Monday, February 16, 2009

Personal Asides: Milwaukee Prelate to be Named Archbishop of New York (Perhaps Tuesday)…Roland Burris is in a Heap of Trouble...A Fresh Look at the “Sun-Times” Sans Michael Cooke.

Dolan for Egan.

If my sources are right, the archbishop of Milwaukee, Timothy Dolan, will be named archbishop of New York on Tuesday succeeding Edward Cardinal Egan. The significance of this is the clout Saint Louis, Missouri has in ecclesial appointments, as result of the closeness to Rome of Justin Cardinal Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia (and former archbishop of Saint Louis). A look at recent bishopric appointments shows that clout Rigali has. Archbishop Egan was auxiliary bishop of Saint Louis under Rigali.

There seems to be a tradition that holds Irishmen should be appointed as prelate of New York. Take a look at the history: R. Luke Concanen (1808), John Connally (1814) John Joseph Hughes (1842), John Cardinal McCloskey (1864), Michael Augustine Corrigan (1885), John Cardinal Farley (1902), Patrick Cardinal Hayes (1919), Terence Cardinal Cooke (1968), John Cardinal O’Connor (1984), Edward Cardinal Egan (2000). The only non-Irish were John Dubois (1826) and Francis Cardinal Spellman (1939).

You’re in a Heap ‘o Trouble, Son.

If Roland Burris were white, he’d be walking the plank in the U.S. Senate now—because it is evident he lied under oath while testifying to the state House impeachment panel by withholding the fact that he was called three times by Robert Blagojevich, the ex-governor’s brother, about being appointed to the Senate and had three additional close associates of the governor and a labor leader with ties to Blagojevich about being appointed to the Senate.

But being that he’s black, it is clear that Burris’ removal would spark a racial confrontation which the Democrats probably want to avoid…the same racial confrontation that occurred when Sen. Harry Reid tried to keep him from the Senate and Burris stood outside in the rain with an umbrella surrounded by black ministers. The onus of racial persecution caused Sen. Diane Feinstein to importune Reid to allow Burris to enter the Senate. But the disclosure that Burris allowed himself to be misrepresented is a blockbuster. Democrats are spooked by charges of racism since blacks are the biggest bloc of votes they have—unquestioning, lock-step…voting for each and every Democrat mindlessly, regardless of qualifications.

In prior testimony to the state lawmakers, Burris acknowledged only having spoken to one friend. He is seen on TV tape denying he had more contacts. He now says he didn’t have the opportunity to answer fully…which is baloney when you see the tape. All he had to do was add to his remarks. Burris wanted to go to the Senate so bad…a pathological need for recognition…he placed himself in grave danger. Now he’s wiggling like a fish on a hook, flipping this way and that. He has mustered some friends to own up for him. One is Rep. Danny Davis the organ-voiced, basso baritone who uses his mellifluous tones to obscure…as when he said last night that he never heard of Roland Burris doing anything wrong. With his rich tones, reminiscent of someone tuning up to sing Old Man River, Davis is confident…probably too confident…he can distract Burris’ critics from the hot trail.

Initially, Burris said, he was asked to raise money for Blago and refused. But there was far more to the story than he let on. So he submitted an amplifying affidavit following his joining the Senate, submitted it a full 10 days ago. State House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a hatchet-faced Democratic partisan, sat on the affidavit and kept it from the Republicans on the impeachment panel. Whether she thought it would never come to light or was just paralyzed with doubt no one knows. It proves one more time that chicanery and deception are tools in the Democratic arsenal.

The Democrats are really in a tougher spot with Burris than they ever have been before. Two Republican state reps recommended that the Democratic-controlled and now dormant impeachment panel call on the Sangamon county states attorney to consider criminal prosecution against Burris. If the states attorney does this, Burris’ value to the Democratic majority is tainted and he might have to temporarily step down to await a trial. If as is expected the states attorney doesn’t prosecute, it seems even worse for the Democrats. Burris will be serving under a heavy cloud and his election in 2010 will be problematic at best. His fishy story about not having had time to fully divest himself will lead to a primary challenge.

On the Republican side it appears the logical candidate to run for the Senate is Rep. Mark Kirk of the North Shore. Because he is a very strong pro-abort, he is just about sure to be shorn of any social conservative base in the GOP. He’s newly separated from his wife and is reported to be exhausted from a full year’s campaign for reelection against a very tough opponent in a district that is quite liberal. From the standpoint of the party’s base, Rep. Peter Roskam of the 6th district would be preferable but he is reported to be satisfied with the House since he just gained a seat on the House Ways and Means committee. GOP fortunes…as a party…would be better with Roskam running since were he to lose it is pretty likely a Republican could win his seat. Not so Kirk. There will probably never be another Republican elected in his district because the ideological content is so liberal.

Picture’s Brighter for the Sun-Times Sans Cooke.

The decision of “Sun-Times” editor Michael Cooke to go to Toronto to be with his great and good friend John Cruickshank of the Toronto
”Star,” is indeed good news for the struggling Chicago tabloid. In fact, the paper just emerged with a terrific scoop…beating the “Tribune” all hollow…the story of Roland Burris’ withholding of vital information from the state House impeachment panel.
Content-wise, apart from some flaky columnists, the “Sun-Times” has every claim to the status of Chicago’s major newspaper. Pound for pound it is far more impressive than the “Trib” which has only John Kass who tops everybody. But Kass is only one guy. The “Sun-Times’” front pages have been…while garish…at least newsy and not like the girly “New York Post” which Cooke was obviously aiming for. Reporters like Fran Spielman who covers city hall, Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney who broke the splendiferous Burris story are unexcelled. Columnist Michael Sneed has enviable connections to the Feds and regularly scoops the “Tribune” on prosecutorial news. Andrew Hermann regularly scores on his urban beat. Jack Higgins the cartoonist has won the Pulitzer prize and stands in glaring contrast to the “Trib” which is so insecure in its philosophic moorings it cannot hire a cartoonist for fear it would alienate somebody higher up: pathetic. Dave Roeder is a first-rate business reporter.
The only vacuous side lies in its dull as dross Mark Brown and its snotty, brash wise-guy with a curled lip against Catholics, Neil Steinberg. Even Carol Marin is getting better as a political columnist…although Richard Roeper will never get better but evidently is rated as a TV celebrity. He has the depth of a pie-tin. Mary Mitchell is a special racial pleader because Cooke had a dream that he could get black readers by being chauvinist: never happened. Cathleen Falsani is a flower child who never grew up masquerading as a religion columnist…a favorite of Cooke’s… but the paper’s regular religion writer, Mike Thomas is an adult.

In fact I’m rather excited about the “Sun-Times” sans Cooke. The “Tribune” seems to me to be less and less competitive. For one thing it still sticks with the old “New York Times”-wanna be with the front section dealing only with national and international while the city is burning up with local news. Yesterday the Burris story was buried and written as if the writer was somnolent. The awkward and confounding decision to put the editorials behind the obits on the second section shows that the paper has no feel for issues or ideas. The editorials themselves are spotty. With the exception of the Cook county material which is good, the only solid contributor is not a full-time “Trib” staffer at all, but Dennis Byrne who is outstanding. The rest is fill…the inevitable Garrison Keillor who writes boilerplate liberalism. Very undistinguished hash. John Kass is the only star but make no mistake he is a super-star…far outdistancing anyone else on either paper. The “Sun-Times’” editorials on pretty weak on local issues…more of a slap-dash version in contrast to the better stuff in the “Trib” when the county board and Daley are considered.

But overall, the “Sun-Times” sans Cooke has the stuff to succeed and overcome the anemic “Tribune” which, without Kass, is zero, zilch.


  1. I believe you mean Dolan? If so, could Bishop Perry get the nod to Milwaukee? He deserves it, but is a treasure Chicago would miss.

  2. I thought Cardinal Spellman was Irish. I note that he hailed from Boston, and that his mother was a Conway.

  3. Archbishop Dolan is not a conservative from the little I've seen of and read about him. When is the Pope going to use his clout to give the American Church some dependable leadership? Time's awasting.