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.
Whats interesting is that generally the paper reflects a kind of libertarianism and pro-business outlook in its editorialsbut 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 Roskams 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 McSweeneys 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 taxpayers 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 papers 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 diversitynot 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. Thats 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 Associationwhich 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. Thats 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 disqualifiedas was the case with the most rigid, autocratic and doctrinaire liberal in the House who was endorsed by the paper: Barbara Flynn Currie. Lets say Mike Madigans majority leader is rigid and inflexible.
Also theres one point Id like to make about the Trib which Ive 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 Democratsas in the case of Rep. Marlow Colvin (D-33rd). He succeeded Todd Stroger in the legislature and hes endorsed because hes certainly done more than his predecessor. Thats 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.
Some uncounted years ago, I stopped in on Quaker Oats business to visit with the U. S. Chamber of Commerces chief economist. A photo of a blonde in alluring Hollywood pose was on his desk. Who is that? I asked.
My wife, he said. Shes 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 shes 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 importantand 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 Congressbut 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. Theres an establishment to impress out there and conservative dissidents are in vogue just now. So its 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 theyre coming. And weve got to do everything we can to stop them. Thats why we need to be on offense all the time. Thats 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 shes bailed out.
Remind me never to say again shes good looking.