Monday, February 18, 2008

Personal Asides: Adeline Geo-Karis…Apology to M. Stanton Evans for Believing a Review in “National Review”…The Romney Valedictory…the Andy Jackson Legacy. .


Adeline Geo-Karis.

We need not be too respectful of the mediocre dead, should we? State Sen. Adeline Geo-Karis was an old pro-abort battleaxe endowed with a flatulent ego who swaggered as a vehement blunderbuss character in the Lake county GOP. She took positions viscerally without a moment’s concentration on the reasons they should be adopted. She was a hack, a close friend of Jim Thompson, a log-roller par excellence who after many years of service to the Republicans was dropped from reelection at an advanced age—for which she supported the nominee of the Democratic party. Nothing…utterly nothing…unusual about her except that this vain know-all was a breakthrough for women, Illinois Republican ones especially, in roughly the same way that John Stroger was for Illinois Democratic blacks (but I repeat myself). Neither public servant was exceptional, demonstrated courage or innovation. So she’s dead. She has collected a good many lachrymose obits from journalists, mainly liberals. But she shall receive only this from me which is meaningful nonetheless: —R.I.P.


I owe the eminent conservative author and journalist M. Stanton Evans a deep-felt apology and myself a severe self-condemnation for believing a review that appeared in the “National Review” about his book concerning Joe McCarthy. The review was by one Ron Rodosh whom I understand to be employed by the Hudson Institute. Rodosh savaged Evans’ book on Joe McCarthy, “Blacklisted by History: the Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His fight Against America’s Enemies.” I did not know McCarthy, having come to Washington shortly after his death. But I have been fascinated with him for years and have in my library William F. Buckley’s “McCarthy and His Enemies” along with as few others including Thomas Reeves’ “Joe McCarthy and His Times” which is unfavorable. Walter Judd had a distinctively mixed opinion of McCarthy—believing that he was in the main exactly right about Communist penetration of government but who lost credibility because of a recklessness in presentation.

Hoping to get the right answer, I thumbed Evans book in Barnes & Noble and was initially impressed. Then I read a review…my damned fault for absorbing it unchecked for which I could kick myself…in “National Review” by Rodosh. Rodosh alleged that Evans did not give him credit for research. When next I went to the bookstore I looked at the documentation and did not find references to Rodosh. That’s when I went wrong. I wrote my impressions of Joe and recited Rodosh’s charges of credit pirating. After being called up short on this by Stanton, I checked again more deeply and found that Rodosh was trying to wangle credit as a secondary source and that in fact Stanton Evans had credited the original sources in all his laudatory and exemplary work.

Now I have Stan Evans book and guarantee that I shall never read a review or commentary by Rodosh again. If you, like me, have heard that the “National Review” is going soft and weasely let the Rodosh review be a clue. That should be the last time Rodosh is published in that magazine: I’ll keep checking. My latest and lasting impression is that Rodosh is a self-serving phony.

Romney Valedictory Speech.

I have very proud that for most of the campaign my candidate for president was Mitt Romney…and never more proud of him was I than when he delivered his valedictory speech, which was the announcement to the Conservative Political Action Committee that he is pulling out. I commend it to you. It can be found in Realclearpolitics for February 8, 2008. Pull it up. It is a masterpiece.

The thing I liked about it is that it begins where any precise criticism of current public affairs should—with the culture. “I am convinced that unless America changes course, we will become the France of the 21st century—still a great nation but no longer the leader of the world, no longer the superpower.”

He cites Simon Peres who in a visit to Boston said, “America is unique in the history of the world. IN the history of the world, whenever there has been a conflict, the nation that wins takes land from the nation that loses. One nation in history—and this during the last century—laid down hundreds of thousands of lives and took no land. No land from Germany, no land from Japan, no land from Korea. America is unique in the sacrifice it has made for liberty—for itself and for freedom-loving people around the world.”

He cites David Landes, a professor emeritus from Harvard whose work has traced the coming and going of great civilizations throughout history.

Landes concludes that, in Romney’s words, as follows: “If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes all the difference. Culture makes the difference. What is it about American culture that has led us to become the most powerful nation in the history of the world? We believe in hard work and education. We lost opportunity: almost all of us are immigrants or descendents of immigrants who came here for opportunity—opportunity is in our DNA. Americans love God and those who don’t have faith, typically believe in something greater than themselves—a “purpose-driven life.” And we sacrifice everything we have, even our lives, for our families, our freedoms and our country…

“The threat to our culture comes from within. The 1960s welfare programs created a culture of poverty. Some think we won that battle when we reformed welfare but liberals haven’t given up. At every turn they try to substitute government largesse for individual responsibility. They fight to strip work requirements from welfare, to pay more people on Medicaid and to remove more and more people from having to pay any income tax whatsoever. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is a culture-killing drug—we have to fight it like the poison it is!

“The attack on faith and religion is no less relentless. And tolerance for pornography—even celebration of it—and sexual promiscuity, combined with the twisted incentives of government welfare programs have led to today’s grim realities: 68% of African American children are born out of wedlock, 45% of Hispanic children and 25% of white children. How much harder is it for these children to succeed in school and in life. A nation built on the principles of the founding fathers cannot long stand when its children and raised without fathers in the home.” Do get a copy of the speech and read it closely. This man is going to run for the presidency again—and I hope he will be more successful.

When I think of our passing up the chance to have this man run for president as the Republican nominee…brilliantly successful entrepreneur, manager, Massachusetts governor, civic leader…I am desolate. However there just might be some truth in what my old staffer friend told me not long ago as we had lunch—that John McCain could be the man for this time. For one thing it may well be that he is the only Republican who can get elected by bringing in independents and some Democrats to join with the Republican base that Rush Limbaugh allows to survive after he wreaks his juvenilia in his daily broadcasts.

The Jackson Legacy.

A faithful reader of this website and an exceedingly thoughtful discussant and occasional breakfast partner after Mass at St. John Cantius, Mike Buck, points out that some years ago when I wrote several columns about great, mediocre and poor presidents, I listed Andrew Jackson in the latter category. I take him at his word since today I cannot find my summation of Jackson but I recall the effort at synthesizing presidents in one or two sentences as part of a 700-word package was a very dissatisfying one. Jackson was indeed an irascible president who though a southerner stood for preservation of the Union at a time when to have faltered would have made the difference. The twin toasts made by his vice president, John C. Calhoun and Jackson testify to this…Jackson: The Federal Union—it must be preserved!....Calhoun, the principal advocate of the South’s right to nullify federal laws: “The Union—next to our liberty the most dear!”

Mike quotes me as approving Jackson’s willingness to fight for the Union with the symbol of Tariff of 1832, less drastic than the so-called Tariff of Abominations. This displeased South Carolina which quickly enacted the Ordinance of Nullification that declared the tariff null and void in that state. Jackson responded with a proclamation warning South Carolina to comply with the tariff law and rightly pronouncing that the Ordinance of Nullification was “uncompatible [sic] with the existence of the Union.” To those toying with secession he declared; ‘Disunion by armed force is treason. Are you ready to incur its guilt? If you are, on the heads of the instigators of the act be the dreadful consequences; on their heads be the dishonor but on yours may fall the punishment.” He got from Congress the power to use armed force to collect import duties. The matter ended with passage of the Tariff of 1833, a compromise by Sen. Henry Clay that was acceptable to Jackson and the South. A weaker man or even a more civil man…possibly a more balanced man…would have dithered at the Calhoun challenge. With all his faults, the tide of incipient treason and disunion broke on the rock that was Andrew Jackson. Then you had the incalculable waste of the patronage system Jackson abused, his pigheaded stand on the Bank of the United States, the Senate censure he received after he distributed federal funds to “pet banks” (withdrawn in 1837), the fact that the state banks touched off a round of inflation and land speculation which Jackson sought to adjust with the Specie Circular which is thought to have prompted the Panic of 1837 under Van Buren.

I am far from sanguine that Jackson was the calm, even-handed president this country should repair to but in my estimation the coming years are going to be horrendous and require a strong hand on the tiller. The fact that he is regarded by historians as very high in the firmament…or was at least in 1962… has to do with how he managed this main challenge: threat of disunion. His treatment of the Indians was heartrendingly appalling but contributed to the up-building of the country. He dismissed Indian claims of sovereignty in the Southeast by supporting Georgia’s efforts to remove the Cherokee from that state. He encouraged various tribes to accept a federal offer of land west of the Mississippi where, he promised, they would enjoy sovereignty forever—the Great White Father lied. The Supreme Court ruled in “Worcester v. Georgia” in 1832 that the Cherokee nation was a distinct community over which the laws of Georgia had no force. As president Jackson was sworn to enforce the law including this one: he did not. Instead federal troops led 15,000 Cherokees on a forced march from Georgia to what is now Oklahoma. One out of every four Indians died in a journey the Cherokees refer to as “the trail of tears.” For this he could well have been impeached.

Not pretty I know. But there was a kind of majesty about him, the same leadership that characterized George Patton. With all the sufferings he went through…POW in the Revolution as a near child…incredible hardship in the army…brash and daring in war…short-tempered and irascible in his presidency…he was seen to have survived because divine Providence was on his side. Take the assassination attempt on his life in 1835, the first attempt on any president. As he was leaving the Capitol following a meeting, a deranged housepainter, Richard Lawrence, 32, approached to a distance of 13 feet and fired a single-shot derringer at Jackson. Although the percussion cap exploded properly, the gunpowder failed to ignite. Jackson lunged forward and took a swipe at him with his cane. Lawrence then produced a second derringer and fired, this time at point-blank range. It too did not fire. After Lawrence’s trial his derringers were examined and found to be in working order. The odds of two such weapons malfunctioning in succession was put at one in 125,000.


  1. Paul, Just This Guy, You Know?February 18, 2008 at 7:07 AM

    I'm pleased to see I'm not the only one with this reaction to my former state senator.

    I did not know her, but having seen her in action, I certainly did not like her, and I fail to understand the accolades from the the people who have been so effusive towards such an ardent pro-abort.

  2. Geo-Karis was a classic example of species of politicians whose party identification is solely predicated upon geography. Not so sweet Adeline was a Republican principally because this is the label that sold in Zion and Northern Lake County. Had she lived in Calumet City, she would run as a Democrat. Sponsoring candidates of her ilk helped bring the State GOP to its current pitful state.

    As tiresome as this pol proved to be, imagine the sickening obits bound to be issued when Judy Judy Judy smokes her cigarettes and herself into the great beyond!

  3. Normally you write fairly intelligent pieces. Your piece on Adeline Jay Geo-Karis sounds like it was poorly written on the back of a cocktail napkin after a few too many liquid refreshments were downed.

    Geo bullied her way into the all white good ol' boys club called the Illinois GOP and Lake County GOP and was a royal pain to you and your ilk for nearly half a century. And she scratched and clawed and fought all the way. By doing so she opened up the GOP good ol' boys club to a host of other who followed her into the club building, causing you agina and chagrin. Now the party has strong active women who are not doormats or mommies like in the Leave it to Beaver show!

    Just like she scratched and clawed to go to college, enlist in the military, go to law school and then practice law when all three were male dominated bastions with little or no room for women.

    I know you want to pull the party back to those glorious days of yesteryear when middle aged upper middle class white men ruled the GOP roost statewide and locally. But those days will never return.

    Geo and the others you've hated, such as Judy Barr Topinka, Corrine Wood and many more clearly have made your life miserable. Good for them. That is quite an accomplishment.

    So keep on reading those accolades that are still pouring in about the servant leader, the late Adeline Jay Geo-Karis. If they make you sick to your stomach, then Geo did well.

  4. I don't have a thing in this blast, but:

    "Geo was bullied"? By who?

    "She scratched & clawed to go to college"? I applied as all do without that drama. When money ran out, I went to work until I got back on the train.

    Are you certain this isn't written by Louise vs Louis?

  5. Louis, you wrote:

    ...she opened up the GOP good ol' boys club to a host of other who followed her into the club building,... Now the party has strong active women who are not doormats or mommies...

    Louis, Geo, not unlike Judy Topinka you mentioned, was much more the self-promoter than a gender-promoter. Since Geo lived to such a great age, what is the evidence that she "opened up the club" and left the IL or the Lake GOP governed by a happy consortium of men and women? If the complaints remain (and they do) that it is still a "boy's club", it doesn't sound like she advanced that cause all that much.

    And if opening up the GOP to women was a thing of such value to Geo, she certainly didn't do much at the end of her days when she selfishly clung to office and betrayed the Republican WOMAN who was nominated to succeed her by helping the Democrat get elected.

  6. At her funeral, women repeatedly thanked her for breaking that GOP glass ceiling that existed. For breaking those glass ceilings that held them back. They were in tears. No one accused her of being a "self-promoter" or "selfish." In fact, she blew off opportunities to make serious money and lived in a tiny old house in Zion with no garage. They called her a "servant leader" because she sacrificed herself for public service. She could have moved to a wealthier part of her district. She chose not to. Many of her neighbors on her block where she lived were black or minorities.

    Because of her trail blazing activities, women like Corrine Wood and Judy Barr Topinka were able to elevate and surpass what Geo-Karis accomplished in terms of moving up the ranks of what was then an all male, white GOP party. A whole flock of GOP women holding office in Lake County is her legacy. She was basically the only attorney practicing law in Lake County for years.

    When she wanted to run for office back in 1962, those good ol' white boys who ran the party laughed and told her to wait her turn. She took them on anyway and began winning elections, and eventually I watched those good ol' white boys begrudgingly answer to her, kiss her pinky ring, and begrudgingly begin supporting women to become elected officials and judges because she forced them to.

    And when those good ol' boys decided she was too old, and told her not to run or they would destroy her and her reputation, she still fought back. When they made fun of her age and health and went negative on her, she got even. The grand plan of the good ol' boys lead to a Democrat replacing her. And rather than admit to their own stupidity, they stupidly blamed her for their own stupidity.

    The rest who supported her cheered her on. And in the end, she endorsed the democrat. You weren't there to see how her own party "leadership" treated her at the end. I was. And I won't let anyone cheap shot her now that she is gone. That includes Roeser or anyone else.

    Those good ol' boys now look down at the floor now when they see me, a "nobody" in the party, these days. They know that I know the whole story and was in the middle of it with her. That shame they still feel was well deserved.

    Sorry, but when her mom and dad back in the WWII era insisted that good Greek girls stay home, get married and have babies, and did not go to college, or join the navy, she did it anyway. Several thousand of her contemporaries from that era were forced to become June Cleaver. She paid her own way and worked in a factory building speakers to pay her own tuition and lived in an apartment. No scholarships were available for women like her back then.

    Roeser's ignorant comments about her today were idiotic and appalling and he demeaned himself and his own reputation with them. And if Geo were still with us, she would be in his face right now.

    Now that she can no longer do that, Roeser's "bravely" attacks. Wow! I'm not impressed at all. I used to respect and admire him. After this stunt, never again.

    I don't see any State Parks named after Roeser. Do you?

  7. Personal feelings and friendship aside, how can you argue that Geo Karis was a plus for the Republicans in Illinois? Corrine Wood? Judy Baar Topinka? Trailblazers? Role Models? Wood served a single term in the General Assembly before being plucked from obscurity and named to the state ticket as the Lieutentant Governor by the corrupt Governor George H. Ryan. The Republicans promptly lost the seat in the General Assembly. In a truly shameful performance, when all of his corrupt misdeeds made a second term an impossibility, Ryan blamed his downfall on "the right wing" and openly encouraged Corrine Wood to challenge Attorney General James Ryan in the Republican Gubernatorial Primary. Wood failed to secure the nomination, but caused Jim Ryan to squander dollars that may have been used to better advantage against Rod Blagojevich in the fall. If Wood and Topinka are the legacy of Geo Karis, there is not much there to brag about.

  8. To Dan Kelley,

    One of the reasons while the conservative movement has stumbled badly are due to stances taken by yourself and Roeser. Perhaps you should take a long hard look at Lake County politics to see Geo-Karis' legacy. And look at the state as well.

    A few years back it would have been unthinkable for the GOP to slate a female for Governor. Or for Lt. Governor. And if you had your way, no females ever would have been good enough for those positions. And Lake County was all male until she came along.

    By the way, Ryan shut out Wood and kept her out of his inner circle after his election. Too bad his taint hurt her. Try not to rewrite history.

    And since you brought up geography in your first posting, the city of Zion has trended democrat since figures have been kept going back to WWII. But she ran as a Republican and helped others run and win as republicans in that area. So much for your original posting. If she lived in Calumet City, she would have won as a Republican.

    Clearly you see all those successes as failures. Perhaps if you started studying why someone like her was so successful, the GOP would start winning some races again.

    She "represented" her constituents. You and Roeser want to dictate your own personal philosophies upon them. You refuse to listen and prefer to lecture.

    Now since we live in a so-called representative democracy, that one should be easy for you to comprehend.

    And yes I was her friend. If one of your friends was as viciously attacked after death like Geo was by Roeser, I would assume that as a true friend you would speak out as well.

    Or maybe you would not.

  9. Be serious, Louis. Adeline was never a movement conservative. Perhaps, the difficulty that you have is one of comprehension. To varying degrees, many of those commenting on the Roeser Blog favor conservative politics. Not surprisingly, Geo Karis does not rate highly here.

    The mere fact that you cite Wood and Topinka as outstanding female leaders is positively risible. If Geo Karis helped promote candidates like this, there is no reason to applaud her.
    I cannot address precinct level politics in Lake County, but Geo Karis was hardly a pioneer in the Republican Party. Ruth Hanna McCormick and Margaret Church predated her by fifty years. Wood had only served one term in the legislature before she was selected by Ryan for the position of Lieutenant Governor. Hardly enough time to have made an impact. While Kankakee George did ignore Wood for a time, she was his proxy in the 2002 primary. He used her to undermine the candidacy of the eventual nominee, Attorney General James Ryan of Du Page County. Ryan had the candor to confront Ryan and to announce that he was going to file against him in 2002.
    Topinka (whose last name refers to a Bohemian appetizer of toasted garlic spread on bread) does not deserve to be celebrated at all. It would take an hour to list all of the complaints lodged against her by Republicans.

    I am surprised that you did not include Bette Loren Maltese in your list of prominent Republican women.

    We must agree to disagree.

  10. Dear Dan,

    You have completely convinced me that I was wrong and you and Roeser are right. Geo-Karis' impact on the Illinois Republican Party and Lake County GOP was just gosh darn awful, horrible and destructive during a span that neared a half a century. She was a complete and total failure and the voters who kept reelecting her should be herded into concentration camps and be heavily medicated until they too repent for their actions in voting for her.

    All females in the GOP should be given their walking papers immediately so that the good ol' boys can return the party to success of yesteryear, since you seem to be having a hard time naming some positive role models amongst the fairest of us all. This includes all those GOP female judges and elected officials in Lake County. Toss them back into the kitchen barefoot for gosh sakes already!

    I was heavily involved in the Corrine Wood 2002 primary campaign for Governor. Anyone who calls her a proxy for George Ryan in that race would believe the first two paragraphs above represent my true feelings!

    I won't allow facts to get in the way of the prejudices of Roeser and yourself. You can continue deluding yourselves.

    But the meanspiritedness in which both Roeser and yourself show speaks volumes.

  11. Thanks for distorting my previous message and attributing numerous opinions to me that I did not express at any time.

    Was Adeline Geo Karis doing good work when she was allied with Jim Thompson? Wasn't he one of the good old boys? Was Corrine Wood any more effective than Bob Kustra or any of the other nondescripts who have served as Lt. Governor?

    Interestingly, you fail to name one of the old time sexists who blocked Geo Karis in Lake County.

    There have been some talented GOP women elected to public office in Illinois, but I did not count your friend as one of the outstanding ones.

  12. Clearly you are now repeating yourself. You have serious issues with Republican moderates who have been extremely successful, which runs counter to your inane beliefs that moderates are evil personified. Yes, Geo-Karis and Thompson were good friends. Thompson attended her funeral.

    Thompson has class. You and Roeser do not. This has nothing to do with Thompson. This thread is about the reprehensible comments about Adeline Geo-Karis uttered by Roesner and the likes of yourself.

    Rest easy tonight and sleep well with your thoughts that over a span of nearly 50 years this gutsy lady fought the good fight and left your sputtering in anger because of her actions.

    Feel better now? She would be proud to see you wound up so tightly over her actions.

  13. I'm glad you read the book. I've not renewed my National Review. I don't think I've changed. It looks like Joe's real sin was discovering communists in the media and fellow travelers as well.

  14. No disrespect intended, but I cannot think of any significant legislation that your friend sponsored that produced any long term benefits for the People of the State of Illinois. I am not referring to the passage of bills that took care of local concerns or padded the accounts of her friends.
    Thompson may have time on his hands to attend many more funerals since he was stripped of his post as head partner at Winston & Strawn after wasting millions of dollars trying to keep his pal Gorgeous George from going to prison. Jimbo's street credibility took another hit when he testified that he neglected to read reports that would have indicated that Conrad Black's wrecking crew was looting the Sun-Times. Do you really want to suggest that Adeline and Jim were birds of a feather? She was a typical politician, no more, no less.

    The moderates that you praise so highly succeeded in running the Illinois Republican Party into oblivion.

  15. . . . but during her last campaign for office in 2006 we identified 1,600 pieces of legislation that she either sponsored or co-sponsored.

    Now go to the Illinois Legislature website and do your homework and report back with your thoughts as to which legislation was "important" and which was not. And no one ever accused her of anything unethical in her 35 years in Springfield, so your comments about "padding" are disgraceful on their face.

    Most legislators are happy to guide through 3-4 bills a year. Nuff said.

    Now go do your homework and learn something. Then report back.

  16. I am not interested in continuing this. The subject is boring.

  17. have a stubborn way of destroying most arguments, don't they?

  18. There is none so blind as one who will not see. I doubt that you have persuaded anyone to change their opinions as to the reputation and standing of another faceless and completely interchangeable politician.

    History will be the ultimate judge. Somehow, I do not see Geo Karis replacing Lincoln on license plates any time soon. If the residents of Zion want to name a park bench or a recycling center after her that is their business. Outside of her district, nobody paid that much attention.

  19. And that is why you are so upset that legions are not lining up behind you and Roeser's attitudes towards Adeline J. Geo-Karis.