Sunday, October 29, 2006

Personal Asides: The “Trib’s” Anti-Life Editorial Bigotry…Dear Peggy.



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.

What’s interesting is that generally the paper reflects a kind of libertarianism and pro-business outlook in its editorials—but 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 Roskam’s 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 McSweeney’s 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 taxpayer’s 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 paper’s 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 diversity—not 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.” That’s 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 Association”—which 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.” That’s 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 disqualified—as was the case with the most rigid, autocratic and doctrinaire liberal in the House who was endorsed by the paper: Barbara Flynn Currie. Let’s say Mike Madigan’s majority leader is “rigid” and “inflexible.”

Also there’s one point I’d like to make about the “Trib” which I’ve 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 Democrats—as in the case of Rep. Marlow Colvin (D-33rd). He succeeded Todd Stroger in the legislature and he’s endorsed because “he’s certainly done more than his predecessor.” That’s 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.

Dear Peggy.

Some uncounted years ago, I stopped in on Quaker Oats business to visit with the U. S. Chamber of Commerce’s chief economist. A photo of a blonde in alluring Hollywood pose was on his desk. Who is that? I asked.

“My wife,” he said. “She’s 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 she’s 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 important—and 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 Congress—but 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. There’s an establishment to impress out there and conservative dissidents are in vogue just now. So it’s 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 they’re coming. And we’ve got to do everything we can to stop them. That’s why we need to be on offense all the time.” That’s 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 she’s bailed out.

Remind me never to say again she’s good looking.


  1. I think you'll find the Trib Ed Board's preference for Duckworth over Roskam is based on fiscal matters. Duckworth is honest about what she wants to do. Do away with some of Bush's tax cuts like the estate tax and possibly raising capital gains back to where they were to balance the budget. She'll work hard to get congress to go back to pay go rules and outlaw earmarks.

    Roskam wants to keep earmarks with phony reform provisions. As if he wins he'd be in Republican congress to take advantage of them anyway. He also endorses pay go but wants to keep all the tax cuts and promises to cut more. That's not a policy or a goal. It's a recipe for insolvancy.

    When the Trib asked him to explain his conflicting Social Security positions
    he gave a long, lawyerly treatise
    that ended when one of the members said, "That is privatization."

    With a $8.5 trillion dollar debt (and rising) and the Army underfunded by $18 billion next year Roskam is such an unserious candidate he doesn't have one word about Iraq, Afghanistan or Al Qaeda on his website. Not. One. Word.

    Roskam hasn't made his pro birth stance a feature of his campaign. Both he and the NRCC have spent millions on a single issue: attacking Duckworth's support for McCain's immigration bill. They've recently branched out to claiming she'll raise taxes on everybody but the dog.

  2. The whole trendy smarter-than - God crowd of Lakeview and shoreline progressives (and their bank accounts )have been calling the tune at Trib Towers for ten years. Rahm is crafting his own stable of activist politicos in to his Ministery for Progressive Change. Thank God that very few of those good folks can find their butts with both hands or are political sneaks like Quigley.

  3. John Thomas MCGeeanOctober 30, 2006 at 5:15 AM

    Unfortunately, the paper is not longer the paper of Lincoln. The Tribune used to stand for prinicples. Lincoln stood for the dignity of the human person. The Tribune at one time did the same thing. Now the paper has become an editorial pupit for the Abortion industry. It is a shame.

  4. It was interesting that at Cato's Friedman Award Dinner in Chicago earlier this year George Will attacked our efforts in Iraq by claiming that they had Washingtons or Jeffersons to create a democracy. It was therefore, foolhardy for us to try and export are way of government.

    During the speech I kept thinking of all those other failed democracies that had no Jeffersons or Washingtons...I mean the list is long. Japan, The Phillipines, Nicaragua, El Salavador, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Great Britain, Germany, France, Poland... I mean if only these country's had a Washington or Jefferson they might democratically elect their leaders and live in relative peace and prosperity.

    The high irony, is that Friedman award this year went to the former prime minister of Estonia -- another country w/out a Washington or Jefferson.

  5. Tom, I enjoyed the show, but why so much time on the Hastert "investigation"? Why not discuss the congress exercising its subpoena power to gather information on pre-invasion intelligence gathering and invasion planning, the use (or ingoring) of pre-9/11 intelligence regarding the World Trade Center attacks, and the awarding of contracts to Halliburton, its subsidiaries, and the Lincoln group? Isn't it embarrassing to have a GOP led congress that eagerly investigates Hastert's knowledge of Foley's solicitations rather than the life and death matters of an occupation costing hundreds of billions?

    I understand that the intelligence used by Collin Powell in his UN presentation connecting Hussein with Al-Qaeda was at least in part based upon information obtained through the torture of Iban al Shakh al Libby. ( ) Cheney continues to suggest waterboarding (dunking?) is ok with him, though I understand that practice isn't even permissible under the soon to be overturned Military Commission Act.

    In my casual observation of news, I have the names of ten individuals held as detainees and subsequently released without charge: Moazzam Begg, Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar, Sayed Mohammead Ali Shah, Habib Rahman, Sadir (goes by one name and said 74 Afghans remain in Guantanamo.), Shafiq Rasul, Ruhal Ahmed, Asif Iqbal.

    Imagine how many more.

  6. Nice to read today that the Trib's circulation as well as that of every other large "Daily Beast" style yellow journal big city liberal rag is down again, ie., dropping faster than abortion queen Judy Treblinka's poll numbers. Bucking the trend among large papers are the conservative New York Post and the other New York tabloid, the Daily News. According to a Sun Times story this week the asking price for the whole Tribune boondoggle enterprise including, presumably, the Cubs, the L.A. Times and the N.Y. Post is a mere 8 billion plus change. Certainly there can be no doubt that Blogmeister Roeser has it and then some. Come on Tom, pull the trigger!

    By the way I'm seriously considering voting Green for Governor (the Green Party that is for those of you from Rosa Linda). Turns out if those cranks and kooks get 5 percent of the vote they get some sort of matching funds the next time around and could well become a permanent thorn in the Democrats' side as surely 99 percent of their vote comes from the left. They are currently polling at 14 percent despite the fact that their candidate for Atty. General moved to New York in the middle of the campaign.

  7. Tom, as you have pointed out so many times on the radio, Colonel McCormick has been dead for 50 years now. I am astounded at how many people out there think the Tribune is still a conservative Republican paper. Several years ago I wrote a couple of articles for Chronicles magazine in Rockford detailing how liberal the Trib had already become in the Clinton years, especially on the so-called "social issues." Those of you out there who still think the Trib is conservative: tell me how many conservatives you ever see in that paper besides John Kass and Dennis Byrne? If the Trib is still a Republican paper in any sense, it is as the voice of Illinois Combine Republicans--i.e. Jim Thompson, George Ryan, Judy Topinka, Bob Kjellander, Rosemary Mulligan, etc. That means, first and foremost, uniting with the Democrats to gang up on any Republicans who are pro-life, anti-special rights for homosexuals, anti-illegal immigration or otherwise in violation of liberal sensibilities. Ultimately, I believe, the people who run the Trib wish to be seen as "progressive" and "enlightened" because they think that in this way, they are "overcoming" the terrible reactionary legacy of McCormick and making their paper "respectable" in the eyes of the rest of the establishment media. It's a shame they don't care nearly as much about how they look in the eyes of their readers.