Friday, August 8, 2008

Personal Asides: Thoughts While Shaving.



My favorite radio show as I drive downtown most every late morning comes on at noon on WBBM. I catch Rush at 11 on WLS, my station, but switch for solid economics news an hour later. It’s the Noon Business Hour where the co-host is a woman named Kris Kridel. Her partner is Sherman Kaplan whom I’ve been listening to for years with his restaurant reviews which are every bit as good as the ones “The New York Times” used to print from Clay Claiborne.

Kaplan knows a lot about the economy as his comments and questions show—but let’s face it, it’s Kris I’m interested in. Not taking anything away from Kaplan, but it’s her voice. A voice that tells me she is the ultra-competent, self-contained woman with mastery of subject, great diction, beautiful composure and control. Her voice alone tells me she knows intrinsically the economic problems of the day. It’s her voice that is superlative. If say Laura Ingraham on Salem, a conservative talk show host, had Kris’ voice instead of the screeching one she is fated to have, she’d--. Well, Kridel’s voice is really something. The closest competitor to her voice-wise is Kathy Brock: close but still not quite. Sadly, Cheryl Burton, probably the most beautiful woman anchor in the world, has a grating voice. No, for female voice with authority that causes you to melt, soft but compelling, it’s Kris Kridel.

She can read the old Ward’s catalogue and make me listen. And the questions she asks of her guests—top-flight economists like Brian Wesbury…shows thorough grasp, obviously not just last-minute prepping from talking points. She made an appearance the other night on WTTW-TV and I raced upstairs from my basement office to see what she looks like. Just as I suspected—wondrously middle-aged, cool, confident with a dash of wit. Brilliant. She’s got a masters from Ohio State and teaches journalism at Loyola…or at least did. Believe me, her voice carries the ring of competence and authority. If she were to say I ought to get rid of my car and buy a new one I’d take it with the same authenticity as if it came from my wife. She’s someone I’d like to have coffee with to discuss the economy. I’m not mashing, you see. I’m 80 after all.


As a Republican I am obviously elated that John McCain…who was not my first choice…seems to be doing so well. In fact, he seems to be winning the presidential campaign. But I am still depressed. Why? Because McCain’s forces have utterly no ground game. A ground game…politicians’ term for registration and get-out-the-vote…adds at least 2% to the margin a politician must have. McCain is an old guerrilla fighter and never had a ground game. When George W. Bush ran in 2004 he squeaked by…and the only way he won was by his ground game. Hence I am guardedly optimistic but mainly depressed. I was contacted by a young man involved in the ground game for McCain but I wonder how many other conservatives have. Let’s set a plebiscite now. Have you been contacted by a McCain worker? Let me know.


The rumor I get from Democrats is that Hillary Clinton has been playing very hard to get for the Barack Obama forces despite the fact that Barack himself lauds her cooperation. I hear that whenever they run a name of a vice presidential choice by her she turns thumbs down. Not surprising since obviously she wants the vice presidential nod herself. But also not surprising is that the Obama forces don’t want to give it to her. I asked one Obama strategist why not…if the combination would spell victory? After all, a good number of running mates didn’t care for each other continuing down through the years…including Coolidge and Dawes who were in power when I was born in 1928.

I was a fan of Charlie Dawes of Evanston: a banker, head of the old City National Bank of Chicago, the first director of the bureau of the budget…who made an historic contribution. Before Charlie each cabinet department had to get its own budget passed independently of each other. Charlie made a unified budget. He was an outstanding quartermaster general in World War I and rightly chosen by Coolidge as a running mate in 1924. But the next year he decided to take a nap at the Willard Hotel rather than preside over the Senate. History was changed and he became the goat.

Up for debate was Coolidge’s nomination of an attorney general to replace Warren Harding’s AG who was compromised by Teapot Dome and had to resign…Charles Warren to prosecute the anticipated felons from the scandal. The Democrats argued that Warren was too close to some of the Teapot Dome people…he wasn’t at all… and opposed his nomination. They filibustered against him. That afternoon, Dawes was so sleepy he decided he needed a nap. So he conferred with lawmakers who said the vote on Warren’s nomination wouldn’t come up for a vote that day. Accordingly he went to the Willard for a nap. But as soon as he left, the number of Democratic speakers dissolved and the vote was called. The Democrats put one over on sagacious old Charlie Dawes.

They called Dawes at the Willard and he raced over to the Capitol in a cab but arrived too late. Warren lost but would have won had Dawes voted. As result, Coolidge never talked to his vice president again. I don’t blame him.

I wanted to see him when it was announced on April 23, 1951 that at age 87 he was due to ride in a car with Douglas MacArthur in Chicago to lay a wreath at the Bataan bridge (now called the State street bridge). But when they came to pick him up at his Evanston mansion, he was found dead. In addition, he was also a popular song-writer, writing the words and music to a ballad that was still popular about 30 years ago—“It’s All in the Game.”

Now the Obama forces would know that a vice president Hillary would not sneak out for a nap. What’s the reason for their objection? The Obama man I talked to admitted there is a strong sense of paranoia existent in their campaign. They worry that Bill Clinton’s complicated business deals would have to be probed in the same way Gerry Ferraro’s husbands deals were when she was nominated to run with Fritz Mondale in 1984. But beyond that, they worry…my source says…that (a) the Clintons had done a great deal of negative investigations on Obama and may still have something on him with the result that (b) surreptitious Clinton generated disclosures could force Obama off the ticket and Hillary would get the nomination by default.

So Hillary would get on the ticket, then wink at Sid Blumenthal, their hatchet man, and he’d release the scandal which would bump Obama off and help Hillary.

I ask: would Hillary and Bill do that?


  1. Re Ms. Kridel:

    "Down Boy, down!"

    If I expressed admiration of that intensity, my Lillian would serve store brand dog food to me for a month.

  2. While the 'in-the-tank' media and ever-so-nice guests continue to plead that this 'will be a very close' election, my empirical radar and ear to neighbors tell me that McCain will hammer Obama in November and the first term Senator will lose forty or more states.

  3. Tom,

    Not just Obama, but any candidate would have to be paranoid about the prospects of Bill Clinton tip-toeing around the White House. The man is just a pandora's box of scandals that will tar any administration that has anything to do with him.

  4. And now Edwards. Does remind one of McCain and Gingrich and Henry Hyde and ....