Monday, March 29, 2004

Tonight's guest on the "Public Affairs," show in the City of Chicago [8:30 pm, Ch. 21, Monday, March 29] is Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune columnist. Zorn discusses and debates politics, the Senate races and School Choice and school vouchers with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz. As the show was taped on March 6, 2004, it demonstrates what I think Yogi Berra used to say-- predictions are difficult to make, especially when they are about the future. I will add they are even more so when the predictions air after the event being predicted. Included, directly below, is a partial transcript of the show's discussion relating to the Senate Primaries. A partial transcript of the discussion relating to school choice is included several entries below this entry, with the entries for March 24, 2004.

Jeff Berkowitz: We are taping on March 6 will air after the March 16 primary so I am sure people will be interested to know what your prediction was

Eric Zorn: this is great--

Berkowitz: So, make the prediction and then when they watch the show they will know if you got it right. So, who is going to win the Demorcratic Primary [for the U. S. Senate seat]?

Zorn: I look at the polls right now as we sit here and I see Dan Hynes trailing Barack Obama by a percentage that is I think a smaller percentage than the organization bonus that Hynes will have. Hynes is well organized through-out the state. I think you have to look at those polls, and there is a lot of undecideds, and anticipating again a light turn-out, I 'm thinking you have to add 7 to 10 points to whatever Hynes is polling--

Berkowitz: 7 to 10 points. I thought more like 5 to 6 points, or 4 to 5 points--

Zorn: Now, if those poll numbers change-- I think Obama has to go into the election with a greater lead--

Berkowitz: [you are saying] he [Obama] has got to be winning by 7 to 10 points [in the polls] in order for him to win.

Zorn: by 7 to 10 points in order for him to win, I think--

Berkowitz: and he is not now. So, make a prediction, over-all, who will win the Democratic primary?

Zorn: I will predict Hynes and Ryan.

Berkowitz: Hynes and Jack Ryan.

Zorn: Jack Ryan. George is out of it. That is my prediction. Of course, this is going to look verry silly, if I am wrong and prescient, if I am right.

Berkowitz: Well, I predicted several weeks ago, in a show that will air the night before the election, that Jack Ryan will win in the Republican Primary and Barack Obama will win in the Democratic Primary, and I will stick with that. We are fair and balanced, so this is not [necessarily] my preference, it is simply a prediction based on those four major factors: money, an organization, a base and a [clear] message. Did I get ir right? Are those the four major ingredients to determine who will win an election?

Zorn: I would think so. I hope you are right. I think Barack Obama is the most impressive of the candidates.

Berkowitz: So, you would like Barack to win? You don't mind saying that.

Zorn: I don't mind saying that. I agree with the Tribune's editorial board on this one and the editorial board of the Sun-Times and several other papers around the State that Obama is the class of the field and I think he is gonna-- my prediction, here is another prediction for you. If Obama has won, and I think he is going to win in the fall, pretty easily-- I think within twelve years, or so, maybe less- he will be on the national ticket. He is that impressive a guy.

Berkowitz: And, on the Republican side, you predicted Jack Ryan would win. Who would you like to win? It may be Jack, I don't know.

Zorn: You know. I like Jack Ryan. I have met him, spoken with him--

Berkowitz: Interviewed him--

Zorn: I have interviewed him and I think he does much better in an up close one on one interview than he does speaking. I think he is a little stiff, a little bit too mannered when he speaks. I don't think he presents all that well as a candidate in front of an audience. The guy who I am most impressed with because I think he is a really intelligent guy-- I don't agree with him on a lot of issues but I think he is intelligent, a lot of integrity-- he is State Sen. [Steve] Rauschenberger. I am very impressed with him. I don't quite understand why he is getting no traction apparently in the primary.

Berkowitz: No money. We just said you have got to have money, and he has no money. Maybe you don't understand why he is getting no money. Is that your point?

Zorn: Well, yes, that is part of it. I wonder what has happened to the Republican base. The Republican Party in Illinois has a relatively promising, bright legislator and they are not supporting him. I think it speaks to the level of disorganization and the problems that exist in the Republican Party in Illinois in general, which is why I don't have any hope-- I should say hope is the wrong word-- I don't have any projection that Jack Ryan can beat anybody who he runs against.

Berkowitz: Even if he wins the nomination.

Zorn: Well, I think he is going to win the [primary].

Berkowitz: But, you don't think he [Jack Ryan] will win the General Election because the party is in such disarray, is that your point?

Zorn: I don't think the Illinois Republican Party can do it for him.

Berkowitz: Well, you know-- people build parties, right?

Zorn: People do, I don't think--

Berkowitz: Rudy Guilliani built the Republican Party in New York City.

Zorn: Is there any sense out there that the Illinois Republican Party is about ready to be built? I mean, where is Judy Topinka?

Berkowitz: Well, somebody has to face up to the schism on abortion in the Republican Party.

Zorn: Schism. Is there a big one?

Berkowitz: There is a big schism.
Interview of Eric Zorn on "Public Affairs." Recorded on March 6, 2004, and as will be cablecast on Monday night, March 29 at 8:30 pm on Ch. 21 Through-out the City of Chicago.