Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Personal Asides: Mark Steven Kirk Heads for the Tall Grass…Zorn’s Free Advice Worth Every Penny…Bishop Paprocki’s Invocation.


The last time I saw Congressman Mark Steven Kirk (R-10th) he was assuring an audience filled with conservatives, I among them, that while they disagreed on social issues, they could at least take comfort in his support of President Bush’s military actions in Iraq.

Last week when the question came up on supporting the president or not, he headed for the Tall Grass. He represents a district that is “moderate”—i.e. liberal—and expediency requires a man to save his skin for the next reelection go-round. I think what you did was a mistake, Congressman. A number of us gave you fairly good cover on social policy…even when you went beyond the bounds and started pumping up the engines for embryonic stem cell research beyond your vote.

You have obviously decided that you won’t be around long if you don’t agree with the liberals as well on the War. Wrongo. You may not be around because you have cut loose from your base—the one facet of that base that you cited and thumped your chest in citing your expertise.

You should read what Thomas More said to Sir Richard Rich about Wales.


There are a good many things Eric Zorn can do if he ever decides to forsake written commentary. He has a good radio presence; he does equally well on television also. The one thing he should avoid if he gets out of the media racket is to give advice to liberal candidates ala David Axelrod. His advice offered to a limping Barack Obama is disastrous. Zorn is so committed to lefty ideology, he can’t recognize what he’s dishing up as a further dose of strychnine.

Because the mainstream media don’t often dwell on embarrassing things that happen to liberal candidates, they’ve brushed off Obama’s huge gaffe of last week when he declared that “over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans have been wasted” in Iraq. The statement was brimming with irony since Obama’s handlers seek to equate his candidacy with that of Abraham Lincoln. The entire Springfield announcement was played with that in mind. But the irony of Lincoln’s view of soldiers’ lost lives and Obama’s is devastating. Lincoln’s immortal remarks at the cemetery at Gettysburg are a stunning contrast to Obama’s cold fury. Lincoln said “we cannot hallow this ground” because “the brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract….that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…” Contrast that with Obama telling mothers and fathers of dead servicemen their children’s lives were “wasted.” It is noteworthy that the major media did not make the connection—not because they failed to see it but precisely because they saw it and wanted to save their precious Bambi.

Zorn may well have felt it—so he gave us instructions on grammar in his blog which was published Sunday in his newspaper the “Tribune”—that “wasted” is a loaded word. He explained, “In ordinary conversation, when we refer to a `wasted life’ we’re often being critical of someone—most often of the bright, promising, talented person who diverts his or her energies into drugs, crime, hobbies, lassitude, un-ambitious toil or some unhappy combination of the above.

“Soldiers don’t waste their lives. They risk them in the service of the necessary enterprise of protecting their nation. Their courage, their skills and their blood are a precious asset.”

Fine. But he didn’t leave it there. Here’s the conclusion:

“National leaders, however, can and do waste soldiers’ lives by spending that asset unwisely. And that was Obama’s fundamental charge: that the war in Iraq is an unproductive exercise that’s not worth spending our treasure and sacrificing the lives of some of our bravest and most promising young people.

“The passionate desire to put a halt to that waste is the animating spirit of the growing, majority anti-war sentiment in this country. And we might as well say it. Obama’s gaffe, if there was one [sic] it was grammatical. He should have used the active voice: “The Bush administration has wasted over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans.” His mistake was apologizing for saying “wasted” instead of clarifying the definition. (Emphasis mine).

I can just see David Axelrod saying, “gee, thanks, Eric! Why didn’t I think of that? His mistake was just grammatical! Okay, team, let’s put this idea of Zorn’s to work on a commercial which will be a major answer to Hillary when her band of 527s get going on us. Our guy is just guilty of being ungrammatical! Brilliant!”

Fortunately for the Obama worshipers, the candidate will refrain from saying he simply made a grammatical oversight in his comment on wasted soldiers’ lives. If he had taken Zorn’s advice, by now he would be as dead as Biden. Give Axelrod credit for a little sense, anyhow.

Bishop Paprocki’s Invocation.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, is noted as a deft speaker with a beautiful sense of understatement. The other day he proved it again. Our all-time favorite humanitarian with a heart as big as the whole outdoors, Kathy Posner, was honored on Valentine’s Day for her leadership in many activities—principally for her service in behalf of Sheare Zedek Medical Center of Jerusalem. All of us have our own reasons to honor Kathy since she has done so much for so many…including serving as a fundraiser for Bishop Paprocki’s legal defense clinic which provides services for the very poor.

The bishop showed up at the Hilton & Towers in uncustomary attire—instead of the plain black clerical suit, roman collar and subdued chain of office semi-hidden under his jacket he wore the brilliant crimson robes that he is entitled to display during liturgical observances. When introduced, he explained that he was ordered to wear this finery by Kathy Posner. And he added softly: “In listening to her request I recalled the great lesson to us all which was delivered at the Wedding Feast at Cana…and that is: when a Jewish woman tells you to do something, you do it.”

Brilliant. The mostly Jewish audience loved it.


  1. Tom,

    Your comments about Mark Kirk were cogent and correct. Many conservatives, including yours truly, warned the party that nominating Topinka would be a disaster because many conservatives would not vote for her under any circumstances. Now Kirk has made the same mistake. He may represent a moderate to liberal district. However, conservatives probably comprise at least 30% of the voters. If 20% of conservatives who voted for him last time decline to vote for him in the next election, he is toast. Bye, bye MSK.

  2. Tom,

    I agree that the lives of those who died in Iraq were not wasted for they died in defense of our nation. However, I fear that this administration is indeed capable of squandering the sacrifices made by our troops in Iraq. LBJ did it in VietNam. The question is still undecided whether Bush will do the same in Iraq.