Friday, March 2, 2007

Personal Asides: Daley is Big on Denying the Self-Evident…The Intriguing Liberal Game of Political Correctness…Sheila Simon—Your 15 Minutes of Fame is at Hand!



Few people can deny the self-evident without embarrassment—especially these days when prudence would dictate a sense of realism. For example, George W. Bush says he realizes there have been mistakes in Iraq, in fact may give his opponents too much credit, but emphasizes he will continue the struggle. Perhaps Al Gore would be constrained to say that his huge house emitting a blast of power is inconsistent with his energy conservation urgings—now that he has been found out.

Not so in the old days. Then a public official would just hold firm to his position and bluster through with a litany of lies even if all the evidence proved to the contrary. Richard M. Nixon comes to mind. Few relics of the old days exist now—but they do in Richard M. Daley. Organized labor which but for one union opposed Daley because of the Big Box ordinance veto didn’t hold his vote down (given he ran against two under-funded challengers who could?) but it scored dramatic gains in the city council where there will be 12 runoffs and three veteran aldermen defeated. The total labor score for the council: five wins, two losses, seven aldermen forced into runoffs. Any realistic politician when confronted with this obvious fact would acknowledge that by defeating some of his aldermanic supporters, the unions won some. That they sent a message.

But the other day when he was thanking voters by going on a handshaking tour at the Wishbone restaurant, here he was taxing credulity again with bluster. “Where’s the message? Hello? I mean—come on. What message?” Oh give us all a break, Richie: the aldermanic contests show it. But he plays all of us for suckers by begging the question and ranting platitudes: “What message? I’ve been more pro-labor than they have.” Listen, Rich, a number of us supported your veto but why don’t you level with the folks and admit that the unions zinged you?

Daley’s unease with English doesn’t cover up his arrogance. We’re supposed to be so stupid, we don’t understand the voting statistics. His stumblebum rhetoric differs from the fine and precise language employed by Cardinal Francis George—but it’s only style. George frequently makes the same effort to deny credulity when he’s cornered. Take a few years ago at the City Club of Chicago when he made a big mistake by being candid, saying—before a huge group of Democrats—that the Democratic party has lost its soul because it abandoned pro-life. There was a huge intake of air. Then, to even it up, he said, “well, it could also be argued that the Republican party never had a soul!” which got him off the hook with the Democrats—but not me…not that he cared a whit.

Yet the master Jesuitical parser was at work not long later after I teased him about it. Rather than confess he was just trying to even the score before a sensitive group as any politician would do, he labored mightily to say that while the Democrats displease many Catholics by their pro-abort stand, the Republicans have historically displeased Catholics because of their fondness for James G. Blaine. Huh? I said. James G. Blaine? Then he labored to refresh me as to who James G. Blaine was. Midway through the history lesson, I said: yes, I know who James G. Blaine was—former Speaker of the House, former U. S. Senator from Maine who was the Republican presidential nominee against Grover Cleveland in 1884. Yes, I know that Blaine was an arch-enemy of Catholic education—but are you telling me that generations of Catholics distrust the Republican party because of Blaine’s actions over a hundred years earlier? Can you go down the street and find three people who can identify James G. Blaine?

Well, the legacy of Blaine’s anti-Catholicism matches the Democrats’ pro-abort-ness. That was exactly what the Cardinal meant. I said to him over the phone what I would have said to Richie who was similarly laboring to deny the obvious—“oh, please.”

Political Correctness.

Criticize some religions and it’s okay. The Catholic one for instance. The Jewish one, too, now. There was a play on Broadway some years back, “Sister Mary Frances Xavier Explains it All to You.” Uproariously funny wrote liberal critics who would not feel the same way if the barbs were directed to—let us say the most sacred of sacred cows, gays. Say something critical of gays and you have your work cut out for you to deny that you are homophobic. Strategically brilliant, gay rights people have now adopted the strategy that to aver that same-sex choice is abhorrent—an expression of personal religious belief—is to be a hate-monger: ergo, the only way to be thought of as tolerant is to support gay-rights.

Anything you say about Barack Obama is filtered through the prism of race i.e. to ask questions about his education is to be perceived by some people as a racist—as one journalist told another about me. “It is quite possible Roeser could be perceived as a racist.” Criticize two blacks—Obama and James Meeks—and it’s a dead giveaway. It doesn’t matter that I supported Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. for mayor until he determined not to run: you criticized Obama and Meeks so your sword is broken in two and tossed out into the field where you must roam in the netherworld until the end of time. What if you gave $1,000 to Alan Keyes as I did? Doesn’t count; he’s not our—meaning white liberal—kind of black guy. What if you are personally fond of Commissioner Bill Beavers? Doesn’t matter, he’s not our—meaning white liberal—kind of black guy. I’m turning out to be a kind of slow-growing fan of Todd Stroger. No good: he’s not our kind of black guy. Their kind is Forrest Claypool: not black but never mind.

What if you have been a personal friend of Andrew Young (as I am)? Doesn’t matter because he’s a black man of the past and not relevant here. What if I’m a personal friend of Cliff Kelley (as I am)? Well—we can’t understand that…but you still criticized Obama and Meeks.

All of this concerns the latest doctrine of political correctness. To criticize the Mormon religion is okay because a white Republican running for president is a Mormon. To criticize the Trinity United Church of Christ pastor is not okay—even though he has talked against the Jews—because Obama belongs to that church and the criticism of his church defines you as a racist. Besides, Jews aren’t that big a deal anymore in the political correct lexicon. They used to be. Not now. The super-sensitive holy of holies category is gay. You are a bigot if you criticize gays. Criticize Jews—aw, well, some of them have it coming.

Which brings us to the story from Santa Rosa, California where a few classmates razzed high school freshman Rebekah Rice about her Mormon faith by shouting at her, “Do you have 10 moms?” Rebekah answered with a retort that made no linear sense but which she said anyhow: “Aw, that’s so gay!” Immediately she was sent to the principal’s office at Maria Carillo high school reprimanded Rice that she had descended to hate speech. Which triggered Rice’s parents to sue the high school charging it had violated their daughter’s First Amendment rights. Liberals are prone to dismiss the ruckus, saying that both sides were wrong. But that’s too-too-too what shall I say?—simplistic. The fact is that the incident proves there are some insults that are accepted as commonplace—because Mormons are conservative in nature—and some are highly insulting—because gays are sacred cows—er, bulls perhaps, or cows and bulls-- in today’s hierarchy of affirmative action.

Any society that pretends all gays’ lives are at serious risk is as silly as the one which insists all Indians are offended because of Chief Illiniwek, a fictitious creation (when perhaps a handful of Indians objected) danced in regalia a U of I functions. In absence of such purists having genuine moral absolutes, one has to make do with the synthetic religion one must contrive—thus use of Illiniwek is a mortal sin; mocking Mormons is very-very venial but mocking gays is a sacrilege.

Sheila Simon.

Liberal faddists in academe and the media move quickly. Not long after Paul Simon died, there was a move to canonize him in liberal theology. Why Simon when there are other dead Democratic senators to deify? Well, he was the first to take off after Chief Illiniwek: that figures. But what about the Democratic predecessors? After all, Stephen A. Douglas was a great Illinois senator and a pro-choicer—on slavery. Paul Douglas was a great Illinois senator, a wounded Marine in World War II when he was age 50, an economist, even a one-time socialist, an intellectual and early environmentalist. Scott Lucas was Senate majority leader who took on the Kelly-Nash machine in his early days and earned the enmity of Joe McCarthy and was a close friend of Harry Truman. Why not them? Well, Stephen A. Douglas who wanted states to decide through squatter sovereignty whether slavery was immoral or not is uncomfortably close to the current breed of liberal who is nonjudgmental on human life—so it may be embarrassing.

Paul Douglas? A good choice but he was for winning the Vietnam War. A liberal no-no. Scott Lucas lost to Everett Dirksen, a conservative, who is too close to today so he might be resurrected inadvertently. No Paul Simon is a martyr. Why martyr? Liberals don’t know but he sort of was. Unlike the two Douglas’ and Lucas, he did nothing in the Senate except tell Clarence Thomas in confirmation hearings that he would do well to visit an Indian reservation. Beyond that, he was a 16-carat phony. Exploring his inner thoughts was—and I tried to do so many times—was like looking down the tube of a dark-field microscope. He was a trivialist; a short-term presidential candidate; the possessor of a rumbling baritone which was uttered through his nose like Thurston Howell, III of “Gilligan’s Island.” Among Illinois senators he probably ranks slightly ahead of C. Wayland (Curly) Brooks. Except Brooks, a one-time brilliant prosecutor, was much less complicated than was the fastidiously simple Simon.

Simon was a master at personal public relations—gesticulating how homely he was as a sign that he was honest. Homely he was and he added to it with horn-rimmed glasses. He starred in one role: plain, bare-bones Paul Simon. As a man he was curiously remote—and I would visit often with him when I got to Washington. The slogan among his staff which was unceremoniously let go when he decided not to run…members of whom were not helped by him in getting other employment…the slogan was “Paul Simon loves humanity. It’s people he’s not fond of.” The plain, bare-bones what-you-see-is-what-you-get wasn’t Simon, preening before a mirror in his private thoughts…but Al (the Pal) Dixon. There was a small town country lawyer who was fun, jovial, quick and far more able to get things through the Senate than Simon. If William Jennings Bryan (born in Illinois) was a populist, Paul Simon was the kind of liberal who could perform exercises in fundamentalism.

He was utterly fanatical about perfecting his image as a plain, simple, apple-cheeked southern Illinoisan with an out-of-date bow-tie, Wallace Wimple glasses and teeth that look like the joke ones that clatter and chatter when you take them out of the box. He so played the role of the small town newspaper editor that he had a battered old portable on his desk, purportedly to indicate that he wrote his own stuff on that thing…though when you went over to it, you had to blow the dust off the keys: his stuff was ground out the way all other senators do—by a staff producing a basic copy to which he added his own words. He was a good writer and wrote his own books but the industry he exerted to show his simplicity was contrived and Herculean. So he died—so what?

Well, he has a daughter, that’s so-what. She looks like him which is rather a shame but she accentuates it. Doesn’t care to overcome it. She has horn-rimmed glasses and the same huge teeth but there is so much that can be done with women’s looks—I remember how Eleanor Roosevelt charmed me--that I fully believe Sheila is doing her old man once again, cultivating the art of plainness. She is a law professor at Southern Illinois University. So here’s the drill, liberal-watchers. The liberals are determined to have another go at plain, homely old Paul Simon through his daughter, dowdily dressing dully to show she’s honest. So she’s running as destiny’s tot for mayor of Carbondale and the liberal media hearts up here are going patty-pat, patty-pat.

So here and there you see a few references to her: the dull rumble before the heavy artillery begins to drum roll her. Of course no one knows what she believes because she’s following the Barack Obama strategy but she has that faraway photographic look in her eye, her forefinger pressed to her cheek. Oh she’s deep. Just watch her look deep.


  1. My dad never got to watch me play a game of my four years of high school football with my Dale County High School Warriors team in Alabama. He died with suffocating emphysema caused by many years of smoking.

    The University of Illinois at the demand of the NCAA buried their mascot Native American Chief Illiniwek on February 20. Chief Illiniwek a fictional charter was created as their mascot in 1926.

    In this offensive world today, I am offended with our Native Americans as they undermine civilization and humanity by scalping their cheap smokes to the world. Does this offend you?

    Tobacco was reported last year to abort one billion this century, a fact not fiction.

    Ironically, in high school I learned more about our American Indian history from creating Indian themes during homecoming week than my American History classes in high school and college.

    With compassion,


  2. Political correctness may also mean that the powers that be in the media are pushing an agenda and a candidate on all of us. No Chicago newspaper seen fit to publish or comment upon reports that contradict the claims made by Barack Obama in his autobiography "Dreams of My Father," but "Daily Mail" based in London has exposed the fact that Obama has fabricated much and omitted more in making his absent parent into a role model. This report calls into question much of what Obama claims as his personal history. Read it for yourself:

  3. so-called "Austin Mayor"March 2, 2007 at 5:18 AM

    "To criticize the Trinity United Church of Christ pastor is not okay-even though he has talked against the Jews-because Obama belongs to that church and the criticism of his church defines you as a racist."


    I'm sure that a fine upstanding fella such as yourself will be willing to provide some evidence for your naked allegation that the pastor at Trinity "has talked against the Jews."

    I'll be waiting with antici...


    -- SCAM

  4. So-Called "Austin Mayor"March 2, 2007 at 5:49 AM

    Mr. Roeser,

    It is pretty gutsy for a shamelessly porcine figure such as yourself to rip on a woman's appearance. You have proved yourself to be both a swine and a cad.

    Good day.

    -- SCAM

  5. I checked in today just to see you get into a full lather about John McCain's use of the word "wasted" regarding troop losses in Iraq. You carried on and on and on about what a huge, devastating issue it was when Barack Obama used the word. Now that a conservative Republican hawk uses it, nothing?

  6. Francis Cardinal George is not a Jesuit; he is a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate. He does make a point of speaking precisely, of saying exactly what he means. That isn't being Jesuitical; it's telling the truth.

    Such an honest, thoughtful shepherd is a real disappointment to those who would rather be herded by a pol. What a disappointment he is for those who would rather see their own polemics writ large: a humble man who is very, very smart and unstinting in his personal quest for holiness.

  7. “Yes, I know that Blaine was an arch-enemy of Catholic education-but are you telling me that generations of Catholics distrust the Republican party because of Blaine’s actions over a hundred years earlier? Can you go down the street and find three people who can identify James G. Blaine?”

    No, But if “somehow the lesson of what happened to old Pertinax two thousand yrs has trickled down through the centuries and taken root here in Chicago,” I can well believe that somehow the anti-Catholicism of the Republican party a hundred years ago has trickled down through merely three or four generations to affect voting in Chicago today.

    Tom, Tom, Tom, are you going to become a mangiprete (Italian for eater of priests) in your old age? It is really unbecoming, as unbecoming as mocking anyone for their looks. Why diminish your own stature? So much that you have written is very informative and inspiring, but this spirituality of the Wanderer is corrosive. Perhaps priests and bishops of our age will have much to answer for, but they do not answer to us. Pray for them, and leave their judgment to God. “Touch not my anointed and to my prophets do no harm.”

    In other words, diminishing the Cardinal or the priesthood does nothing to enlarge you. Do you want it to be said of you that he could have been a great man, but in the end he was so small he could sit on the edge of a dime and swing his legs? A critique of Obama, fine, or of Simon's daughter, but there is a smallness and ferocity in tone that is really disturbing and self-destructive, IMHO.

    Gravitas. Is it slipping away? That would be a loss to everyone.

  8. "I checked in today just to see you get into a full lather about John McCain's use of the word "wasted" regarding troop losses in Iraq. You carried on and on and on about what a huge, devastating issue it was when Barack Obama used the word. Now that a conservative Republican hawk uses it, nothing?"

    Nice try packaging us non-liberals in the same container, but McCain is not a conservative.

  9. Patrick McDonoughMarch 4, 2007 at 1:31 PM

    She looks like a skull with flesh pulled over. She looks like Mayor Daley's sister.

  10. I have to think that Cardinal George is a fine enough Priest to know to how to take a jibe over his over-intellectualizing an issue.

    Tom, I think you have been up for anathema before from a previous Cardinal, but our current guy can take a counterpoint better than most of the laity, and certainly better than his predecessors.