Thursday, July 31, 2008

Personal Aside: Ted Stevens’ Indictment Welcome Enema for the Body Politic.


Sorry to be graphic but the indictment of Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens by a federal grand jury is a necessary tubular insertion to provide a much needed enema to the infected body politic. Let them now turn the spigot and proceed with the full flushing. The purification will recompense partly for far more than the making of alleged false statements to conceal gifts and home renovations.

Such physic would blast out the moral debris accumulated long ago, by his arrogant defense of the status quo when the late Henry J. Hyde brought charges of Bill Clinton impeachment to the Senate. Meeting with hollow man Republican “leader” Trent Lott and others, Stevens told Hyde and House Judiciary chief counsel David Schippers:

“I don’t care if you prove that [Clinton] raped a woman and then stood up and shot her dead—you are not going to get sixty-seven votes.”

The meaning was clear to Schippers and Hyde. It was not just a note-counting assessment. It signified that Stevens would artfully do all he could to save Clinton. To cover his tracks, Stevens voted against the charge of perjury (when Clinton’s lying under oath was apparent) but voted to convict on the far lesser charge…obstruction of justice…so as to justify himself on a talking point while working behind the scenes in his serpentine way to save the obviously guilty president. In doing so he cooperated in the charade of some key Senate members never bothering to examine the evidence because they simply didn’t want to know, resulting in culpable cooperation with others to balock criminal offenses. In doing so, Stevens played a decisive role as a senior Republican senator in purveying the snarl of sophistry and manipulation of public opinion, soiling his honor, the Senate’s reputation and public trust in the presidency.

While the charges against Stevens have nothing to do with his underhanded manipulations to frustrate justified conviction of Clinton, they constitute root retributive justice for Stevens…who has been getting away with boodle and graft for many years—coalescing with those who loot the treasury with baseless spending including the federally funded “Bridge to Nowwhere” in Alaska.

Federal authorities raided Stevens’ home in the resort town of Girdwood, 40 miles south of Anchorage, last summer. From May, 1999 to August, 2007 say prosecutors, Stevens hid “his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation” VECO, a major Alaska oil services company from his Senate disclosure form-- including home improvements to his vacation home in Alaska, including a new first floor, garage, wraparound deck, plumbing, electrical wiring, car exchanges, a gas grill, furniture and tools. He received huge discounts on cars by swapping cheaper models for more expensive autos—receiving a brand new Land Rover for his son worth $44,000 in exchange for a 1964 Mustang worth under $20,000.

Stevens’ good friend in the Senate is Maine Republican Susan Collins, a bland figurehead liberal of no particular depth who has returned the favor. He gave her $10,000 in 2002 and another $10,000 in this election cycle. In return she contributed $5,000 to him in this election cycle where he will run for reelection, with a primary this August.

Any hope that his Republican Senate seat can be salvaged could only come if the 84-year-old, 40-year Senate backscratcher and snout-snuffler at the public trough could be convinced to resign so that the Republican governor could appoint a replacement to stand for reelection. There’s no chance because this gargoyle will remain poisoning the Senate until his ultimate conviction.

The Senate’s lachrymose Republican song-writer and lyricist Orrin Hatch a victim of Stockholm syndrome toward aged pols moaned that it is highly unfair for the Justice Department to bring these charges just before the primary, given that the DOJ had been investigating the old fraud for many years. Given that Hatch was once chairman of judiciary, he should know how long preparation of a case like this must take: but anyone who weeps uncontrollably over Ted Kennedy’s “great contribution” to the Senate would be immune from such speculation.

Perhaps Hatch’s next song can rhapsodize the “lynching of Ted Stevens.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Personal Aside: To E. A., Sorry You Were Erased Inadvertently. Now as to Lincoln’s “Uncertain” Parentage and McCain’s Blow Torch Temper


My Apologies, E. A.

E. A. a frequent commentator to this website had her comment about McCain erased. I’m sorry about that—it was inadvertently scrubbed when we removed a wholly scatological comment. But the comment was not all that stunning. Now that I had reported on Obama’s chaotic parentage, E. A. inquired about Abraham Lincoln’s rise from backwoods poverty—a truly salutary experience…but also mentioned Lincoln’s “uncertain parentage.” The only ones who allege an “uncertain parentage,” E. A., tend to be rightwing conspiratorialists who abjure the Great Emancipator’s dislocation of certain constitutional guarantees in order to save the Union. They generally are associated with an outfit called the League of the South which still insist the Railsplitter had no right to free the slaves. Some of them allege that Lincoln was illegitimate of which there is no proof whatever. Should I associate you with them, E. A. ?

Lincoln’s genealogy starts with his great-great grandfather, Samuel, who emigrated from Norfolk, England, arriving at Hingham, Massachusetts about 1637. Subsequent generations migrated to New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. His paternal grandfather and namesake, Abraham Lincoln, served as a captain of the Virginia militia during the American Revolution. Hearing his friend, Daniel Boone, talk of cheap land in Kentucky, he moved in 1782 to Jefferson county, east of Louisville. Four years later while working his fields he was killed by an Indian.

His son, Thomas Lincoln (1778-1851), farmer and carpenter, was born in Rockingham county, Virginia and was reared there as well as in Kentucky. He served in the Kentucky militia, settled first in Hardin (now Larue) county, Kentucky, later in Spencer county, Indiana and Coles county, Illinois. He was illiterate, could not read or write but could sign his own name. A year after the death of his wife, Nancy Hanks (the president’s mother) he married a widow with three children, Sarah Bush Johnston. There was an estrangement of some sort with his son Abraham. When Abraham was a lawyer in Springfield, he did not attend his own father’s funeral. There is really no comparison between Lincoln’s rather unremarkable genealogical background and Barack’s chaotic one.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln (1784-1818) was apparently of illegitimate birth. She married Thomas Lincoln in 1806. she was illiterate, reportedly pious and close to her children. “All that I am or hope to be,” wrote Lincoln, “I owe to my angel mother.” She died at 34 of “milk sickness” in Spencer county when Abe was nine. Lincoln had one older sister to live to maturity—Mrs. Sarah Grigsby who died in childbirth at age 21.

About John McCain’s famous blow-torch temper, E. A., I have written about it many times including the famous scene where he assailed Texas Senator John Cornyn on the floor with a shouted obscenity. I have also speculated on rumors of his emotional instability. I have quoted in fact an Illinois retired general who was incarcerated in the Hanoi Hilton with McCain who told me “all of us have a tendency to be somewhat nuts” because of the long confinement. I don’t think I have pulled any punches in that regard and still regard his tendency to go overboard emotionally as a disadvantage. Hence you didn’t tell us anything new in your comment which…I am sorry to say…was inadvertently erased along with an obscenity from someone else.


Last week’s Wanderer article (updated since publication).

By Thomas F. Roeser

Electoral Vote Countdown.

CHICAGO—A Robert Novak analysis of a projected Electoral College tally (this before his brain tumor announcement) —markedly different from I ran last week gives much more optimism to the McCain forces—shows with 270 votes needed to elect, Barack Obama has 273 and John McCain 265, three more than Obama needs to win. McCain has a base of 18 states with 142 electoral votes but this is melting like a snow-cone in July. Obama’s base is 14 states with 187 electoral votes and is rock solid. Big question: the x factor—or how will older white Democrats respond to a liberal, young black candidate?

Several caveats:

Five states can decide whether Obama will add to the John Kerry total of 2004 and Al Gore sum of 2000, thereby giving the Democrat the needed 270 electoral votes: Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, Nevada and Michigan.

Although state-by-state polls show a big Obama tilt, savvy pollsters know from experience that voters tend to overstate a black candidate’s ratings and understate white. This is known as the “Bradley Effect,” named after the black, 5-term mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley [1917-1998], referring to the tendency of white voters to tell interviewers and exit-pollsters they favor a black candidate but who actually vote for the white opponent.

Democrat Bradley was called a shoo-in in 1982 running for governor of California. Supposedly an ideal candidate: successful mayor, moderate conservative and ex-cop, in a Democratic year. Bradley led in all polls going into election day, was proclaimed by news organizations on election night the sure winner. But he lost by 100,000 votes (1.2% of 7.5 million votes cast) to Republican George Deukmejian. Since that time whether winner or loser, black candidates running in statewide or national elections, have fared better in the polls than with the actual tallies on election day, the result of lingering reluctance by white voters to acknowledge they will vote against a black candidate. Obama has to worry about any state where he’s running significantly under 50%, no matter how low McCain is.

To be sure, voters’ views of black candidates have changed since 1982 but it’s still an ever-present problem for Obama. Meanwhile, the problem for McCain is how close Obama is to him in traditionally red (or Republican) states like Virginia, North Dakota—even Montana where big-spender Republican congresses haven’t done the GOP any favors. Key state: Colorado (9) where Obama is ahead but not close to 50% but if the Dems’ national convention there produces a rock-star effect for him, it’s gone. Even Georgia (15) is problematic for McCain since Libertarian candidate Bob Barr is running high there but even so, the Bradley effect looks like it may pull the peach state out for McCain.

Louisiana (9) looks safe for McCain but strangely Nevada (5), a neighbor to McCain’s Arizona is barely tilting McCain. And New Mexico (5) is moving to Obama almost hitting the desirable 50%, the Hispanic vote being key here. North Carolina (15) still leaning McCain but Obama won the state big-time with a huge black turnout in its primary which may be duplicated; also McCain doesn’t resonate with conservatives there. Surprisingly, North Dakota (3) can’t be generally conferred to McCain but the polls are knife-edge close. Yet the good news for McCain in Ohio (20) is that disgruntled Hillary supporters and gun-owners alienated by Obama’s near confiscatory views are shoring up the state. And so it goes, the tallies seemingly swinging to and fro every week. Just a personal note: Bob Novak is a friend, but his count seems far too exuberantly pro-McCain to me.

Ask Not if Media Are Biased for Obama.

Trust me, no unelected presidential candidate in U.S. history—including World War II hero and 5-star general of the army Dwight Eisenhower— ever received more favorable media coverage in his campaign than Barack Obama. Superbowl-style coverage of his trip overseas is a case in point. His trip which began last week was equal to a papal overseas pilgrimage, stunning when you recall that the pontiff is a (a) head-of-state, (b) representing a church with 986 million congregants comprising half the world’s Christians and a full one-sixth of the population of the world. All major TV anchors are aboard the press plane including 500 other journalists (excluding The New Yorker magazine which though heavily pro-Obama earned the enmity of the campaign’s David Axelrod for its satirical cover and was summarily dis-invited).

“Mainstream media” make the following ten explanations for the eerily symbolic near-papal style visit to which cynics like me add the comments “yeah, right!”. First, , “the coverage is not because Obama will be the first black nominee of a major party for president. But because the likelihood of change will be generational, not racial” (yeah, right!). Second, “it is not because Obama happens to be the more liberal candidate because if Hillary Clinton had won, a trip could be composed of the same numbers” (yeah, right!). Third, “it is really because Obama is an untested politician and people deserve to know if he will fall on his face in this endeavor or succeed” (yeah, right!). Fourth, “you see if this were Ronald Reagan making his first presidential run we’d be doing the same thing” (yeah, right!).

Fifth, “McCain and the GOP are to blame for all this because he blasted Obama for only going once to Iraq and never going to Afghanistan so it’s the case of chickens coming home to roost” (yeah, right!). Sixth, “sure, the Tyndall Report [a news coverage monitoring service] shows broadcast media with 20 million viewers spent 114 minutes covering Obama since June and 48 minutes covering McCain, but the reason is Obama’s charisma not liberal bias. Obama is young and exciting, McCain is old and crotchety so we’re justified in going with the charisma. After all, JFK had it, Nixon didn’t. If Republicans had a candidate with charisma we’d be flying with him too!” (yeah, right!).

Seventh, “all the times McCain went to Iraq he had no TV anchors and very sparse media along because he was saying the same old things which is why we didn’t cover him as extensively” (yeah, right!). Eighth as Chuck Todd the political director of NBC News has said, “this is the way all new guys are treated, whether it’s Ronald Reagan, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush. There’s always a candidate who gets more ‘new guy’ treatment” (yeah, right!).

Eighth, “it was entirely appropriate for Obama to request permission of German authorities to speak at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin because, after all, JFK and Ronald Reagan did [approval denied at Brandenburg, granted at the Victory Column in downtown Berlin, circa 1873, topped by a golden statue of winged Victory commemorating Prussia’s defeat the previous decade of France, Austria and Denmark] and the fact that Kennedy and Reagan had earned this right by being elected president is immaterial” (yeah, right!). Ninth, the fact that The New York Times printed Obama’s Op Ed on Iraq but refused McCain’s stems from the editorial board’s wish to have the two pieces mirror themselves as a set piece tailored around Obama’s deadline is only editorial style and does not reflect bias (yeah, right!). Tenth, “the fact that Obama’s face appeared on two covers of Rolling Stone and McCain none, and that Obama was on the cover of U.S. Weekly twice and McCain’s hasn’t is due to editorial timing and has nothing to do with the fact that the publications are owned by Obama fund-raiser Jann Wenner; it’s only a coincidence” (yeah, right!).

Obama Media Buy Strives for “Blowout.”

I’ve known David Axelrod, 53, the Chicago media mogul who’s in charge of Obama’s ads and p.r. strategy since he was a Tribune reporter in 1982. He has spoken in my university courses and has been on my ABC radio show.

The place to catch him is at Manny’s, the superb Jewish deli and sandwich shop on the near West Side, at lunchtime every Saturday where he consumes corned beef and cold potato salad. Humor him by bowing low and saying, “hail, 0 swami!” and you’re invited to sit down and watch him munch. The other day we talked about his ad buy—stupendously ambitious since the Obama campaign is flush with cash. Of the 18 states where Axelrod has decided to air Obama’s first TV ads , 14 are states Bush carried in 2004, supposedly solid GOP states such as North Dakota, Alaska, Montana and Indiana. This means that Axelrod is striving for a big blowout endemic in his view that if Obama goes in by a huge majority and with a substantially strengthened Democratic congress, he can carry his program with the same effect that LBJ did after the 1964 landslide over Barry Goldwater. It could also mean Axelrod is trying to fake the McCain campaign, making them think “if Dave’s plunking down big bucks in these red states, what does he know that we don’t?” To this, Axelrod rolls his eyes and says “who I do that?”

With nonchalance born of near-certainty of victory, Axelrod has ignored on this first go-round six states Bill Clinton won in 1996 which Axelrod considers likely for Obama and not in need of reinforcement right now—Kentucky, Louisiana (I question his accuracy there), Tennessee, West Virginia and Arkansas (I question it again here).

When I disputed this with him, particularly Louisiana and West Virginia, he replied: In 2004 Democrats outnumbered Republicans in Kentucky (+4%), Louisiana (+2%), West Virginia (+18%) and Arkansas (+10%). What this means isn’t that Axelrod is necessarily right but that he is a plunger, a gambler. The cautious player would spend early dough on some sure-win Clinton-Gore-Kerry states, nailing them down and branching out from there. Not so if you’re Axelrod. He starts out with Indiana, Alaska, Montana and Georgia for TV ads. The name of the game for him—and Obama-- is audacity. Axelrod wasn’t at Manny’s last week, however. He was with his candidate in the Middle East and supervising his upcoming TV extravaganza at Berlin’s Victory Column.

Iraqi PM Woos Obama.

Meanwhile a superb gift was handed to Obama by none other than Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who last week said he backed a proposal by Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months. The statement, made to the German magazine Der Spiegel, delivered a body blow to both Bush and McCain. Shortly after the article appeared, an Iraqi spokesman tried to clarify things saying the possibility of troop withdrawal is based on continuance of security improvements, echoing what the White House said after a conference on closed-circuit TV between Maliki and Bush. But the “clarification” doesn’t wash.

The original statement seems to qualify as a Harold Macmillan-style “events, my dear boy,” that could by itself pivot an election to Obama. And this could be one of the glimpses a Sleepy Eye of the electorate can make to decide the young whippersnapper (Obama) is indeed qualified for the presidency since Maliki is content to humiliate McCain on his own turf, supposed foreign-defense policy expertise.

Why did Maliki do it? First, he thinks Obama will be the next president and he’d better start winning some plaudits with him now. Second, Maliki is an Iraqi nationalist. He feels the war has been won and he wants to be un-interfered with in running his own country. McCain views Iraq as a bastion for us to maintain stability over the entire Middle East; Obama doesn’t see things that way and wants the U.S. to get out of Iraq ASAP. Obama’s view more adequately suits Maliki’s timetable than McCain’s. As for gratitude, no international power-broker can afford to limit himself to that sentimental view and Maliki, believing victory is at hand, wants to get on with his governance unimpeded by a U.S. presence.

Latest Vice News.

A false rumor surfaced that John McCain was to pick his veep last week but no soap. But whenever he does the choosing, if it is not Mitt Romney, it is probably a mistake. As of now, Romney appears to be in the lead. McCain-Romney is a choice fit because of Romney’s economic expertise, his strong Michigan base (state of his birth and where his father served as governor) and to dissuade suspicions of conservatives that maverick McCain who in the past (not now) has favored big government, keeping taxes on upper incomes high, regulating energy in behalf of climate change and tolerant immigration stems from ignorance of, and disdain for, businessmen. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is an exotic but not natural fit and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty could possibly (but not likely) carry Minnesota. Rob Portman an ex-congressman has the mark of Cane on him—a Bush administration official. A new entry this week is Sen. John Thune (S. D. ) who defeated Tom Daschle in 2004—but Thune is strong for earmarks a McCain no-no. Ex-Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge is a NARAL Catholic who would cause McCain greater trouble with social conservatives than he has faced up to now.

On the Democratic side, a natural could be Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia who is unknown but if you factor in the essential need to carry that state, it could be made eminently possible if he’s on the ticket. Then there’s Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) a pro-abort Catholic, chairman of Senate Foreign Relations and who is regarded by many as a jerque (fancy way of saying “jerk”) because he can’t keep his mouth shut, once effusively describing Obama this way: “ I mean you have the first African-American who is articulate, bright and clean”…this is supposed to be a compliment to all blacks, right? …and “a nice-looking guy!” Obama chafed at the report. “Clean, meaning I take frequent showers, right?” he is reputed to have commented.

The big front-runner last week was Sen. Evan Bayh (Indiana), a former governor, good-looking, bland and as unmemorable as vanilla but who might have a chance to bringing Indiana into play for Obama.

Lingering Questions About Obama.

It’s de rigueur for TV standup comics to kid all presidential candidates. But not Obama. Why not? Two reasons: (1) comics don’t want to come across as red-necks, mocking a black and (2) young, emotional studio audiences are very immature about teasing Obama and boo when it happens. Which disturbs the New York Times’ ultra-irreverent columnist Maureen Dowd, who likes to assail every presidential candidate. She was grousing about this last week to two friends, ultra-liberals Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, brilliant satirists of TV’s “Comedy Central” cablecast. Stewart and Colbert have no scruples about making fun of anyone, even a blind beggar playing an accordion for donations.

Obama has no faults? “Are you kidding me?” Stewart said. He and Colbert starting riffing about the suave presidential candidate’s familiarity with drug slang, as taken from his two autobiographies. They cited a phrase in The Audacity of Hope that Obama confessed he had done some pot, some booze and…in his own words…”maybe a little blow.” That’s street talk—Chicago street talk—for cocaine.

Colbert: “Wow, that’s a very street way of putting it--`a little blow.’” Stewart chimed in snidely, “yeah, a little bit of the white rabbit!” That’s street talk for heroin.

Let that get visibility and the electorate’s Sleepy Eye will pop wide open and forget all about Maliki. Already a brilliant mocker of Obama’s failings is Pulitzer prize-winning syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer who has been both physician and psychiatrist. Last week in a scathing commentary he wrote, “Americans are beginning to notice Obama’s elevated notions of himself…[He] is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted `present’ nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself…After all, in the words of his own slogan, `we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,’ which translating the royal `we’ means I am the one we’ve been waiting for.’ Amazingly, he had a quasi-presidential seal with its own Latin inscription affixed to his podium until general ridicule…induced him to take it down.”

Yes, there are Obama-isms to hoot at and chortle over if you’re politically incorrect. Such as his admonition to Americans to “teach your child to speak Spanish”—a language he himself does not speak. And chastising ignorant Americans who go to Europe knowing no French, managing to emit only merci beaucoup. Obama speaks no French.

Krauthammer has a few more. “For the first few months of the campaign the question about Obama was: Who is he? The question now is: Who does he think he is?”

His answer: “Redeemer of our uninvolved, uninformed lives. Lord of the seas. And more. As he said on victory night, his rise marks the moment when ‘our planet began to heal.’”

Even his stylistic model, John F. Kennedy had to endure people laughing at him—particularly the Germans when he went to the Brandenburg Gate and pronounced the words written for him by Ted Sorensen on a slip of paper-- ‘ich bin ein Berliner!”

The way Kennedy mispronounced it in terrible German, he had just announced “I am a jelly doughnut!”

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Personal Aside: Rockford Diocese Drops Mundelein for Seminarians—Guess Why?...Meanwhile Kicanas, Permissive ex-Rector of Mundelein Will Be the Next Head of the USCCB…Chicago “Weak in Review” a Vanilla Offering of the Land of Nod…Gay Benefactor...



The Rockford, Illinois diocese will not send seminarians to St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein for training. Two upperclassmen propositioned a Rockford youth for homosexual favors. So much for the change that has been promised in archdiocesan public relations pronouncements.

Thus the Rockford diocese has decided it is finished with Mundelein. Thus you have the archdiocese of Chicago where layman Chancellor Jimmy Lago (believe it or not that’s his baptismal name, not to be confused with his brother Timmy, his baptismal name as well)…Jimmy the best precinct captain onetime Democratic Cook county chairman now under indictment Ed Vrdolyak ever had… has been put in charge of combating sexual abuse and the same-old, same-old is happening. Of course the supine Chicago “religious” press is asleep at the switch. The “Tribune’s” religion correspondent, one Manya Brachear, was sold a bill of goods by Lago who convinced her to write he is the guardian-at-the-gate implying the Cardinal archbishop is lax. She writes a blog which calls herself the “Seeker.” She is so naively liberal she swallowed the bait, hook and all, which Jimmy dangled before her.

Furthermore, don’t expect the remainder of the Chicago media to inquire. And if it does and goes to the top office in the archdiocese, it will get the regular parsing that goes with every question born of the view that with two doctorates all distinctions can be blurred with requisite sophistry. An authenticist bishop in another diocese told me that the parser should be teaching in a university where administrative expertise is not required. As far as controlling events in this archdiocese, the bishop said, “the parser can’t run a two-car funeral.”


The man who ran St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein when it was a hot-house of homosexual excess…and who was quoted in the “Sun-Times” as saying he does not regret ordaining Fr. Dan McCormack, who is now serving time for child abuse…is second in command of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is Gerald Kicanas, now bishop of Tucson, having been promoted from Mundelein (as were all others who ran the dissolute institution) to auxiliary bishop of Chicago and then to Tucson. In Tucson, Kicanas led Tucson through the filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization to the point where he ponied up $22 million in settlement for victims of priest child abuse.

Last month Kicanas received an award name for…who else?.. the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin whose departure from this world was serenaded by the Gay Men’s Chorus at Mass…for “efforts in handling the sexual abuse both locally and nationally.” The Common Ground initiative formed by Bernardin which selects recipients for the honor described Kicanas as “a champion of dialogue on contentious issues.” Kicanas received the award at Catholic University in Washington, D. C. where Tim Russert, moderator of “Meet the Press” was supposed to be the keynote speaker at the event. Russert was unavoidably detained by death which prompted a national wailing and a funeral Mass celebrated by- (who else?) Theodore Cardinal McCarrick (ret.). Russert in his earlier incarnation as Democratic strategist convinced both Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator from New York and Mario Cuomo, governor of New York, to support pro-abortion initiatives. Because he couldn’t attend the Kicanas tribute, Russert was lionized in death by the group.

Kicanas is slated to become the next president of the U. S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. If there is any justice at all, his automatic election should be greeted with grassroots opposition…not that it will make any difference with an organization that meets in a marble palace and has a huge roundtable with every bishop fortified with microphone based on the UN Security Council. The archbishop of Chicago is president of the USCCB who was elected on the same ticket as the former Mundelein rector Kicanas.

Chicago Weak in Review.

Chicago “Weak in Review” run by Joel Weisman at WTTW is running out of gas. It was originally conceived as a feisty review of city news by the reporters who cover it but for years the fatigued Joel Weisman has forbidden dissent on the show and presides over a panel from the Land of Nod. The reporters are all pro-Daley and do not enunciate any divergent opinions. The payoff last week came when even Weisman, the establishmentarian, tried to evoke some discussion as to whether the Barack Obama tour of the Middle East and Europe was excessive.

Naw, nobody felt that way. Weisman worked but everybody sat there transfixed. Then when the issue came up about Senate President Emil Jones who has refused to call his body into session to grant relief for the poor who are in substance abuse treatment, the Land of Nod moved smoothly. No one had anything critical to say of Jones—least of all the grimacing Weisman who makes a hollow pretense of being objective. When Todd Stroger’s tenure came up everybody nodded and thought he is doing a good job—this despite the fact that he has become a celebrated city, almost national, scandal.

That is the way liberal politics have corrupted so-called panel shows under the malleable Dan Schmidt as vacuous as a door-to-door salesman, who has no core beliefs except to solicit money to keep his station running and pay his exorbitant salary. No conservative is ever invited to appear in any media panel. Conservative positions and views don’t exist in WTTWland. And feminist liberal Carol Marin wouldn’t know a conservative position if she bumped into one, so inured is she in lefty formulations. She is a pathetic one-person monopolist of lefty slanted news: political editor of the “Sun-Times”…political editor of NBC-TV Chicago…and an interviewer at WTTW…paid by two private enterprises and a third partly with federal cash. Doesn’t bother this “ethics” maven.

WTTW’s highly trumpeted pro-gay rights documentary…introduced by Phil Ponce, a hollow man unburdened by belief in anything who has a number of look-alike sons scattered in high media roles throughout the city…turned out to be gay rights advocacy was paid for by a wealthy donor who has been involved in gay rights causes. This paid infomercial comes close to a scandal at WTTW where a group of wealthy liberal donors call the shots on what the station presents. It doesn’t both Schmidt who is a loose rudder twisting to and fro and who has a public relations man’s knack of parsing—but it should prompt some interest in paid-for-advocacy if there was such a thing as an aggressive news media in Chicago…which there isn’t.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Personal Aside: Barack Obama’s Chaotic Family Background Could Lead Some to Ask: Who is this Man? Does it Impact on Voters’ Insecurity About Him?


Chaotic Family Background.

With the papal-style visit of the Middle East and Europe ended, Barack Obama returned to the U.S. yesterday to be greeted by a 9-point bump in Gallup—a respectable but not overwhelming edge. But probably the most definitive question confronting him ran in “The Wall Street Journal” Friday.

A WSJ-NBC News poll finds that a full 50% of all voters say they are still trying to make up their mind on what kind of president he would be. Only a quarter are viewing Sen. John McCain the same way. All of which validates what most analysts have been saying for months: (1) change is in the air and the pendulum desperately wants to swing to the Democrats but (2) Obama seems to present some major risks while (3) voters have known John McCain for many years, understand he is not an extremist and feel comfortable with him but (4) Obama is an enigma.

Writes the WSJ: “When voters were asked whether they could identify with the background and values of the two candidates, 58% said they could identify with Sen. McCain on that account while 47% said the same of Sen. Obama. More than four in 10 said the Democratic contender doesn’t have value s and background they can identify with.”

Small wonder. Take the chaotic jumble that is in his immediate background. He has eight half-siblings—seven of them living—by four other marriages or relationships of his parents. His father, Barack Obama, Sr.had four children by a woman he married in Kenya before his 1960 marriage to Obama’s mother in Hawaii. Two of those children—son Aborigo (Roy) and daughter Auma—were born before Barack Obama, Jr.

After Obama, Sr. divorced Obama’s mother in 1963, he married another American woman whom he had brought to Kenya and with whom he had two more sons—Mark and David. That marriage ended in divorce and Obama, Sr. resumed his relationship with his first wife. Obama, Sr. and they had two other sons—Abo and Bernard—although Barack, Jr. wrote in his autobiography that there is some question as to whether another man actually fathered Bernard. Then Obama, Sr. had another son, George, by a woman he was involved with but did not marry. Following which Obama’s mother, the former Stanley (yes, Stanley since her father wanted a son so much he insisted she take a man’s name) Ann Dunham had a daughter Maya Soetoro-Ng from a second marriage to a man named Lolo Soetoro.

Got all that?

Not surprisingly, half-brothers and half-sisters to Obama keep popping up all the time (one just surfaced to the media in China the other day). The question could be asked: what does this trick bag of half-brothers, half-sisters, illegitimate brothers and sisters who may not be related at all but sired by others do to one’s stability?

We all know the emotional stress that settles on a child when one father abandons the child. What happens when TWO fathers abandon the same child, as happened with Obama? I mean Obama’s mother who took husband number two, Lolo Soetoro when Obama was six. He was an Indonesian student with whom she moved to Jakarta. Obama relates in his autobiography that she was shocked to discover Soetoro was a male chauvinist. So she divorced him and sent 10-year-old Barack, Jr. to live with her parents in Honolulu while she and his half sister stayed in Indonesia. All the while Obama’s polygamous natural father takes up again with his first wife, then marries another white American woman and adds a mistress, eventually fathering eight kids by four women.

Spider-web complications for genealogists and psychologists to work on for the prospective 44th president. Not exactly like George Washington marrying the widow Martha Custis, is it?

Reading the two autobiographies of this man who is 46 years old, we get a glimpse of his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham Obama Soetoro Obama. She has a favorite film, a 1959 Brazilian art-house classic “Black Orpheus” which she talks insatiably about. Years later while working on Wall Street, Obama goes to a theatre to see it. He realizes that his very fair-skinned mother is sexually drawn to black men. So he writes, “The emotions between the races could never be pure; even lose was tarnished by the desire to find in the other some element that was missing in ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that—menacing, alien and apart.”

Ben Wallace-Wells writing in “Rolling Stone” last year:

“There is an amazingly candid moment in Obama’s autobiography when he writes of his childhood discomfort at the way his mother would sexualize African-American men. `More than once,’ he recalls, ‘my mother would point out: “Harry Belafonte is the best-looking man on the planet.” What the focus groups his advisers conducted revealed was that Obama’s political career now depends, in some measure, upon a tamer version of this same feeling, on the complicated dynamics of how white women respond to a charismatic black man.’”

Op Ed writer Roger Cohen in “The New York Times” earlier this year wrote from Brussels: “So there I was, a couple of weeks back, sitting under a mango tree in western Kenya when Sen. Barack Obama’s half-sister Aune says to me: `My daughter’s father is British. My mom’s brother is married to a Russian. I have a brother in China engaged to a Chinese woman.’” Cohen adds he understands this half brother living in China is named Mark—the son of Obama’s father. But all this is good news if Obama becomes president.


Cohen exults: “If elected, Obama would be the first genuinely 21st century leader. The China-Indonesia-Kenya-Britain-Hawaii web mirrors a world in flux. In Kenya, his uncle Sayid, a Muslim told me: `My Islam is a hybrid, a mix of elements including my Christian schooling and even some African ways. Many values have dissolved in me.’”

How thrilling. And how revelatory of the man his half sister Auma spoke of to writer Cohen during Obama’s second trip to Kenya:

“He was trying to figure out who he was. He needed to be whole to be able to do what he’s doing now. He went about it in the right way. A big chunk of his life was missing. It’s very healthy that he now knows he has these roots here.”

But as he himself wrote, on his first trip to Kenya two decades ago he met a woman named Ruth in Nairobi, whom he described as “a white woman with a long jaw and graying hair.”

Who was she? She was a woman who divorced Obama’s father, remarried and gave the family name of her second husband to her two sons by Obama, Sr. In his book she asks Obama bluntly:

“But your mother remarried. I wonder why she had you keep your name?”

Good question. But only one of many. This jumble, this crazy-quilt of divorces, illegitimate births, mistresses and a potential president having been abandoned by two fathers in a row may lead even more voters to be doubtful when it comes out (as it hasn’t to any substantial degree yet). Even now there’s enough doubt to understand why in the new WSJ/NBC poll by a 55% to 35% margin voters are more likely to say that Obama would be the riskier choice. Not only are his views opaque but his very background is…as Churchill described the USSR…an enigma, wrapped in a mystery bound up in a riddle.

Odds are even my bringing up this chaotic background will be assailed as “unfair” even “racist.” That’s standard operating procedure for Obama’s aficionados. You can’t criticize anything about him…his wife, his religion, the size of his ears, his announcing that he has traveled to all 57 states in the Union, his statement that Israel is Israel’s best friend (which had McCain said this would be written widely as an example of a senior moment). Now they will howl it’s unfair to report his murky, very murky, familial past.

But the question remains: How much emotional stability can accrue when you come from a mad house non-family background like his? When two fathers have abandoned you? This hasn’t been reported very much.

Well I just did.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Personal Aside: “The Great One” Speaks in Berlin…but Back Home Obama’s Iraq Views are Seen as Pompously Wrongheaded.


He may cause emotional kids and idealistic old ladies in audiences to swoon, but Barack Obama’s flabby views on the Iraq war will likely do him in. More than any other issue, McCain is right to make Iraq…even though it’s an unpopular war…as the litmus test to show how wrongheaded Obama has been—and how his inexperience and Jimmy Carter-like timidity threaten to make his presidency a disaster. Already polls are showing that Obama is not getting his “bounce” from the ecstatically immature mainstream media camp followers.

Small wonder. The American people are wary of this con-man rhetorician…inflated as if by a bicycle pump manned by David Axelrod with the help of Big Foot media.

Several points.

In the long view of history, President George W. Bush will go down as the true great one…ranking with Harry Truman…on the issue of seizing the moment to launch an effort that will defeat our enemies.

From the very start, on September 12, 2001, Bush understood a new existential threat to our safety made clear the necessity for interventionism. He understood immediately that the ground-rules had changed. The end of U.S. foreign policy was still the security of the United States but to do this—as John Kennedy had said of the Cold War—it is imperative to achieve “the success of liberty.” Bush saw intuitively—brilliantly—that while we will support democracy everywhere, we will commit blood and treasure only where there is a strategic urgency. Because he understood al Qaeda was behind the attack, he saw the U.S. had no choice but to go to war in Afghanistan. Secondarily, he saw that the Saddam regime posed a great threat to the region. Thirdly he saw farsightedly the fact that a self-sustaining democracy in Iraq would be a major first step in draining the swamp of the poisonous political culture…composed of intolerance and religious fanaticism…that spawned anti-American extremism which produced 9/11. On all these elements, John McCain was with President Bush. In fact, he was ahead of him—pointing out the initial insufficiency of our efforts in Iraq, calling for the replacement of Donald Rumsfeld and anticipating the surge which the president later implemented.

In contrast to this, the views of Barack Obama have been shriveled and amateurish. So wrongheaded that for the second time in U.S. history, by making the winning of an unpopular war key, the Republicans may well retain the White House. The first time came when the American people became convinced that though he was running an unpopular war, Abraham Lincoln was on the track to victory. Lincoln won despite the fact that he was running against a supposedly well-versed general who at two points had commanded federal forces in that war and who vociferously criticized its conduct--Gen. George C. McClellan.

McClellan’s views on the war roughly parallel Barack Obama’s. McClellan never completely saw victory in the war as essential—but only the ending of it. But Obama far exceeds McClellan in his error-prone views of the war and his failure to understand the value of winning a war so as to bring stability.

Initially…and from the time he entered the presidential race…Obama first urged total withdrawal as quickly as the troops could be pulled out and then said he would order the Joint Chiefs of Staff to withdraw within 16 months. That college prof assessment was grievously wrong. As even “The New York Times’” said when he first made this statement as a presidential candidate and talked about precipitate withdrawal, “Iraq and the region around it could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the [American] invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.”

In October, 2006—three months before the surge was announced—this is what Obama said: “It is clear at this point that we cannot, though putting in more troops or maintaining the presence that we have, expect that somehow the situation is going to improve, and we have to do something significant to break the pattern that we’ve been in right now.”

The night before the surge was announced, Jan. 10, 2007, Obama said: “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq are going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact I think it will do the reverse.”

On Jan. 17, 2007: “The surge strategy will not prove to be one that changes the dynamics significantly.” That July despite evidence the surge was succeeding, he said: “My assessment is that the surg/e has not worked.” Now—just yesterday-- even the anti-Iraq war newspaper “USA TODAY” said: “Why can’t Obama bring himself to acknowledge the surge worked better than he and other skeptics, including this page, thought it would? What does that stubbornness say about the kind of president he would be?”

I’ll tell you what it says. Had we pulled troops out of Iraq when Obama first urged us to do so, the Iraqi army that went into Basra and achieved in a few weeks what the British had failed to do in four years—capture the city, drive out the insurgents and seize the vital ports from the Iranian-backed militias would not have been successful and probably could not have attempted to do it: thus the earlier expenditure of U. S. lives and treasure would have been in vain.

Without any U. S. ground forces to instill morale, the Iraqi army could not have entered and occupied Sadr Citry, the Mahdi army stronghold.

With a retreating—or departing U. S. presence--the Iraqi parliament could not have enacted its de-Baathification law which under-girds its political stability.

Obama’s continued refusal to acknowledge the value of the surge and his insistence that stability in Iraq is dependent on a time-table means that with his election this country would forfeit every success and substitute for it the aura of defeatism inculcated unconditional withdrawal. There is no doubt that there is not a U.S. commander in the field who supports his strategy. Moreover while the media play the fact that Premier Maliki would support a withdrawal of U.S.forces by 2010, they do not focus on the fact that it was CONDITIONED ON THE READINESS OF IRAQI FORCES and that MALIKI’S TIMETABLE WOULD EXPAND OBAMA’S BY AT LEAST SEVEN MONTHS.

The reason Obama cannot admit the surge worked nor alter his views of withdrawal is that he sees his campaign owned on national defense policies by the Democratic party’s far-left contingent. Thus a candidate who (a) cannot appreciate the need to stabilize the Middle East, who (b) wrong-headedly denied the efficacy of the surge and (c) avoids the flexibility of judgment mandatory in the president on Iraq proves that this young man is immature, unready and not nearly at the stage of maturity the nation demands in a president.

What McCain should do is continue to drive this point home. The David Axelrod campaign surge in Berlin and with photo ops of his candidate with U.S. generals has not comforted the American people who are realizing that what we have here is a very, very egotistical young man without even the beginnings of maturity that were contained in John Kennedy, age 43, in 1960. Obama is a man who in three and a half years in the Senate has a record that is barren of accomplishment. As a law professor and Harvard Law Review president he has not propounded a single idea that is worthy of enunciation. As a state senator he was noteworthy for not lifting a finger to improve his poverty-stricken inner city district.

The scandalously biased national media puff job employs a bicycle pump to puff him to the heroic stature of world citizen, like the displays toted down the street in a Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade…held to earth by moorings—but now the helium gas is seeping…pfffffft!…shortly to reveal little more than an empty suit.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Personal Aside: Cardinal Roger Mahony Puts Priest Who Refused Communion to Pro-Obama Kmiec on the Carpet…”I Needa Pay Raise!” Jones and the Suffering Needy.


Roger the Dodger.

Roger Cardinal Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, has called the priest who refused to give Communion to pro-Obama Catholic Douglas Kmiec, on the carpet. As many who read this site know, Kmiec, law dean of Pepperdine University, has been dining out with the mainstream media through self-generated publicity since a priest turned him down for Communion because of Kmiec’s support of Obama who not only is pro-abortion but killed the Born Live bill in the Illinois legislature. The bill wold allow babies born alive as result of botched abortions the right to receive nourishment and medical care. By killing the bill, Obama contrasted himself from other pro-abort lawmakers in the U.S. Senate who voted for the same measure. Obama and his wife Michelle, also a lawyer, have stated they favored killing the Born Live bill because they fear it would begin a drive to repeal legalized abortion.

Kmiec who parlayed great legal expertise into a top Justice Department job under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, was passed over for the Supreme Court by both administrations. He surfaced first as a supporter of Mitt Romney for president but when Romney pulled out, changed direction and endorsed Obama. Some of his old law colleagues at Notre Dame law school and Catholic U say the switch was due to his driving ambition to go to the Court, hoping that Obama would name him and that he would be confirmed by a Democratic senate. After announcing his support of Obama, Kmiec was the featured speaker at a dinner of Catholic CEOs in Ventura, California, near Pepperdine. But at Mass prior to the dinner, the celebrant refused to give him Communion. A line following Kmiec stood waiting as the lawyer-professor said, “I think you’re making a mistake, Father” to which the priest said “I don’t think so.”

Kmiec’s wife ran sobbing from the church which caused other wives to whimper sympathetically--but Kmiec turned the refusal into a favorable story about himself with the mainstream media by disclosing it to E. J. Dionne, a pro-abort Catholic columnist for “The Washington Post.” The Dionne story was later picked up by National Public Radio Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg (the reporter who very nearly brought down Clarence Thomas with the Anita Hill story). On NPR Kmiec was interviewed and portrayed himself as a kind of Thomas More in reverse, being pilloried because of his support for Obama.

Now Los Angeles’ liberal prelate has written to the priest summoning him to the chancery to explain his action. Like the late Joseph Cardinal Benardin whom he venerated, Mahony has linked pro-life with other non-related liberal actions. Bernardin performed a signal work for liberal Democrats when he devised, with true Machiavellian savvy, the concept of the “seamless garment.” His staff, far more conversant with biblical analogy than Bernardin who was never educated in a Catholic school until he went to the seminary, took the portion of John’s gospel (John 19-23) where the soldiers cast lots for his garment so they would not have to tear it since “the tunic was seamless, woven in one place from the top.” Bernardin’s chief liberal dialectician and top ideological lefty who turned the USCCB from a trade association of bishops to a supremely politicized liberal force, Fr. Bryan Hehir a staffer at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, took the biblical notation and made it a liberal crusade.

He concocted the theory that he could weaken the strength of the anti-abortion injunction by tying it to a host of liberal goals and calling the entire linkage “seamless.” He took (a) nuclear freeze and (b) anti-death penalty and fused them with (c) pro-life. Ergo: Democratic presidential and congressional candidates could claim a “pro-life” score of 2 out of 3. Hehir was later rewarded for his labors by being named a recipient of the MacArthur “genius” award conferring on him a great deal of money tax-free from the MacArthur Foundation run by liberals. He is now, fittingly, chairman of the Department of Divinity at Harvard University.

Following the Hehir model, Roger Mahony, tall, stoop-shouldered with a face adorned by a perpetually glistening anchor-man smile, switched the formula. Since nuclear freeze was off the table, he added immigration rights in addition to anti-death penalty. This fit his immediate political needs since he needed to distract the media from sexual abuse of children in Los Angeles by embracing a cause liberals would rally to. Thus he prepared to fight a House bill that would tighten immigration standards. Mahony, who was born in Hollywood, was shocked…shocked, I tell you!... as a boy of 12 when his father’s poultry processing plant in the San Fernando Valley was raided by law enforcement agents looking for illegal immigrants.

Using Bernardin’s “seamless garment” with pro-illegal immigration as a pretext, Mahony vowed a campaign of civil disobedience in 2005 against the Sensenbrenner-King immigration bill in the archdiocese’s 288 parishes which dealt with illegal enforcement only. Thus the prelate who decided what immigration law he will reject and instructs his flock to disregard is out to punish the priest who concentrated on his right to deny the Eucharist to one who espouses not just abortion but who endorses a candidate who has denied dying babies nutrition and medical care.

In moving to the immigration issue, Mahony (called “Roger the Dodger” by his detractors because he has retained professional p. r. firms to scatter sand in the eyes of those dismayed by his laxity in punishing sexually abusive priests by changing the subject in order to burnish his liberal image) said—unfortunately for him—that since “the sexual abuse thing” has passed and the church has been made safe for children, its leadership can focus on other social issues.

Wha--? The church has been made safe for children? All the while, Mahony had directed a strident legal battle against the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office which has fought for access to the archdiocese’s personnel records to probe possible felony child-molestation charges against as many as 100 priests in Mahony’s diocese. He has fought against access all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court refused to hear the appeal and the archdiocese was forced to comply with a subpoena for letters to former priests and notes from counseling session conducted by the church. Charges have been repeatedly made that Mahony knew that one Oliver O’Grady, a priest who sexuallyu abused children including a 9-month-old baby was a chld molester but failed to keep him away from children. Not long after Mahony, then bishop of Stockton, moved O’Grady to a parish 50 miles east from Stockton where he continued to abuse children, Mahony was promoted to archbishop of Los Angeles. On July 16, 2007, Mahony apologized for abuses by priests after 508 victims reached a settlement worth $660 million.

There is a marked difference between Mahony and the archbishop of Chicago. Here failure to pursue sexually delinquent priests has been a scandal as well—culminated by the promotion of all those who approved or winked figuratively…and literally… at Daniel McCormack. But Mahony is not skilled at parsing, concocting hair-splitting non-distinctions, because he does not have two doctorates. So he must resort to other diversionary tactics like p. r.

One such tactic employed by Mahony to diversify his image in several ways to distract media from the sexual abuse carnage was to build a new cathedral to replace the smaller Cathedral of Saint Vibiana, irreparably damaged by a 1994 earthquake. Called the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, it was designed—not surprisingly—of post-modern architecture so it stands out much as the James R. Thompson center does in the Chicago loop.

The 12-story-high building occupies 5.6 acres and includes a plaza, several gardens and waterfalls with the elaborate rector, the residence of—guess who? Roger the Dodger. It comprises 58,000 square feet, the main sanctuary is 333 feet long, purposely one foot longer than Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, Roger’s way of giving the bird to the citadel of the east. A classmate of mine from Saint John’s—a liberal graduate from the classes of Fr. Godfrey Diekmann OSB-- did a lot of the architecture. The church is composed of acute and obtuse angles; contemporary statuaries of saints portrayed as sticks with ping-pong balls for eyes are replete.

Ah and the appointments. The main brass doors cost $3 million apiece. The altar is a giant slab of Rosso Laguna marble costing $5 million. And then we get to—ta-tah!—the cardinal’s throne $150,000. It must be said that visiting bishops’ thrones also cost $150,000 each so Roger is a democrat with a small “d” as well as capital “D.” Oh yes, each bronze chandelier cost $150,000. The new cathedral, built to change the subject and elevate Roger the Dodger, cost $189 million including a $39 million overrun. It is noteworthy that the Catholic Worker movement, dedicated to the poor, picketed the cathedral because it represented so much excess. Didn’t bother Roger the Lodger.

From his august $150,000 throne can Roger the Dodger excoriate those who are unfeeling about illegal immigrants’ rights. It is to this enormous palisade that Roger the Dodger…a Prince of the Church… called the errant priest who dared to deny Communion to a defector who is hustling Catholic votes for Barack Obama.

You ask: is this Church divine? It has to be--to survive people like Roger the Dodger as it has so many others before even Thomas Cranmer.

“I Needa Pay Raise” Jones.

While the supine Chicago media trembles rather than criticize his porcine, trough-groveling excesses, the Democratic president of the Illinois State Senate, Emil (“I Needa Pay Raise”) Jones, this gravely-voiced ex-sewer worker who is Obama’ political godfather is engaged in starving Illinois social services rather than call his membership back to Springfield. Why? Because to do so would put Senate Democrats on the spot, forcing them to either vote for their exorbitant pay raise or turn it down.

Thus in only one social service agency alone, there will be a reduction of $4 million beginning next Monday with the hardest hit being the poor seeking detoxification treatment and recocovery. More than 13% of trained workers will have to be furloughed, hundreds of deserving clients will have to be turned away despite the fact that there are from 200 to 300 on waiting lists on any given day.

It matters little to the insultingly arrogant “I Needa Pay Raise” Jones who will wait it out in Chicago, his comfortable living and that of his wife fortified by the taxpayers…and ratified by a deceived, bloc, one-party electorate which is as brow-beaten and hoodwinked as those who were by Papa Doc and Idi Amin. And the sad part is that given the bloc, lock-step, mindless voting in Chicago, this usurper will be enabled to spend his entire life at the tax-dollar slop bucket while far away the cool, Redeemer of Our Uninformed Lives, Lord of the Seas whose political godson he is…The One who has said “we are the change we have called for!”—use of the royal “we”… spins his gossamer tale to a bug-eyed media, all the while The One is unconcerned with his Big Daddy’s appalling degradation of the legislative process.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Personal Asides: Scratch Edwards for Veep, Shades of Gingrich…NBC News Aghast at Allegation of Pro-Obama Bias.


Scratch Edwards.

That Drudge has a great sense of humor. One item from the “National Enquirer” reports that John Edwards has been caught sneaking in to see his love child and mistress Monday, July 21 at the Beverly hotel, the paper reporting that the married ex-senator didn’t leave until “early the next morning.” Considering that the “Enquirer” is aware of the perils of a law suit from one of America’s richest personal accident attorneys, the story seems to be a seal of doom for the Breck Girl. At the same time, Drudge quotes a source as saying Edwards is on the short list for Barack Obama’s vice presidential running-mate.

If the “Enquirer” story is true, Edwards may just have topped New Gingrich who had the worst record of any contemporary in the cheating department, Gingrich reportedly visiting Wife No. 1 when she was in the hospital after cancer surgery to tell her that he was getting a divorce. But there was no illegitimate baby involved. Later Gingrich married but got a second divorce after it was disclosed that he was having an affair as Speaker while condemning Bill Clinton for lying under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Again, no illegitimate pregnancy was involved. Unfazed, Gingrich hinted about a run for the presidency in 2008 and appeared on an evangelical radio show confessing his misdeeds. A popular view of Gingrich in some Republican circles is that he is 50% genius and 50% nuts. My own view having known Gingrich since he was a backbencher is that the percentages listed are approximate but pretty close.

Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, made an heroic effort to be with her husband during the recent primary campaign and is suffering from cancer, earning plaudits for her gallantry in setting her own physical misfortunes aside to help her husband. But according to the “Enquirer,” Edwards is the father of blonde divorcee Rielle Hunter’s child. The paper disclosed the affair and pregnancy on December 31, 2007 during the primary campaign last year when Edwards was a strong candidate for the Democratic nomination. Both parties denied the report and a close friend of Edwards, Andrew Young (no relation to the elderly civil rights leader and former mayor of Atlanta) volunteered that he was the father of Rielle’s unborn child. The friend was married at the time with three children. He is still married to the same wife, the paper disclosed.

The “Enquirer” story posted on Drudge yesterday says that Rielle is a filmmaker whose company was hired by a group called “One America” (sound familiar? It’s a line taken from a common Edwards campaign theme). She received $114,000 to produce videos for Edwards’ campaign and worked with him on the videos. The “Enquirer” broke the story about Edwards last December when Rielle was pregnant-- at which time Edwards and Rielle strongly denied it.

The “Enquirer” story as carried by Drudge said that Edwards has managed a massive cover-up of the matter. Edwards was in Los Angeles for a press event Monday with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on homelessness. Evidently the “Enquirer” stalked Edwards because it reports that at 9:45 p.m. Monday, Edwards was dropped off at a side entrance of the Beverly hotel and a reporter watched Edwards get out of a car driven by a male companion and enter the hotel. It says he bypassed the lobby and walked downstairs to catch the elevator on the basement floor for a ride up. Rielle had reserved rooms 246 and 252 in the name of a friend who had accompanied her from Santa Barbara. Edwards left the hotel briefly with Rielle and then returned to her room where he remained until 2:40 a.m. the next morning. But when he left the elevator in the hotel basement, he was confronted by the “Enquirer” reporter.

The story says Edwards did not answer a question about why he was in the hotel but ran up the stairs leading to the lobby. He spied a photographer in the lobby and retreated back to the basement. Then he ducked into a restroom and remained there for 15 minutes until hotel security men escorted him from the hotel. At the time the original “Enquirer” story came out, Edwards strongly denied it saying, “The story is false. It is completely untrue, ridiculous. Anyone who knows me knows that I have been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years.” Rielle said at the time “the inuendos and lies that have appeared on the internet and in the `National Enquirer’ concerning John Edwards are not true, completely unfounded and ridiculous.”

NBC News Aghast.

NBC News is aghast at the suggestion made by Chris Wallace of Fox News that MSNBC is shading its news favorably on Barack Obama, declaring that MSNBC viewers understand the use of opinion commentator Keith Olbermann to anchor so-called “straight” election news. “I don’t need to dignify those comments,” said NBC News President Steve Capus since “our audience gets it. They understand that on one night they may be playing a different role than on other nights.” He said that Edward R. Murrow did both opinion and straight reporting.

Murrow did straight reporting before he became anchor of an early TV magazine show, “See It Now” and it was in that connection that he managed a foray against Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-Wis.), not as a straight reporter. Capus accused Fox of using Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity on election coverage. Fox rejoined that election coverage was anchored by Brit Hume and Wallace and that Ingraham and Hannity were commentators only.

David Gregory, whom you may see often as the sulky, deep-thinking sage with rumpled grey hair who is NBC’s chief White House correspondent says MSNBC is reflecting a broader style that has triggered a “revolution” in the TV news business. Ah, so that’s what it is—a revolution. “We’re trying to do something here,” said Gregory. Exactly. “We have a big tent. We have many different views, all on one network. We’re doing reporting, analysis and opinion all under one umbrella.”

So now you know.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Personal Aside: No Doubt About it Iraqi PM Boosts Obama.


There are several times in every presidential campaign when the Sleepy Eye of the electorate flutters open, forms a quick judgment and snaps shut. And there is little doubt that one of those times has just happened…when Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki said he backed a proposal by Barack Obama to withdraw U.S troops from Iraq within 16 months. It matters not that the Iraqi p. r. office issued a clarification. It was totally unreadable and thoroughly dubious. Obama can take this one to the bank and nothing that can be said further will alleviate the situation.

This doesn’t mean that John McCain who has rightly resisted a timetable can do nothing further in the debate. His argument is still golden—that if Obama’s wishes had their way, the Iraq war would be lost by now. But the Sleepy Eye doesn’t stay open long enough to figure things out—only sufficiently long to gain an impression. And the impression it has likely received has undone McCain substantially.

Why has al-Maliki done this to the protagonist of a debate that has stood by Iraq and by his courage indemnified with the perspicacity that a president has to have—in contrast to the weak, parsing, equivocating Obama? Put it down to Middle East cynicism. Al-Maliki understands that Obama is the likely victor in November—in fact the election is his to lose and that nothing McCain can do will eradicate that fact. Al-Maliki perceives correctly in my view that the only thing that can trip Obama is himself. So knowing that he has McCain on his side as a president, al-Maliki moved…shrewdly, devoid of principle…to button up the possibility of the other side. If the al-Maliki statement is credited with electing Obama, al-Maliki will have a chit with Obama and the U. S. to manage well in a withdrawal that, given the absence of carnage as occurred months earlier, al-Maliki will be the sole arbiter of his nation’s destiny again.

Ingratitude? Of course but this has happened many times in world history. The United States won its revolution with the aid of France. French financial aid and the ingenuity of General La Fayette were crucial. Yet in 1793 in the war between France on one side and Britain, Austria, Prussia, Sardinia and the Netherlands President George Washington sorely disappointed our old ally by proclaiming the United States to be “friendly and impartial toward the belligerent powers”—in other words (although the word wasn’t used) neutral. Anger in France was such that its minister to the U.S. Edmond Genet tried to whip up pro-French support here in defiance of Washington and Washington demanded he be recalled.

The act of ingratitude was prudent for us, however, because it kept us out of a war we were not prepared to fight.

Are the two instances comparable? Well, yes, roughly. Looking at it from al-Maliki’s side, Obama should be wooed because if he became president, Iraq would need an ally. Iraq can afford to take McCain for granted because if he wins, he certainly won’t leave Iraq to its tender mercies. So you get it both ways. Machiavelli the amoral philosopher would be proud of al-Maliki.

As for us, we did not enter the Iraq War to win gratitude from the Iraqis…or even to dethrone a hideous tyrant like Saddam… but to secure a berth of stability in the Middle East which can contribute directly to the peace and freedom of the United States. If we had entered the war solely to dethrone Saddam it would have been a heedless and unnecessary waste of our soldiers’ lives. We should engage in wars for one reason only—to enhance the peace and freedom of the United States. For that reason…and it is a tough thing to say…we did not enter World War II to stop the Holocaust no matter how atrocious it was. We entered it to protect the peace and freedom of the United States and ending the Holocaust was an entirely salubrious byproduct.

Cold-hearted but that’s politics, folks. It’s a bad bump but not necessarily a fatal one for McCain. He will bounce back and if he gets in…knowing McCain’s reputation somewhat second-hand…I wouldn’t particularly like to be in al-Maliki’s shoes with a short-fused, bombastic president with a blood pressure level likely to go through the roof. There will be hellzapoppin and vengeance just short of paying al-Maliki back by torpedoing the democratic Iraq. But al-Maliki isn’t worried about that right now.

Later, perhaps…God willing…but not right now.

Personal Aside: With a Super Cargo of TV Anchors and 200 Other Media, Obama Goes Overseas with Full Trappings of a Papal Visit.

Ask Not If Media Is Biased…

No unelected presidential candidate in U.S. history has received more media coverage…and more FAVORABLE media coverage …than Barack Obama. While liberals mock Fox News Network’s motto of being “fair and balanced,” they have nothing to say about the preponderance of so-called mainstream broadcast and print media escorting Obama for his second trip to Iraq (the first to Afghanistan) especially in view of his declaration that the trip will change nothing about his withdrawal strategy concerning Iraq.

In fact, it is not just a presidential entourage to cover a non-president, it is of the papal style, akin to when the pontiff of the Roman Catholic church travels…with the exception that the pope represents 986 million adherents, half the world’s Christians and one-sixth of the world population. “If this were John McCain’s first trip to the war zone that would be a story and we would cover it big time,” said Paul Friedman, senior veep of CBS News. I presume he said this either while nearly comatose drunk or laced in a strait-jacket to keep from laughing hilariously. McCain has made countless trips to Iraq and Europe in his capacity as a top senator and putative presidential candidate and CBS just remember to send wide-eyed perky Katie Couric along…nor did NBC detail Brian Williams to the story…nor did ABC thumb-jerk Charles Gibson to the plane.

Big media spokesmen make these denials (to which you can be excused if you add the cynical contemporary aphorism—YEAH, RIGHT!

1. Their superbowl coverage is NOT because Obama is black. No, if he were Caucasian he would receive the same treatment. Comment: ______.

2, And it is not because Obama is just the most liberal candidate because if Hillary Clinton had won and made a trip like this, the same media boat-load would clamber aboard. Comment: ______.

3. It is simply because Obama is a new and untested politician.

Comment: ______.

4. You see, if this were Ronald Reagan making his first presidential bid we would be doing the same. Comment: __________.

5. Besides, the Republicans are to blame for making this a big news event by questioning Obama’s foreign policy-defense credentials and keeping a list of the days passing without Obama’s going to Iraq…meaning that because they squawked, the media is motivated to find out how he does. Comment: __________.

6. You can’t explain charisma, you know? What can I say?

JFK had it, Nixon didn’t. Obama has it, McCain doesn’t. If Republicans had put up a candidate with charisma, the same jet would be loaded to overflowing. As to why no one covered Ronald Reagan when as a private citizen seeking the presidency he went overseas in 1976 and 1979, well it just so happened the media weren’t geared properly at that time as it is today. Comment: ________.

6. Besides, it’s only coincidence that Obama was on the cover of “Rolling Stone” twice, McCain none; Obama also on the cover of “US Weekly” twice. The fact that they are owned by a Obama contributor, Jann Wenner, is incidental. Comment: _________.

7. We try to be fair. “Men’s Vogue” had Obama on its cover (a shot by Annie Liebovitz and will have another…but we ran one article already on McCain; Liebovitz took a shot for the cover but it didn’t run because of a deadline problem. Comment: ________.

8. Chuck Todd, the political director of NBC News said the Obama fame is not surprising because “this is the way all new guys are treated, whether it was Ronald Reagan, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clilnton or George W. Bush. There’s always a candidate who gets more `new guy’ treatment versus the other one and it’s not always positive.” Comment: _____.

9. Findings from the “Tyndall Report,” a news coverage monitoring service that mainstream broadcast media with more thyan 20 million people, spent 114 minutes covering Obama since June and 48 minute covering McCain are just evidence of the “new guy” theory. Comment:_____.

10. It is entirely appropriate for Obama to be filmed making an address before The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin because John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan did and the people deserve to see the contrast; not political at all. Comment: ______________.


Last week’s column for The Wanderer, the nation’s oldest national Catholic weekly newspaper. Some additions since publication.

By Thomas F. Roeser

CHICAGO—Until election day, I’ll post the latest electoral vote poll on the presidency: the only poll that counts.

As of today, according to the incomparably precise ratings which averages all state polls in the nation, Barack Obama has 238, John McCain 163. Tossups: 137.

Needed to elect: 270.

Other electoral vote studies show it closer but in all, McCain is being beaten decisively. Yet Republicans need not get unduly discouraged. The campaign has a long-long way to go. Remember my admonition of “events, my dear boy, events”? They have a way of tearing up the ordered political landscape—events nobody can predict that can change the standings overnight.

Dems Move DNC High Command to Chicago.

Chicago has officially become the sun in the Democratic party firmament around which all other planets orbit. After the party’s Denver convention, the entire party machinery will move to Chicago to run the campaign from here. Reasons: (1) without Mayor Richard M. Daley’s backing, Obama would not even be an asterisk among the candidates; (2) it is also the stamping grounds of David Axelrod, Obama’s top strategist, who is also Daley’s; (3) it is home to Valerie Jarrett, the most influential black in the city excluding Obama, who served as planning and development commissioner for Daley, is a top confidante of Obama and his wife (Jarrett conferred on Michelle Obama the $300,000 a year salary from the University of Chicago hospitals where Jarrett serves as board member; not coincidentally Sen. Obama secured many federal grants for the hospital.).

(4) Also it’s home base to Habitat, Inc. headed by Jarrett, which has drawn scrutiny for managing uninhabitable housing for the poor (but no one talks about that); (5) it is seen as a showcase for the city as it seeks the 2016 Olympics, a drive in which Obama and Jarrett have enlisted, Obama telling the local media here (with Daley by his side): “I have to let you know that in 2016 I’ll be wrapping up my second term as president—so I can’t think of a better way than to be marching alongside Mayor Daley as president of the United States and announcing to the world, `let the games begin!’”

Obama’s Choice of Vices.

Last week retired 4-star general Wesley Clark disqualified himself for the vice presidency by ridiculing John McCain’s service in Vietnam—a stupid move but the Obama people are glad it happened now than after Clark would get the nomination. And you read it here last week that Virginia Senator Jim Webb, 62, a Protestant, still would have been the best vice presidential pick for Barack Obama. Many reasons. (1) The highly decorated Marine hero would have given the presumptive Democratic nominee an opportunity to blur very liberal positions that are bedeviling Obama including the Illinoisan’s lack of military experience. (2) Webb and his family is strong with the Scots-Irish in the Appalachia region--Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia—where Obama lost heavily to Hillary Clinton in the primaries. These are largely conservative whites who have crossed over from Democratic instincts to vote Republican on occasion. (3) Webb would be a natural conduit to Republicans who want to vote Democratic—since Webb was Ronald Reagan’s secretary of the navy. (4) While Obama is instinctively cautious and equivocating in his remarks, Webb is refreshing because he speaks his mind.

Yet last week the scrappy senator took himself out of consideration for veep—a distinct blow to centrists in the Obama camp who want to hype white voters for the ticket. Why? Liberal political correctness which infects the Democratic party. The first group of people to storm the office of Obama’s top strategist, David Axelrod against Webb’s consideration, were pro-Hillary Clinton feminists who are threatening to sit out the election. They were brandishing copies of an article Webb wrote for The Washingtonian magazine 29 years ago under the headline “Women Can’t Fight.” It said “women’s presence at institutions dedicated to the preparation of men for combat command is poisoning that preparation. By attempting to sexually sterilize the Naval Academy environment in the name of equality, this country has sterilized the whole process of combat leadership training and our military forces are doomed to suffer the consequences.”

Come on! said Webb supporters, that article was written almost 30 years ago! Since then, Webb has corrected himself. But the Hillary boosters had more. Remember the 1991 Naval Academy’s Tailhook convention where 83 women reported being harassed in drunken sprees in hotel rooms? When questioned about it, Webb dismissed it at first as a “witch hunt.” “This is a slap in the face to Hillary Clinton and the women of America!” said one outraged woman, citing a poll that shows that only 54% of the Hillary Clinton voters are ready to back Obama.

But angry Hillary supporters, called “Hillraisers,” who raised money for her and are now being wooed to do the same for Obama, are greatly influential. Next to pound on Axelrod’s office door were blacks who up to now have been beatifically happy with Obama since he became the putative nominee. But they were furious at the suggestion of Webb on the ticket, citingWebb’s written statement in 2000 that affirmative action is “state-sponsored racism.”

Then came a delegation of liberal 1960s-style peaceniks, also regarded as safe supporters of Obama. They were kicking about Webb’s laudatory review of a book Triumph Forsaken [Cambridge: 2006] by Mark Moyar which claimed the U. S. lost the Vietnam war because of a stab in the back to the nation from liberal journalists i.e. David Halberstam and Walter Cronkite, poisoning the well of public opinion. “I know of no scholar more dedicated to bringing a thorough and accurate portrayal of America’s involvement in Vietnam than Mark Moyar. Everyone who is interested in a full picture of that oft-misunderstood war should be grateful for this effort.”

Finally Massachusetts liberals weighed in. In a 2004 Op Ed, Webb wrote that Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic nominee, “deserves condemnation for his opposition to the Vietnam war.” Even so Webb was in the finals for the vice presidency when he decided he would have to backtrack on many views to take the job—so he opted out.

Webb’s departure leaves quite a few contenders still standing but if Obama’s people are going to continue to exert politically correct litmus tests, no centrist will pass. One major candidate is Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a popular ex-Philly mayor who returned the city to solvency in what urban experts agree was one of the most stunning achievements in state history. He is now a second-term governor who delivered a 10-point win for Hillary Clinton in the primary, a friendly, huge bear of a man with a Kojak-style bald head whose infectious Jewish humor has won him huge popularity even in the Republican suburbs of Philadelphia which McCain has to carry to win the state. But Rendell has a disturbing tendency to be candid, as when he declared that some Pennsylvanians would simply not vote for Obama because he’s black. And scatological, too as when he told the unions “I don’t want to be a s—t and I don’t want to be anti-labor but I can’t grow hair and I can’t grow money!”

But probably he will get tied up in knots by the liberals as well because of his statement about the entrenchment of racial politics in Philadelphia when he was mayor, saying “Everything that goes on is a power struggle between black politicians and white politicians and it isn’t because of what’s good for the citizens. It’s about who controls what project. I’m so fed up with this blackmail stuff that goes on, I could just scream. I could just take a machine gun and shoot `em all!” Can you imagine Barack Obama explaining that one away in a news conference announcing Rendell’s selection? Maybe—but I cannot.

The fall-back candidate for Obama and the one whom many people now believe is the safest is a dull bespectacled ex-senator who could probably star in a movie entitled The Revenge of the Nerds. He is Sam Nunn of Georgia, a Protestant, who will be 70 when the convention is held. For one thing, he looks like vice presidents did before Dick Cheney—quiet, unassuming, easily forgotten in the shuffle of things. He superbly fills out the gap in Obama’s national security background, having served eight of his 24 Senate years as chairman of armed services where he became one of Washington’s most recognized military experts.

Liberals like him, because he is on record as having opposed both Iraq War excursions, Iraq I under George H. W. Bush and II under George W. His prime Senate accomplishment was a U.S.-Soviet agreement to reduce nuclear stockpiles. Nunn doesn’t supply Obama with what Webb or Rendell would—the Appalachians and Pennsylvania—but being a southerner he wouldn’t hurt in Florida or Virginia.

But in such a automaton-like ideologically liberal party, Nunn also has one disadvantage. His selection could get the gays and lesbians aroused since he quashed Bill Clinton’s initial attempt to encourage gays to serve openly in the military, forcing Clinton to resort to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” So adamant was Nunn that he circulated photos of close quarters in the military including cramped submarine bunking arrangements that led to cries of bigotry from gays. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Hillary Clinton contingent doesn’t object strenuously at all to Nunn—the reason probably being that if something happens to Obama…not wishing, just mentioning… and Nunn succeeds to the presidency, he would likely be too old to run, allowing Hillary one more try. See how the Clintons think of every contingency?

One candidate who has virtually no chance of landing vice president with Obama despite her energetic campaigning for it is Kathleen Sebelius, 60, the attractive, silver-haired two-term popular Democratic governor in solidly Republican Kansas. A pro-abort Catholic, she is the daughter of a one-time dark horse presidential candidate, Gov. John Gilligan of Ohio. She has touted the fact that with Hillary’s defeat, a woman running with Obama would be great, especially a woman Democratic governor of Kansas in the state of Obama’s mother’s birth. But the Hillary people say, “if the running-mate ain’t going to be Hillary, no dice.” Also, Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann has publicly told the governor she should not present herself for Communion because of her pro-abort views. Democrats dread escalation of the abortion issue in this general election, so the hopes of Vice President wannabe Kathleen Sebelius are gathering dust in the dead-letter office.

McCain’s Pick of Vices.

Since John McCain is a wild-card, imperious and impetuous all through his career, one can never really be sure that at the last minute he won’t pick one of his closest friends, Sen. Joe Lieberman, 66, the independent-Democrat from Connecticut, an observant Jew, who has traveled throughout the country with McCain extolling his virtues. But doing so would be disastrous for the fragile conservative GOP base since Lieberman is an ultra-liberal all the way…pro-abort, pro-gay, etc. with the exception of his support of the Iraq War. But with McCain, one cannot be totally sure that Lieberman won’t be on the ticket.

Despite the fact that McCain doesn’t care for Mitt Romney, 61, nor Romney for McCain, some strategists are urging the Arizonan to pick the pro-life Mormon former Massachusetts governor for three reasons: (1) McCain is not particularly fluent on the stump and Romney is a master communicator; (2) McCain’s strength is not the economy and self-made half-billionaire Romney’s is; and (3) Romney has the wherewithal to dump a sizable amount of personal dough into the McCain contest if he is the vice-presidential nominee. Besides, history is littered with hostile presidents and running-mates: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; Coolidge and Charles Dawes (who didn’t speak); FDR and John Garner, JFK and LBJ.

So powerful is the lure of becoming McCain’s vice president on Florida Gov. Charles (Charlie) Crist, Jr.,that he made the supreme sacrifice, according to some of his friends: he is getting married to his longtime fiancĂ©e in order to quash a rumor that has been dogging him throughout his political career that he is gay. A hugely popular governor of Greek extraction (73% favorable rating) in a state with 27 electoral votes that McCain must carry to win, Crist, 52, is a photographer’s dream: pencil-thin, spectacularly coiffed grey-haired male model Gentleman’s Quarterly type with a year-round tan and is known as the “Golden Greek.”

Beyond that , he has an unusual distinction: being attacked both for being gay and for fathering a child out of wedlock; normally one charge canceling the other. A bachelor, he was divorced in the early 1980s after a seven-month marriage. Political opponents pried open his divorce records and disclosed he had used drugs and committed adultery in the 1970s. Then they publicized an 18-year-old paternity claim where Crist had relinquished any rights to the child who was put up for adoption. But the viciousness of the charges had a backlash and Crist was elected governor by a landslide. Since then he has been an adroit politician—favoring the death penalty as well as oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, is pro-life but gained some criticism for his reluctance when he was attorney general to go the limit to keep Terri Schaivo on life support.

Another top candidate is Louisiana Gov. Putush (Bobby) Jindal, 36, the first non-white to be governor since Reconstruction. Jindal, who is in his first term, is of Indian extraction but was born here of Punjabi Indian parents which makes him eligible under the Constitution to serve as president if something happens to McCain. He is a prominent Catholic layman and former congressman. He had a 100% pro-life voting record in Congress and is a frequent writer on many topics—notably exorcism about which he held forth in The New Oxford Review. He has two strikes on him—possibly too young and too soon after having been elected governor in 2006, before he can advance his state goals.

Jindal is so thin he has been described as looking like an advance man for a famine. There was a slight dustup in Louisiana when it appeared he might endorse a pay raise for lawmakers which he had campaigned against—but in the end he vetoed it. He has called himself Bobby since childhood when he was a fan of the TV sitcom “The Brady Bunch,” picking the name from Bobby Brady, the eldest son.

Minnesota has never had a president although Harold Stassen, Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy and Walter Mondale tried very hard to be the first. Now the conservative governor of the state, Tim Pawlenty, 46, a pro-lifer and fallen-away Catholic of Polish and German descent (born in South St. Paul near the stockyards) who was converted to the evangelical Baptist religion by his wife is very much in the running for the vice presidential nod. Pawlenty’s Teamster father belonged to the Eastern European blue collar class that worked South St. Paul’s once teeming slaughterhouses—but beginning in 1962 the meat-processing plants began to close and layoffs created huge unemployment (10,000 lost jobs in a town of 25,000). Pawlenty’s mother, dying of cancer, made his siblings promise to send this youngest child to college. They helped but he largely put himself through under-grad and law school, taking a partnership in a blue-chip law firm before running for the legislature.

Time was when just as it was a no-no for a Catholic to run for national office, being a fallen-away Catholic was equally verboten. FDR vetoed the bid of Sen. James M. Byrnes of South Carolina for vice president although Roosevelt really wanted him-- because Byrnes changed both the spelling of his name (from the Irish spelling, “Burns”) and his religion from Catholic to fashionable Episcopalian to correspond with the voting traits of heavily Protestant South Carolina. (“Sorry, Jim,” said FDR. “Being a fallen away Catholic won’t go over with the northern big city urban vote.” No problem now evidently.)

For a time it looked like Pawlenty would be forced out of the 2002 race for governor. All three candidates—Democratic, Republican and Independence party nominees—had agreed to accept public financing and limit their spending to $2.2 million. Then Pawlenty circumvented the rules, selling TV footage of himself to the state GOP whose chairman was his good friend. Pawlenty paid a $100,000 fine and was held to a minimum amount of expenditure but won anyhow. Then there was the case of the owner of a telecom company who paid Pawlenty $4,500 a month in unspecified consulting fees while Pawlenty was running for governor. Even today nobody knows what the payments were for. You will hear more about these things if Pawlenty is picked.

There has been some talk of McCain picking a woman for vice president since there is talk of women defecting from the Democrats because Hillary lost. But who? Republicans aren’t exactly overflowing with prospects. One is the governor of Alaska, Sara Palin, married, mother of five (the youngest a Down syndrome child) who is very popular in the state. She is Alaska’s youngest (42) and first woman governor who won office as a maverick reformer, a former beauty queen and TV sports anchor, a tax-cutter and down-the-line fiscal conservative. An evangelical Protestant, she is solidly pro-life. One disadvantage among the many pluses: she’s enthusiastic about drilling for oil in Anwar while McCain is not. For that reason she may well be placed on hold.

Finally, a familiar but sort of scary face. Baptist minister and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, 53, was for a time the taste-of-the-month in Republican primaries: a phrase-maker and stand-up comedian. But he’s unpolished and, though a favorite of evangelical voters, failed to make inroads with Catholic voters in any primary. Huckabee is a lot more liberal in social spending than many other candidates and coupled with wild-card McCain, might spell doom. Still it would be fun if he ran and got elected vice president…with for the first time since Thomas Riley Marshall of Indiana a flat-out Creationist a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

Alarmed at the possibility, how the ultra-liberal The New York Times owners would pray…for the good health of John McCain…and pray for probably the very first time since 1896 when the secular, non-observant Sulzberger family gained control of the paper!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Personal Asides: Dry Your Tears, Orrin Hatch, Like Ted Kennedy We All Have to Die Someday…Speaking of Emotional Instability, How’s Blago’s “Call Out the Guard for Chicago”?...Jesse Jackson the White as Well as Black Racist.


Sniffle-Sniffling Orrin.

A psychiatrist would have no trouble diagnosing the ailment of a sniffling Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), as he announced yesterday that he has written a ballade to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). Hatch has written hundreds of patriotic songs but this one, to his adored one, Kennedy, he can’t mention without tearing up. “Headed Home” may well be played at the Democratic National Convention. “He’s a special person to me. I want to honor him in this way,” said Hatch in an interview, his eyes welling up. It refers to Kennedy’s return to the Senate which Hatch calls “heroic.” The song goes, “Just honor him, honor him and every fear will be a thing of the past.” The lyrics continue: “Sailing home, sailing home. America, America, we’re headed home at last.” Not exactly Stephen Collins Foster but the sentiment is there.

Any middling psychiatrist would diagnose the weeping 74-year-old Hatch sobbing for the 76-year-old Kennedy as a variant of Stockholm Syndrome.

The usual application of Stockholm pertains to an abducted hostage who becomes idolatrous of his hostage-taker. But other categories of Stockholm pertain to the condition of some insecure individuals to form an emotional attachment to a powerful adult so as to maximize the probability that this strong adult will enable the admire and thus calm the emotional turmoil of the immature beseecher. I started going to the Senate every week on my rounds as the Quaker lobbyist years before Hatch came to the body in 1977. He began as a conservative firebrand and in his floor battles for pro-business issues I got to know him and his staff fairly well. “He is a basket-case of insecurity,” a former legislative counsel told me, after Hatch flinched in 1980 while taking heat as a purported foe of organized labor. Big Daddy Kennedy defended him and so endowed himself with a fawning friend for life. Damon and Pythias comes to mind but this one is different—love expressed mainly by only one partner. Just Damon weeping for Pythias…Pathias’s love not fully requited.

Everyone who fought against big unionism has faced Big Labor enmity starting with the fearless Sen. Robert A. Taft but Hatch wilted under the pressure. He suffered greatly and he became an absolute foil and pathetic fool trying to court Kennedy’s good will. No reason for it for Utah cares not a whit for Teddy but Hatch’s confidence has always needed shoring up and he feels he had to court Kennedy’s favor to lessen what he thought was opprobrium.

Thus the irony: He ran as a candidate to trim Teddy Kennedy’s sails but once on the Labor and Public Welfare with Kennedy he was mesmerized and fawningly sought approbation. The Kennedy dominance on many issues has subordinated Hatch, most notably on the case of embryonic stem cells. Hatch has to be pro-life in order to represent Utah but Kennedy convinced him to support federal assistance for embryonic stem cells…differentiating himself from any other social conservative… as a kind of antidote that would be pleasing to Kennedy’s liberal goals. I visited with Hatch at the time and was stunned to see that whenever I brought up his closeness to Ted Kennedy as a possible reason, Hatch’s eyes filled with hot tears. And that was long before Kennedy came down with brain cancer. As he stood at his desk, leaning on both fists, his legislative aide discreetly suggested it was time to end the conversation.

No one says Kennedy shouldn’t receive compassion for his ill health. But he is fortunate in a Catholic sense…assuming it’s the religion he still adheres to…that he has time for spiritual reconciliation. And bipartisan accolades are always interesting even their sincerity is often doubted.

Among genuine accolades across the aisle, no one in the Senate received it more fulsomely in my memory than the dying Bob Taft who won warmest tributes from his erstwhile opponents including Paul Douglas and Hubert Humphrey. I remember Everett Dirksen returning to the floor after heart hospitalization being greeted warmly by a legion of Democratic senators. I remember the terminally ill Claire Engel of California getting a standing ovation as his cot was wheeled in to the Senate floor to vote for the 1965 civil rights act. Not to forget my favorite player: Hubert Humphrey addressing the House, the first Senator to do so in history, gaunt, a relic of his former exuberant self while colleagues stood applauding and weeping in genuine emotion, recognizing they were seeing him for the last time.

All the same, the fawning, almost unmanly, patronization of Kennedy by Hatch is something different altogether and has gone on for many years—long before Kennedy’s illness--while amateur and professional psychologists have tried to rationalize an answer. Stockholm appears to be it. The attitude of a very insecure person for approbation by one whom the insecure one needs to patronize for his well-being.

Who knows why? The reason is buried very deeply in Hatch’s psyche. The lachrymose tribute by Hatch can be taken as a deposit in the personal good will bank for Kennedy to substitute for the injury to his reputation by the death of Mary Jo Kopechne whom he unconscionably left to drown—literally to crawl to the front seat to avoid suffocation by gasping at an air bubble in an upturned car while Kennedy spent 14 hours trying to evade legitimate disgrace. Has Hatch ever cried for her?

Blago’s Call for the Guard.

No one can properly assess what goes on in the crazy-quilt jumble going on inside the governor’s brain but one thing is clear: he is out to ruin the Democratic party starting with Mayor Richard M. Daley. Here is Daley, renting out his very soul…who knows why? get the 2016 Olympics with everything riding on the city being one of the world’s most livable. Now comes Rod Blagojevich with the suggestion that the Illinois National Guard might be called to keep order in the streets of Chicago and cut the murder rate to keep order which the police obviously can’t do. It’s about the very worst thing that can happen to a city mayor…and heretofore unthinkable for a Daley. It was unthinkable under his father, even at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. burnings and the Democratic National convention melee.

I watched him the other day from my hospital bed as a nurse was taking my blood pressure (103/60, not bad) while Daley’s ravaged, jowly face was on the tube…with crimson cheeks…mouth drawn curiously to one side…eyes popping…and she said, “My God, I don’t see him being around for long at all, not to mention 2016! He’s going to have a stroke!” It is the height of irony that Illinois which has seen only one spectacularly erratic and ethically incontinent governor than he (Len Small who raised money conferring pardons from death row) has seemed to come in second with such a sociopath—in fact no state has seen the equal of this since Louisiana’s Earl Long, a drunk, bi-polar, carrying on a steamy affair with the stripper Blaze Starr, was scooped up in a net as he was fleeing down the main street of Baton Rouge yelling imprecations at his enemies.

By the way, did you see blond the Sta-Comb lad, decked out in his roman collar, Rev. Michael Pfleger, on the tube with Blago talking about Chicago’s crime problem? Wow: this archdiocese really knows how to lay the wood to a priest who transgresses propriety doesn’t it? That cardinal-archbishop, all guts. But he’s only the ceremonial leader, the parson of parse while Jimmy Lago is calling the shots.

Jesse Jackson the White Racist.

Jesse Jackson has long preached to a see-sawing congregation of adoring crowds while managing by his late `60s to violate most of the laws of God and man…pursuing extortionate “contracts” with businesses to reward his organization’s coffers and get his sons lucrative jobs…going to the White House as spiritual “counselor” to an erring Bill Clinton also bringing his own mistress along who would shortly deliver his illegitimate daughter…violating non-profit laws by turning his so-called church into an adjunct of the Democratic party…preaching tolerance while insulting Jews and calling the Holocaust overrated. He resented Barack Obama’s “talking down to black people” about the real reason for urban poverty…gasp…illegitimacy. Now it turns out he didn’t call `em black people at all but used the “n” word.

Still the supine media here treat this grimacing fraud as a legitimate civil rights leader and spokesman for African Americans. And the “Sun-Times” under its editor Michael Cooke…a disgrace to all big city editors…trying to stay alive for the next few weeks, continues to give this histrionic stentorian dead-beat a full column every week. Cooke should at least demand he pay regular advertising rates since Jackson has squirreled away more dough than Cooke or his paper has.