Feast of St. John Fisher*
As one whose been either covering politics or involved in it as a staffer, assistant cabinet officer and private sector lobbyist for a total of 57 years, I rarely enthuse about any novice candidate: for good reason. Usually no matter how bright and articulate they are, candidatorial novices who get into radio or TV debates for the first time usually have a lot to learn…and it’s almost always a case of their handlers telling them afterward, “Listen, you did okay for a first time. Keep on practicing, keep on debating and you’ll nail it down in ample time. All you need is a little more experience and you’ll be fine.
But that advice doesn’t apply to Dan Sugrue the young lawyer from Green Oaks (Lake county) who I off-handedly picked for my radio show on Father’s Day. My heavyweight Dem contender was Bob Creamer who is one of the national Democratic party’s best debaters. When I picked Sugrue I thought I’d have someone entirely different on the opposite side but that someone bowed out and in desperation I called…at the last minute…Creamer who is CEO of the Strategic Consulting Group, husband of Congresswoman Jan Schakowky and who since the demise of Saul Alinsky has carved out a reputation as being the premier strategist of national progressive politics. My conservative friends hate it when I say this but he is one of the most accomplished debaters and advocates of the Left in this city.
Now don’t flood the emails telling me this and that about Creamer—that he’s no good, evil, a bounder, etc. I’ve heard from several of you and frankly you don’t get it. As the host of a program going into its 20th year, my first responsibility is to field good debaters—and Creamer is one of the very best on the liberal-progressive side. The reason the program has been on so long is that I stay out of the fray and “moderate” the show. Which means I’m a referee…making sure that both sides don’t usurp the time and make their points without repetition.
As it is, the listeners to my show are mostly conservative and usually fill all 10 phone lines with good debating points. So the liberal-progressive who’s on my show has to fight two battles…one with his opponent in the studio and one with a highly intelligent conservative audience on the phone.
Some guy wrote me after the show condemning me for not weighing in against Creamer as well. My point is that if I am to serve as host and referee…as a football referee…it is overbalanced to have me zing the liberal along with everyone else. Believe me as a guest for many years on Bruce DuMont and Callaway I’ve zinged plenty. But not here. It’s as if you watch a football game and lo and behold the referee runs out onto the field and tackles the guy with the ball. Everybody has a right to say “Wha?”
But of course this guy exceeded the limit and accused me of being “soft” on Creamer…meaning that if I don’t whack somebody on the head with a meat cleaver as in the 3 Stooges, I’m a crypto liberal. He’s forgiven: he just doesn’t understand the dynamics of the show.
But I digress. I signed up Sugrue for the show Sunday and hoped he’d do okay. Well, for those who heard it, he did far more than okay. He turned out to be a powerfully good forensic debater at least as good as Creamer who’s been doing this for 40 years. In fact, he’s as good as I have ever seen in the contemporary Republican party…and that includes the late Henry Hyde, Everett Dirksen and the very much alive Mike Huckabee.
Now remember, I’m not in the business of consulting candidates and frankly didn’t know Sugrue well until he walked into the studio—so I have no axe to grind in all this. He’s not paying me. I’m just telling you what I think.
So let me by means of this blog put in a word with state Republican leaders to fund Dan Sugrue. Believe me, if he gets some money he’s going to win easily over his Democratic opponent who has not been elected to her post but is appointed and is not very well known. The 59th district has been leaning Democratic in the past but with these changing times is veering Republican. It will stay so I believe by watching Sugrue. The district takes in much of suburban Lake county including Vernon Hills, Prairie View, Lake Bluff, Green Oaks, Gurnee, Waukegan, Indian Creek, Lincolnshire, Mundelein, North Chicago, Park City, Riverwoods, Wheeling and Northbrook.
In the past it was represented by Democrat Kathy Ryg (who has been on my show) but she resigned her post to become head of Voices for Illinois Children. Appointed to the seat was Democrat Carol Sente (pronounced sen-tee).
Sugrue, in his early 40s, the son of Irish immigrants, was born in Oak Lawn, went to Catholic schools, graduated from the U of I in Champaign with a bachelor’s in economics and political science and got a law degree from Chicago Kent. He made a run before and was under-funded against Ryg. He practices law by himself and has taught real estate at the College of DuPage. He’s married to Margo whom he met when both were teaching inner-city kids in Chicago. They have three kids: Kevin 10, Vivian, 6 and Sean 4.
Well, I’m shilling him because he’s a terrific debater. He kept Creamer busy I’ll tell you that. When he left the studio, Creamer knew he had been in a fight.
Because much of Chicago media are infected with the Carol Marin virus…in the absence viable eternal verities why not adopt a religion of the here-and-now which means sanctimonious liberalism…it did not strike them as odd, strange and exceeding eccentric when the prosecution demanded to know from retired police commander Jon Burge whether he named his boat Vigilante because he really savors extra-curricular lynching and beatings.
Believe me if that’s one of the major things they have to go on, Burge is going to walk. So far I don’t think they’ve laid a glove on him. Decorated veteran of Vietnam who doesn’t like cop killers. That according to modern nihilistic liberals is enough. So far nothing has eventuated in the trial that shows complicity but still Burge is convicted in the eyes of scribes who have embraced the canons of ever-changing political liberalism as a substitute for a higher cause.
You can write the articles of that perverted liberal faith down: support the underdog no matter what, even if the facts aren’t there—it’s good to blister police authority: makes who missed the civil rights days feel good…America is a great big fat exploitive country while the poor in the Third World have a kind of expressive nobility…hey, just like the blue people in Avatar had a quiet nobility while we Big Exploiters roll in power through their exploitation…why can’t a gay nun be Pope? What’s wrong with that? Christ Himself would approve!
Here’s hoping Jon Burge pulls it out.
*: Saint John Fisher [1469-1535]. It’s also the Feast of St. Thomas More as well but he’s received tons of publicity. About John Fisher, an old legendary religious story is appropriate. A self-sacrificing, hard-working nun who embraced voluntary poverty from her teen-aged years and spent the remainder of her life in anonymity, working as a scullery made in a convent kitchen, died in the fullness of grace and ascended right to heaven (justifying bypassing Purgatory). She was greeted warmly by Saint Peter at the Gates and was conducted to a wonderful life in eternity with a very nice house, garden and lovely rose bushes attendant thereto.
She wasn’t there long when she heard a celestial orchestra booming and saw everybody running down the street to greet the next arrival. She slowly made her way to Saint Peter and asked who was entering heaven. “Ah,” he said, “a bishop of the Catholic Church!” The nun smiled sadly and Peter asked why the smile. “It’s just that this is evidently the same as on earth,” she said. “I lived almost 90 years as a scullery maid in a convent and the outside world honored bishops. Now I see it’s that way in heaven too!”
Peter drew her aside, put his lips to her ear and whispered, “Sister you have it wrong. Nuns and brothers like you come in here all the time. This is the first bishop to come in that Gate in 500 years. Get me?” She returned to her cottage smiling.
The bishop who was ushered in with fanfare might well have been John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, England. He was the only bishop of 22 in England who didn’t bow to the newly named Supreme Head of the Church of England Henry VIII in order to save their own heads.
John Fisher was educated at Cambridge, elected a Fellow of Trinity College was ordained priest, became chaplain to the king’s mother and through her intercession reformed and re-endowed Cambridge University. He became Chancellor of Cambridge and then Bishop of Rochester. He wrote four tracts opposing Luther and Henry VIII himself said he was a paragon among all bishops for erudition and courage.
That courage was tested when he became confessor to Henry’s wife, Catherine of Aragon, whom Henry wished to divorce. A few years later he became champion of Catherine’s cause. For this offense he was condemned to life imprisonment. Because of his poor health the life sentence was commuted with the order that to spare his life he would have to take the oath of Succession which endorsed Henry as head of the Church. He refused as did his friend Thomas More. So he was sent to the Tower of London. The Pope tried to intervene saying that he was ready to send Fisher a red hat, signaling his being raised to the level of Cardinal. Henry responded that the Pope need not send the red hat but to make it more convenient for His Holiness Henry would send John Fisher’s head to Rome. Hahahaha.
The trial of Bishop John Fisher took place June 17, 1535 and because he did not accede to Henry’s wishes he was adjudged a traitor and condemned to die on the scaffold. He was in fact beheaded and his body minus the head was buried in the churchyard of All Hallows. His head was mounted on a pike and displayed on London bridge for a fortnight before being thrown into the Thames. Saint John Fisher was canonized in 1935.