Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Personal Asides: If I Were a Conspiracy Theorist…The New York Times’ Magazine Story of Robbie George


If I Were Conspiracy-Minded…

Let’s set the stage. If Illinois Democrats have proved one thing, it is that while they cannot govern, they can elect.

They control both Houses of the legislature, they own the governorship and all the other constitutional offices. By the very nature of things…state and national liberalism being what it has become since 1966: a secular humanist substitute for religious orthodoxy…the Democrats control the state media. Almost all the state columnists are Democrats; state broadcast TV is Democrat. The most powerful political organization in the nation is The Squid in which most media types are witting cooperators.

The Democratic governor is in a fight with the Democratic comptroller who is challenging him. The Democratic comptroller refused to sign off on paying social service bills, so bitter is their contention. The Democratic Speaker has little to do with either. He fought with the last Democratic governor, cooperated with his impeachment—not that it wasn’t deserved. He stands aside in the fiscal problems of the state, unwilling to allow his Democratic majority to spare the state for fear he will lose his majority. A man who has testified that he would willingly take Blago as governor rather than to endure a Republican. That’s the kind of broad-based leadership we have with this laconic boss who sees no further than his own nose and his own majority.

Not much media time or space is devoted to that ugly prospect. It is as if the Democrats’ internecine warfare is not happening.

Very few of the liberal reporters or commentators even make mention of the Dems’ clan warfare, the inability of the majority party to govern. But no matter: Even with Illinois being a blue state, the odds are that the Republicans can…if they nominate an effective candidate…can pick up the governorship.

Suddenly…ah so suddenly…the media are filled with stories extolling the anomaly of Jim Ryan. “You know what? He heads the pack of Republican challengers! What do you think of that? Talk about a Comeback Kid! Wow!”

And tucked away for future reporting the facts that the former attorney general, age 63, who has apologized for the faulty prosecutions as DuPage states attorney of Rolando Cruz and Alex Hernandez in the Jeanine Nicarico case…who has been very friendly, receiving gigantic contributions from one who is now a convicted criminal and was featured in sensational corruption charges....saddled with a name that is identical to a convicted Republican governor…this same Jim Ryan is leading the polls for governor—topping incumbent Pat Quinn 46 to 39 and only slightly behind Dan Hynes 40 to 42. The answer is clear. At this stage…Christmas…no one is focusing on the Illinois elections notwithstanding that the primary is coming up in February.

Still the media increasingly is playing this serenade: Jim Ryan heads the pack… Jim Ryan heads the pack. Tucked away for future recycling and always the power of the media themselves to recycle with great diligence and irrefutable annotation—because the stories will be true-- any time they wish…Jim Ryan and Stuart Levine…Jim Ryan and his faulty prosecution of two Hispanics…Jim Ryan, the grim, unsmiling Irishman…Jim Ryan who very shortly before he announced his candidacy advocated an income tax hike (which he now rejects)… Jim Ryan who as state attorney general supported gay rights (an issue which is bound to split off social conservatives…Jim Ryan with about one-half scintilla of personal charm…Jim Ryan whose latter years have been consumed with fighting non-Hodgkins, having been hit with it three times: large scale lymphoma cancer. There, I’ve said it.

Are these things unfair for me to bring up? No: they are all undisputed facts covered time and again by media in the past—and ready to be uncorked again after he is nominated, if he will be. And if you wish to test the efficacy of this, watch the reaction to this article…the likely outrage.

It will likely be: How unfair of you to bring these things up…especially his health! (That’s what they said about Paul Tsongas when he ran for president, remember?) And if you don’t think it’s coincidence that Jim Ryan is being subtly pushed by The Squid and its handmaidens, the media…well, you have a lot to learn. If I were a conspiratorialist I’d say the one chance The Squid and its media friends have is to nominate Jim Ryan.

Blister me if you wish. It’s okay. Frankly at this stage of my life as an octogenarian, it is of very little concern what the media say about me.

But mark this well:

If that is the reaction from the media, you will have your proof that indeed a concerted attempt is being made by The Squid and its allies to push Jim Ryan to the Republican nomination—after which to uncork a devastating barrage of…guess what?...the unassailable truth about him—which when digested as election draws near will likely keep the governorship and its perks in the hands of the Democrats for another four years.

The strategy…if it exists… is a brilliant one: worthy of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

All About Robbie George.

Who is Robbie George? Read The New York Times magazine last Sunday and you’ll find out. He is a Princeton professor who with the death of Rev. Richard John Neuhaus has become a consultant to a number of conservative Catholic bishops. Dr. Robert P. George, that is who is a Thomist who those conservative bishops have found to possess the talent for phrasing their arguments in thoughtful, academic language. No, Cardinal George is not among them. He’s busily constructing his own theory of parsing which alleges Catholicism is hobbled by conservatives on one hand and liberals on the other…contrasted with which—guess what—he, the equivocator of both—occupies the Golden Mean.

But I digress. The interesting thing about Robert George is that he is unassailably right on theology-philosophy…but guess what? His uniqueness is due to the fact that he almost alone espouses the essence of Aquinas which has been forsaken by most Catholic intellectuals. You remember my disquisitions about Fr. Ernie? Fr. Ernie’s theology, philosophy is reborn in Robbie George. Encouraging isn’t it. But also discouraging.

It’s a shame that the logic that has permeated Catholic theology since the 13th, that greatest of all centuries for philosophy and theology, has been so ignored since the mid-20th that Robbie George is the only one the bishops can find.

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