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.
Sundays 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).
I thought I had the Tribune figured out. As a newspaper that doesnt 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 anyones guess or stay tuned or the future is hard to predict but odds are what will happen will fall somewhere in between. You knowthe 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. Thats 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 Illinoisone 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 newspapers 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 decisionsguessing 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 Republicanprobably a stumblebum. With her license to go anywhere and trade on her celebrity, she could easily have moved, at Emanuels 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 doesnt 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 papers 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 Fullers 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 Parkinsons 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 newspapers estimation she doesnt handle herself well. Possibly the ex-cookbook editors 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 shes running against who does not accept any donations whatever is no act of couragejust 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 papers 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.