Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Personal Asides: Government Shut-Down, Just What Blago Wants…No Betsy Hart in the “Sun-Times”—But You Didn’t Expect Her to Survive, Did You?...Welcome to Steve Huntley Foreign Policy Impresario…and Selected Messages.


Government Shutdown.

The looming government shutdown is just what Blago wants. Imagine the scene: The mop-headed governor leaps atop a desk and makes an impassioned plea, past the news cameras, to the Great Unwashed, urging they help him by putting the pressure on to restore needed services to the poor. The p. r. stunt will show the legislature at a disadvantage. Mike Madigan will look like a shrewd, poker playing pol; Emil Jones will add a few words of support for the governor but the movie stills will show a supposedly dynamic young governor at odds with the old system…the dynamics of a visionary ala “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” where all the cast members except Blago look bad and the public…not caring a fig for details…will see Blago and say, “let’s help this young man!” And in the general mishmash Blago will get much of his health care through and will be seen as a swashbuckling, non-traditional leader helping give health care to all Illinois. What a scenario! Mr. DeMille: I’m ready for my closeup!

No Betsy Hart.

The new-new-newer-newest “Sun-Times,” the so-called liberal, blue collar Democratic party newspaper which pleases only Roger Ebert, has evidently dropped Betsy Hart the local columnist who wrote traditionally about matters concerning the family. This after having dropped Mark Steyn who wrote about a fast-growing apparent lack of will in the Democratic party and among liberals to see the war against terrorism through. Now if Cheryl Reed, the new editorial page editor, would add say Pat Buchanan or Joe Sobran or any of the true blue-collar paleos who criticize the War and the president, it would at least be innovative. . But no, these people are…awful to contemplate…pro-life…a no-no with the newspaper who’s new motto “let’s get into it” means the Left. Views different from Cooke, Cruickshank or his wife Jennifer Hunter cannot be allowed to show up. On foreign affairs, though, Steve Huntley gets a pass…speaking of whom--.

Steve Huntley.

When I wrote Op Eds for the “Sun-Times,” the drill was always to phone the then editorial page editor, Steve Huntley, and bounce a column idea off him. Once I suggested a foreign affairs topic.

“Somehow I don’t think of you as a foreign affairs type,” he said which in his droll North Carolinian editorial page editor drawl meant, “forget it.” When he asked a question like that, any idea was a dead letter. Pro-life was, of course, off the table for consideration. Now so was international relations.

I complied. Steve, who later moved after ten years as editorial page editor to columnist, writes often of foreign affairs. He gives readers his sagacious views on the Middle East and the world. As a journalist he made a trip to the Middle East. He is the newspaper’s ranking foreign policy expert. To his credit he is middling sensible. Although that doesn’t keep the kid with the Sta-Comb, Neil Steinberg, from exhibiting his ignorance.

It would have been nice to write about foreign policy. But then what do I know? A former top staffer for the ranking Republican on House Foreign Affairs during the Cold War who helped with his research and saw from his vantage-point (which I still appreciate) a great view in the early days of the Cold War with his dealings anent John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles and others including Mme. Chiang kai-Shek, Anna Chennault, Thomas Corcoran (an FDR aide to helped found the “Flying Tigers”). Later became a foreign service officer and number three in the U. S. Peace Corps, its spokesman and ran its school partnership program whereby college students were familiarized with Peace Corps activities seeing them through the eyes of selected Peace Corps volunteers around the world.

Then returned to private life, supervising government relations for a multi-national corporation with offices in Europe and South America. Went on two working task force trips overseas under the aegis of the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs (now the Chicago Council on Global Affairs)…meeting with Green Party representatives in West Germany, meeting with Communist leaders in East Berlin…then to Japan where we met with key members of the Japanese Diet including one prominent and belligerent woman member who attacked the food industry for not sufficiently respecting the “Delaney Clause” (the banning of carcinogens) all the while puffing on an unfiltered cigarette. Oh well.

We all do what we’re best suited for in this life, I guess.

Selected Messages.

To Jim Leahy (m.s.s. or “My Spiritual Son”): I was in Springfield last week but did not talk with a single accredited state party leader including Tom Cross. Talked with David Dring about the budget and certainly not about presidential candidates. About grassroots experts eager to pitch in, I’m sure you’re right. But you and a lot of the others came along long after Roger Keats. Do you think he knows who you are? He was my field man in 1972 in the Nixon campaign in the then 10th district. How old were you in 1972—35 years ago? Don’t you think Thompson ought to have someone who’s a little more au currant? And who’s the sage who’s calling the shots in Champaign? Do you think Thompson can go all the way with just an exploratory committee? And if Mrs. Thompson isn’t the problem, what is, Jim?

To “Dan”: It’s my belief that Tom Cross is an excellent state House of Representatives Republican leader even though I disagree with him on social issues. I must say his predecessor as House GOP leader with whom I agreed on social issues was in my estimation not as effective: this from pro-life legislators who feel they are being more fairly treated. The popular election of State Central Committee members is okay but a definite taste-of-the-month of one variant of conservative so far as I am concerned. I’d be willing to see it come if for no other reason than to have this debate cease. To insist that no progress can be gained in the GOP without this particular platform plank accepted is as fallacious as saying nothing…utterly nothing…can be done without Bob Kjellander’s removal (which I also favor). And, “Dan,” we know your feelings on him as well. Nothing…utterly nothing…from election of a Republican president to a Congressman in the 14th to state legislative victories…utterly nothing can be done until we get rid of Bob Kjellander. Just think: I detect an establishment move to replace Kjellander with Mike Stokke.

What happens then, “Dan”? I’ll tell you. Nothing can be done…utterly nothing…until we get rid of Mike Stokke. Oh, if life were really that simple.


  1. What is the issue with Thompson's wife? Is there something wrong with a trophy wife? Did I miss the case--conservative, moral or otherwise--against such spouses?

    As someone who signed and supported PMI, isn't this what we want? It's not a same-sex marriage, and they are married, after all, and not living together.

    I'm not for the TV actor Thompson, but I've read this criticism of his wife, and I can't see the substance.

  2. The Fork Tongued Times ( my homage to Ward Churchill) has very few straight-shooters left in its quiver of ink-slingers. Neil, Steve and Sports (sans Mariotti) are about it.

    The rag reads like a bad John Garfield movie - 'we fight facists,baby, and we gotta stick together - flock like birds - see? liitle birds is food for a big bird - but a flock? That's a bunch!'

  3. I was 11 in 1972.Thompson could do allot worse than having someone with your experience in the inner circle, at least you and Nixon WON Illinois. But seriously
    I have heard that Congressman Manzullo is in line to be the Chairman in Illinois for Thompson (I hope one of our conservatives try to take a leadership role in the national party)
    If you read the column yesterday by Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics, he answered the very questions you presented. The "problems" with the Thompson campaign were worded exactly the way you used them. That makes me think that the charges have been carefully planted in the media by another campaign or someone who would benefit from Thompson failing.
    I will tell you that I understand the Grassroots in Illinois as well as anyone and there is a clamoring for someone other than the choice's that are announced. I think that's the difference in this election that makes Thompson able to do things against conventional wisdom.
    I can't help but think of what the main stream media did to Senator Allen with his Macaca comment; removing the frontrunner for the nomination before the primary. The MSM are focusing on the Democrats as if they already won. I would not put it past them to help the Dems by trying to take out the conservative. Imagine the glee in the newsrooms if Rudy could make the life and pro family issues secondary by winning a primary? Even if Rudy won just Illinois our friends in the Chicago Tribune would use that as a reason to continue to try to create the GOP in it's image, Milksop Republicanism.
    I for one will line up to help the campaign so the above will not happen!