Monday, November 13, 2006
Fair Enough: Opinions Hot from the Griddle.
Topinka Got Fewer Votes than Alan Keyes Nalepa Could be Interested in State Chairman Steve Huntley Explains it All to Us Out with Kjellander Down With Baker (and the Gang of `41). Mushy Opinions Back Tomorrow.
Memo to those especially those media savants who called her irrepressible, maintaining that the future of the GOP is to run social liberals: Judy Baar Topinka totaled 1,332,735 votes across the state. Alan Keyes got 1.390,690. Gee, wonder why we never saw that in the Tribune?
As Michael Sneed says, my fingers were flying too fast over the computer keys. Jim Nalepa is not an ex-Marine and is not a mega-wealthy guybut folks tell me he could be interested in becoming state GOP chairman. But nobody goes out and runs for state chairman on his own. There has to be a group that wants a change. Whether or not there is a group remains to be seenbut to my mind, Nalepa is the guy. If the GOP isnt ready to effect a change in state chairman, there aint going to be change anywhere else.
Steve Huntley, a.k.a Aesop, the editorial page editor of Chicagos Democratic newspaper of record who wrote the editorials endorsing Rod Blagojevich and Todd Stroger has penned a column which offers unsolicited advice to the Republicans. Huntley is an admirer of Judy Baar Topinka and immediately after his bosses force-fed to regurgitate the endorsement editorial for Blagojevich he wrote an Op Ed column under his own name which softly, gently, discreetly in his decorous style suggested that Judy was a good person, too. Huntleys strong support of Topinka has lasted over the years.
Well Huntley and his fellow media pundits savored Topinka. Now as reported above, she received fewer votes than Alan Keyes1,390,690 for Keyes, 1,332,735 for Topinka.
Now comes the capper: Huntley wants to give advice to the state GOP and rigs the advice around Tom Cross, the House Republican leader. According to Huntley, Cross says to social conservatives: you cant win. Well, not exactly. While Cross didnt say this, Huntley, who has depth perception, feels Cross would say.
Now it happens I know and admire Tom Cross whose social views dont correspond to my own--but Ive never heard him say a social conservative Republican can win statewide. Quite the opposite: Ive heard him describe the Big Tent, not a party where conservative social issues are excluded as Huntley would wish. Social conservatives in the House tells me that he is an eminently fair leader; one went so far as to extol him more than a prior leader who was a social conservative. Tom Cross is the man who picked social conservative Aaron Schock for the state House from a tough liberal, labor Peoria district. Hes supported a lot of other good conservatives. He rallied support behind a black social conservative running for mayor of Aurora. The list goes on and on.
Now to Huntley: If one can judge the views of Steve Huntley from a composite of people whose local columns he runs on his pages (considering that he has something of a free rein: how much we dont know) they range a gamut of A to B from the ecstatically pro-abort Cindy Richards past scores of other pro-aborts to Reverend Jesse L. Jackson whose ghost pushes without fail the standard Democratic boilerplate of the week. The token outspoken social conservative is Betsy Hart on Sunday who is very good and also very much outnumbered by those selected by Huntley.
Not to forget the same recycled anti-Bush propagandist each Friday: Huntleys favorite, the erratic soft porno scribbler Father Andrew Greeley whose specious theologywomen priests, the calling of God she, and the foolish written memoir-wanna-be on how he intended to make the late Cardinal Bernardin Pope deposited at Notre Dame has invited justifiable ridicule. Until the Sun-Times is either sold or goes to its final dissolution, apparently, will no one, in the immortal words of Henry II, rid us of this obnoxious priest. Any resemblance of Greeley to the object of Henrys ire in the twelfth century, the saintly Thomas Becket, lies in Greeleys fevered mind alone. Presumably, unless hes being held in his editorial chair against his will, the menagerie of Democrat Op Ed columnists are the choices of Steve Huntley for a newspaper that endorses same-sex marriageconsistent fits for a paper for a Left paper but spectacularly inappropriate for someone who now advises Republicans how to win.
The view that only social liberals can win for the GOP he puts into Cross mouth but is his own. The record disputes this claim. George Ryan ran and was elected (through duplicity) as a pro-lifer. Peter Fitzgerald is a social conservative, was opposed by George Ryan who had become a pro-abort governor and by a tough pro-abort competitor in a primary and later by a pro-abort incumbent U. S. Senator in the general. Think back also to Jim Ryan, the pro-lifer who was elected attorney general three times. Now consider Huntleys pal, Topinka pro-abort and pro-gay rights, the opponent of the marriage amendment who refused to take a stand against raising the income tax a social liberal by Huntleys specification and received fewer votes than anyone else in modern times. I cannot overstate the graphic irony of Huntley, servitor of the most radical Left newspaper in Chicago, explaining it all to us. Comments, please.
At one time when the gubernatorial campaign was in its early stages, the clamor for Bob Kjellander to go seemed a distraction and I so commented on it. At that time there was no solid claim of illegality and Kjellanders closeness to Karl Rove was an asset. But today there should be no debate as to whether Bob Kjellander should stay or go. He has been identified as Official K for Gods sake. The campaign is over and whatever good he has done for Illinois is at an end.
And if there were still any doubt, the talks that Peter Fitzgerald made the other day in Chicago should erase it. (In a public forum and in my own class at Roosevelt University where remarks are off-the-record, he told the same story almost word-for-word which allows me to report it). He said that when he fought with the White House and the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to retain the right, which was his alone under the rules, to name a U. S. Attorney, Karl Rove said: okay, its yours to name but the ground-rules are that the appointee should be from Illinois. Fitzgerald said if he could find a qualified Illinois lawyer among the applicants he would name him/her. He could not. So without bowing to the White House, he called a news conference and announced Patrick Fitzgerald of New York would get the job which stymied the forces of Hastert and Rove. That Patrick Fitzgerald was a superb choice there is no doubt (although his strategy in the Scooter Libby case mystifies). His fearless move against the Democratic governor and the mayor and his even-handedness in the much-touted Valerie Plame case seems to even the score.
Peters word which is golden with me is the first verifiable fact I have had that indicates Rove a man whose talents I earlier admired through the political management of George W. Bush and the two presidential campaigns, as well as the knowledge that he was unjustly accused by the media of leaking Valerie Plames name (although I have never met him) had a vested interest in either protecting nefarious interests in Illinois or joining with the Speakera good pal of George Ryan from the days when Hastert was a backbench state legislator and Ryan the Speaker. It is a fact that Ryan wanted his personal lawyer Jeremy Margolis appointed the District Attorney.
Thus Peter Fitzgeralds point is very clear. There should be no continuation of Kjellander in the party either as national committeeman. Of course the natural attrition that comes from prosecutions may take care of himbut why wait and suffer more bad headlines for the Illinois GOP when and if he is indicted as a high Illinois Republican official? And frankly, if the White House can get rid of a brilliant and selfless Illinoisan because the Left finds him offensive, Don Rumsfeld, and hang tight to Kjellander whom Democrats and the Combine have found useful, what does that tell us? The first step back to leadership is for the Illinois GOP to repudiate this man who has become a symbol of bipartisan political profiteering whom, as it turns out, has been largely with Hastert is regarded as responsible for Topinkas refusal to endorse Peter Fitzgerald for reelection who was a Svengali behind Topinkas hairbreadth nomination and has helped pilot her to doom. Answer me this: what is so valuable about Bob Kjellander that he is the indispensable man when he is Individual K?
The recent firing of Don Rumsfeld and replacement of him with the man who served as deputy to Brent Scowcroft, Bush 41s national security adviser, gives credence to rumors of a confusing tornado swirling around the White House these days. The Iraq Study Group, a mysterious commission on Iraq headed by none other than James Baker, the serpentine state secretary under George H.W. Bush, may presage a change in Iraq strategy that resembles the sell-out of our troops in Vietnam by Democrats and Republican weakling go-alongs in Congress after the resignation of Richard Nixon. Now Baker would work hand-in-hand with a Democratic congressional majority to cut appropriations for the war in order to force it to end and our country to be humiliatedas well as our troops stranded as some were in Vietnam. Carrying the analogy to its logical conclusion, the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in Iraq are endangered to become meaningless if the present reversal continues spearheaded by Baker: who has never won anything but has great experience in charting wrong courses.
It is hard indeed to give Baker any good marks whatsoever for his federal service: he was effective at only one thing, marketing himself, as President Bushs own father found out. He is Rahm Emanuel without the explictives and smiley face. He started out as deputy Commerce secretary when he was tapped to run Gerald Fords campaign in 1976 against challenger Ronald Reagan. He was tapped again as G.H.W. Bushs campaign manager for the 1980 nomination, the man behind Bushs criticism of Reagans economic policies as voodoo economics. With Bush losing to Reagan, voodoo became who-do. Who will do the successful economic policy he and Bush criticized? Overnight, he shed his skin and became a leading campaign adviser to Reagan. Following Reagans election, he became chief of staff and later secretary of the treasury, a remarkable performance of the whore hitting the sawdust trail to the church and getting to pass the plate at the same time.
As Reagans chief of staff Baker, never a conservative, always a big corporation wheeler-dealer lawyer-pragmatist, consistently sold out his chief and saw that he got good press credits in his stead. He was the one who hired another reptilian, Dick Darman, in the White House. They were the agents of principle compromise since they in toto believed in nothing but accommodation to liberals. They mis-sold Reagan on the idea that if he raised taxes to recover some of the temporary deficit from the cut, the Democrats would agree to cut one dollar of spending for every dollar hiked in taxesa blatant falsehood and duplicitous suggestion that never paid off and which led Reagan later to publicly chastise them in his memoirs. They were the ignoble duo principally Darman that convinced old man Bush to betray his noble pledge not to raise taxes which more than any other issue defeated 41 while Baker stayed far enough away as not to be caught in the backfire.
Baker was the state secretary Pillar of Jello who helped sell out Israel to the Palestinians in the Middle East under the specious theory that Yasir Arafat needed a token of victory in order to achieve an agreement. He sold that idea as secretary of state to his boss, another Israel critic, G. H.W. Bush. No one does Baker resemble more closely than another wheeler-dealer of the Lyndon Johnson era: Clark Clifford and the biggest wheeler-dealer of our time in Illinois: Big Jim Thompson. Clifford started under Truman, then became a wealthy lobbyist-lawyer and fixer. When the sands of public approval ran out for Johnson, the president wearily threw in the cards for Vietnam and put Clifford in as secretary of defense to manage the sell-out. Instead of Baker taking the job to manage the sell-out (he has other business fish to fry) he has managed to put in a second-tier surrogate, Robert Gates who has no charter except to get out of Iraq in the worst way. And he will devise the worst way if the past is any forerunner of the future. Clifford was spared going to jail for corrupt money-laundering with a house-of-cards banking conglomerate because he was in his late `80s and ill. Thompson has been spared rightful indictment as the watchdog who slept through the looting of the Sun-Times. What history will write finally of Jim Baker remains to be seen.
But history, prepared to write well of George W. Bush, for his up-to-now irrevocable firmness in defense policy and his fight against terrorism that spared our country from another attack, will record retreat from principle and ignominy if there is a Bush capitulation to Jim Baker and the Gang of 41. What follows reversal in Iraq could be tragicfor George W. Bush and this country. And as he always has before, when the roof caves in, Jim Baker will edge away and watch the carnage from a point of personal safety: this time from a top floor corporate suite in Houston.