Monday, April 30, 2007

Personal Aside: Joe Moore—You’re a Brilliant Arguer but Your Obama Defense Won’t Scour….George Ryan and Abortion.


Joe Moore.

The WLS radio show last night saw me get a little exercised with my old friend and liberal advocate Joe Moore (49th ). First, he is very exercised about the cruelty that is being meted out to ducks and geese which was behind his ordinance that banned foie gras. At the same time, he is exclusively concerned with safeguarding the health of mothers in the partial birth abortion ban which was upheld by the Supreme Court. He keeps saying it’s between the woman and her doctor with no place reserved for unborn life…in contrast to a national poll which shows that 67% of Americans, now that they understand the horrific procedure, oppose partial birth abortion. Finally he says he favors keeping abortion safe, rare and legal. Why rare if an interrupted pregnancy is no more serious than removing, say, an appendix?

On the issue of Barack Obama and slumlord Tony Rezko which has been spotlighted by the “Sun-Times,” I have been on record as saying that this is standard operating procedure for many politicians…winking and pretending ignorance when unsavory people raise money for you or ask you to do legal business for them. If Joe had said this I suppose it would have passed muster. But he invented an entire new rationale with which to defend Obama who is his choice for president. He says that Obama doesn’t have to know the record of a person like Rezko and can be excused for knowing it because Obama was a state senator. Incredible as it sounds, if Obama had been an alderman, he should be held accountable for receiving funds from a slum-lord—but Obama wasn’t: he was a state senator. The fact that Rezko’s unsavoryness was well known, that Rezko was a neighbor means nothing in the argument to Moore. It sounded to me like if you’re a state senator…even one who campaigned for better housing for the poor in his district…if you’re a state senator you should be excused from responsibility of knowing all about Tony Rezko.

It is significant that even Obama does not make that claim—nor does David Axelrod! It sounds like to Moore, an alderman has a much higher responsibility to safeguard against receiving support from slumlords than would a state senator or U. S. Senator. Perhaps we will signify this as the Joe Moore Rule. The higher you go up the ladder the less liable you are to criticism from receiving dirty money…but if you’re an alderman you should know better.

Joe, in the studio I was trying to conjecture how that argument could ever scour…and I couldn’t nor do I now. It fails because Rezko was not an unknown quantity when Obama ran for the state senate; his slumlord activities were known, especially when Obama did legal work for him. I am sure Axelrod & Company are busily devising another rationale—but essentially the answer is this:

Politics is a business that is unsavory. I learned that in the 1950s and have seen the unsavory-ness in both parties. I would definitely encourage my kids not to get involved in any professional sense, notwithstanding that I did for many years in a staff sense. Carol Marin has wiped rhetorical tears away because she is looking like Diogenes for the perfect liberal candidate. When much younger than she is now…much-much younger…I decided that politics is an acquired taste and that purity is a relative term. All those whom I admired have, when the wind blows from the north, have an odd smell to them—like the breeze used to be coming from the Union Stockyards. All of them…including Lincoln and Reagan. That doesn’t bar me from supporting those whom I believe are bright, conscientious and right for the country. But to mistake public life with vocation in a monastery or convent, forget it. And if any of my kids so much as decided to run for assistant deputy township auditor, I would go into mourning. I have seen too much to be sanguine about the ability of one to save his/her soul in that kind of enterprise.

All you have to do is to take a look at Big Jim Thompson, the once pure U. S. District Attorney, a brilliant man, extolling Don Stephens to know what I’m talking about. That and serving as the auditor watchdog who fell asleep at what used to be a pretty good newspaper. No exceptions.

George Ryan.

My friend Jim Merriner, who was a political writer for the “Sun-Times,” is writing a book about George Ryan focusing on what Merriner believes is Ryan’s saving grace: his freeing prisoners from death row. Like Marin, Merriner is a liberal who has a tendency to elevate to the highest pinnacle of selflessness one who does in public policy what Marriner desperately wants to be done. In this case, fighting the death penalty.

In the book, Merriner will tell quote me as saying that George Ryan, in a tough election, used Henry Hyde…and in a sense was used in return by Henry Hyde…to try to get social conservatives to vote for Ryan on the pretext that a redistricting under a Democratic governor could do away with Hyde’s district. I know that this was Ryan’s strategy and I know it was Hyde’s strategy: an accommodation which would serve both men. Use of Hyde as a front was designed to get social conservatives voting for Ryan rather than for Glenn Poshard who had a stronger record on pro-life and gay rights than Ryan…since Ryan had passed the word to pro-aborts and pro-gay rights people that he was on the way to selling out. Use of Ryan was a front for Hyde to try to forestall gerrymandering he feared. In that deal, the art of the deal was everything…no transcendent issue. Self-preservation.

Because politics is inherently unsavory Hyde for lent his name to the effort to keep his congressional seat…and Ryan glommed onto Hyde. And all the while he was talking to us, Ryan had consummated a deal with the other side on abortion and gay rights. That shows that he is about as filthy a politician as one can get…which the record amply shows anyhow: lying like a trooper and betraying every promise he ever made…on life, gay rights, O’Hare expansion you name it. And what I get a kick out of is his getting red-faced and indignant about it. The baron of bluster.

That’s why in a world where justice is often delayed but occasionally meted out, it is my hope that this gruffian gets the reward to which he is entitled.

Flashback: The Idea of a Training Film for Black Campaigners Crests into the Andrew Young Documentary.

[Fifty years of politics, written as a memoir for my kids and grandchildren].

At the outset of 1972 I had the idea…as part of Quaker’s urban affairs program…of the company doing something in a nonpartisan way to develop a training film to educate mainly poor people without much money to learn how to apply grassroots principles to voter registration and get-out-the-vote. It’s my recollection that my boss Bob Thurston took the idea and changed it around to the idea that it should be a documentary of an ongoing campaign…showing either how a minority candidate won or lost. We selected Andrew Young because he had been in Chicago with Dr. King. He had left the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and moved to Atlanta after King’s death. In 1970 he made an unsuccessful attempt to run for Congress in the 5th congressional district of Georgia (I erroneously called it the 2nd district earlier). This was a district that was 57 percent white, consisting of some inner city black areas and a lot of fairly middle class and upper middle class suburban areas.

The fact that Young had lost an earlier race did not fill us with high expectations that our film would show a black man winning—but that was all right. Probably showing a black man losing while his volunteers learned the ropes of grassroots organizing would be just as valuable. Now there were three disadvantages to his possibly winning. First, when Young ran in 1970 against a Republican incumbent (since 1964), Fletcher Thompson, it was a non-presidential year. Now he would run in a presidential year when Georgia was a dead certainty to go Republican for Richard Nixon’s reelection by a huge majority—especially with George McGovern running on the Democratic side.

Second, when Young ran unsuccessfully in 1970, a good number of blacks had been turned off by him believing that he was a “white man’s token black” because he had had a job as a conciliator serving the white mayor. Therefore, Young adopted a more strident tone toward black power than he normally would have been expected to—which played into Republican Thompson’s hands. Third, this time Young would have a major primary contender, a white liberal who would be expected to appeal to the white majority of the district.

Balancing these three disadvantages were three advantages. First, the district had undergone a reapportionment in accordance with a federal court order and more blacks were added but the majority was still white suburban. Second, quite unanticipated, the Republican incumbent, Fletcher Thompson, decided to run for the U. S. Senate so the district would not have an incumbent. Third, since 1970 the district was reapportioned by federal court order to add a slice more of black votes but not significantly: it was still regarded as a non-minority district with a heavy and prosperous white majority.

To do the film, we searched for a black documentary film director but could find none. We hired a black director who had had experience doing commercials and little else. That was my decision and the last vestigial trace of liberalism remaining from my old Commerce days: I should have hired the best documentarian we could find. Nope, I was still in the affirmative action mode which now has long left me. To help the director who had no political experience whatever, I sketched a scenario. Where I once felt we should avoid covering the primary and start at the point where, it would be hoped, Young won the primary, I now felt that, looking at the political situation, the primary should be included since Young would be facing a very popular white liberal Democratic candidate who just might win. Then, if Young were to lose the primary, that would complete the film. If he were to win the primary, the film would go on to cover the general election which would be against a white Republican running in tandem with Nixon in a heavily pro-Nixon state.

Young won both races and the film went on to win an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in Washington, D. C. as well asd the Worldfest Virgin Islands International Film Festival Gold Medal in 1975. But before the documentary was completed, we were dissatisfied with the original director as he had determined to make a hagiography of adulation to Young rather than a documentary showing how the victory took place. We took the raw footage from him and handed it to one of the nation’s finest documentarians, Charles Guggenheim who had done documentaries and commercials for a number of prominent Democratic candidates including John and Robert Kennedy. That the film turned out to be superb is due largely to Guggenheim’s masterly sense of dramatics and art.

The project enhanced Quaker’s reputation as a financier of quality films and a socially progressive company. Working on the film as a kind of senior journalist-supervisor of its politics, I went on the trail with Young for weeks much like I had done fifteen years earlier with Hubert Humphrey—but also to travel with Young’s opponents, one Democrat and one Republican. An added benefit was to meet and spend hours with then still living civil rights leaders of the south who were deeply engrossed in the project.

Several points need to be made about Andrew Young’s ability to snatch victory from what had been predicted in some circles as a sure defeat, given he was running in Georgia in 1972 when the hated George McGovern was the Democratic presidential nominee. Andrew Young was the direct beneficiary of many progressive, pro-integration Democrats who had gone before. One was Ivan Allen, the multi-millionaire entrepreneur and venerable liberal mayor of Atlanta under whose leadership the city gained the title of “the town too busy to hate.” Allen fused his own wealth and his reputation as a civic leader and philanthropist into wise stewardship of urban politics in the volatile 1950s and `60s. Allen eliminated restrictions on the duties of black policemen (who were regarded as juniors to white officers), desegregated Atlanta’s parks and swimming pools and convinced fourteen downtown hotels to desegregate despite all the heat he was taking from traditionalists.

Another forerunner was a phenomenally successful and attractive white Democratic congressman who served in the late `50s and early `60s, Charles Weltner. Weltner was regarded as a national Democratic comer and worked in tandem with Allen. But when the bad days came, in the mid-`60s, Georgia’s Democratic party adopted a loyalty oath which bound incumbents to support the entire Democratic ticket. Lester Maddox won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1964. Weltner could not accept Maddox so Weltner resigned as Congressman…paving the way for a Republican, Fletcher Thompson, to get elected that year, the year Barry Goldwater swept Georgia. A third forerunner, though in the distant past, was Ellis Arnall who at the age of 32 in the early 1940s defeated arch-segregationist Gene Talmadge as governor, paving the way for acceptance by the state for good government. However, Arnall (whose top staffer was a young Ivan Allen) leaned too far left, supported the retention of Henry A. Wallace for vice president at the Democratic convention of 1944, vying with FDR’s choice of Harry S. Truman. Finally when the U. S. Supreme Court ruled against Georgia’s all-white Democratic primary, Arnall, unlike any other Georgia politician, decided to obey it. That sealed his doom and Talmadge returned. However the liberal precedence were established.

All this history seemed to weigh slightly in favor of Young as he approached the day of decision on whether or not to run again in 1972. This time he would have strenuous primary opposition. It was that of Wyche Fowler, a bright, attractive young white man who had earned the reputation of “Atlanta’s Night Mayor” while working for Ivan Allen, running the mayor’s office after hours and seeing that potholes were filled, cops were sent out to fight crime and fire trucks were sent on their way. Fowler was a public relations genius who took a menial job, as a staffer who worked for Allen from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. and sold it to the media as a man who never slept, seeing that essential services were performed while Atlanta got a good night’s rest. Fowler went from there to alderman and now was ready to run as the great white hope of liberaldom, to pick up the torch dropped by the liberal martyr Charles Weltner.

As I cruised around the district, I met a good many people who were black activists and enlisted in Young’s campaign: Julian Bond who was far more interested in running for Congress ultimately himself and wanted Young to continue as an angry black man which had caused Young’s defeat in 1970…and Hosea Williams, probably the most interesting man I met in the entire campaign, who understood Young’s need to go “moderate” in order to get the white vote. Of all the civil rights leaders I have ever met, including Whitney Young and Andrew Young (unrelated)…with probably the exception of Martin Luther King, Jr. whom I met only briefly and Jim Farmer with whom I worked in government…Hosea Lorenzo Williams was the most fascinating. He was two years older than I (then 46), wore overalls before they became trendy and known as denims; he was a careless dresser but not with a studied carelessness: he carried around a bandana kerchief into which he blew his nose with a loud asthmatic honk.

He was born in Attaspulgus, Georgia to parents who were both blind and who were teenagers (unmarried), committed to an institution for the blind in Macon. His mother ran away to Atlanta and worked in a local whorehouse, later performed as a porno actress in early scatological films. His father disappeared. He was reared by his mother’s family.

He joined the U. S. army in World War II, served in the famed black unit under General George Patton where he made staff sergeant. When Nazi bombers raided his unit, the entire outfit was killed except for Williams who was critically injured, spending a year in an army hospital. Once out of the service he got a high school diploma at age 23 and then a bachelor’s and master’s in chemistry. He landed a thoroughly acceptable job with the U .S. Department of Agriculture but he was always on the edge of trouble—insisting on drinking from white drinking fountains. Once after doing so he was beaten so severely he was thought of as dead. The record shows that throughout the 1950s he was arrested and jailed no fewer than 125 times.

King begged him to join the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in order to spare his life and have him surrounded by stronger fellows in the fight for integration. He did so. He met Joseph Lowery and Andrew Young at that time and was given the task of leading the first 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery in behalf of civil rights. In that march, white cop-thugs beat him with clubs until he lost consciousness and suffered a fractured skull and severe concussion. This is a man who before he died, endorsed the candidacy of Ronald Reagan for president because he felt the Democratic party was taking blacks for granted.

I chummed with Hosea Williams much of the time during the making of the film but he spurned being interviewed at that time. How Andrew Young won the Democratic primary over a very tough opponent, Wyche Fowler (ultimately to become a U. S. Senator from Georgia) will be outlined next time.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Personal Aside: The George Tenet Book Should Have Been Entitled “Getting Even.”



Former CIA director George Tenet’s book is entitled “At the Center of the Storm.” It should have been called “Getting Even.” While I haven’t read it yet but have read synopses, it is clear that it is a volume of self-justification. The fact remains that the CIA may not have misled a great number of policy-makers on the possession of weapons of mass destruction; the weapons may well have, as author and Jihad specialist Robert Spencer told me last night at dinner, that the arms were transferred quickly to Syria. Tenet feels keenly the lash of criticism but I think history will judge that given what he had to work with, George W. Bush did the right thing in invading Iraq.

The only question that remains in my mind is not the invasion of Iraq but whether he his plan to democratize Iraq was sound; whether or not he should have been content with killing Saddam Hussein, allowing troops to superintend the pacification there and then gradually pull out. I haven’t made up my mind definitely about it, understand—but it is my contention that the invasion of Iraq was correct but the difficulty came with the democratization. In so saying, I still am intrigued with the prescription outlined by Tom Barnett in his book “The Pentagon’s New Map.” It realistically points out that our mission is to safeguard the peace and that aiding democratization is the best way. Again, where I still have to make up my mind involves the occupation after the capture of Saddam.

At the dinner, I asked Spencer, author of two best sellers on Islam, how he reconciled the view that Iraq can never be democratized with the record of Japan which had the Emperor as a deity for five-thousand years and was democratized in seven short years of Douglas MacArthur’s occupation. His answer was something I didn’t know—and which Jim Leahy, my spiritual son (a Marine) who was also present at the dinner, evidently didn’t know either. Spencer said that while MacArthur kept the Emperor as symbol of governance of Japan, he required Hirohito to announce to the nation that he was not a deity. This separated the Shinto religion from governance and Japan proceeded smoothly…even regarding MacArthur as a benevolent and sympathetic leader. But how there wasn’t a revolution spurred by the Old Guard when the Emperor was forced to make that retraction I can’t figure out.

Perhaps some of our wiser readers who know Japanese history can tell me.

Flashback: With a TV Crew in Atlanta to Film the Second Andrew Young Campaign for Congress with Meager Prospects of His Winning. .

[Memories of fifty years of politics for my kids and grandchildren].

Andrew Young whom I met briefly when he was in Chicago with Martin Luther King was—and is—an anomaly. There was—and is--a sweet reasonableness about him that is at great variance with Jesse Jackson…but that didn’t guarantee Young a controversy-free existence. First, there is no doubt whatsoever that Young is the better balanced person, not caught up in his destiny to lead blacks like Moses led the Jews. Second, unlike Jackson, he has an infectious sense of humor. Third, his communication is via conversation and is not at a stentorian pitch rhyming with heroic couplets. Fourth, Young comes from a solid middle-class background; his family life was secure (unlike Jackson’s), his education was more sedate and traditional. Fifth, more than Jackson, Young is a southerner: relaxed, jovial and down-to-earth.

Born in 1932 in New Orleans, he was the son of a prosperous dentist and a public school teacher. He was educated at middle-class schools (Dillard and Howard) where he received a Bachelor of Science and pre-med degree as he originally planned to follow his father’s career in dentistry. But he became more interested in religion as it applied to the civil rights movement in the 1950s. He received a second college degree, a Bachelor’s in Divinity from Hartford seminary in Connecticut in 1955. He became a minister of the United Church of Christ. Theology of the United Church of Christ is mainly free-form; there are few absolutes and no visible theological linkage aside from passion for “justice” which can range from lower prices in the grocery store to the possibilities of upward mobility. I have heard ministers of the United Church of Christ preach at great variance with one another; when I attended meetings in Atlanta during the 1972 time of our filming, more than anything else at the United Churches I heard conservative declamations against homosexuality with a forest of hands raised upright in affirmation. Yet the next minute there was remonstrations about civil rights with the same hands springing up.

Young explained that by using the southern term for black people used commonly by preachers. “Folk like to go to hear preachin’” he told me with a chuckle. “It doesn’t really matter much which way it goes if it has a good deal of passion to it.” His own preaching was commonsensical, relatively low-key. He sounded far more reasonable than the fire and brimstone preachers in other congregations—and I spent a good deal of time going to black churches both in his company and with others. Yet Andrew Young was an anomaly. He had the ability whether he understood it or not to say rather outrageous things to those whom he called “folk.” He sounded moderate but in no way was he moderate about the goal to gain civil rights. What he was moderate about was his understanding of the white power structure.

He had come to Atlanta after King’s death because he was rather burned out as a civil rights activist. He took a job as head of the city’s civil rights unit and soon proved his worth by being able to de-fuse difficulties which pleased the white leaders of Atlanta. He soon became the “reasonable black” that they wished the city had more of. To counter-balance that, when he decided to run for Congress the first time in 1970, he adopted a heavily pro-black posture—but it didn’t work. His militancy alienated much of the 57% white portion of the district. As he ruefully pointed out to me, 1970 was the year when the indications were most favorable for victory i.e. no presidential contest. Georgia was—and is—a heavily conservative state and if there was no presidential run, odds are a candidate could slip through.

But of course 1972 was not that year. George McGovern captured control of the national Democratic party whose repercussions exist to this day. A radical left posture taken by McGovern could only damage Young in the Georgia 2nd district. To make matters worse, Young had to compete with the likes of Julian Bond, a fiery student type who had been a hero of sorts to the Left having been the first black to be placed in nomination for vice president of the United States by an activist at the 1968 Democratic National Convention (which was withdrawn since Bond was under the requisite constitutional age). Moreover, Young had to please activists like John Lewis, another civil rights hero who had been badly beaten up by white southern thugs. Therefore Young developed a bipolar personality. To whites like me he sounded eminently reasonable; to blacks he could carry on the dialogue of black power with the best of them. This bipolarism got him into trouble later in his life—after his election and most notably with comments delivered in behalf of WalMart which became a lucrative client for him in 2003.

But that was far ahead of all of us.

“Y’know,” said Young with a slow smile when we arrived with our cameras, “I don’t really care if you got film in that thing…” pointing to one of our cameras, “or not. Your just showin’ up when I make a speech make folk think somethin’s important goin’ on.”

For our part, we thought that it was almost a certainty that we would be filming a political wake. But that wasn’t so bad, either by one standard. It could show how much work there was to do to get blacks to organize against a well-financed Republican party of Atlanta. Our director was the owner of a black film company named Bill Parrott who had never shot a documentary before but had specialized in commercials—so it was a time for learning for all of us. I had not done nothing in filming either—so I sketched out a scenario which would begin only when and if Young won the Democratic primary. That was agreeable and I flew back to Chicago—but on occasion I would drop in at Atlanta, meeting with Julian Bond, Young and John Lewis as well as some of the Republican types.

“You have to watch him,” said Bond to me. “He’ll slip away from us sure as spit and become a chalky before we know it. We’ll have to keep his feet to the fire.”

How he managed to get elected, next time.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Personal Aside: Pray For Carol Marin Who Thought Obama Was Different,



I guess, now that I think it over, the main reason I objected to the appointment of Carol Marin as political editor of the “Sun-Times” is what she admitted yesterday guilelessly in her column. Always the novice nun with a shining face of innocence…naivete, actually…she is not just an extreme liberal. She is a super-liberal. But then Steve Neal was that. But she is gullible—the one thing a so called political analyst should not be. Neal was as shrewd as they come. But none of us have a monopoly on gifts. Neal whom I first met when he was a junior reporter for the “Philadelphia Inquirer” and I brought New Deal warrior Rexford Guy Tugwell to my class at the Wharton School of Finance…Neal was a committed hemophiliac liberal but a sagacious reporter who well knew—more than we understood at the end—the limits of human imperfection. He wrote like an angel, had an historian’s gift for story-telling, hugely enjoyed the bobs and weaves of politics and while not rude in public carried his tongue embedded deeply in his cheek.

He would have seen through the Obama craze in a minute. And the problem isn’t Obama’s, either. Obama is a pol, in the same way Lincoln was a pol, Kennedy, FDR; political arts involve duplicity; the cosmeticization of personality and ideas. Up to now, Marin has thought all the duplicity was concentrated in the conservatives. Not with people like Obama! The fact that Obama has carried it off so well is that he is superb at the craft. And the fact that even a sophisticate like Mike Noonan can tell me on the radio that he likes Obama because he “gives people hope” is testimony to the skill of the candidate. Hope for WHAT, for God’s sake? Nobody answers that nor can they; nor can, in his candid moments, Obama.

I don’t blame Obama for being what he is—a politician. In fact, were he not a politician he’d be still teaching law somewhere. That political thrust and parry is not wrong but is an art is endemic to understanding the American political character. But back to Marin. She is just an anchor, a sweet kid who has a postulant nun’s view of politics. She belongs in a liberal cloister where she can read Upton Sinclair and eat gumdrops. She never understood it; does not understand it now and will never because to understand it would shatter her ideals, would probably give her a cerebral hemorrhage and we don’t want that to happen. When I see her on many of her overpaid posts—anchor for Channel 11 particularly—I see a shining-faced Mother Superior: “tell us you are good, Barack! We do so want to believe!” Good God, has she ever tried finding an absolute outside of the liberal Democratic party? Is this all there is at her age which has got to be…well in the `50s? You mean to tell me she has lived this long and has still the starry-eyed bobby-soxer who first saw John Kennedy from afar?

Her problem is identical with many other liberals. They eschew other absolutes and put their faith in liberal politics as substitute. At least I think Cindi Canary who prattles that all we have to do is to get money out of politics and everything will be clean…at least I think Canary understands the game she is supposed to play. When I read Marin yesterday I came to the same conclusion that I had when she was named political editor: My God she really believes this stuff! No, she will never be disillusioned because liberalism is her absolute: her only absolute. She loves Jack Egan, the old monsignor. I knew Jack and he was a beatifically charismatic lovable old New Deal con; a far better man was Ignatius McDermott but hey he didn’t push federal programs, he went out on the street picking up drunks who puked their guts out all over him. He did it himself while Jack was sitting for a bronze bust of himself to be unveiled at DePaul. Why else did Al Raby tell me that Jack would march with them and when the cops would come, they’d go to jail and Jack would be testifying to a City Council committee against racism. Don’t tell me about Jack. I knew both of them.

And now there is disillusion. Aw, after all those pieces that Marin, Hunter (the publisher’s wife) and Lynn Sweet huffed and puffed about Obama, he goes and does this to them: he stiffs Tim Novak about the details concerning his relationship with Rezko. AW! I will bet you the one who isn’t disturbed in the slightest is the one who hasn’t really written a commentary on this alleged…so-called…”scandal”—Lynn Sweet. She knows politics is exactly what Harold Washington said it is—more fun than playing pool or eating Crackerjack. Take a look at the delightful scam that Obama put out in his second…count `em…”autobiography.” The awful loneliness of being black in Hawaii.

Consider that for a moment anyone of you who have ever been to Hawaii. Almost everybody in Hawaii has blood mixture in them. That’s what makes it a paradise of a sort. I was there some years ago and thrilled to walk down a street in Honolulu where truly I looked chalky. Black, Asian, Indian, a mélange of nationalities. And there is poor little Bambi telling us he was doleful and morose about being black in Hawaii! God I loved it! A scam of scams.

But only Carol Marin is the True Believer. She probably bit her lip and tears came thinking of that kid being victimized by racism in Hawaii. She cannot understand why he doesn’t answer Novak’s emails. That’s not what you’re supposed to do, is it?

That’s why I am developing a kind of new respect for Obama: smart enough to chomp Crackerjack with the apparition of old Harold…smart enough probably to play pool with Eddie Vrdolyak. I’m developing a new respect for him. But for Carol: naw. She belongs in Channel 11’s makeup room, in the Green Room, reading paperback romances about the one true, honest, virginal candidate of liberal persuasion whom she can really trust.

If she were really astute she should have given “The New York Times” front page magazine story of a few weeks ago a look. It featured David Axelrod, a friend of mine who is the profile packager for Obama…writes all the TV commercials, gives him ideas for speeches. A huge photo inside shows Axelrod sitting in Obama’s Senate office with his big brogans propped up, the image-maker and the candidate, with the liner reporting that they’re talking politics. But the Senate has a rule that Senate offices are to be used exclusively for governing. Ridiculous I know but that’s the rule. “The New York Times” knows it and said oh what the hell, we want to write a story that’s good for this idealistic crusader so we’ll just print the picture. Did this picture give Marin a glimmer of what politics really is? No, she really believes this stuff. She probably believes…or did believe…they were talking about their families.

I don’t know what they thought they were getting when they hired her at the paper. Maybe what they want is a schoolgirl who truly, t-r-u-l-y believes. If so, fine. Before she wrote that school-girl tripe about Obama she should have hesitated. It tells us finally all we have to know about the schoolgirl. Don’t let her get near anybody who’s really in the liberal big leagues…and I don’t think Obama has made it yet…she’d be duck soup for Roosevelt…Truman…maybe even Oral Roberts. Or Joe Moore, come to think of it.

Nobody should let her go around like that without a mentor.

Personal Asides: Tom Cross to Lead Giuliani State Campaign; Ron Gidwitz to Co-Chair as Well as Raise Funds…A Correction


House Republican Leader Tom Cross will chair the Rudy Giuliani political effort in Illinois. Ron Gidwitz will be political co-chair and also head up the Illinois fund-raising for the former New York mayor.

At the same time, Steve Forbes (whom I supported for president initially in 2000 before George W. Bush) has endorsed Giuliani as “the real fiscal conservative in the 2008 presidential race.” Most Americans know that Giuliani cut crime and welfare in half in New York city, Forbes wrote in the “Wall Street Journal” recently. “They know he improved the quality of life from Times Square to Coney Island and everywhere in between. And they witnessed his Churchillian leadership following the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

“Less well known is the mayor’s fiscal record. Nonetheless, conservatives will find it impressive. He built New York’s resurgence not just on fundamental police work but also on a foundation of fiscal discipline. He cut taxe sand the size of government and turned an inherited deficit into a multibillion dollar surplus.

“[He] entered office in 1994 with a $2.3 billion deficit handed to him by his predecessor,Mayor David Dinkins. Liberal conventional wisdom held that the only way to close the gap was to raise taxes while cutting back on basic civic services such as sanitation. The new mayor rejected this advice—in fact, he famously threw the report recommending tax hikes in the trash! Instead, he set out to restore fiscal discipline to the `ungovernable city’—and achieved results that Reagan Republicans can applaud.”

Forbes said that when Giuliani left office, “New Yorkers had saved over $9 billion while enjoying their lowest tax burden in decades. The private sector which had been hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of jobs in the years before he took office, produced over 423,000 new jobs. Meanwhile the unemployment rate was cut in half. Businesses responded to Mr. Giuliani’s reforms by returning to the center of city life. So when he talks about his belief in supply-side economics, it’s a plan he has already succeeded at putting in action…

“Rudy Giuliani can unite the Republican party and restore our traditional claim as the party of fiscal conservatism. He has already proven he can stand up to liberal special interest groups and achieve tax cuts, even with a Democrat-controlled City Council. That’s the kind of leadership we need in Washington. That’s the kind of leadership[ that will inspire the next generation of the Reagan Revolution. And that’s why America’s Mayor should be America’s next president.”

Tom Cross has been a fiscal conservative and Giuliani’s record is similar to the fiscal program Gidwitz espoused when he ran for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2006—so it’s fitting that entrepreneur Gidwitz co-chairs the campaign for Giuliani in the state of Illinois.


In my March 13, 2007 blog entry (since removed from this website, including the archives) in this space, I made a number of statements regarding “Body Worlds” and its creator, Dr. Gunther von Hagens, based on my casual reading of various articles. My recollection was faulty and my entry was sloppy with the facts. A representative of “Body Worlds” has contactedme and ask that I set the record straight and I am happy to do so. I also want to offer my sincere apology to both my readers and to Body Worlds and Dr. von Hagens.

While I still have moral and aesthetic reservations about the show, that does not excuse getting the facts wrong. To set the record straight, Body Worlds’ representative has provided me with the following gfacts, all of which are available on the Body Worlds web site, .

o None of the bodies exhibited by Body Worlds are those of executed Chinese prisoners. In fact, none of them are from China. Courts in Germany have actually issued injunctions against claims about Body Worlds’ alleged use of executed Chinese prisoners.

o The bodies in Body Worlds exhibitions are those of individuals, who, through a unique body donation program founded by Dr. von Hagens in 1982, agreed during their lifetimes to will their bodies to Body Worlds. Most of the donors are of European origin, although there are now more than 325 donors from North America.

o Body Worlds has received the approval of ethics committees formed by the California Science Center (with the involvement of world-renowned ethicist Dr. Hans-Martin Sass of Georgetown’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics) and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Click here to review a copy of the report from the California Science Center’s ethics committee. _summaruy.pdf.

Further, I have not met and should not have uncharitably speculated about the motivations of Body Worlds’ creator, Dr. von Hagens. As his representative informed me, Dr. von Hagens was once a political prisoner in the former East Gemany. His stated objective is to advance public understanding of anatomy, not personal enrichment.

In the future, I promise to exercise more caution for the facts and regarding my characterization of the motives of others which, are, ultimately known only to God.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Personal Asides: Traditionalist Conservative Praise for Bush Underwhelming…Lisa Madigan’s Appearance at the City Club…The PU of the Pulitzer…The Rezko Obama Stuff is Minor League—Can It.


One column by Pat Buchanan praising George W. Bush’s Supreme Court appointees for approving the Congress’ ban on partial birth abortion after four years of Axis Sally-style fulminations on the Iraq War destined to unsettle the nation’s polity. Better than nothing. Let’s see, do we hear anything from Joe Sobran? The Rockford Institute?

Lisa Madigan.

Lisa Madigan’s appearance at the City Club was a triumph. She rivals the best greeters I have known in more than fifty years in politics…going around Maggiano’s, shaking hands, knowing first names. What’s not to like? A slim, not overly made-up woman who appears more like a gallant Jeanne d’Arc she is unlikely to be deterred from any reasonably higher office she sets her gaze upon. I was impressed by her wit, her quick, bird-like energy, her reparatee. If this sounds shallow, so be it. I would advise her hairdresser to re-do it and give her decorous bangs. Her forehead is high and bangs would not in the slightest detract from her presence—but add to it.

The PU in Pulitzer.

Veteran journalists have told me for years that the Pulitzer was fixed—or at least rigged. You don’t ever hear of “Washington Times” Bill Gertz, the greatest living expert on defense policy who has broken a great number of exclusives, being considered for the Prize, do you? Why not? Gee, the PU committee just didn’t get around to it. Now the “Weekly Standard” comes out this week with a story by a correspondent who served on the Pulitzer jury. I understand Jack Higgins got one (I think I’m right on this)—which at least partially rehabilitates the group, but the story by Philip Terzian, the magazine’s literary editor, is unsurprisingly revelatory.

In short, the article proves to me that the decision-making is fixed. Writes Terzian: “The Pulitzer Prizes are a singularly corrupt institution, administered by Columbia University and the management of the `New York Times’ largely for the benefit of `The New York Times’ and a limited number of favored publications and personalities. Any citizen who thinks that the annual distribution of awards has something to do with quality probably believes that the Oscar for Best Picture goes to the most distinguished film of the year. If you’re a connoisseur of unrestrained self-praise, may I recommend the citations when the `Times’ awards itself the Pulitzer Gold Medal for Public Service.”

He reports that “once upon a time I was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Distinguished Commentary and (so I was informed) considered the jury’s favorite for the honor. But because the `Washington Post’ had fallen short of its quota that season (so I was informed) the Pulitzer Board which makes the final decisions, moved Jim Hoagland of the `Post’ from the International Reporting category to Distinguished Commentary for his second—and no doubt richly deserved—Pulitzer Prize.”

He tells the story of columnist Cynthia Tucker of the “Atlanta Journal Constitution,” twice a winner of the Prize. “In 1995 I was a Pulitzer juror for Distinguished Commentary and the `Times’-appointed chairman of our five-person was the late Gerald M. Boyd, of subsequent ill-repute as Howell Raines’s hatchet man at the `Times’ and patron of Jayson Blair, the lying reporter. The deliberative process is simple. Jurors sit together in a little room at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, reading the entries; on the final day each, in turn, suggests a couple of finalists. Lively discussion ensues, of course, and most chairmen serve as interlocutors.

“To our surprise, Gerald M. Boyd took a different approach. He began by insisting that Cynthia Tucker had to be one of the finalists. My muted response, as I recall, was that Cynthia was a nice person and ubiquitous TV talking head but on the whole, comparatively young and inexperienced. Sh would no doubt win the Pulitzer Prize someday, I added, and counseled patience.

“Now, Gerald M. Boyd was not the most affable fellow I had ever encountered and sicne both he and Cynthia Tucker were black, I had no desire to introduce the subject of race into the discussions where it didn’t belong. Boyd was adamant on the subject of Cynthia Tucker but so were my fellow jurors who seemed offended both by Boyd’s arrogance and his racial ham-handedness. Since my private strategy in these sessions was devoted to thwarting the prospects of Molly Ivins, I gladly left it to my colleagues to argue with Gerald M. Boyd about Cynthia Tucker.”

In the end, Terzian succeeded in maneuvering Molly Ivins out of contention but succeeded in promoting Paul Gigot of `The Wall Street Journal’ as a finalist as well. But—“as it happens, Gerald M. Boyd finally surrendered on the Cynthia Tucker front; but in order to mollify his wounded feelings, we agreed on another black columnist, Carl T. Rowan, Boyd’s second choice, as a finalist. Rowan, of course, was a consummate hack, puerile stylist and longtime fixture on the Washington cocktail scene but better than Molly Ivins or Gerald M. Boyd’s personal dictation…In due course, Boyd was fired from the `Times’ along with his patron Howell Raines, in 2003 for their relentless promotion of Jayson Blair and he died last November with an office at the Columbia Journalism School.”

And you thought all the while that it was just fate that “The Times” and the “Washington Post” won all the awards while those columnists who are less liberal are just less expert in their journalist craft.

The Rezko Stuff is Minor.

I suppose the so-called “exposition” stories of Barack Obama appearing in “The Sun-Times” is that paper’s way of making up for the shameless puff pieces put out by Lynn Sweet and Jennifer Hunter, the publisher’s wife. Well the critiques are minor league and the paper should can it until and unless it has something more substantive.

To me the most ridiculous story of all was the one that wailed about Obama being black in Hawaii. Hawaii! The only state where there are no minorities!

Flashback: Mother’s Death…the Great “Empty Calories” Controversy Over Cereals…and the Beginnings of a National Advertising Review Board and the Andrew Young Film Documentary.

[Memoirs of fifty years in politics for my kids and grandchildren].

The 18-Year-Old Vote.

In 1970 once we resolved the giant Aunt Jemima controversy and I returned to the workaday world of corporate government relations, I got involved as a member of a non-profit organization in Illinois known as “Project 18” which sought the passage of a constitutional amendment to allow people to cast their votes beginning at age 18 instead of 21. This seemed reasonable to me since young men were going to the Vietnam War at age 18 and even younger. Fellow conservatives warned me that this would be fatal to the Republican party since it would unleash a horde of young people who would be enticed by liberalism.

I felt that this was not the case. Later I joined the national board of the Youth Citizenship Fund in Washington, D. C. which was spearheading the drive for the 18 year-old vote. My judgment that youth would not be as liberal as they were billed was ratified when, in the first tryout of the youth vote, they voted overwhelmingly for Richard Nixon rather than George McGovern. The key was that while college kids were professedly liberal, the category also included many non-college, blue-collar and working kids who resented the university-trained elitists. It was the joy of my life to see on election night the horror projected by Walter Cronkite when he discovered that the vaunted generic “youth vote” was coming in conservative, easily topping the college crowd which voted not as spectacularly liberal as billed for McGovern.

Mother’s Death.

When I arrived at O’Hare in March, 1972 after having come back from a Washington, D. C. trip which involved lobbying and attendance at the Youth Citizenship Fund, I was paged at the airport and told by my secretary that Mother was found dead by Lillian and Dr. H. H. Conley. It was a shock but not as much as one could imagine because I was warned by our family physician, H. H. Conley, that her heart was quite weak. She worked as paymaster in the Cook county Treasurer’s office until that office changed hands from Republican to Democrat with the election of 1970. She entreated me to find her another job and I tried (she was now seventy-four), getting her an interview with the U. S. Attorney’s office as a clerical where she told me she was interviewed by a very nice young man who was at least 6 feet 6 inches tall, the deputy (which must have been Jim Thompson). But Dr. Conley urged me not to press the matter: she had no need to work (Father had left her well fixed), was seventy, with a heart condition. So I let it pass.

She gently rebuked me for not putting enough steam in the job search. I told her frankly that she should not work which, I fear, hurt her—but I was under orders to do so from the doctor. She thereupon joined some senior citizens organizations, went on day trips and soon attracted an elderly gentleman in the group who was rather smitten by her. Lillian and I have always been upset by the way she died. She had a fatal heart attack at home and had been trying to phone someone—perhaps either us or Conley. For some time thereafter whenever Lillian tried to call her she was told the line was busy. Once Lillian asked for a telephonic verification that the line was in use and the operator returned to say that it definitely was. Dubious, Lillian called Conley and the two of them went over to her house (this while I was in Washington) and found her.

She was 76 and as with Father, there has not been a day that has passed in which I have not thought of her and prayed for them both. She had come a long way—with only two years high school (this because she was eager to get to work), moving up at J. Walter Thompson to an executive position, Production Director, marrying Father, having me and going through the Depression, World War II and the travail with his having worked with the FBI, running his business along with him, providing him extraordinary love and counsel, becoming late in life a top official in the county treasurer’s office, attending my swearing-in when Lillian was expecting our fourth child; sniffing the atmosphere and saying, “I think you’re going to have some difficulty here”; suffering what may well have been a heart attack when she visited us in Washington on the 4th of July which she shook off: she was an emblematic survivor of that generation which has been called “the greatest.”

Choate’s Great Breakfast Scam.

In the nation in the early `70s, a fascinating blow-up involving the breakfast food industry occurred triggered not by a nutritionist nor an expert of any kind on television advertising, but by a Harvard-educated civil engineer with a Brahmin accent, a Lincolnesque visage and a true mission to establish an utopia of perfect social justice on earth. He was Robert B. Choate, Jr., a handsome, lean man with a true British profile and an elegant eastern accent, one of the true Boston bluebloods, descendent of a Boston family that ranked with the Adamses, Cabots, Cushings, Crowninshields, Danas, Delanos, Eliots…all the way down to the Lodges, Peabodys, Putnams, Quincys, Saltonstalls and the Welds. I got to know Bob Choate very well who was a few years older than I and kidded him that his name came from the English derivative of un-choate which in Middle English meant “unformed.” The word “Brahmin” which he typified nobly comes from the Indian caste system which means “the purest person”—fitting in his stirring sense of public policy purpose. Nevertheless, difficult to fathom for a Brahmin pure critic and a food lobbyist, we became close personal friends and ultimately co-taught the same course at the Wharton School of Finance in 1974.

Choate’s pedigree equipped him for upper class, aristocratically liberal Republican crusader status—one with early New England Puritan heritage who believed himself destined to change the dreary mercantile-commercial world. His father had been editor of the “Boston Herald-Traveler” and he inherited his writing talent from him and his remarkable speaking skill from an early forebear. This was Rufus Choate [1799-1859], a descendent of a family which settled in Massachusetts in 1667. Rufus was by all odds the greatest Choate (after whom Bob named his first son), was an outstanding lawyer and politician, serving in the state House and state Senate, elected to Congress as a Whig.

Soon Rufus Choate developed an oratorical style that was the envy of the Congress, noted for his memorable defense of the protective tariff. He resigned from the House to practice law where he made a fortune—but in 1841 was enticed again to public service, elected to the U. S. Senate to succeed his friend Daniel Webster. He labored to win for Webster the Whig presidential nomination in 1852 which failed. Choate made a great mistake in spurning an offer to join the newly-forming Republican party; instead he gave his support to James Buchanan whom he considered the representative of a national rather than sectional movement.

While Rufus Choate was involved in sectional strife and trying to save the Union along with his friend Daniel Webster, his later relative Robert saw the need to spare children from what he called “empty calories” in their breakfast food. After having made a good bit of money as a civil engineer in Boston, Choate moved to Washington, got involved in public interest work and copied Ralph Nader who had made a huge impact criticizing automobile safety.

Then Bobby Kennedy started running for president against Lyndon Johnson beginning in 1967. Choate caught on with the Kennedy staff and accompanied the Senator to a group of southern states where rural poverty was examined. That’s when Choate’s vision of turning the nation on its ear with nutrition really got started. With Kennedy’s magnetic charisma, the nation sast entranced as TV documentaries featured hunger and near-starvation in the Appalachians. Choate was there when the Kennedy people crafted the legislation to fight hunger. I was away at Commerce when the big hunger hearings were held but Bob Thurston ably handled the appearance of our CEO at hearings scheduled by the Select Committee on Human Needs presided over by Sen. George McGovern. When Richard Nixon was elected, he had to have a “hunger” staff so Choate was hired as a consultant. Ironically enough, while I was being fired by Nixon the liberal Choate was reclining at a sumptuous desk in the Executive Office Building with armchairs and an antique fireplace. Is this a great country or what?

Now in Phase 2, Choate teamed up with one Jim Turner, a former Nader Raider (who later became a friend of mine as well) to develop the charge that sixty name-brand cereals “fatten but do little to prevent malnutrition.” The hunger issue had just died and the obese-kid issue was decades down the road so the media became exercised that the evil giant cereal companies were hustling kids to pick their sugar-filled cereals off the grocery shelves rather than concentrate on nutritious foods.

Choate had some interesting political connections—and I wanted to explore what they were and connect myself to them if possible. He and Jim Turner had made a friend of Mike Pertschuk, a powerfully influential majority counsel for the U. S. Senate Commerce committee headed by Warren Magnuson (D-Washington). They convinced Pertschuk, a big government regulator wannabe that there was political gold in the issue of breakfast nutrition as there had been in Appalachian hunger. In short order, Magnuson passed the issue to Frank Moss (D-Utah), subcommittee chairman and Moss called hearings on the issue.

The hearings featured Bob Choate and he scored brilliantly, displaying a king-sized chart of 60 name-brand cereals with his listing…on a scale of 900…of how many of nine different vitamins, minerals and protein they contained. The three: Kellogg’s Product 19, General Mills’ Kaboom and Total. Two-thirds of the cereals including our “Cap’n Crunch” and “Quisp” and “Quake” ranked far below 100. Among them were the five bestsellers—Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and Sugar Frosted Flakes along with General Mills’ Cheerios and Wheaties (“Breakfast of Champions”), Nabisco’s Shredded Wheat (and our variant of Shredded Wheat) which finished last.

In that presentation, Choate captured my admiration for forensic duplicity if for nothing else while my fellow cereal lobbyists glowered because he was so stunningly demagogic. He ran some TV commercials which predictably sold cartoon characters (including our Cap’n Crunch) and scored front page attention across the nation by declaring that the lowest ranking 40 cereals offered “empty calories—not more than a shot of whiskey, a term that can be applied to alcohol and sugar.”

As he was talking about how TV commercials engage in what he called “the seduction of the innocent” he played a commercial of “Tony the Tiger” and right on cue, his tousled-haired four-year-old Rufus, a lovely child with a blonde resemblance to holy cards of the Child Jesus, ran from his seat in the audience to his father and hugged him, while Choate asked him…as the network TV cameras whirred…what intrigued him about “Tony the Tiger” and the kid, of course, turned his sweet little face up to his father and lisped that he pressured his mother to buy it because he loved the cartoon. That was dynamite for the networks which sorely wanted features to take peoples’ mind off Vietnam. It was “the next big scandal.”

Although industry lobbyists stalked out and got their lawyers to craft responses and to send spokesmen to the following day’s hearing, I did what I have always done in these circumstances: I wanted to discover what made Choate and his buddy Jim Turner tick. So after the hearing I caught up with them, took them to the Madison Hotel “Montpelier” restaurant as my guests, where we downed many glasses of empty calories as they filled me in on their craft…how they centered on this approach, the foundations that funded them, how they interested Mike Pertschuk in this and the genesis of the hearings. From that time on, I was a kind of…well I won’t say “double agent” because they knew I was Quaker’s lobbyist…but an informant who wanted to help my company respond to this demagoguery in an intelligent way. They quite willingly shared their data with me. And, of course, in major particulars it was wrong—but with the magnetism of the media lies circumvent the globe while the truth is still pulling on its boots.

My association with Choate was on the up-and-up. We never shared information that was pertinent to our respective causes—but I learned a great deal about the power of political movements stimulated by consumerism and TV, an interest that has never left me. When it came time for Quaker to testify, the company selected an outstanding representative—not a lawyer, not a CEO but a nutritionist named Dr. Robert Nesheim who in his flat, rural voice with a face that looked something like a homely Norman Rockwell character, did an outstanding job.

Quite soon, actually, the cereal issue died but Choate was busily expanding the issue of how children are importuned by television. It led me to move to the idea of developing a method for the advertising industry where it could develop a private self-control over advertising that could be socially responsible. We got company approval to set up a task force and for this I called on my old friend who had been with me at Commerce and who was now in the private practice of law in Washington—Bill Geimer. What we worked on would be known as the National Advertising Review Board, a wholly independent advisory board to combat bad taste and try to set some standards.

The Beginnings of Ad Self Regulation and Andrew Young.

At the same time, Bob Thurston who had moved steadily upward in the company and who was now on its Board, had the influence to not only encourage us to do the NARB project but to set aside some funds for an exciting television documentary project. Andrew Young who had been in Chicago with Martin Luther King had decided to move from civil rights organizing to run for Congress from the 2nd district in Georgia—an urban district which expanded to the suburbs…a normally Republican one…with 57 percent white population. Young was a far more interesting person than Jesse Jackson to my way of thinking because he could appeal to whites, white businessmen and the general majority community without sacrificing any of his civil rights convictions. We decided to have Quaker Oats finance a documentary of his forthcoming campaign for Congress. Our expectation was, frankly, that in the district he chose he could very likely lose—but the story would be fascinating no matter which way the election went.

Bob Thurston thought of the title for the forthcoming film: “From King to Congress.” Anyhow, between the NARB and “From King to Congress,” I had plenty of interesting stuff to do.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Personal Aside: The Partial Birth Abortion Decision by the Supreme Court.



Pardon me, but I don’t know if you noticed. President Bush has just won a significant victory for pro-life in the Supreme Court…and the silence from some social conservatives is deafening. For some time now, conservatives of many stripes have been critical of the president. There are the “traditionalists,” those wedded to the old Robert A. Taft isolationist-nationalist tradition from which I sprang (and from which I changed)—but they are quite vehement as anti-Bush people. I refer to my old friend Pat Buchanan who ran for president twice and who stands for a resurgent nationalism, a turning back from what he believes to be too energetic a foreign policy of commitment to the global peace of the world. He also is a tireless critic of free trade, hearkening back to the days of protectionism as typified by Alexander Hamilton (which was okay for the 18th century but in my estimation not okay for here and now). Pat is also a vociferous critic of illegal immigration and…if truth be served…legal immigration—believing that for at least a decade we should take “time out” from assimilating even legal immigrants to our country.

These issues are very important to Pat—but I also remember that he was an early pro-lifer, a spirited critic of the abortion culture. I may have missed it but I haven’t heard any compliment whatsoever on the pro-life victory in the Supreme Court which was attributable to Bush’s naming of two strong justices—Sam Alito and John Roberts. Is it possible…just barely possible…that the issues that work Pat up so strongly…the Iraq War which he seems to be cheerleader for our hoped-for loss…immigration…a return to protectionism…transcend in importance the paramount issue of life? Gee, I hope not.

The same with Joe Sobran, once the best commentator social conservatism has had, who now is all atwitter on the Iraq War and who seems almost fanatically disposed to cataloging every step that may certify that we have lost the war. I haven’t heard anything from Joe—least of all praise for the man who named these conservative justices. Then there is the Rockford Institute on whose board I once served. Vehement anti-Bush people to a man…embodied with snarling rhetoric and doom…centering on the war…but also on immigration. I haven’t seen a line.

It may be tough to congratulate a president when your hatred rivals that of the Left—but it would be interesting to see what importance the upholding of the congressional partial birth abortion ban has on their agenda. I wonder if it doesn’t play second fiddle.

Flashback: A Tale of Two Different Worlds…that of a Patrician and a Racial Agitator…and How They Got Through a Long, Oracular Luncheon.

[Fifty years of politics for my kids and grandchildren].

With an agreement ironed out…but no covenant (our position being that a covenant similar to that agreed to by God and the Israelites was not fitting for this occasion)…a luncheon meeting was set up to formalize good relations with the host to be Reverend Jesse Jackson and Operation PUSH. The desire to host the session was a tribute to their good faith since for the first time, a company had spurned a formal treaty-signing with CEO and the charismatic black preacher…also for the first time, a company has spurned a serious demand that came from the charismatic preacher: that the image of Aunt Jemima be discarded. We won on these two major points. We conceded on others—namely that as a company we had much more to do in an effort to attain social justice. And PUSH testified that it had much more to do as well, by resolving to learn the elements of the free-market economy so that its representatives could better understand business economics and problems.

So it was a good deal. Reverend Ed Riddick was a significant factor in working with me to get the understanding…not put in writing but like the British unwritten constitution…put down firmly in our minds. Thereupon, he at PUSH and I at Quaker began the jobs of preparing our leaders for a significant first meeting. At Quaker, Bob Stuart wanted not just to know the details of the verbal agreement but wanted, understandably, to know who, as he said, using a Chicago vernacular, to know who were “the wheels” in the PUSH community so he could recognize them and comment on their work. At the same time, Ed Riddick was telling me that Jesse Jackson was very much interested in learning more about Quaker, including its products and subsidiaries so he could comment on them intelligently. Both Ed and I were enthused at the good faith from both parties.

So I filled him in on elements of the Quaker divisions—i.e. the Fisher-Price division that was really the Cadillac of children’s toys…and the Marx Toy Company, newly acquired, which made cheaper, more plastic and less expensive toys such as a plastic version of an Irish Mail that kids sat in and pushed with pedals to make it go—called “the Big Wheel.” He filled me in on the duties of the various leaders of PUSH, such as Reverend Willy Barrow, the only woman leader…himself…the Reverend Calvin Morris, a veteran pastor who had helped ordain Reverend Jackson…Tom Todd, a huge lawyer, a former prosecutor, a one-time assistant U. S. District Attorney…who was quite an orator and filled a role of second in command at PUSH.

So on the appointed day, Bob Stuart and I jumped in the Quaker limousine and drove to the South Side former Jewish synagogue that was the headquarters of Operation PUSH. On the way out there I gave him a list of those who were, to use his original formulation, “big wheels” in the civil rights community. At the same time, while they were waiting for us to arrive, Ed Riddick was filling in Jesse Jackson on the various divisions of our company and our products. Both wanted to be knowledgeable of the other’s turf.

In reflecting back on it from a distance of more than thirty-six years, I find that in his concern to know about us, Reverend Jackson was a far different man…perhaps more insecure…than he now appears, having been a national and international figure for so long and a former Democratic presidential candidate. Then he was relatively new to negotiations; he was primarily a Chicago figure. Certainly for our part, we were just as eager to get along with him and show a light-heartedness and affability. But inside all our stomachs, there was a tightening of apprehension that something would possibly go wrong or be misunderstood. I know this was the case with us and Ed Riddick told me later it was the case with them.

We arrived a bit early and luncheon was not ready to be served, so Reverend Jackson suggested to Bob Stuart that we hop in his car—with him driving—and take a spin about the neighborhood, where he would point out buildings and blocks of particular interest. So we did. As he swept around the corner and we cruised down the street, there was a kid pedaling like mad on one of our Marx toys, the Big Wheel. Now you can get a glimmer of wha happened. Bob Stuart had constantly wanted to be updated on the formation of the black hierarchy of PUSH which we cavalierly called ‘the Big Wheels.” Jesse Jackson wanted to show us that he was aware of our products, especially one that was so popular in his community, the “Big Wheel.”

So Jackson pulled the car over to the curb, pointed to the kid and said, “Look, there’s a Big Wheel!”

Bob Stuart’s immediate reaction was to say, “huh? Where?”

Jackson said: “Right there.”

Bob Stuart: “Who do you mean?”

Jackson: “The kid.”

Bob Stuart, repeating but not understanding, repeating slowly, “…er, the kid. The kid. What--?”

I wasn’t as fast on the trigger either and so it took me a few longer seconds to comprehend while the two…one a Princeton-Yale Law school CEO patrician…and the other the famed “country preacher” from South Carolina who was proud that he could identify one of our most famous products kept repeating…incredulous that Stuart couldn’t grasp the obvious, “right there, Bob—right there! The Big Wheel!” And Stuart saying, “who? Who, I say? The kid?”

The answer when it came was hysterically funny to me as all of us were trying to break the tension. Then we collapsed in laughter—all of us…Jesse Jackson…Bob Stuart…and I…as we understood the semantics at last.

The luncheon was a great success with Reverend Jackson at his best and Bob Stuart matching him with good humor, fun and warmth. When it was over Ed Riddick and I decided to get together and celebrate. As he wouldn’t depart from his self-prescribed vow from childhood on not to ever touch alcohol, I was reduced to toasting with him in 7-Up. But the fact that the negotiations went so well, made us lifelong friends. Later he was my guest at Harvard as a lecturer in my class as he knowledgably sketched the history of PUSH and his work.

Once the agreement was underway and being implemented, I turned to another project that involved race relations. That was the forthcoming congressional campaign in the 2nd district of Georgia…in a district 57 percent white…of a candidate whom I had met earlier when he was in Chicago…Andrew Young. He was determined to run in Georgia in the same year that George McGovern was running for president—a not-beloved figure in that state…in a largely white suburban Atlanta district…in an effort to become the first black Congressman elected from the deep south in more than a hundred years. How Quaker got involved in it and how I fashioneda lifelong friendship with this icon of the civil rights movement—all that next.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Personal Asides: Lovie’s Leather Still Wins—but a Qualification…The “Tribune’s” Hard-Hitting Editorial on Partial Birth Abortion…Friday Night Speech in Lake County, Indiana


Lovie’s Leather

Lovie’s Leather still wins and holds on the coveted Presidential Trivia cup but with a clarification. He said rightly that Bill Clinton was the last Democratic presidential candidate to carry Colorado…but he said this was done in 1996—while it was actually done in 1992. But that’s a minor point. Again—congratulations, Lovie.

“Tribune” Straddle.

The “Tribune” is the most cowardly newspaper editorially among the giant urban journals. Take a look at the one last week that chronicled the Supreme Court’s support of a congressional law that banned partial birth abortion. Rather than take sides, it does the usual thing when it fears to endorse a position: it reiterates the history of the issue so as to stall the editorial and allow it to come to the usual “Tribune” conclusion i.e. “who knows?”…or “time will tell”…or “it’s anyone’s guess.” Or “we’ll discover the answer in due time.” These editorials tell you a great deal about the lack of intellectual hardihood, the anemia of the newspaper. Written largely for upper crust people in Hinsdale who are pro-choice—including its business office—it nevertheless must tiptoe through the tulips so as not to overly offend the right. So the zig-zag goes like this:

1. Zig: The battle has been long and bitter. 2. Zig: The decision “validated efforts to eliminate an abortion method that is exceptionally gruesome and disturbing.” 3. Zag: But on the other hand the Court deferred to public sentiment where the Constitution provides scant guidance (the writer fearing to state that “Roe v. Wade” usurped the legislatures. 4. (Zag): Description of the procedure named “intact dilation and evacuation” which, it acknowledges, led some pro-aborts in Congress, seeing it close to infanticide, to vote for the ban. 5. Zig: Yet, many physicians “think that in some instances it is the safest technique” (not answering the question “safe for whom?”). 6. Zig: It’s true that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists argue that depriving physicians of this option could create “real dangers.” 7. Zig: Congress could have improved the legislation to say it should be used only to prevent serious harm to the mother—but it didn’t. 8. Zag: But Anthony Kennedy’s majority decision says there is disagreement whether the ban would impose significant health risks. 9: Zag: Where there is uncertainty, the court said, Congress can regulate according to its best judgment.

10. Zig: Don’t worry, this is not the final word.

After he wrote that piece of flimsy cowardice, the editorialist probably said, “whew!” and went downstairs for a drink.

See what we mean, Mr. Zell? Can you just get rid of these eunuchs and get somebody with firm beliefs to write the editorials? Time was when editorials were designed to convey the views of the newspaper. This newspaper can’t even muster the guts to hire a cartoonist—because to put down an idea with ink on paper demands some kind of firmness…anathema to the namby-pambies in the Tower. Stuff like this underscores why “Tribune” editorials—including candidate endorsements—mean little or nothing.

April 27: Lake County, Indiana.

I will be keynoting the Lake County (Indiana) Right-to-Life banquet Friday night in Merrillville at the Croation Center, 8550 Taft street, Merrillville.…and I’d love to see you. Let me give you the number to call so they can set a plate aside for you and your friends. Call Marsha at (219) 024-8370. The Lake County Right-to-Life officd number is (219) 838-1138.


[Text of an address to the Palatine Township GOP Committee on April 21, 2007; a similar but slightly changed address was delivered to the Park Ridge Republican Women on April 16. Don’t think the speech, totaling 5,000 words, went hours without end; it clocked at 35 minutes. It looks long here because it contains the full research that was edited out of the original presentation].

This talk is about Republican politics and the future of the nation…but first we start with the ancient high church religious Lenten service called Tenebrae. It leads up to the Easter observance…the season we are in right now. Tenebrae is observed in my own Catholic church and in various other modes also in high liturgical services conducted by variants of the Anglican and Lutheran.

Shadows and Darkness.

The word Tenebrae means “shadows” or “darkness.” It is usually observed on the evening of Wednesday of Holy Week and commemorates the forthcoming slow, agonizing death of Jesus Christ. The church is unlighted as you enter it on Wednesday night, except for a large triangular candlestick at the altar which holds fifteen burning candles. Gloom seems everywhere. The mission Christ came to fulfill has been seemingly lost…His hope that the world will be a better place seemingly dashed. And with His approaching death comes the realization that all the good He has done…all the healing…all the messages of love and forgiveness, of turning the other cheek, of loving our enemies…has been disproved and this world is the same old evil place it was when He came.

Failure. The liturgy that is sung expresses grief. The singing is done by men sitting in chairs facing the candlesticks as they intone the psalms and the Lamentations of the Jews. As they sing of their remorse, one by one the candles are snuffed out by altar servers…with the exception of the candle at the top of the triangle. Indeed things look black and are getting blacker all the time. Without being profane, it can be literally said that the world has gone to Hell and eternal darkness except for that single candle. Then the final candle is extinguished and the church, representing the world, is completely darkened.

Then there comes forth a low rumble, and a louder rumble…this noise symbolizing the convulsions of nature at the murder of the Son of God for which there assuredly can be no forgiveness…noise that recalls the time when the earth shook and the rocks were split and the dead came forth from their tombs. The rumble is made by the congregation in the darkness, overturning the kneelers, pounding on the pews—the rage of nature thqat once again it has been betrayed…and once again all is futile and failure.

Then, just when the darkness and noise become unbearable, there is a faint gleam of a candle in the distance…a gleam that moves toward us in the dark as this one candle is carried forward by a deacon…and this one candle is placed on the altar. It is the Light of the World from the One who has conquered death…telling us that there is still hope…forgiveness for sin…that death is not the final act…that there is hope for us all. The congregation leaves at that point, stumbling through the dark that is only slightly illuminated by that one candle…but stumbling with hope.

Jewish Intellectual Attainments.

That is the Christian message. Indeed not just Christian. It is the human message throughout all history—Christian and non-Christian…telling us that there is the possibility…just the possibility…of a happy ending for all of us who believe in God. That same message can be witnessed in the inexorable struggle of the Jews…the first people to formulate the concept of One God. The nation’s most renowned student of the history of the human spirit, Charles Murray in this issue of Commentary magazine detailed his view and that of others that the indomitable Jewish spirit was forged on an anvil of oppression…a spirit winnowed through persecution, beginning with their capture by the Babylonians where the oppressor cherry-picked so to speak to capture only the hardiest Jews, the brightest, those with the greatest fighting spirit and sagacity and send them into bondage.

The remainder died off, drifted off, married to those not of their faith and were assimilated. Those held in captivity emerged after millennia of persecution and discrimination to their status now. Despite the Holocaust and generations of legal persecution and injustice, they have not just survived, they dominate the intellectual firmament. Two-tenths of one percent of the world’s population, they have won 14 percent of the Nobel prizes in literature, chemistry, physics and medicine since the Prize was instituted. In the second half of the 20th century alone, when Nobel prizes were extended to the entire world, Jews won 29 percent of all the prizes. So far in the 21st they have won 32 percent. That is not just the happenstance of persecution but deliberate conditioning. Marrying for brains has been engrained in the Jewish culture (we smile at the Jewish mother extolling that her daughter just married a doctor!). But this is not either ethnic nor cultural happenstance. The Talmud verse 49a instructs that “a man should sell all his possesses to marry the daughter of a scholar as well as to marry his own daughter to a scholar.”

Debasement of Our Culture.

Their survival represents the light of the world as well as for Christians. Today however there is a sickening return to the reality of Tenebrae for both Christians and Jews. It appears on the human sanctuary the lights are going out due to terrorism…debasement of the popular culture…a terrifying cheerleading from within our own ranks for our defeat…all of which encircle us with gloom. A few candles are still burning—but if America loses in Iraq and its world mission is rebuked, the gloom that will engulf us will be insidious. Once it could have been said that America’s two parties shared the same goal of Judeo-Christian heritage…which girded them to enable us for survival. As a journalist I saw men and women of both parties…Democratic and Republican…enlist in the water brigades to quench the fires threatening to engulf humanity—securing victory over Hitler and later victory in the Cold War. But sadly…and this statement is made in extreme sadness, not partisanship…only one party is geared for victory. And that is why we are here today.

First, the Bad News.

I tell you in truth…as one who became politically aware as the only son of a cogently aware family in the 1930s…that in my view we are nearly at the impasse of the two decades where there was no hope of alternatives to one party in election of presidents. We are in danger of revisiting that scene again. So much danger that it is frightening.

The Iraq War which I support and the presidency which I endorse, nevertheless lie at the heart of the problem. The Bush presidency, so weakened, seems unable to adequately defend. Republicans who took over Congress in 1994 began as “movement people”…people imbued by the movement embodying thrift, lower taxes, returning government to a smaller size, defending our cultural heritage including the unborn, including in a number of cases term limits. The “movement” was transformed in some aspects to “politics as a business,” concentrated on money-raising and the marketing that can enable them to get reelected by twisting the truth. Then “politics as a business” became in some variants a “racket”…how to do errands for the lobbies on K street and collect PAC checks as a result…figuring out how 501© (3)s can sponsor trips to southern spas where speeches can be delivered and contacts made that can reward and return with largesse for the future. Ending in corruption.

The movement died. And it has not been resurrected. Today in Washington as the president flounders, on the Hill it is every man for himself. The candles are being snuffed out. Am I sanguine that Republicans can regain their moorings? No, but I have seen them do it nationally and in two states where I lived. But this time despite all the reform and re-concentration, there is a new opponent aligned with ours. Once it could be said that organized labor with its indentured collection of dues…and I am a member of two unions…joined with the Democratic party was tough to beat. Well, that coalition still exists but never before has another alliance sprung into being that is virtually insuperable—an alliance between information carriers…journalists, news marketers, news producers, news networks and giant newspapers and news magazines…and the twisted secular religion of political liberalism that teaches the fallacious doctrine of the Enlightenment that rather than God becoming man, man can become God and be disloyal to old covenants and truths.

Major Media Foster Anti-Americanism…

I refer of course to the phenomenon of the popular major media. This is a group that serves similar to a football referee with whistle hanging about his neck who is just interested in calling offside or urging fairness…but bets on one side and actively joins in the playing field. And the results of this alliance are plain to see.

…take Polls to Justify Earlier “Reporting”…

A recent CBS/New York Times poll finds that only 39 percent now believe invading Iraq was the right thing to do. Are we surprised? Of course not. CBS and the New York Times have sold this idea from the start as soon as the going got tough. Fifty-nine percent think we should leave Iraq tomorrow. Are we surprised? Of course not. CBS and The New York Times have trumpeted this since the early days, notwithstanding the danger that will come to this country; indeed it can be said they are unconcerned about the danger because they inwardly seek, some of them, the interior satisfaction of America being punished for thinking itself invulnerable. This nihilism comes from our Ivy League universities as well as others.

…then Report Poll “Findings” as News.

An ABC/Washington Post poll finds that 63 percent do not trust the administration to report honestly about possible threats from other countries.

Are we surprised? Of course not. Major media outlets tout this every day as masquerade of news in prime time. Then there is the generic question, propounded of the American people by Hotline, the Internet political news gatherer. It asks: Without specifying the candidates, would you elect a Democrat or a Republican president if the election were held today? Democrat say 47 percent. Republican say 29 percent. Among registered Democrats how many would back a Democrat for president? Eighty-seven percent. Among Republicans how many would back a Republican for president? Only 71 percent.

This question the Hotline asked of professed independent voters: Would you back a Democrat or Republican for president if the election were held today? A Democrat say 35% of the independents. A Republican say 17 percent. Undecided say 15 percent. No answer say 33 percent.

The attendants are slowly snuffing out the candles in this Tenebrae, ladies and gentlemen. The news…the nightly news…the morning news… NBC Today…CBS Early Morning…ABC World News…CNN World News…the news in big black ink on our major newspapers and newsmagazines…the news is killing us with greater magisterial force than I have seen it in my seventy-eight years. The news written by men and women unsympathetic not just to conservatism…but unsympathetic to our country. They want us to lose. And for the second time in American history the likelihood exists that at the same time we are feeling the attacks on us overseas, we are feeling the assault on our soldiers and president by a group that wants to snuff out the lifeline of funds to support their mission. Can you imagine a Congress in the Second World War that would seriously consider cutting this lifeline to our troops? Or a Congress during the Korean War? I cannot—and I have seen them as an adult. A coalition of Democrats and our weaker brothers and sister Republicans ended the Vietnam war by throwing in the towel and are threatening to do this again with the aid and comfort of the major media.

The president’s standing is at 36.4 percent, one of the lowest in history. Three percent…only 3%...of all Republicans are willing to be called “George Bush Republicans.” Our prospective candidates for president are all very human, let me tell you and the media are spotlighting them in chiaroscuro. Rudy Giuliani who leads the polls is anathema to the New York Times because it says he inflicted injury on civil liberties as mayor by returning Times Square from a jungle to civilization. Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith is called bizarre. Newt Gingrich, whom Henry Hyde has truly called similar to Winston Churchill in that he is 50 percent genius and 50 percent nuts, is a brilliant formulator but as the media never tire of saying, he met his third wife while cheating on his second: alas, it is true! John McCain once idolized by a media who once thrilled to his exploits as prisoner in one war is now disdained because he wants to win this war…they don’t know what to think of Fred Thompson but once he makes plain that he wants this country to win, they’ll think of something.

With the deacon moving swiftly to snuff out the last candle, do you hear the rumble? The earth sounds like it’s splitting in two. And the rumbles goes on and goes on…this is the period we are engulfed in now. But there now shines one small light—one solitary candle that says there is hope for what historian Thomas Babbington Macaulay called “the stupid party”—by which he meant the Tories, ancestors of our own. Now let’s look at the bright side, illuminated by that candle.

Correcting Major Media Falsehoods.

First, the Bush unpopularity. He is unpopular just as every wartime president has been who is not trouncing the enemy…as Lincoln was…as even FDR was after the surprising of the Battle of the Bulge where Gallup showed his ratings tumbled swiftly by 20 points…and as Truman was with Korea. Will Bush’s unpopularity overhang the campaign? It’s likely not to. Attitudinal polls taken in 1952 saw Adlai Stevenson losing not because of Truman but because he was running against an enormously popular five-star general of the army who ran the greatest invasion in the history of man.

Second, will Bush’s current low esteem affect his stature in history? Not if we take care that it be protected and not allow the Left to demonize him in history as it has currently. Harry Truman left office in the middle of a war that was going nowhere with a 27 percent approval rating…the lowest in all history…lower than Nixon’s just before resignation…but now he is regarded as either near-great or great due to his decisiveness. Was he despised? The Chicago Tribune ran this story in 1951. A man standing at a crowded bar in the Bismarck Hotel told the bartender angrily that he was ready to “go to Washington to shoot that little so-and-so!” The bartender, alarmed, called the cops who called the Secret Service. A group of plain-clothed federal officers walked into the bar just as the man was paying up and said, “sir, we’d like a word with you.”

They said, “you have been reported to have said within earshot of people in this bar that you were going to go to Washington and shoot President Truman.” The crowd of bar-hangers on nodded affirmatively. The man said excitedly, “Wait a minute! I said I wanted to shoot that little so-and-so in Washington but I never mentioned the president!” The Secret Service agent said, “that won’t do you any good, sir. What other little so-and-so is in Washington?”—and the crowd to a man nodded.

Third, because the Republican Congress spent like drunken sailors is the stain irremovable? The image “drunken sailors” was coined by an editorial writer in Robert R. McCormick’s then conservative Chicago Tribune and was applied to the Democrats who then ran Congress. While the Tribune was right, the term didn’t hurt the Democrats although it has regularly been applied to them ever since and won’t hurt the Republicans now—but they must reform.

Generic Popularity Means Very Little.

Fourth, what about generic unpopularity—the fact that more people say they will vote for a Democratic presidential candidate name unknown than a Republican? Generic popularity has been cited often by the two parties but historically has meant very little. A majority said they’d favor a Republican president by a wide margin in 1948, the year they elected Democrat Harry Truman. A majority said they’d favor a Republican president in 1960 when they elected Democrat John Kennedy. They said they wanted a Democratic president in 1968 when they elected Republican Richard Nixon. They said they wanted continuation of a Democratic president on election eve 1980 when McNeil-Lehrer said the election was too close to call…when voters elected Ronald Reagan 43 million to Jimmy Carter’s 37 million and John Anderson’s 5 million—giving Reagan 489 electoral votes, Carter 49 and Anderson 0.

Fifth, what about the blunders, the glitches in governing, the mistakes in Iraq, Rumsfeld’s firing, the change of generals, the troubles of Alberto Gonzales? In Korea, Truman fired his secretary of defense who had fought a military buildup, a businessman noted only for being his top campaign fund-raiser—Louis Johnson. He fired 5-star general of the army Douglas MacArthur who came back and addressed a joint meeting of Congress saying, rightly, there is no substitute for victory. Governing gone bad? Truman had 106 IRS officials who turned crooked and fired one right after another three—count`em—IRS commissioners one of whom was reputed to have unsavory connections with the Attorney General. The attorney general hired a special prosecutor but when the special prosecutor got too close to sniffing out scandal, the AG fired him.. Then Truman fired his own AG, J. Howard McGrath. The comedian Fred Allen shouted: “Somebody please fire Truman!”

Liberal Historians List the “Great Presidents.”

Sixth, does the media and its ally liberal academe have the power to inculcate so-called “great” presidents? Actually yes and this must be guarded against. In the late `60s, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. convened a group of liberal historians like himself and had them vote on the “greatest” presidents and the “failures.” Not surprisingly, the “great” modern ones were liberals, the “failures” were conservatives.

From those early unscientific surveys, we were told as a given that Truman was a “great” or “near great” president. The reputation overshadows the facts. What made him great, the Marshall Plan? We are told that the Marshall Plan “saved” Europe. Did it? France, Germany and Italy began their economic recoveries long before the Marshall Plan was inaugurated. Britain got twice the Marshall Plan aid Germany did but British economic growth and employment lagged far behind Germany’s. Why? Because Britain’s liberal economics failed and Germany’s economic miracle succeeded based on free market reforms. But isn’t it an axiom that federal aid resurrects economies? Not always. Hong Kong with shortage of land and water, no local power resources, no coal, no oil and few raw materials, made it without foreign aid because it embraced free markets. Where else did Truman fail to meet the challenge of the Cold War? He tried to institute a coalition government between Chiang kai Shek and Mao Tse Tung, cutting off funds to Chiang. Which failed and led to the loss of 400 million allies to Communism, a situation that still lasts today. Answer: Yes, liberal academe and liberal media can create “great” presidents if we are foolish enough not to do our own research and allow the Left full sway.

Seventh, why do Americans think the country is going to hell in a hand-basket when Bush’s troubles are just a variation of what happened before to presidents good and bad? Because major media do not report history except when it suits them. They are not now just liberal but anti-American, not just critical of the country but leaning anti-patriotic. Abraham Lincoln had a word for such media critics in the Civil War—“copperheads” named after the snakes he killed in Kentucky and rural Indiana. Let’s take a look at various “copperhead” media oracles…starting with the most glaring, fork-tongued one of all…Time magazine.

Time Weeps for Reagan.

A recent cover of Time shows a photo of Ronald Reagan on which an artist has drawn a tear coursing down his cheek with the headline reading: How the Right Went Wrong. The headline is taken from the title of a book by Pat Buchanan who on the issue of the war has become an ally of the left-wing media…along with Joe Sobran, John McLaughlin the resigned ex-Jesuit priest and others. These are woeful predictors of America’s future defeat and hearken back to the old era when two oceans that separated us were sufficient for protection. Along with the Left, they are essentially “Copperheads.” Some even to the point of carrying a grudge against Abraham Lincoln for winning the Civil War.

Now Time says Bush and the Republicans are disloyal to the Reagan Revolution. Its cover story says, “These are gloomy and uncertain days for conservatives. Set adrift as it is, the right understandably feel anxious…The principles that propelled the movement have either run their course or run aground or have been abandoned by Reagan’s legatees.” Reading this mournful epitaph one would imagine that Time supported the Reagan Revolution. This is what it said about Reagan on November 2, 1987 after Reagan rebuilt the military and spurred the economy with tax cuts. It was angry because Mikhail Gorbachev, the man it later credited with ending the Cold War—bypassing Reagan—had canceled a Summit meeting.

Time wrote: “It is the Reagan Illusion. The idea that there could be a defense build-up and tax cuts without a price, that the country could live beyond its means indefinitely. The initial Reagan years with the aura of tinseled optimism had restored the nation’s tattered pride and lost sense that leadership was possible in the presidency. But he stayed a term too long. As he shouted befuddled Hooverisms over the roar of his helicopter last week or doddered precariously through his press conference, Reagan appeared embarrassingly irrelevant to a reality that he could scarcely comprehend. Stripped of his ability to play host to Mikhail Gorbachev, he elicted the unnerving suspicion that he was an emperor without clothes.”

This was from Time in November, 1987, one year before his second term ended in one of the most productive presidencies in all history…a presidency where he tamed inflation…bringing the rate from 13 percent to under 2 percent, rounding it off at an acceptable 4 percent…a term where unemployment dropped from 7.5 percent under Carter to a very acceptable 5.3 percent with 118 million employed, the highest level of any point in history—five new jobs for every minute he held office.

The next week, Gorbachev met with Reagan at the Summit but it didn’t please Time which honed its axe on its old agenda. This is the Summit, remember where Gorbachev delivered an unilateral reduction in Soviet armed forces and ordered the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and tanks from eastern Europe and Afghanistan. The “Star Wars” negotiation was causing Gorbachev to calculate that his statist economy couldn’t match a free economy—a conclusion nurtured when he allowed Reagan to lecture on capitalism at Moscow University. This is what Time reported:

“Who’s in charge? Reagan’s tepid and grudging reactions—reluctant and uncomprehending—confirmed a suspicion in many minds that Reagan, a lame-duck with 15 months to go in hi second term, was presiding over an administration bereft of ideas and energy.” It compared Reagan to Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman saying “Reagan seems to invite the thought that he has found a new model, the Salesman, in the last act, standing on a stage about to go dark.”

The Unreported Economic Boom.

Seventh, why if the lagging economy was item number one in other years…especially in George W. Bush’s early first term…is not a booming economy important to report now? Of course. And it’s more than just George W. Bush. Following Reagan’s tax cuts and Paul Volcker’s victory over inflation, the U. S. economy has been in recession just 5 percent of the time. During high-tax, high regulation years…1969 to 1982…some of these Richard Nixon’s years…the economy was in recession 32 percent of the time. Bush’s economy is equal or better than the Clinton economy in almost every area. For the current recovery, during its first 64 months, real average hourly earnings are up 1.8 percent and unemployment is down to 4.4 percent.

Eighth, why are we told a favorite doctrine of liberal academe and the Democratic party passed along in the shape of “news” that the tax system benefits the rich? Because that it the major media agenda. We are not told that those who made more than $87,300 in 2004…the top 10 percent…paid 70.8 percent of all income taxes. Ten percent pay seven out of every ten dollars with their share of the burden rising. That’s why keeping the Bush tax cuts and adopting others plus tax reform is a necessary sell that can get us back in 2008.

Good News: The Old Media Are Dying.

We have just seen one candle that symbolizes hope. But others are being lighted. That’s because the Old Media which have been sitting on and dangerously misshaping the truth are dying, failing…at least not growing. That includes the TV networks, national newsmagazines, most if not all of the major daily newspapers. Growing are cable networks like Fox, talk radio and the Internet. More young people get their news from the Internet and other sources than from the big newspapers or networks. Today in Chicago, the Sun-Times lives in the Valley of the Dead, not competing against the Tribune but against the Tribune’s creation, “Red Eye” which is designed for youth…but which if you’ve ever read its illiteracy, will make you doubt civilization has improved from the days when tribes scribbled on hardened mud in prehistoric Africa.

All the while, the Tribune went on the auction block and has been bought by billionaire Sam Zell. Whether he can save it is dubious since circulation and advertising has slipped to precarious levels. The Old Media are falling apart because essentially they are crooked, espousing marketing that supposedly appeals to a liberal reading market which does not exist except in the minds of relativist MBAs matriculating in an Age of Uncertainty from prestigious liberal universities. You and I should not patronize them except to discover what truths they are suffocating. I refer to Time…Newsweek…the U. S. News & World Report…the Washington Post…the St. Louis Post-Dispatch…the Christian Science Monitor…the Milwaukee Journal and a host of wannabe’s from smaller communities.

Also fated to be ignored by (I hope) more of us: CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, a so-called reporter who has just committed plagiarism by proxy, reading a piece as her own commentary that was stolen from the Wall Street Journal by her ghost-writer…NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams…and ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson. CNN’s news offerings should also be ignored. They are all indebted in one way or another to the spewing font of all liberal and increasingly anti-American bias, The New York Times.

You Should Read and Watch…

We should be watching Fox News, listening to talk radio and reading a variety of pro-American writing including The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, magazines like The Weekly Standard, National Review and the newspaper columns of Charles Krauthammer, Michael Barone. Locally the columns of John Kass and the Op Eds of Dennis Byrne, the only two conservatives allowed in the newspaper which does not know what it believes, the Tribune. So called “political columns” mostly reflect the mal-education and liberal knee-jerk-ness of their originators: Sun-Times columns by Carol Marin and Jennifer Hunter—although I would draw an exception for Lynn Sweet since, ideology aside (which she is honest enough not to disavow) she is the best political reporter on a daily beat here which includes Washington and Chicago. I find the City Hall writings of Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times extraordinarily perceptive. Of course with the cartoons of Jack Higgins there you have an artist without peer in the nation.

A Better GOP Choice than Many Others in the Past…

Don’t be misled by believing the major media that this year’s selection of Republican presidential candidates are below par. Of all the years that I have been watching and participating in campaigns, this year’s choice is the best. In 1936 when I began presidential-watching, there was a Kansas governor (Landon) and a freshman Michigan Senator (Vandenberg)—the Kansas governor was chosen: an intellectual light-weight. In 1940 there was a pompous public utility executive, a former Democrat who never voted Republican (Willkie), a very young District Attorney (Dewey), a brilliant but uncharismatic Ohio Senator (Taft) and a malleable Michigan Senator (Vandenberg): the public utility executive was nominated. In 1944 there was a young New York governor (Dewey) and a junior Ohio Senator (Bricker): the New York governor, a slicker in style was chosen. Four years later the same New York governor was chosen who booted his chance by the arrogance of assuming he would win without much contest.

…but Ike vs. Taft was Extraordinarily Good…

In 1952 the choices were extraordinarily good—a 5-star general (Eisenhower) and a veteran conservative senator (Taft), one of the great legislators of the time. The general was chosen and went on to win election. Four years later the general was chosen for renomination. In 1960 in a test between a callow, unctuous vice president (Nixon) and a New York governor (Rockefeller), the unctuous vice president was named who lost. In 1964 a forerunner of a modern conservative was pitted against a re-tread New York governor and the conservative was chosen who lost, but not without residual benefit. Four years later the party fell trap to the unctuous ex-vice president who won over the aged New York governor. In 1972 the now unctuous president was reelected who had to resign. By 1976 the unelected president, Ford, was nominated over a far better man (Reagan). Ford lost to an ex-Georgia governor (Carter) and deservedly so by announcing that Poland was not a communist nation.

…the Choice in 1980 Except Reagan, Dismal…

Then we come to 1980, the year Reagan was nominated. That year’s selection list was uncannily poor—but Reagan was a standout in that year and throughout history. The selection included a liberal, tiny, almost dwarfish Tennessee senator who felt a tax cut would be a “riverboat gamble” in which he didn’t want to participate (Baker)…an ex-Democrat, ex-Texas governor friend of LBJ who just beat an indictment (Connally)…a Kansas senator who had become the first man to ever lose a debate to Walter Mondale, Bob Dole; a conservative Congressman who went on to an addiction to Heineken beer and to lose reelection in one of the strongest GOP districts in the country through neglect (Crane), a liberal congressman who left his party to run as an independent and then left independence to become a Democrat and deservedly forgotten (Anderson). And George H. W. Bush, not charismatic, a social liberal with great resume. Wisely, the party put Reagan and Bush together.

In 1988`the GOP had Vice President George H. W. Bush as the favorite, old mushy reliable Bob Dole as challenger, weird evangelical who frequently talked with God, Pat Robertson, former Delaware governor Pierre (Pete) DuPont, former secretary of state Alexander Haig and Congressman Jack Kemp who always gave the attitude that he came very late to ideas following his pro football career. Four years later he was re-nominated but had been seriously damaged by a challenge from paleo-conservative Pat Buchanan who was intent on re-drawing the entire conservative format, challenging free trade and immigration in addition to opposing a Bush tax hike. A third-party challenge by billionaire Ross Perot, who also challenged free trade, siphoned enough votes from Bush to elect Bill Clinton.

…the Dole Choice Awful…

After the Reagan-Bush years the party had the choice of Robert Dole one of the least inspiring and malleable politicians in many years because of a GOP presidential seniority system that pushed his name forward, former Tennessee governor Lamar Alexander, magazine publisher Steve Forbes, Phil Gramm a Senator from Texas, Alan Keyes a conservative talk show host, Pat Buchanan and Bob Dornan a congressman from California. Of the group, Alexander, Forbes and Gramm were superb. Buchanan the paleo was dangerously out-of-date and Keyes had perfected nothing more than a pumping oratorical style that elevated fiery rhetoric over content. The choice of Dole reflected the party at its mediocre worst.

…the 2000 Choices Better…

Then came 2000 with George W. Bush, Steve Forbes as an excellent candidate but with no personality beyond a beaming face peering through thick spectacles, Alan Keyes who probably purposely wanted to queer his chance of getting elected to anything by adopting extravagantly conservative positions and Gary Bauer who sought to prove that if an unattractive midget with an evangelical agenda can run having done nothing else but preaching, anybody could.

…and This Year’s is Excellent.

This year the selection is very-very good. You have a hero mayor of New York, determined to win the war in Iraq and against terrorism…a hero ex-POW who is fulsomely dedicated to winning the war in Iraq…an outstanding ex-governor of Massachusetts who is one a person might well hire as president…and a famous face who is ex-prosecutor, ex-Senator and current nationally known actor. Even the lesser lights are good—Brownback, a California congressman named Duncan Hunter, a former Wisconsin governor also named Thompson and—who else? Oh yes, the obligatory flake, Ron Paul.

We May Need to Elect a Rascal.

I leave you with a final word of advice. The threat of terrorism may require a change of talents in the presidency. In the past we have tended to look for a Jimmy Stewart or a Gary Cooper…the clean-cut, idealistic man symbolizing purity and virtue. Fine, but the next president may well have to rely on such characteristics as cunning, duplicity and nuance. Among those who had those qualities, Winston Churchill comes to mind. There was real consternation in Britain when he took over in 1939 because he had been regarded as a flake, a dangerous opportunist and an unpredictable soldier of fortune. All of these he was at one time or another. He had served in Britain’s two major parties—Liberal and Tory—as part of his application of Machievellian arts to politics. In the spirit of Tenebrae he was acquainted with darkness and gloom…having earlier charted a disastrous strategy in the Dardanelles in World War I, a mistake that would have killed any other politician. Through it all he knew agonized brooding and slow…painfully slow…recovery. He who had been called in prep school a dumbbell…too dumb to learn Latin…resolved at least to master the speaking and writing of English. Did he ever.

Listen to his address to Commons at Britain’s darkest point when all the candles were out and seemingly there was no hope of one being kindled ever again:

“What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization; upon it depends our own British life and the longstanding continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us now.

“Hitler knows he will break us in this islands or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sun-filled uplands. But if we fail, then the world including the United States…including all that we have known and cared for…will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister and perhaps more protracted by the lights of perverted science.”

Britain responded nobly as did the West. Now it’s our turn to respond, electorally. We have had our Dunkirk. Now we must win this election.

And so to paraphrase the greatest Englishman…the greatest leader of the West…let us therefore brace ourselves that if this republic lasts a thousand more years, men and women will always say “this was indeed a courageous hour of our democracy…leading to a turning point electoral victory that decided the fate of the West… and that crowned the greatest nation ever to thrive on the planet earth.”