Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Personal Asides: The City Club’s State Treasurer Debate.


City Club.

The City Club’s debate for State Treasurer between Republican State Senator Christine Radogno (there I’ve finally spelled it right even though ABC Channel 7 didn’t 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 kid’s 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 largesse—or 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 hadn’t had his experience of being loan officer to the scum. The crowd sat silently. Yes, he said Radogno didn’t have a positive program.

As if by pointing out the multi-million-dollar loans from his family to convicted felons with mob ties wasn’t public service enough. He was unwilling even to acknowledge that House Speaker and Democratic party chairman Mike Madigan fails to endorse him—a 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 away—how? Supposedly by outlining a boilerplate theory of how his office could grant loans to poor people—a program he didn’t do much to describe or substantiate. It wasn’t even good Clinton confidence man talk. I have to think that the romantic aura of mob money is that exciting. Good thing Albert Anastasia isn’t 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.

There’s 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 can’t 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 can’t scorch him on that…they have no business being around. “He really blew her away, didn’t he?” Lending dough to the mob isn’t illegal. Besides, he has a good program for the have-nots.

Boy, slickness and dough mean all the difference in the world, don’t they? Mike Royko didn’t ascribe “Where’s 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.


  1. Tom, I guess I don't really disagree with what you say here.

    But you might want to take a closer look at Tony Peraica who you have endorsed. I think it's fair to say the town of Cicero is a lot more mobbed-up than Broadway Bank could ever dream of being. Few have the long, close ties to Cicero that Peraica has.

    Good lord, Betty Loren Maltese was the Cicero Township Republican Committeeman for years, until she went to the Federal Pen. The whole time she was on the Central Committee of the Cook County GOP, never a peep from Peraica or Radogno. The first time Peraica won a Republican Primary, it was thanks to Maltese's help in fact.

    Like Peraica, Radogno doesn't live too far from there.

    Point is this concern about the Outfit is a rather new thing for our Republicans. Everyone knows the Repub connections aren't limited to Cicero.

  2. Lovie's LeatherOctober 18, 2006 at 2:55 PM

    So Jen, I live in a town that had a murder take place. I was in town when the murder took place... does that make me a murderer? You can live in a town and not be part of the corruption... but you can't be vice president of a bank and have no knowledge of loans to the Mob unless your position at the bank is purely symbolic! By the way, Tom, you hit a homerun! Keep it up...

  3. First, I'm not sure if I'm comfortable even addressing someone named "Lovie's Leather." I'm a bit creeped out to be honest. But here goes.

    To say they that bank was knowingly lending to the Mob is rather reckless. I haven't seen the proof.

    And your little analogy doesn't even make sense. I'm saying that the GOP had someone with MUCH clearer Mob ties AS PART OF ITS SENIOR LEADERSHIP. Again, Betty Loren Maltese was on the Cook County GOP's Central Committee for years. Where was Radogno's concern about the Mob then?

    Also, no industry is more regulated at both the state and the federal level than banking. If Broadway was doing something illegal, or even unsound, they would be stopped.

    This Alexi guy may very well be dirty, it's the rare politico in this state who isn't. I'm just saying Radogno is about the last person who should be throwing stones in her glass house.