Monday, December 4, 2006

Personal Aside: This Stuff About the Illinois GOP Dead Beyond Resurrection is all Guff. All that Troubles it is the Near Monolithic Media.

David McSweeney 2

I’ve been around too long to believe it. I remember when, compared to this election, the national Republicans were enveloped in a tidal wave and swept out to sea. That was 1964 when the pundits said there was no hope of return within the lifetimes of people covering the news. They pronounced that the GOP had a fatal flaw—that flaw generated by Rutherford B. Hayes who sanctioned withdrawal of the Union army from the South after the Civil War which left blacks to the tender mercies of the white southerners. The Goldwater campaign which carried the southern states was a short-term phenomenon they said. The civil rights era coming up will cause blacks in the South to be dominant, so the white south is very transitory. Not true; not in the slightest sense true. The South has been for all practical purposes Republican country.

They didn’t realize that the seeds of liberalism’s excesses were coming to fruition with the violence in the cities and the awful anarchical rebellions during the Vietnam war. That produced a backlash that has been with us in many aspects even today. Barely four years after Goldwater’s landslide defeat, Richard Nixon—very uncharismatic and a total washout as a human being not to mention campaigner—won over Humphrey. This idea that the 2006 mid-term elections which so narrowly captured the Senate and took a somewhat larger chunk of the House cannot be overcome is fatalistic nonsense. Out of loss can come great future victories: such as the one good thing that came from the Goldwater movement was the emergence of Ronald Reagan.

One of the best candidates to emerge this year has been David McSweeney who, if he determines to continue, will be likely to be elected the next time around. He has all the things that a candidate should have: hardy intellectual resources, courage, eloquence, character in abundance. I look around and see Ron Gidwitz who though not successful as a candidate for governor has the intellectual grasp that towers over many others…and who seemed to find himself late in the campaign to the point where he has a lot to provide in the future.

And I still say Jim Oberweis, whatever he wants to do, will be a force to be reckoned with: I would hope he would consider running against Dick Durbin and spend the entire time from now until 2008 campaigning against this charlatan…remembering it was an ex-Congressman who dropped out of the House because he had received an erroneous medical report that he was going blind and who found out the truth, started what was seen as a hopeless race against the Senate’s majority leader, Scott Lucas of Havana, Illinois—with Everett Dirksen winning that contest and becoming a great leader of his own in the Senate.

I look with great favor on Tom Cross who, while we don’t agree on some aspects of social policy, has mastered the technique of being a unity-prone leader, encouraging people like Aaron Schock who have different social views than his own: that’s the essence of leadership.

The big difficulty with Republicans is this: we do not have even a faintly supportive media…and a supportive media intellectually is essential to generate the kind of intellectual ballast that is indispensable. You have the Sun-Times which is the Democratic party’s unofficial newspaper of record which has begun an almost indecent outward campaign of promotion…almost like the newspapers did in the 19th century in favor of Lincoln and against Lincoln, in favor of McClellan and some blistering him…of Barack Obama.

Obama is indeed an exciting candidate but as a newspaper of pronounced opinion which makes no pretense of equivocating truth and untruth—this paper has gone round the bend. This idea that Obama is a “tabula raza”—an empty slate on which everyone who supports certain ideas wants to project them with him—is wrong. He is at bottom a fervent liberal and near Fabian socialist with totally ultra-secular social tendencies, one who voted not just for partial birth abortion but to deny help to infants who survived near death in the womb from abortionist’s tools, voting to allow them to die of neglect and has the appalling bad taste to call this record “the audacity of hope.” All the while displaying the agreeable tendency to appear to consider various options: “ah, you may have a point.” Open-minded my foot. But with a stridently liberal press there is no other view but his in the “Sun-Times.” You’d think they’d have confidence in themselves to permit another view—but no.

Then there is the Tribune which apart from John Kass and the Op Ed writer Dennis Byrne is totally the wanna-be Midwest edition of “The New York Times” or the “Los Angeles Times.” The suburban “Herald” newspaper is just slightly to the right, by tad inches of the “Tribune,” portraying the same dreary politically convenient clichés. No political party can win in any large state without any major editorial support. Until and unless that is changed, there is likely to be only the dull grey of institutional liberalism, sluggish and stagnant, running through the state. Only a candidate of enormous personal wealth could overcome that disadvantage. The good news is that both papers may be extinct before long—or broken up to such a degree that their pernicious influence is abated.


  1. Tom, I love your blog and think you're a phenomenal writer. I also usually agree with your political analysis.

    But I think you missed the boat on the Illinois GOP. When you list the Republican "saviors", your piece almost becomes a parody, proving the thesis you're trying to disprove. When you come up with mostly a list of retreads, I think you prove the point about the seriousness of the GOP's ills.

    For instance, I like McSweeney too. But he didn't just "emerge" this year. Didn't he run against Phil Crane once before? And it will only get tougher to beat Bean. This was the year to do it, after she had only been in for 2 years.

    Oberweis has had 3 strikes. He's out.

    Gidwitz? Come on.

    And speaking of charlatans, Tom Cross is the biggest one out there.

  2. Tom, your thesis that the editorial support of some major print media outlet is necessary for statewide political success is sobering indeed. But I wonder whether it is historically borne out.

    Three examples come to mind, but I am not sure about the "editorial" support angle. The first, and my best example, is Ronald Reagan in California in 1966. Surely no paper in Los Angeles or San Fransisco endorsed him over Pat Brown in 1966. (Perhaps he had the support of the San Diego paper, but back then, San Diego was a much smaller city.) Reagan won anyway. The second would be Schwarzenegger, same state, different year. Did any major California paper endorse him in his first race? I'm not so sure. The third would be Weld and Romney in Massachusetts...isn't the Boston Globe a reliably Democratic supporter? The fourth would be Pataki in New York, based on the premise that the triumvirate of NYC papers (Times, News, and Post) which are liberal and pro-Democratic appear to swamp all boats when it comes to statewide print media.

    So while I agree that the lack of a sympathetic (if not allied) major newspaper is an impediment to political growth, history seems to show that it is not insuperable.

  3. Ron Gidwitz is extremely impressive- had he been more successful in the debates, he would have had a far greater impact. People watching the debates needed to see the same Ron that is an extremely effective communicator face to face. Out of the final gubernatorial candidates, Ron was the only candidate to offer actual ideas, not just vague outlines. This was a lost opportunity for Illinois...

  4. Cathy Santo's Left Butt CheekDecember 5, 2006 at 12:19 PM

    I say "pftttttttttttttttpppppppppppppp" to all naysayers. We called on Topinka to lose and because of the tremendous influence of the amazing Jack Roeser, she did. In fact, Jack Roeser will be able to quickly fix everything in the state. He has a great team that has proven results. Bwahaahaaahaaaaa.

    Is that "Former" John Curry that we all know and hate. You have about as much charm as my fiance whom will never marry me.

  5. Remember when Dupage County was SOLIDLY Repbublican? Just look at the 70's or earlier. Then look at the demographic shifts...urbanization, the Republican women hugging AAUW and the right to an ABORTION and voting then for RINO liberal Republicans like Judy Biggert.

    Look at the demographic shifts in Lake County in recent years. The advent of Section 8 with its new demographic of crime! Oh Come on! Don't call ME a racist. Call Pig Daley a RACIST for ethnically clensing the projects and its problems out to the burbs with the transferable SECTION 8 certificates... and lets not forget the influx of illegal aliens bringing with it the rise in ethnic related drug game crime. Can we say AURORA, can we say, ELGIN! Imagine poor little Carpentersville with 17 gangs being called Little Cabrini on the Fox. Demographic shift, political change YOU BETCHA!