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 gulliblethe 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 knewmore than we understood at the endthe limits of human imperfection. He wrote like an angel, had an historians 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 isnt Obamas, 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 Gods sake? Nobody answers that nor can they; nor can, in his candid moments, Obama.
I dont blame Obama for being what he isa politician. In fact, were he not a politician hed 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 nuns 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 dont want that to happen. When I see her on many of her overpaid postsanchor for Channel 11 particularlyI 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 didnt 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, theyd go to jail and Jack would be testifying to a City Council committee against racism. Dont tell me about Jack. I knew both of them.
And now there is disillusion. Aw, after all those pieces that Marin, Hunter (the publishers 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 isnt disturbed in the slightest is the one who hasnt really written a commentary on this alleged so-called scandalLynn Sweet. She knows politics is exactly what Harold Washington said it ismore 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. Thats 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 doesnt answer Novaks emails. Thats not what youre supposed to do, is it?
Thats 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. Im developing a new respect for him. But for Carol: naw. She belongs in Channel 11s 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 Obamas Senate office with his big brogans propped up, the image-maker and the candidate, with the liner reporting that theyre talking politics. But the Senate has a rule that Senate offices are to be used exclusively for governing. Ridiculous I know but thats the rule. The New York Times knows it and said oh what the hell, we want to write a story thats good for this idealistic crusader so well 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 dont 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. Dont let her get near anybody whos really in the liberal big leagues and I dont think Obama has made it yet shed 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.