Friday, October 20, 2006

Personal Asides: Dan Proft and Alderman Joe Moore This Sunday…The Wimpy Tribune Endorsements in the 6th, 8th and 17th Districts.

Proft and Moore.

Sunday’s sparring partners will be Dan Proft, Republican consultant who is the key strategist for Tony Peraica, GOP nominee for Cook county Board president and Alderman Joe Moore (49th) who has emerged as the most outspoken white liberal in the Chicago city council. All you who heard Mike Noonan…Democratic strategist for Todd Stroger…and Dan Proft who called in last Sunday know that there is no love lost between those two. Odds are the positions charted by Joe Moore and Proft are so diametrically opposite that it will guarantee to be a good show as well. That’ Sunday at 8 p.m. on WLS-AM (890).

Wimpy Tribune.

I thought I had the Tribune figured out. As a newspaper that doesn’t know what it believes, it strives to please readers by going both ways. The news copy is definitely liberal on international, national and state coverage…even pro-Democratic party. To balance this, the content editorials are wishy-washy, usually ending with the pathetically weak “what will happen now is anyone’s guess” or “stay tuned” or “the future is hard to predict but odds are what will happen will fall somewhere in between.” You know—the kind of stuff that really stirs the blood. Then the candidate endorsements are usually pro-business, slightly libertarian and Republican, wholly lacking in passion indicating that they may well have been dictated from the business office to which the editorial department is slavishly beholden… with the proviso that pro-choicers take precedence. That’s the way it has been. But this year there is a change.

On candidate endorsements, the weak tea has been further diluted into a tasteless brew with no savor, just based on the languid non-intellectuality of the Hinsdale country club locker room…which is the main constituency to which the non-scuffed white-shoe newspaper appeals. If the newspaper means to retail to people who are thoughtful about the economy, it woefully misses its mark. In the 8th district, David McSweeney, a successful investment banker, is probably the most astute analyst of the economy running on either side of the aisle in Illinois—one who would serve the business community much more effectively than Democrat Rep. Melissa Bean.

Bean is so shaky, so insecure of her own views that of all the people I have ever interviewed in more than fifty years, she has been an absolute puppet of those who control her: in the studio it was an aide who she pathetically insisted had to sit next to her at the desk and point with his carefully manicured finger-nail to the items in the D Triple C briefing book that enabled Bean to get through the interview. In Washington it is obviously the Darth Vader of the Democratic party, Rahm (Raoul) Emanuel who is about as close one can come to being a socialist without breathing in unison with Jan Schakowsky, the former secretary-treasurer of the con-game “consumer group” where fraudulent mis-management and check-kiting (of which Ms. Schakowsky claims to know nothing) sent her husband, dapper confidence man Robert Creamer, to jail which until a few of us blew the whistle was a closeted media club secret.

When I sat down with the esteemed congresswoman Bean in the Green Room before the show I reviewed a list of topics as I do with every participant. Bean shook her tousled head and said “no-no-no, I know nothing of this…of that…of this other thing…and of this specific thing” her eyes darting over for confirmation to her Emanuel-hired Svengali who was indolently chewing a toothpick. I can hardly believe that she has improved so much as to impress the vaunted newspaper editorial board which also consists of a woman who edited the newspaper’s cookbook. No, odds are the editorial board was waiting for a ring on the intercom from the business office which had decided, basis marketing studies, that it would be better to endorse a Democratic pro-choice woman. My only hope is that with the estate of the Tribune so low that the endorsement will be as ignored as is its unenlightened view of exploiting embryonic stem cell research.

If the business office wanted to encourage its own well-being, it would support McSweeney for excellent business and economic reasons. But, of course, it cannot because Bean is pro-choice and McSweeney is pro-life. Thereby the business office is now engaged in making more than economic decisions—guessing that the marketing of the newspaper will be enhanced with a pro-choicer than a pro-lifer, guessing somehow that women will be more supportive of its dreary rationale than heretofore. Now, McSweeney is far more than just an expert on the economy and business. He has developed a sophisticated philosophy on foreign affairs and immigration. In fact he is equipped to easily be a leader of the class of Republicans who will go to the Congress.

I suppose the thing that vexes me more than this endorsement is that the newspaper is so transparently vacuous in everything it does. I have no doubt that the decision to go Democratic was dictated elsewhere than the editorial board with a sheet of paper containing supposed reasons. The reason that McSweeney was not endorsed was that he has failed to prove Bean is a liberal. Be that as it may, her ineptitude shows she is incompetent.

The next decision this faux board made was in behalf of Tammy Duckworth. No one who knows Duckworth…even the most blinded partisan…can believe she is the equal in any sense of the fluent, sophisticated and skillful lawyer Peter Roskam. Duckworth probably would have done better running against any other Republican—probably a stumblebum. With her license to go anywhere and trade on her celebrity, she could easily have moved, at Emanuel’s beckoning, to another district with a Republican congressman (and I would have at least one suggestion were people to ask).

Here the real reason Roskam was not endorsed is the horrible editorial board-business office bigoted bias against pro-lifers…and Roskam has been an invaluable one in his state senate career. Duckworth doesn’t represent in the slightest what the newspaper has served up as a rationale for continuing to support the Iraq War…leaving the unmistakable impression that the paper’s genuine hostility to social values as a kind of New York Times wanna-be is the reason. I am sure the former cookbook editor had a vote on the endorsement as well albeit it came from the soulless business office that has made such a mess of things by buying Jack Fuller’s great idea of acquiring the Los Angeles Times. Which leads to the question of when this retiree has-been is going to stop prattling his clichéd Op Eds.

Finally in a district like the 17th where for too long the incumbent has been deathly ill with Parkinson’s and who has picked his former aide…an unimpressive lefty as his successor…what does this faux board do to show it has followed no rationale plan whatever. It disdained to support Republican Andrea Zinga because, it said, she does not handle herself well. What is that supposed to mean? The fact that the lady has been a CNN newswoman and former anchor in several markets has nothing to do with the fact that in the newspaper’s estimation she doesn’t handle herself well. Possibly the ex-cookbook editor’s view again. But not necessarily: it is indubitably that of the business office referring to pop marketing studies to ingratiate itself with a pro-choice audience. Again, it is social bigotry which the newspaper cannot muster the courage to express. Of course. You guessed it : Zinga is a pro-lifer. That it has declined to support Schakowsky in the 9th nor the very strange odd-ball she’s running against who does not accept any donations whatever is no act of courage—just the fearful mediocrity for which the newspaper is famed.

So this time around, the Tribune has a new rationale for its editorial endorsements. Its stands will continue to be bland, predictable and spineless with a slight residue of pro-business thinking…but its endorsements for Congress will be to the left. It is such a pitiful masquerade of its old doughty self that it would be a blessing if somebody bought the damned thing and turned it into a daily shopper throw-away with no editorial page at all, leaving the opinion writing to an expert like John Kass. In that eventuality, the business office would be relieved of its editorial duties and the ex-cookbook editor would be directed to finally do something useful…cooking up batches of stew in the paper’s old home ec kitchen. That would at least make her one up on the Sun-Times whose food editor writes the same piece every Saturday on how Hispanics view the world.


  1. Lovie's LeatherOctober 20, 2006 at 9:24 PM

    I agree with you about Roskam.... but I differ about McSweeney. I know that a vast amount of Republicans agree with McSweeney. But I personally don't like the guy. I think that Bean has done a fair job and I really don't want to put up with someone that I consider a "shrill Republican." In the 17th, I am torn again between Zinga's policies and her complete lack of preparedness for Congress. Not that Hare is what you would call polished. But you are right about the trib, they can't seem to endorse anyone that is pro-life. What can you do? They're not gonna change. Maybe you should start a paper!

  2. John Thomas McGeeanOctober 21, 2006 at 6:16 AM

    I will just say this about the Chicago Tribune. When I was a boy and the Colonel was running things, the Paper was called "The World's Greatest Newspaper" and it had plenty of enemies. But, she was a darn good paper. It is well they took that logo off the front page for the Tribune is no longer a great newspaper--it is sub par (except for John Kass) and I think its pro-abort stand causes it not to endorse good candidates in both parties. ( I believe they endorsed George Ryan over Glen Puchard. They endorsed Jim Thompson over Mike Howlett and both because they were pro-life.) When Len Small from Kankakee was elected Governor--he was a Republican but the Colonel didn't like him--my dad told me the Tribune had an editorial that was titled: "Len Small elected Governor" and then there was a huge blank space and then there came the next editorial. It said nothing but said so much.

    I think if the Colonel were alive today he would wash his hands of the current Tribune. Could you blame him

  3. I listened to your broadcast on sunday for only a moment. As soon as I realized you once again had on Joe Moore, the biggest hypocrite on the Chicago City Council (and a man who in nearly 16 years in office has NEVER told the truth when a lie could serve him better), I shut the radio off. I will do this any time you have Moore polluting the WLS airwaves (which I must confess is an accomplishment, considering the station already puts on slimemasters like Limbaugh and Hannity during the week).