Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Personal Asides: The City Clubs State Treasurer Debate.
The City Clubs debate for State Treasurer between Republican State Senator Christine Radogno (there Ive finally spelled it right even though ABC Channel 7 didnt the other day) and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias was a bust because of the tepid League of Women Voters-blandness of the Republican candidate who is an alumna of that terrible group which seeks to siphon partisanship out of politics but no matter: the cocky arrogance of the 30-year-old Democrat in the face of Outfit scandal should be enough to doom him. I hope.
Here is a kid who could well be cast in the opening segment of a TV series on a rags-to-riches Greek family. Old man Giannoulias made a lot of money lending dough to Outfit figures from his Broadway bank. He wants his kid to be a big shot in politics so he courts the Mob lavishly and allows his kids managers to spend $2 million to get nominated. Evidently there is a limit to the supposed idealism of Barack Obama because he has determined to go along with the old man in return for his largesseor favors he expects to receive from him later.
Call it the Audacity of Hope. (By the way, somebody ought to ask Axelrod who thought up the title what it means anyhow).
The kid walked into the restaurant for the debate with a loose-limbed, slack-jawed spoiled countenance, disdainful, accepting the plaudits of many of his supporters as though he had done something to warrant them. He plopped down at first with his buddies while he seat at the head table loomed empty until he accommodatingly moved up front, conscious that eyes were upon him, as Radogno demurely nibbled on her salad. Once on the stage, he refused to discuss the allegations in specifics, attacking his opponent for not having a positive program. Talk about audacity: he had the stomach to blast her because she hadnt had his experience of being loan officer to the scum. The crowd sat silently. Yes, he said Radogno didnt have a positive program.
As if by pointing out the multi-million-dollar loans from his family to convicted felons with mob ties wasnt public service enough. He was unwilling even to acknowledge that House Speaker and Democratic party chairman Mike Madigan fails to endorse hima once in a lifetime occurrence, even for Chicago politics. Two females who sat at my table one a former Republican turned Democrat turned independent and the other a Republican unaccountably gave a good review to the insouciant, mockingly flagrant Giannoulias. He blew her away the Republican said. Blew her awayhow? Supposedly by outlining a boilerplate theory of how his office could grant loans to poor peoplea program he didnt do much to describe or substantiate. It wasnt even good Clinton confidence man talk. I have to think that the romantic aura of mob money is that exciting. Good thing Albert Anastasia isnt alive, the patent-leather-haired, twinkling-eyed Italian killer who could make a sale with the women for dinner before he would go out to ply his trade. In his prime, he would have really made an impression on them if he ran for Treasurer.
Theres no doubt that Radogno missed a chance in not going after him with both fists rather than just dryly reciting what has upset Madigan so. Instead she endured the stock charge that she like all Republicans is a tool of the far-right wing: despite the fact that she is one of the more progressive Republicans in the Senate. If Republicans cant capitalize on the pouting, gesticulating punk callow kid whose old man paid for his $5,000 suit and who has no right to be on the stage if Republicans cant scorch him on that they have no business being around. He really blew her away, didnt he? Lending dough to the mob isnt illegal. Besides, he has a good program for the have-nots.
Boy, slickness and dough mean all the difference in the world, dont they? Mike Royko didnt ascribe Wheres Mine? as the motto of Chicagoans for no reason. A cheap loan handout by the scion of a family that is up to its neck in mob ties is easily dismissed if he outlines in cursory terms the latest liberal cheap government loans pap for the crowd. Yep, as Alexi spoke, his dulled eyes as un-inspiringly sightless as a dead fish lying too long in a shop stumblingly trying to remember the clichés a p. r. man wrote which he failed to commit to memory the two women at my table, their eyes shining with admiration, were all twitchy.