late to help him and denied he had leukemia. Because he failed to endorse Humphrey when it could have helped, McCarthy lost much support in the DFL. He declined to run for reelection in 1970 but in answer to a prevailing rumor, fervently denied he had leukemia. Humphrey ran for and was elected to his seat. McCarthy ran for president several times after that as an independent. Each time he denied he had leukemia. He endorsed Ronald Reagan in 1980 and tried to be appointed ambassador to the UN by him, unsuccessfully, denying to Michael Deaver that he had leukemia.

By now the bartender and almost all the people sitting at the bar forty-two years ago have certainly all died. The rumor purveyor died long ago of natural causes. McCarthy finally died in December, 2005 at 89—of a heart attack. Not leukemia.

But rumors in the bars as a device lives on. And not always about ill-health. I’ve heard various rumors about a Republican state candidate, a federal prosecutor, a Republican U. S. House member from Illinois, a Democratic county Cook county candidate. I sometimes wonder whether “rumors in the bars” is not entered into political campaign budgets but disguised. Just as it would not surprise me to learn that my well-dressed, button-down guest forty-two years ago had a Mephistophelian origin.

Then came the national convention which would nominate Goldwater. The last one I attended as a Republican operative.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Personal Asides:

David McSweeney 2
melissa bean
It’s McSweeney and Berkowitz on Sunday…How Would Bean, if Reelected, Vote on Speaker if the House Division is Razor-Thin?...There Should be a Future for Tony Snow in Elective Politics…Anti-Topinka Republicans Should Unite to Put the GOP in Conservative Hands.

McSweeney and Berkowitz.

My guests on Sunday’s WLS-AM show will be David McSweeney, Republican candidate for 8th district Congress and Jeff Berkowitz, TV analyst and astute expert on, among other things, suburban politics. Can McSweeney pull it out now that Lynn Sweet, political editor for the Democratic newspaper of record, the “Sun-Times,” decided to take a breather from writing puff pieces for presidential candidate Barack Obama and assume the role of publicity director for Melissa Bean? Make no mistake, Sweet is a partisan journalist in the advocacy style of the late George Tagge of the “Trib.” As I believe newspapers should take an interpretative role in news-gathering, I cannot fault Sweet for doing what she does best as did Tagge. Republicans used to call Tagge for advice in the same way that Democrats are doing with Sweet. Even with the addition of Sweet as adjunct to the Bean campaign, the battle is not over…and McSweeney is by all odds one of the best equipped Republican candidate for the House across the country.

Dick Morris among others is reporting that the so-called “wave” of Democratic victory has subsided and the polls are projecting a rightward backlash. My own personal view is that the liberal mainstream media are capable of generating its own backlash to its discomfiture. For example, listening to Katie Couric interviewing Michael J. Fox on embryonic stem cells, there was no mention of Fox’s earlier published book that admitted he went off his meds in order to present a shaky, jerky and non-coherent appearance before a Congressional committee. Couric said the charge was made by Rush Limbaugh without recognizing that Fox himself had made the admission.

By the way, kudos to our own Sandy Rios who the other day corrected the Smug Savant of Cockiness, Bill O’Reilly on his show. Rios is the locally famed conservative woman who used to host a well-listened-to talk show on WYLL radio. O’Reilly started his show blasting Limbaugh for supposed insensitivity to ex-actor Fox. Rios bravely and intelligently said O’Reilly was wrong and cited chapter and verse where Fox wrote in his own book that he purposely went off meds in order to dramatize his appearance.


A meeting of Washington reps working for Illinois businesses featured a talk by Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL) who has courted conservatives and business in particular with her votes and her sunny attitude toward many of their projects. In an off-the-record session not long ago, Bean was asked what she would do if the House wound up almost evenly divided as some analysts, notably Michael Barone, estimates it may.

Specifically the question was asked before an all-Illinois group of lobbyists who lean with great favor on keeping Dennis Hastert as Speaker: would you cast a vote for a Democrat for Speaker that might, in a closely divided House, take the Speaker-ship away from Hastert, given the serious implications this would have for Illinois and its ability to get goodies through the federal pipeline. To the surprise of many who were there, Bean ticked off at least one favorable special interest consideration that might determine her vote for Hastert. This would be enough to set Rahm Emanuel tearing out his hair. Bean has voted for CAFTA and for a Republican strong immigration control bill in the House and was endorsed for reelection by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce.

After carefully analyzing all House races, Barone sees the probability of the Democrats winding up with a 219-216 majority. If so, he says we won’t know the outcome on election night because of many factors—recounts, challenges to canvasses, uncounted absentee votes and the like. He cites the off-year of 1930 with the country in a depression where experts predicted a quick turnover in the House to the Democrats. It didn’t happen that way for a long time. At the outset there was a narrow edge to Republicans retaining control—but a series of deaths evened the score and tipped it slightly Democratic: but not until 1931. Barone points out that Democrat Gene Taylor of Mississippi refused to vote for Nancy Pelosi in this last session of Congress and may refuse to do so again. If it gets that close again, Bean—if reelected, and that’s still an “if”—may decide that her normally heavy Republican district would want her to support Hastert. Now that this is published, Emanuel will pick up the phone and exert the gentle persuasion that he is famous for.

Tony Snow.

Since Tony Snow has taken over as President Bush’s news secretary, the defense of the White House has gained immeasurably. The former FOX anchor and radio talk-show host has everything going for him: looks, presence, wit, surety in vocabulary and a low-key relaxed manner that equals that of the early Ronald Reagan. Moreover, Snow has a sure grasp of conservative issues and an ingratiating way of salesmanship. When Bush leaves office, the national GOP should have a slot in mind for Snow. It should be a run for the U. S. Senate in a fairly accommodative state. Snow is so good that in a few years he should be a contender for the presidency: he’s that impressive to me. Now that we’re elevating Barack Obama to the White House, we should not lose sight of the fact that a five-star telegenic personality should not be sent back to FOX but should be nurtured for what would be an exciting and creative career in Republican politics.

Anti-Topinka Republicans.

With the polls showing that Judy Baar Topinka has received less than even 50% of the GOP base thus far, watch for the mainstream media to downplay this and bewail her defeat solely on Rod Blagojevich’s huge money war-chest. No doubt about it, the governor’s money means a lot at a time when he is being severely scorched by many in his own party—but the spin from the MSM will ignore the fact that Topinka’s social liberalism cut her campaign off at the knees. Other factors responsible for Topinka’s predicted loss will certainly be that she has been the most intellectually vapid candidate possible to find running for governor…with no program…substituting wisecracks for policy…no interest in discussing specifics of government…and a generally exhausted and energetically winded lack of appeal. As long as she has been state treasurer she has not been involved in either governing or details of philosophy so the only thing she exhibits a knowledge about is the mechanics of campaigning.

Immediately after her projected defeat, conservative Republican leaders should determine how to (a) either take over the Republican party or (b) work around it by supporting a third party along the lines of the old New York Conservative Party which gave conservatives an alternative for many years and even elected a United States Senator before it was assumed into the establishmentarian morass. There is some sentiment for Andy McKenna to stay as state GOP chairman because he has a demonstrable skill at raising money and is no great threat to conservative values. My own feeling is that conservatives should strive to make inroads into the GOP and to counterbalance it with support for a responsive and responsible Constitution Party. As for me…as I’ve said before…I’m writing in Randy Stufflebeam for governor, the state chairman of the Constitution Party…and voting Republican all the rest of the way down the ticket.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Personal Asides: The “Sun-Times” Endorsements…and “The Poetry Hour Continued” with Frank Nofsinger.


Un-Baffling and Baffling.

The Chicago “Sun-Times” was once a very good newspaper when it was edited by Milburn (Pete) Akers with the editorial page run by a worldly-wise scholar of Chicago with a droll sense of humor and writing-style, Emmett Dedmon. Owned by Marshall Field, it was a liberal newspaper…trended to a fashionable kind of left…but had a depth to it that transcended its tabloid size. The editorial endorsements were almost always a surprise. When I moved back here, having spent eleven years in politics in Minnesota, I saw at once that the tenor of the old “Sun-Times” had changed. Then it was a totally Democratic newspaper. Now it was a liberal one but had had the guts to endorse Robert Merriam the liberal reform Republican for mayor over Richard J. Daley in 1955. Charles Percy was a close associate of both Akers and Dedmon as well as the man he called “Marsh”—Field himself. Yet the paper endorsed Otto Kerner for reelection as governor, pointing out that Percy was too timid to support a federal fair employment practices law because he would alienate Barry Goldwater and thus they would go with Kerner.

That leisurely independence changed as the newspaper business did itself. Field died; he was succeeded by his son who strove earnestly to build a good paper. He did—but at the end his brother who liked to run around with Hollywood girls wanted to cash in his piece of the paper and parlay it on film production. It seemed to break Marshall Field’s heart but he had to sell. I remember Mike Royko attacking the brother and laying out exactly what the brother wanted—to use his inherited portion to chase starlets. It was the single-most time I admired Royko. (His was an acquired taste. I always thought the best thing he ever did was the Christmas piece on Joe and Mary looking for a place to flop on a snowy night).

Akers and Dedmon are dead and the paper has passed through a number of hands, not all of them kind ones—but never worse than when the Two Crooks ran it along with the watchdog head of the board audit committee who didn’t bark because he was so superficially entranced with clinking cocktail glasses with Henry Kissinger and Richard Perle. Now a decision has been made to have it become four-square the Democratic newspaper of record…and insofar as they can (although they cannot control the indomitable Fran Spielman) make the news interpretation agree with the editorials. That was a sound decision. Not so sound a decision—in fact catastrophic—was the decision to follow the no-class, no-taste Michael Cooke who is turning a very good paper into a kind of harlot: playing up breasts, front-page screamers on “The Vagina Monologue” and all that stuff.

A unified paper both editorially and news-wise is not insupportable. The “New York Times” with which I vehemently disagree is an excellent product if you don’t mind a little treason with your morning coffee. The “Wall Street Journal” could, for my two cents, imitate the “Times” by presenting one unified newspaper—not two…a newspaper that presents the Washington news with a lefty slant but the editorials with brilliant conservative philosophy and rhetoric. But I’ll stake the “Wall Street” as the best overall newspaper today in my lifetime.

As I say, I can salute the “Sun-Times” for being the Democratic newspaper of record—which means endorsing Blagojevich-- but Jeeze God does it have to so go down the line…and into the toilet…by endorsing Todd Stroger of all people who is a laughingstock incompetent…and Alexi Giannoulias, a bum of bums and a charlatan at that for State Treasurer? Especially the latter? This is a very rare political year. The Democratic party has offered at least two abominable candidates—Stroger and Giannoulias…awful! I take it that with Cruickshank and Cooke, they’re a no-class duo, but do they have to send the paper out with a cigarette dangling from its painted lips to lean against the light-post and hustle Democrat readers who themselves are sickened by the choices? Dear God is there no subtlety? Well, just look at what they’ve done with the front page and you have the answer.

You can say yes but there’s the “Tribune” endorsing Duckworth and Bean. Yes, but this is a newspaper that is going through the equivalent of a nervous breakdown with the exception of the very best columnist it has had in my long life, John Kass.

The Poetry Hour.

Contributor Frank Nofsinger, a good friend, sent over a poem that is brilliant in its majesty: “The Land of Sandra Dee.” It’s obvious it’s written by a witty woman. I ran a few stanzas of it the other day and promised to complete it—only to be sidetracked yesterday. To get the cadence, similar to “Puff the Magic Dragon,” scroll back and read the beginning stanzas by the glowing portrait of Sandra Dee. Now here I ask Jake Parrillo, webmeister extraordinaire, to place another portrait of Sandra Dee in this place while we complete this great literary work of art.

We’d never heard of Microwaves/ or telephones in cars/ And babies might be bottle-fed but they weren’t grown in jars/ And pumping iron got the wrinkles out, and gay meant fancy free/ And dorms were never coed in the land of Sandra Dee.

We hadn’t seen enough of jets to talk about the lag/ And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag/ And Hardware was a box of nails and bytes came from a flea/ And rocket ships were fiction in the land of Sandra Dee.

Buicks came with portholes and sideshows came with freaks/ And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks/ And Coke came just in bottles and skirts came to the knee/ And Castro came to power in the land of Sandra Dee.

Flashback: My Breakfast with Bob Stuart Entirely Dissimilar to My Dinner with Andre.

[More reminiscences from fifty years in politics for my kids and grandchildren].

Having flown back to Chicago from Minnesota the next Wednesday, I stayed at my parents’ home in the Edison Park section of northwest Chicago and instead of watching TV with them, remembered my wife’s sage counsel. I worked to commit to almost direct recall details in the Quaker Oats annual report. I figured I might get the Quaker job on the basis of my being able to help him on Republican politics, but there’d be a time when he would lose his interest in politics as many senior business executives do. “You don’t want to be in a position of not knowing anything about the food business,” she said as she was preparing our breakfast before my flight to Chicago. “I know you well enough that you’ll watch TV with your folks and talk over old times. But remember, your breakfast at 7:30 a.m. with him is the most important thing we have going for us.”

She added: “Look at the facts. Goldwater is going to get nominated. Kleinberg or Kleindienst or whatever his name is has said he’s going to see that you and Forsythe get fired because you beat his candidate with a 67-year-old ex-Congressman. That’s as sure as I’m preparing your bacon and eggs right now. So if you don’t get this job, you got to get something around here. You and I are about ready to go back home anyhow—so hop to it, do your homework and impress this guy. You like to write. You’d better learn to write about oatmeal and dry cereal, Aunt Jemima and Ken-L ration dog food. If they think all you know is politics, you’ll be soon out when he gets tired of politics, buster.”

Yes, ma’am, mother of our three children, the eldest of whom was then beating his sister with a utensil he should have been using to spoon his oatmeal…and she was cuffing him back, yelling: “Tommy’s hitting me for no reason!” when she had just given him a noogie (severe head rap with knuckles foremost).

So at my parents’ house, I read the annual report over three times and a number of Freeland’s press releases…press releases which prompted my eyes to grow weary. God, I thought, if I have to write stuff like this after having assailed Hubert Humphrey, gone around Minnesota recruiting Judd delegates, having worked to stack the Minnesota Democratic presidential primary with shills who would vote for Kefauver, how am I going to like doing this stuff? But I must. I must.”

My mother said, “Poor boy! What do they have you reading?” She looked at the annual report. “Oh, I would find this boring—don’t you? Isn’t it not as much fun as writing attacks on Humphrey?”

I was about to answer when my father said, “No it isn’t. Let him continue to learn about the food industry! That’s where the money will be—not politics, no matter whether they hire him for politics or not!”

She said: “Well, you’re the one who got him all interested in politics talking to him about Bob Taft when he was five years old and now you want him to learn about oatmeal! I’m going to bed!”

The next morning early, I put on a sincere suit and a sincere tie and caught an early train for downtown with my father.

“Sound knowledgeable about food but don’t over-do it,” he said as he got into his cab. I hiked over from the Northwestern station to the Merchandise Mart because I had a good deal of time. I browsed at a newsstand and glanced over the headlines. Goldwater on way to Coronation wrote George Tagge of the Tribune. I heard a lot about Tagge. See: that’s the trouble with me. Always reading politics instead of leafing to the business section.

When I entered the anteroom to Bob Stuart’s office, his two secretaries…one corporate and proper…one flip, irreverent and saucy…were there already. Then the executive door opened and probably the most handsome man I had ever seen, dressed superbly with striped shirt, button-down, gorgeous tie and shined shoes so one could catch his reflection in them…and a political manner that I had rarely seen duplicated…came out and with an infectious smile, pronounced my name correctly. I had expected to see a business type who was absorbed in his corporation. This guy could easily have been a candidate: not as overly-folksy as Rockefeller but more confident than the Reagan I first met years later who had a deferential way that made you almost feel sorry for him. Not this fellow. He was 48, twelve years older than I. Sandy-haired, smaller than I…about five-feet eight…with a contagious personality, charmingly thoughtful, gentle and encouraging—but his greatest quality: a vitality of decency that seemed to convey health and good spirit to everyone with whom he came in contact. He was a Brahmin but he had shaken clear of much of it and had a regularity of wit that overshadowed it. I tried to shake myself free of political observations…thinking I was such a compulsive that I thought of everyone I met in political terms… but the more I studied him, the more I saw in him a political person: good news for me. He talked easily with a deep, even professional announcer’s voice—with a tinge of the East in it but pleasant. He talked very quickly with a flow of easy words with his deep resonant voice.

But the most interesting thing was that he never talked down to me. Most rich and powerful men I had met did—with the exception of the Heffelfingers. Elmer Andersen, a self-made multi-millionaire, successful politician, talked down to me all the time until I would rebel. Walter Judd did, as well—but he had a right to, as a world-class Mayo-trained surgeon, missionary captured and held prisoner by the Chinese twice, elected to Congress and ranking Republican on Foreign Affairs who talked casually to Dulles almost every day.

Not this fellow. He was there to interview me but I noticed pleasantly that he was extraordinarily good company. Perhaps the thing that made the conversation go well was that, I learned, he knew many of the same people as did I—from Minnesota. His sister had married the head of Minneapolis Honeywell; he knew the Heffelfingers; he knew Rhoda Lund, a wealthy contributor who owned a modest chain of supermarkets; he knew wily, old State Sen. Alf Bergerud who was general counsel of Red Owl supermarkets. He wore his aristocracy lightly and, I thought, tended to think too well of everyone at first—a Boy Scout-ish trait for a politician: pleasing to watch but fatal were it to be applied without reserve. In fact, he was asking me about certain propensities of the Illinois GOP that I knew from rumor; he confirmed some impressions, contradicted others. We were engaged in this fascinating colloquy when the waiter came and asked what we wished to order for breakfast. Stuart beckoned for me to begin as he pretended to study the menu (knowing, of course, what he would have).

And I knew what I would have: bacon and eggs; the eggs basted; buttered white toast and coffee—but starting off with a glass of orange juice. The waiter noted it and turned to Bob Stuart. He said with a sly look at me that he would have oatmeal—Quaker Oatmeal. Then we both burst out in laughter as the waiter looked nonplussed. The idea of a young guy applying for a post in a company renowned for breakfast cereal foremost and ordering bacon and eggs was preposterous. I had to burst out: “Waiter! Come back!” as a gag. Stuart remonstrated and we laughed out loud. (When I flew home, I found that Lillian had sat bolt upright in her bed in the middle of the night and knew full well what I would order if the waiter turned to me first).

That gaffe was probably the best thing I did. He said he didn’t know whether I was doing it deliberately to show him my independence or whether I was a philistine. I said perhaps if he hired me he would find out soon enough. And by the time the breakfast was over, I was hired. We did not talk money, of course. That was for my immediate boss.

I suggested to Stuart that I not come on with Quaker until after the national convention. I was expected to do the very same things as a staffer working for the Minnesota party officers that I would do for him—but I volunteered to work gratis to help him along with his new post as National Committeeman. It was agreeable. We parted and agreed that after I signed up with Freeland and Bartell…filling out the necessary personnel paperwork…we’d probably not meet or talk again until the convention in San Francisco.

When I returned to Minnesota I told no one about my plans. After all, there was at least a good month and a half until the convention and I didn’t want to do my job as a lame duck. In fact, I would lunch occasionally with my colleagues who had been governor’s office staffers. The chief of staff had landed a good job with the St. Paul Insurance companies: that of public relations director. His subordinate who took over when the chief moved across the way to take on a cabinet post for the governor…the guy who suffered greatly throughout the campaign and took the 91-vote loss as a personal rebuke (which was unwarranted)…had great trouble finding a job in the private sector: starting with a kind of nothing post with the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and then with Burlington-Northern. He was the fellow who told me when I came aboard the GOP that the name of the game was to try to build associations with big business contributors so as to land a public affairs job when our political time was over. Several others on the governor’s staff sought to aim the same way.

But it was a matter of mirth to me, that the contacts we had with Minnesota business…General Mills…Honeywell…3M…Pillsbury…Dayton’s …never came our way. One job did as result of politicking for me—the Josten’s one that I never took—but the fact remained that the Quaker public affairs job which was regarded later by them correctly as a great plum, came from answering a blind ad sent to me by my father who insisted I reply to it. Now here I had a job that paid well and was truly paid to play—politics—for a bright man who, I hoped, would retain his great interest in it. As it proved, I needn’t worry.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Personal Aside: Michael J. Fox Was a Foxy One by Going Off His Meds for Effect.

Actor Michael J. Fox who has Parkinson’s wrote a book in 1999 that said before he testified in a congressional hearing for embryonic stem cell research legislation, he voluntarily went off his medicine so as to appear pathetically shaky and discordant. He justified it by writing that he wanted to show the congressmen how tortured a person could really be from the illness. In doing so, he was playing a cruel trick on the Congress…was duplicitous. In a video released from a TV commercial he did for a Democratic Senate candidate in Missouri, he looked pathetic: jerky, twisted, tortured. Obviously off his meds again.

The story of the book evidently got to Illinois quicker than it did in Missouri so when Fox came here to campaign for Tammy Duckworth, the legless veteran running as the Democratic nominee in the 6th he appeared calm and reserved. But the idea of someone trying to influence Congress by pulling that trick is repugnant. For one thing, there is not a single case on record where embryonic stem cells have worked but there are replete cases where other stem cells have worked. And for another thing, the Democrats infer…more than infer but proclaim most loudly and boldly…that opposing embryonic stem cells means people who are suffering like Michael J. Fox will be deprived of help from embryonic stem cells. Not at all. What we’re talking about is the federal portion of research. Private research is going on all the time. And private research…in the millions of dollars…hasn’t worked yet.

There is a new level of duplicity in this Democratic campaign across the board. Democrats who run against Iraq have no counter plan except to withdraw…either now, tomorrow or the next day. Democrats who campaign for Todd Stroger for president of the Cook county board have no comment to make about the unparalleled waste, fraud and abuse under John Stroger. They only say that Tony Peraica is a far-right nut. But I have criticized Peraica for not being socially conservative enough. They just don’t have any positive program to offer. Now here comes Michael J. Fox, having boasted that before he testified earlier he hadn’t taken his meds…and coming here now saying that if Peter Roskam wins, people who have Parkinson’s will be deprived of needed medicine.

Just about the lowest of the low. I’m very sorry for Michael J. Fox. Sorry he has Parkinson’s. Sorry, too, that he has decided to lower the bar to truth about embryonic stem cells by attempting to mislead the electorate.

Flashback: And so I Returned the Phone Call from Quaker Oats—and It’s Made All the Difference in the World…An Order of Bacon and Eggs.

[Reminiscences from fifty years in politics for my kids and grandchildren].

When I got home and after I did a few chores, I returned the call from The Quaker Oats Company in Chicago (312) 528-0100 wondering what in the world did this cereal company want. A long time intervened before my caller, Bayne Freeland, came on the line.

“Well,” he said, “you’re a hard guy to get.”

The cocky nature of the response mystified me. What can I do for you, Mr. Freeland?

“Three months ago you answered our blind ad for a public affairs manager. We had some 200 plus answers to the ad and we’re getting down to the R’s now.”

Whup! It was May and my I wrote my letter in early February. How could I remember what with delegate hunts, a Bureau of Public Roads admission it had been wrong, a hot convention fight in which we defeated Goldwater and a threatened firing?

“Would you be interested in coming to Chicago to be interviewed? Would, say, Friday of this week be convenient?”

Yes, it just might be convenient.

We made the date for that Friday. I had very little hope of getting a job there given that (a) I knew nothing about the grocery industry and (b) there were 200 resumes received, presumably most from people who had been involved in the food business or nearly so. And, as he said, they were just getting down to the R’s.

I flew there and walked into Quaker’s relatively modest Merchandise Mart suite of offices. Freeland was a folksy, quippy, rural kind of guy who had been a feature-writer at the Cedar Rapids “Gazette” (where Quaker had a big cereal plant) when he was hired some years earlier for the public relations department. Now he was p. r. director.

“I was just kidding about getting down to the R’s. We’ve had a harder time getting hold of you than we had with any other applicant,” he said somewhat ruefully.

I apologized but said I am interested in the job—but also that I didn’t know anything about the food business.

“Well,” he said, lighting up a pipe, “we know that. In fact, looking at your resume we find you don’t have much business experience at all except for a stint as an advertising copy-writer for Perk Dog food. We do a have a dog food, however. Kenl-Ration.”


“For a long time we decided to ignore your letter. But now we are more interested. It turns out that our company president is very much interested in Republican politics. And his good friend Charles Percy, who as you know is running for governor here, has just made him Republican National Committeeman for Illinois. What does a national committeeman do, anyhow?”

I told him.

“Well, what we have here is a very small p. r. shop and no public affairs guy. The president calls us up all the time asking us for recommendations on files he’s receiving from Washington, D. C., the Republican National Committee. I read the stuff and it beats me all to hell as to what we can do for him. None of us are well-versed in Republican stuff. I’ll tell you, I have had no experience in this stuff. Nor has anybody else. There’s an old woman here Kay Metz who does but she’s so far right that I’m afraid to listen to her. She got our company into trouble a couple of years ago but that’s another story. There’s an actor here who goes out, puts on a wig and a costume and plays Mr. Quaker and talks to Rotaries and schools who has a lot of ideas what our president should do but who cares what he thinks? And all the guys who applied for this job…or almost all…have not a clue on how the GOP would run here in Illinois, of which Bob Stuart, our president, must be a prominent leader. Then I fished your letter out of the dead-letter file where I stored it. Now my first question is: I know you understand a lot of politics in Minnesota but what about Illinois?”

Well, I was born and reared here, was involved in some campaigns as a kid here and come from a family whose father was deeply interested and fascinated with Illinois politics.

He exhaled in relief. “Good. I was down on Skid Row three times today to talk to either Stuart or his secretaries about this stuff of which I know nothing. Tom Bartell, my boss, is in the same boat.”

Skid Row?

“That’s what we call the area where our senior executives are quartered. Here, take a look at this file and tell me what you’d do.”

It was duck soup. I told him.

“Sounds impressive. If you’re wrong, we’re all in trouble: you and me for hiring you. See, you’ll work for me. Bob Stuart’s not particularly crazy about me and frankly the less I deal with him the better. That’ll be your job. But I’ll be counting on your to be…100 percent right all the time…so I don’t get hauled down there.”

How can I be wrong on this stuff? It’s routine. I’ve done this a million times for our state chairmen and our national committeemen. I know national committeemen from all over the country. Nothing complicated about it if you’ve done it as long as I have.

“I see. I see. I see. That’s great. Now what I want you to do is to meet with Bob Stuart but he’s just now gone out of town. We’ll have to have you back next week. Frankly, the sooner we hire you the better as far as I’m concerned and as far as my boss is concerned too, Tom Bartell. He doesn’t know anything about politics either. He’s vice president-employee relations. Lost his eye in the war. You’ll see him next and when you finish with him you’ll see his boss a man named D’Arcy. He knows less about politics than either Bartell or I do but he’s executive vice president. Then next week you’ll see Bob Stuart. I just hope to hell you pass muster with him because if you don’t, I don’t know who I’m going to find to go through files like you just did. So pray he’ll like you for my sake.”

For my sake, too.

I saw Bartell who was taken phone calls every ten seconds. Balding, very uptight; glass eye. When he put down the phone for a second, he said, “Bayne tells me he thinks you know the political business. I sure hope you do because when Bayne isn’t down there” he nodded toward Skid Row, “I am. And between the two of us we know nothing. I’m trying to keep up by reading the newspapers but every day I get goofy notes from Stuart like this one”—and he handed one over, a note jotted on a GOP form letter.

On it was written: “Tom—Call Ed Derwinski and tell him he has a suite at Mark H in S. F. Bob.”

“Now he’s out of town,” said Bartell. “Can you translate?”

Pretty well. Derwinski is the Goldwater chairman for Illinois. Every state is supposed to have a Goldwater suite at hotels where they’re headquartered in San Francisco. Minnesota is at the Fairmount. I can check but it looks like Illinois is at the Mark Hopkins. You’re supposed to tell Derwinski he has a suite at the Mark Hopkins. You can find Derwinski at Goldwater headquarters in Chicago. If I were working for you, I’d double check to be sure you’re at the Mark Hopkins, get Derwinski and tell him he’s got a suite. In all probability he’ll want to get more details and I’d run interference between Derwinski and Stuart who is the National Committeeman and who is supposed to be in charge of arrangements.”

Bartell was taking notes.

When he finished he said, “Thanks. That clears up one of these notes. There are a handful of others who evidently have some political experience who are competing for this job you’re interested in. Everybody else is far more impressive but all they know about is the food business. Why the hell would we want somebody who knows the food business? I am just hoping and praying that you will get this job because you can take this file…” and here he pointed to a hefty stack of memoranda, “…off my hands. It would be nice for you to know the food business but I’m telling you right now, Bayne and I are in need help…are in make that desperate need of help here with this political stuff and we’re in your corner. If you pass muster down the hall, you will come back next week…Wednesday… and have breakfast in the M & M Club downstairs with Bob Stuart, our president. Read up on us before, will you so you make a good impression? Here. Here’s an annual report. Here is a stack of other stuff about us. Speaking for myself and Bayne, we hope you pass the test and join us to take this stuff off our hands. Your next stop now will be Jack D’Arcy who will try to show you he is knowledgeable about politics. But he isn’t. Just a warning. He will try to find out if you believe you can be a Christian and in politics. I don’t know your religion but—you’re not Jewish, are you?”


He didn’t look pleased. “Okay, we’ll see. Remember, D’Arcy’ll ask if one can be a Christian and in politics.”

What if I tell him one can’t?

He smiled at last. “I’ll find you and kill you. I think you’re our guy.”

He led me from the hard-surface floors where middle management worked to another part of the building which was all carpeted. Skid Row. D’Arcy was seated at a more expensive desk than Bartel’s writing while a glow from his desk lamp settled around his shoulders giving him a kind of halo effect, lighting him up in the office gloom in solitary grandeur. He stood up shook hands, asked me to sit on his couch and looked at me with deep-set eyes that evoked those of an Episcopal bishop: eyes which looked like they had ruminated on significant things…ethical challenges…decisions in which war and peace hung in the balance. There was no smile just the grim humorlessness of the occasion.

“Tell me…do you believe one can be a Christian and yet be in politics?”

I felt like responding with a remark that would send him flying out of his chair…something like: Nope. I’ve seen enough evil to split the planets…to make the biblical Abraham an infidel! But that was the last remaining remnant of my old irreverence. I leaned forward, looked at him intently, and said that my model was indeed a Christian in politics, Thomas More…Lord Chancellor of England…the king’s good servant but God’s servant first…who lost his head by adhering to principle, opposing Henry VIII’s divorce.

He listened closely. “Couldn’t he just get an annulment?”

Henry couldn’t get one. The Pope said no. Their last recourse was Thomas More. If he would say yes, they’re push it back to Rome. Henry was clear about it. It was say yes or lose your head.

I got the idea he didn’t cozy up to the Thomas More example. He thought for a while, sizing me up and then said: “Very good. I’ll recommend you see Bob Stuart for breakfast on Wednesday. Have a good day.”

I left somewhat cocky. With all those guys indicating I’m needed, what possibly could go wrong? Go wrong?. Go wrong? Oh, but it did the next Wednesday at breakfast!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Flashback: Amazingly, Some Thought the 1963 Kennedy Assassination Meant that Republicans Could Win the Presidency: Amazing in Retrospect.


A Hot Convention, a Pyrrhic Victory and a Phone Call from Chicago.

[Reminiscences from fifty years in politics for my kids and grandchildren].

It’s amazing when one looks back at the Kennedy assassination to gauge its political impact. After the initial shock wore off…the swearing-in of Lyndon Johnson on Air Force 1…the flight of the two families on the plane with the body encased in a coffin in the hold…the capture of Lee Harvey Oswald…the fatal shooting of Oswald…the turmoil that pitched this country into swirling confusion…the quick way LBJ worked to assume leadership…there was private, cold-eyed reflection by politicians of both parties. The normal view should have been that unless Johnson woefully mismanaged the succession, he would be a shoo-in for election the following year—simply because the nation would not be able to adjust for yet another changeover. But not so. There was quiet exultation within both parties in Minnesota and nationally that the substitution of a Texas drawling Johnson for a charismatic JFK would benefit particular parties.

Take the Democrats nationally. The old-line congressional people could hardly contain their excitement while weeping crocodile tears for Kennedy. They knew and trusted Johnson and privately exchanged the equivalent of high-fives (the gesture was unknown then) because they saw a transference from an elitist, high-borne aristocracy to the dirt-on-the-shoes working style democracy with which they felt comfortable. The Democrats in Minnesota felt that it was a good omen for Hubert Humphrey. This ranged from a quick prediction that Humphrey would be picked by Johnson for the vice presidential nomination in 1964 (which rang true) to the thought that Johnson might well decide not to run for election that year and pass the nod to Humphrey (the last peddled by some in Humphrey’s own staff).

The McCarthy people didn’t even try to feign remorse over Kennedy’s death. They never liked him, felt he was a public relations creation, and had always maintained a better view of Johnson as indeed Johnson did of McCarthy, his words “he’s a man you can go to the well with” used in McCarthy’s brochure. McCarthy was to seek his second term in 1964 and was just as popular as Hubert Humphrey if not more so…Humphrey’s abject partisanship having wounded him with voters who now had understood that they had been gulled by the bogus “Highway 35” scandal that was invented out of whole cloth in Humphrey’s backroom.

When the doors were closed to the media, the Republicans nationally felt that the Kennedy’s death helped them enormously since his charisma was irreplaceable. There were still some who felt that Nelson Rockefeller could overcome his personal difficulties—but they were not many. The burgeoning Goldwater movement, led by Cliff White and others (corporate public affairs people predominate like Charlie Barr of Standard Oil of Indiana based in Chicago, Bill Bennett of 3-M and Bill McFadzean of Archer Daniels Midland, then based in Minneapolis, who were leaders of a newly-formed trade association of public affairs officers called ECO for the “Effective Citizens Organization”) felt that Johnson would be a very ineffective candidate next to their champion. There was a general conservative huzza that for the first time since 1940 domination of the Republican party had swung to the Midwest and West from the East. That was a correct assessment. Eastern Republicans have never regained control of the party since that time until now.

I remember Nate Crabtree, then a public affairs mogul with General Mills returning from a quick Washington trip to tell Brad Heffelfinger and me that “there’s a new day dawning for the Republican party” following Kennedy’s burial. In a sense he was right. Conservatives used the assassination to wrest control of their party from the East…but there would be a disastrous defeat to be endured first. I really don’t think they understood how bad a candidate Barry Goldwater would be. Bad as he was, there was no sustained opposition to him. I remember some of the liberal Republicans like Brad Heffelfinger saying, “well, maybe we ought to let the conservatives nominate Goldwater without much opposition. After all, we have had sway since the Dewey days. The Goldwater candidacy can’t win anyhow.

True, but with the Goldwater candidacy came a good number of conservatives to take over the party and sever it completely from progressive influence. Not that this was bad. The only good thing that happened under Goldwater was that an actor turned General Electric spokesman named Ronald Reagan did a film that captured national attention—and showed Republicans that a conservative message can sound compelling when delivered by a master. That was the only residual good that came from the Goldwater candidacy.

We Minnesota Republicans who knew what articulate conservatism sounded like with Walter Judd were not enchanted with Goldwater so we built a delegate team for the state convention that was composed of a number of state party leaders. It was my job to help recruit Judd delegates and to publicize the effort all the while maintaining the fiction that I was neutral as the party leadership was supposed to be.

As stated earlier, the birth of our third child engendered in both Lillian and I a kind of wistfulness about the need to return to Chicago. We loved Minnesota and had shopped around for a house in St. Paul. We particularly liked the suburban-like leafy section near the Mississippi that divides the two cities. But we were concerned that (a) a Goldwater victory at the forthcoming convention in San Francisco would cause a change in the party leadership which would mean I would be looking around for a job and (b) it had now been ten years…going on eleven…that I had been away from Chicago and our kids really weren’t getting to know their grandparents in Chicago.

At times, my father would send me newspaper clippings of ads that appeared in the Sunday Chicago Tribune editions…feature ads that called for public policy personnel. I who thought I knew everything would tell him that major jobs were not advertised in that way. I responded to a few only to find that they were dull trade association clerkships. One day he mailed me one that was a blind ad: with the headline “Public Affairs Manager Wanted” with a brief description and the code name MH-106. Now I told him quite flatly that I was sure no reputable company would advertise for a public affairs person under the rubric of a blind ad. He insisted I respond so one night late in my office I batted out a response on my typewriter, scanned it briefly, signed it and dropped it in the mail-box on the way home. Weeks passed; I didn’t have a response and so I quickly forgot it.

Meanwhile the Goldwater forces had defeated Rocky at the California state convention and had sufficient votes to be nominated. The absolute final convention was in Minnesota and with Goldwater the uncrowned victor, the Goldwater group came to Minneapolis along with their candidate. I met with him and had to acknowledge he looked good—physically, that is. Iron grey hair, tanned skin, tall and vigorous with an interesting propensity to be scatological in conversation with a carelessness in spraying the words with expletives which he didn’t bother to indicate were off-the-record so the press was rather entranced. He was a reserve air force general and carried himself like one. He flew his own jet plane and his co-pilot was a lady, a tough old bird who swore like a trooper and who caused him to double up with laughter. I flew with them to South Dakota…only a small hop…and was entranced. At the point where the pilot checks out his instruments, Goldwater looking every inch the handsome leading man would pull down the switches and say, “altimeter” to which she’d say “check”…something else…”check”…now this “check”… Once he didn’t hear her and repeated it and the old grandma said, “Goddammit, I said check!” They exploded in laughter. The easy grace was impressive. Almost enough to cause me to forget that Goldwater was not much for study or reflection but a visceral and highly immediate candidate who would say the first words that came to him.

I remember that flight where I sat in the pilot’s cabin and heard them talk to themselves and to the ground on the radio. I came close to saying maybe this guy will do…maybe he has a color that will overcome his carelessness…but then—naw. He doesn’t.

He made a speech in South Dakota and we flew back to Minnesota—only a short hop—where he was sorely disappointed. I disappeared from his retinue and took a seat in the backroom where I helped manage the anti-Goldwater putsch. After a long, hot and bitter convention that lasted until 4 a.m. which consisted of talks by Goldwater and Judd, Minnesota opted for her favorite son, its grand old man who had been deprived of reelection by a cruel redistricting managed by my old boss Elmer Andersen (whom I shall never forgive entirely). Goldwater and his people were furious. The press recorded that the convention vote meant nothing, that Goldwater was to be nominated anyhow—but the Minnesota loss was a blow to his prestige that angered him greatly. I remember that he had been very cordial to me in the pilot’s cabin but after the vote when I emerged from the war-room, I bumped into him and got only a steely gaze from his ice-blue eyes. I knew then that I was dog meat.

My boss, Bob Forsythe, the state GOP chairman who was really the architect of the Judd victory and Goldwater defeat, said that he thought both he and I could survive and keep our jobs because the Goldwater people might decide they need us following the nomination. He and I went to his hotel room to get some material and I was ready to go to my room across the hall to pack and go home where I’d get a little sleep when there was a knock at Forsythe’s door. I opened it. In came an assistant Goldwater manager who had flown with us to South Dakota…Richard Kleindienst of Arizona. Kleindienst was my age, a Harvard lawyer and director of field operations for his good friend Goldwater. (He ended up being attorney general of the United States under Richard Nixon, succeeding John Mitchell and was a cabinet officer just three days before the break-in at the Watergate with which he had nothing to do, but an episode that colored his tenure). .

Kleindienst barged in and asked me without saying hello, “Where’s Bob?” Meaning Forsythe. At that particular time Forsythe was shaving in the bathroom. I nodded to the closed bathroom door. Believe it or not Kleindienst stalked over to the closed bathroom door, hit it with a massive rap and said, “Bob—you in there?” Forsythe opened the door and, thinking it was I who rapped, was about to say, “hey, what gives?” when he saw Kleindienst.

“Bob—we’re packing up and getting out of here,” he said. “I won’t try to tell you we enjoyed this because we didn’t. You and your friend here, who flew with us yesterday to South Dakota by the way, you and your friend here ran a pretty good show and trimmed us good. It was a fair fight and we lost and we’ll never forget it. I just want to say a few things before leaving…”

With that there was another knock on Forsythe’s door and I thought: who’s this, now? Goldwater himself? No, it was my assistant. He handed me a note and said, “this guy has been trying to get you all day. He left his phone number.” I took it and tucked it in my shirt pocket and Kleindienst resumed.

“I want to tell you that you should savor this victory because, obviously, it’s all you’re going to have until the whole campaign is over. We’re going to go to San Francisco and be nominated there. I’m taking over as deputy national campaign manager then. It’s only fair to tell you that there’ll be a whole new operation here in Minnesota. If you two want to hang around, okay, but the way I am going to structure this thing neither of you will obviously have anything to say about how our campaign will be run. The state committee where you work will be a figurehead. Bill McFadzean of Archer-Daniels-Midland will be running things for us. My own advice for what it’s worth is that you two should have the grace to resign so that there won’t be confusion as to who’s going to be calling the shots because it’s going to be McFadzean all the way.”

Listen, said Forsythe. I’m sorry to hear you people don’t understand that the name of the game is to patch up convention fights and march together with us. We’re willing to back Goldwater. But obviously you don’t want us. As far as I’m concerned, neither you nor Barry Goldwater are going to tell us where we’ll be working. We were working for this party before you guys came to town and we’ll be working after you leave. So I guess I want to tell you that your threat has fallen on deaf ears.

“Maybe you won’t be so deaf to our need to run our own show after the convention,” said Kleindienst. “Thank you, both of you and good day.” Bam, the door closed.

Forsythe said to me: Don’t let that bother you. You and I are going to be around. And even if we’re not, we’ll make out.

I thought: sure, you’re a lawyer. There’s only one party I can work for. So it just reinforces in my mind the fact that sooner or later…hopefully sooner…I should get out of here. It’s been fun, a grand ride for ten years in this state. But I’m not going to hang around and importune Brad Heffelfinger to take care of me again.

I went to my room and started packing my stuff from the convention and preparing to load it in my car to drive home. Then I pulled the sheet of paper my assistant gave to me. It said: “Been trying to get you for days! Call me. Bayne Freeland.” There was a general number for Quaker Oats in Chicago. I thought: what in the world does The Quaker Oats Company want with me?

But anyhow, I decided to call Mr. Freeland when I got home.