Friday, April 23, 2010

Personal Asides: The 2 Things You Have to Remember about Sneed…Chuck Percy’s Revenge.

     Feast of St. Adalbert*                               
          Sneed, a woman whose name is Michael, writes a gossip column in the Sun-Times. The things you have to remember about her aretwo. One: She has a definite “in” with the U. S. attorney here…and two she has an airy-filled  mind that is so cluttered with important things …who George Clooney was dining with at “M” the stylish Chicago restaurant, what time they left and what they ordered…that it has no room for history.  Every so often this airy space is allowed to escape and you’ll see her make a fool of herself—and it happened yesterday. 
            Her bulletin read: “Yipes! Former GOP veepmate Sarah Palin jokingly referred to the cheering crowd at Washington, Ill. last Saturday as people who “probably cling to your guns and religion”!’ 
          As if this was a badly placed gaffe by Palin.  
        But the Washington, Ill. crowd knew the origin of the reference if Sneed does not.   Anyone with a rudimentary, passing knowledge of the 2008 presidential race knows that Palin was referring to one of the low-points in the Obama campaign where on April 10th,  at a supposedly off-the-record elegant dinner of San Francisco elites who were raising big bucks for him, the statuesque one said: 
           “You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they felt through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not. 
               That was the genesis of Palin’s reference to people “who probably
    cling to your guns and religion.”  Of course since the copy desk is populated
    largely with ill-educated university liberals just off the intern pool whose
    alpha and omega began with Obama’s election and continues to today,
Sneed would get no help with her gaffe.   Hillary Clinton would win that Pennsylvania Democratic primary by 9 points and this was Obama’s way of preparing an answer. The rubes were stuck on god and guns and not on him.
       It squares with Thomas D. Frank’s analysis of why people in hard-pressed rural areas are conservative. Frank can’t accept that people see religion and gun ownership as legit values. You see it’s the standard liberal line: they have subsumed interest in religion and guns because the poor things have never been acclimated to the comforts of life that San Franciscans have. It’s covered in Frank’s What’s the Matter With
              No, Sneed hasn’t heard of  Thomas Frank either. 
                                        Percy’s Revenge. 
               Chuck Percy was a guy not unlike Mark Kirk.  Both were North
    Shore…Percy the decided disadvantaged one, was born in Florida to an
    unsuccessful car salesman and was reared in Rogers Park and lived
    near the El tracks.  Had an abounding interest in standing well with the
    gentry just a few miles north…Evanston, Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth.   
             And so he adopted the trademarks that were then fashionable in the `40s. Including a tony phony  eastern accent.   He became a self-made
    multimillionaire by conning a Christian Scientist owner of a small factory
    named Bell & Howell who had no kids of his own and adopted Percy as a
    surrogate son.  Percy auditioned for the job at Bell by teaching kids at a
    Christian Science Sunday school as the old guy looked on, beaming. 
              Give him credit, he took over the company and got it involved to the
    hilt in federal contracts for World War II.  Enlisting in the Navy in 1943 he
    was assured his future was secure at Bell & Howell when he returned in `45. 
    It was and he guided it to great economic growth afterward with government
    contracts and impetus to free trade.   
         Most of the CEOs of his time were Harvard Princeton imports and
    spoke not with affectation but legitimately Eastern since they came from
    families from that region.  But Percy was so wary of his hateful poor-boy
    background that he was ill-at-east with average folks--if they were white
    and born with credentials like his.  Give him blacks, Hispanics to
    moon over.  Media loved it. 
              Anything that smacked of old-fashioned values was
    outsky.  It was trendy to be pro-choice so that’s where Percy was.
    With blond hair smoothly coiffed and a developed baritone voice
    he picked up after lessons in projecting run by a radio announcer, he became
    what Time said was the epitome of the well-cultured, sophisticated GOP
    leader of the future.  He had some disadvantages. He was lousy at
    legislating: meaning drawing consensus.  Another: he was by no means a
    political natural.   
           He was made chairman of the 1960 Platform Committee by
    Richard Nixon…was too liberal…made long-winded speeches about destiny
    and made such a botch of it that Nixon had to call Mel Laird
    in and ask him to take over the gavel while Percy prenned for the cameras.  
           Elected to the Senate in 1966 over an aged and faltering Paul Douglas
    who true to his conscience remained one of the few Senate liberals who
    supported winning the war, Percy fudged whether he wanted to win or lose
    by changing the subject and calling for an “All Asian Peace
    Conference.” When he went to the Senate it was clear he would be a show-
    horse, not a work-horse.    
              Dirksen, an original work-horse, despised him and told me so.
    Percy had his eye on another prize: prestige, wealth, honor. It was no
surprise then that he endorsed New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller for president over Nixon in 1968.  Rockefeller did zip but Percy became the
leader of the midwestern wing of the Rockefeller movement and so maneuvered it that the proudest day of his life was when his daughter Sharon married Jay Rockefeller, the governor’s nephew. 
           Percy told me once he thought the most important aspect of his job
as senator was to recommend to the Republican White House people for the
judiciary. And appointee to the Supreme Court can transcend the work of many term-hobbled politicians and presidents. Right he was.
        Then as now the senior Republican choice for judge was usually honored. When Justice William O. Douglas, a radical, retired Percy promoted John Paul Stevens. Stevens by Percy’s reckoning was a natural: a rich man, heir to the old Stevens hotel, a Brahmin.   President Gerald Ford nominated Stevens and that’s what we got today…
              Percy’s revenge…his lifelong struggle to be one of the elites, to shuck his past, to be a statesman…from his elevator shoes to the top of his sandy, slightly turned graying hair. By advocating John Paul Stevens, who today refuses to say whether he is still a Republican, Percy got to force change from the Left. 
            Only trouble is Percy doesn’t know anything about it—and nobody can tell him. He’s committed as an Alzheimer’s patient where he wanders (supervised) through rooms and rooms searching—searching-searching. But all the same, it’s the culmination of revenge…revenge for once being poor, a member of the working class…which he excelled by every measure of standard.  Except one.
             No one ever figured out the real Chuck Percy and what he once was.    
             And that, my friends, is what you have to worry about when you determine to vote for a RINO because…well as the saying goes…the other guy would be so much worse. 
              Really? Worse than Percy?
            St. Adalbert [AD 997].  We skip over the other alternative feast today…that of St. George the dragon-slayer…because I covered him earlier in explaining The Reader article that identified me with The Dragon. St. Adalbert was bishop of Prague, born of a noble family in Bohemia.  The selection of this saint is fitting in view of the times in which we are living. At a very young age he was ordained subdeacon by Bishop Thietmar of Prague.  Two years later Thietmar died. Then an interesting thing happened. In those days congregations elected bishops and the diocese was so appalled by the scruples of Thietmar that they elected Adalbert to clean it up. Adalbert’s comment is illustrative, especially today…in an era of laxity by many bishops: 
      :  “It is easy to wear a mitre and carry a crozier but it is a terrible thing to have to give account of a bishopric to the Judge of the Living and the Dead.”  Many troubles beset Adalbert as he sought to convert the heathen.  They were making much success with the conversion of pagan Prussians in Pomerania but they were jailed near Konigsberg.  Adalbert was tortured to death and his body was thrown into the Ebbing canal near the Nogat river.

1 comment:

  1. Umm... Jay Rockefeller was Nelson's nephew, not his uncle. Jay married Sharon Percy, not Valerie (who was murdered in the Percy home).

    Also, Percy enlisted in the Navy during WW II, serving from 1943 to 1945. Maybe this was a sham, but he did serve.