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.


  1. Lovie's LeatherJuly 17, 2008 at 3:07 AM

    Talking to my friends in the National Guard, they told me they would rather be in Iraq than Chicago. We will be chanting "bring our troops home" to the governor before the month is over. What an idiot.

  2. I thought it was positively weird that Governor Blagojevich would choose to hold a press conference with Father Pfleger. Has the governor been in a coma or is he unaware of the controversies surrounding Pfleger?

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