Thursday, April 29, 2004

Okay, Boys and Girls, Let’s call this Round 5 of the Berkowitz/Zorn face-off (SEE my blog entries, below, for April 26-28, and Zorn’s for April 27-28 at and I suppose this will be the final round. I will mop up a few items I think Eric Zorn declines to address and tie the discussion into some breaking media actions and then on to bigger and better things. Eric never explained why a fetus, say one in a biology book [for Sam Cook], is gory—but we are just going to have to trust him because- well, Eric says so. Same with Dead Iraqis slaughtered by Saddam; their yearbook photos would be gory? I don’t see it, but Eric is just not going to explain it.

As to Zorn’s contention that the Bush Administation violated its pact with military personnel, Zorn pretty much wants us to take that on faith, too. [Oddly, Zorn tells us that liberals can’t do talk radio because they like to deal with complexities. I don’t think so, Eric]. Zorn doesn’t want to address the issue of whether the Bush administration acted in bad faith by ordering the troops into Iraq, so Zorn just “assumes” the answer. Zorn tells us the Administration made poor, rash and reckless judgments, so that is enough bad faith for him. Let’s see. Iraq had been violating its “peace agreements,” for 12 years, with no less an authority than UN resolutions to support that statement. We asked the UN to deal with this in October, 2002 and 6 months later, it had not. Let’s see, 12 years, 6 months? Rash? Reckless? I don’t think so.

Zorn doesn’t want to refute David Kay’s argument that even without WMD, Iraq, under Saddam, was dangerous and the military action was justified. Nope, Zorn says it was a poor, rash and reckless judgment, so it must have been. Well, that is one way to keep the readers happy with short blog entries.

Apparently, Zorn thinks that when CIA Chief Tenet told President Bush that “It was a slam dunk,” that there were WMD there, the President should have fired Tenet on the spot and said, “George, you ignorant government employee-- you don’t know what you are talking about.” Further, Bush should have been unaffected by (1) President Clinton, the U. N. and all of those who were convinced for the last decade or so that Saddam had WMD and (2) the erroneous policy of Clinton that said it was the policy of the United States to change the regime in Iraq.

Indeed, Zorn would no doubt tell us that Clinton should have fired Tenet long before Bush became President. So, bad faith? Why even ask? The President’s pact with the military personnel and Zorn was broken. Bush said there were WMD; no WMD have been found. It really is as simple as that, in the world of Eric Zorn.

Oh yes, Zorn decides to cite his fellow Tribune columnist, Steve Chapman, but leaves out Mr. Chapman’s conclusion, “At some point, the American people are likely to decide the possible gain is not worth the cost.”
Perhaps, but they have not decided that yet. One reason, perhaps, is that unlike Chapman, they rationally look to see if the ratio of likely future benefits to likely future costs exceeds one. Chapman, at least in the column Zorn cites, seems to look only at the likely costs—as if he thinks the expression is not the benefits/cost ratio, but rather the cost ratio—which is pretty much how the anti-war folks tend to look at the war; ignore the benefits, exaggerate the costs and hope nobody will notice the deficiencies of the analysis.

Which brings us to the present. Nightline, in an effort to boost its sagging ratings, is hyping its show for Friday night, which kind of takes its cue from Michael Moore and his and other morphings of the 530 American soldiers killed by hostile fire since the start of the Iraq war [Nightline says it doesn’t have time for all 700 casualties, so it excludes the accidents and suicides]. True, Koppel’s Nightline will simply broadcast the names and pictures of the soldiers and not morph them into Bush’s cheek, but Koppel is pretty sure the viewers can get his point: “I have always felt… that the most important thing a journalist can do is remind people of the cost of war,” Koppel told the NY Times Bill Carter, NYT, April 28, 2004.

That is odd. I would have thought, unlike Chapman and Koppel, that the most important thing a journalist could do would be to write objectively about the cost and BENEFITS of war. Chapman uses the phrase benefits and costs, but he writes his whole column about the costs. Koppel talks only about the costs.

Carter quotes Koppel some more: “If the motivation to go to War is good, [it] is justifiable; then the cost, whether it is 500, or 5,000, or 50,000 [Lives?] is something people will accept. Should the motivation not be good, then 5 is too many.” What could that possibly mean? The statement is breathtakingly ignorant of any notion of benefit/cost ratios. Or, was it the NYT that screwed up the quote. Between the NYT and Koppel, there is about zero credibility these days.

Carter quotes Leroy Sievers, the Executive producer of Nightline, as denying the Friday program carried any political message. HA, that is a good one. LOL.

Carter, to his credit and unlike Nightline, apparently sought another view. What do you know, maybe there is hope for the NYT, after all.

William Kristol, the Weekly Standard Editor, told Carter the [Nightline] message was clear to him. “This is a statement with a capital S, and it’s a stupid statement.” The program’s conceit, Kristol added, was a selective one, chosen to emphasize the controversy over the war in Iraq, while neglecting to mention the casualties in Afghanistan or those killed by terrorists.

Kristol didn’t say it explicitly but by raising the issue of those killed by terrorists we are starting to get at some of the potential benefits of the War. Is it beyond comprehension for Nightline, Koppel, Chapman and Zorn that our military action in Iraq may result in a much more democratic regime and a stronger economy with benefits more widely dispersed in Iraq than was the case under Saddam. If so, could that have an impact on promoting the concept and perhaps reality of democracy, capitalism and economic opportunity in some other nearby countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine [if you want to call that chunk of land and collection of people a country] and Jordan, just to name a few. And, if that is the case, might that not damp down terrorism a bit, perhaps even terrorism that might cause a loss of lives in the United States, such as the more than 3000 lives lost on 9/11.

Zorn doesn’t seem to mind America being known as a cut and run country that does not keep its word, say, to provide safety and security for the Iraqis. But, is it possible that the United States is distrusted because the U.S. and Bush 41 abandoned the Kurds in ’91. Will we improve our image worldwide by abandoning the Shiites and Kurds to the Sunnis and Saddam loyalists in 2004? Is the World watching? Just a few more questions for Eric Zorn and his colleague, Steve Chapman. I am sorry to make this such a long blog, but you know, Eric, the world is a somewhat complicated and dangerous place—which I thought is what liberals were supposed to keep reminding conservatives and not vice-versa. More role reversal. If Eric’s simplicity approach continues, he just might be ready for Talk Radio.

Jeff Berkowitz, host and producer of ‘Public Affairs,” can be reached at

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Eric Zorn/Jeff Berkowitz, Round 3—Crystallizing the Issues: The War, Morphings, Fair and Balanced, Fetuses, Kerry, Chomsky, Moyers, Rush, Bush and Hillary

I keep telling Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn one thing and he keeps responding to another [See my April 26, Blogging with Eric Zorn entry, below, and Zorn’s entry of April 27 on his site [www.]. Eric Zorn is way too smart to be unable to comprehend my point. It reminds me of what I told him about his criticism of school vouchers on my show—he must be making those arguments just to drive me crazy. He couldn’t really believe them. And, I didn’t mean it as a sign of disrespect or condescension. Zorn, unlike many liberals [and conservatives] is quite willing to depart from the party line when he thinks logic so dictates. That is true, I believe, on “concealed carry,” as Zorn appreciates the potential defensive uses of guns and the deterrent effect of concealed carry on the offensive use by others. That is true, on campaign financing, as Zorn realizes that the way to go is with full and immediate disclosure, not spending or contribution limits. And, that was true on the Iraq War, when Zorn thought there were WMD in Iraq.

Moreover, Zorn’s rhubarb patch demonstrates his willingness to use his web site’s scarce resources to promote debate by both sides, rather than simply trying to promote his own views. Perhaps not to the same extent as his patch, but his web log seems to reflect a desire to present a variety of views, not simply those that are liberal or his own.

Finally, he has chided me for describing my program, “Public Affairs,” as fair and balanced because I make no attempt to hide my own preferences generally, if not exclusively, for such things as the free market, low government spending and low taxes (other things equal, of course). I have responded that I make no pretense to be the Switzerland of television, but if someone watches not just one episode of my program, but, say, views it weekly for at least a month or two, they will get a balanced set of views, if not from me, at least from the dialogue between my guests and me.

That is, my program, unlike that of Bill Moyers, Rush Limbaugh, Shawn Hannity or Al Franken, is not intended to elect or provide support for Republicans or Democrats, but to crystallize state and national issues through my discussions with Rs and Ds, and to challenge the intellectual vulnerabilities of both Ds and Rs, and, above all, to be tough, but fair, in the treatment of my guests, and internally consistent in the presentation of my views. As a host, I try to be provocative and I try to challenge guest ideas vigorously, while still giving guests a fair opportunity to speak and articulate their views.

So, although Eric Zorn certainly gets to express his views on his blog and to choose which other views he wishes to present to his readers, I thought he might make a greater effort to achieve fairness and consistency in the views he presents and references, and in the context of the instant discussion, with respect to the Iraq War and President Bush.

1. Zorn declines my invitation to morph the 300,000 Iraqi dead at the hands of Saddam into Senator John Kerry’s cheek or the 1.2 to 1.5 million, or so, fetuses the country has seen aborted, annually, for most of the last three decades, into, say, a Pro- choice office holder’s cheek. Zorn does this even as he seems to applaud the morphing of the 700 American military dead into Bush’s cheek. He defends his inconsistent treatment by saying he is just showing yearbook photos of the 700 military dead, and he states that he doesn’t mind using the abstract numbers I prefer for analysis and argument to pictures and emotion, so long as we use pictures to remind us what is behind the numbers.

2. Zorn’s objection to including on his site pictures of the fetuses is a little unclear but he seems to imply they have to be “gory,” and he doesn’t want blood, guts and gore. But why would a fetus have to be gory? Why couldn’t it be the equivalent of a yearbook photo of our sons and daughters, albeit younger, before they were aborted? Why would the 300,000 dead Iraqis have to be gory? I will settle for the equivalent of yearbook photos. [And, mind you, I have not taken a Pro-life or Pro-choice position on abortion on my show—I simply believe in trying to be consistent, as outlined above.]

3. Zorn says I am “churlish,” for requesting that Zorn present the opposing point of view. I don’t think “churlish,” fits here. Am I being boorish? Uncivil? Ungracious? I don’t think so. If Eric Zorn can’t find the equivalent Kerry or Pro-choice morphings on the Internet, he can just tell his gentle readers he would include them if someone forwards such items to him. That would make the point of balance. How is that for being accommodating and easy to work with? Indeed, almost the opposite of “churlish.”

4. Zorn says he “doesn’t mind,” my reformulation of his click-poll to ask, “Do I, as a citizen, think the cause in Iraq is worth X lives and Y dollars,” so long as we remind ourselves that X is not an abstraction but our sons and daughters.” Fair enough, I will stipulate to that. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? What do you know-- Common ground for Zorn and Berkowitz. Churlish? Really, now.

5. Zorn argues that those who signed up for military service did so with the tacit understanding that they would only be put in harm’s way “if their country’s safety and freedom was at stake and all peaceful alternatives had been exhausted.” Although Eric Zorn apparently thought, in March, 2003, that those conditions were met, the failure to find WMD in Iraq, so far, apparently means to him that the pact with the military was violated. But, if President Bush, in consulting with his advisers and experts, concluded prior to March, 2003 [along with much of the world] that Iraq had WMD, would Zorn still argue that Bush broke the pact? Does Zorn really argue that Bush took the nation to War in “bad faith?” Apparently a number of contemporary historians and analysts, including Bob Woodward and former Iraq Chief Weapons Inspector, David Kay, disagree. Putting such linguistics/foreign policy luminaries as Noam Chomsky aside, what is the basis for Zorn’s “bad faith,” argument?

Moreover, given that we went to war in Iraq, even as ardent and articulate an opponent of doing so [as early as the spring of 2002]—Democratic U. S. Senate Candidate Barack Obama--- now argues that we should fund the war, win the peace, and not “cut and run.” Indeed, even Eric Zorn’s friend, our beloved Nancy Skinner, said doing her U. S. Senate primary run that she was not a “cut and run,” Democrat, notwithstanding General Borling’s assertions to the contrary.

6. Finally, and I do mean finally, Zorn worries that his son, when he is 18 in 2008 [old enough to vote for Hillary] might be compelled, via a draft, to go over to “what Eric is almost certain will still be a violent and unstable Iraq.” Well, Eric, the good news is that our country will not return to a draft. Too many citizens and their elected representatives now understand that a draft is inconsistent with the free society we, as a country, believe in and fight for. On the other hand, as you know, your son might choose to volunteer for the military and you are likely to have little to say about it, either way. But, knowing you, I am reasonably certain you will be proud of his decision, whatever it is, if the decision is sincere and thoughtful, notwithstanding your natural concern for his personal safety.

Jeff Berkowitz, host and producer of “Public Affairs,” can be reached at

Monday, April 26, 2004

The Chicago Conservative Conference: A Democrat and a Republican touch on Diversity issues in the Republican and Democratic Parties

Frank Avila, Jr.: …when you have no employees of any descent that I belong to- black or Mexican or any other group- at the Illinois or the [Cook] County Republican Party, is that me or is that those parties? So, I think there is an issue of diversity. I am not talking the liberal sense of affirmative action, but if people want to be involved in something, there are qualified people to invite them in…I have been around conservative events because of my school choice activities for a long time…

Joe Morris: On that note, we thank Frank Avila [Jr.] and his new friend, Gary Skoien and, here, I think, gentlemen, all of us in this room would agree that the Republican Party ought to be more open, not only to Hispanics and other minority groups but also to conservatives and the idea of victory and I think we also agree that the worst thing for our country is to have a two party system where one party is the American party and the other party is grappling with being a European style socialist party. We want a strong Democratic Party that is pro- American and pro- free market, pro- traditional American values and ideals and God Bless those people who are trying to redeem the Democratic Party from within to make it once again a conservative party. There was a time when a Harry Truman could lay things on the line for the safety of America; when a Scoop Jackson [Senator Jackson from Washington] or even a [President] John Kennedy could talk about bearing any burden for the cause of freedom and the Democratic Party was the home of pro-Life thought and the Democratic Party was pro- immigrant and pro- free market and anti- protection [ist when it came to free trade] and so forth. You know, maybe those happy days can come again. So, we thank you.

Frank Avila, Jr.: I am not predicting that, though.

Joe Morris: Well, do your part. And, we thank you both and we also thank those libertarians out there who keep both of the big parties honest.

Joe Morris, Chairman of the United Republican Fund of Illinois, concluding a panel discussion, at the Chicago Conservative Conference, with Frank Avila, Jr., Former Democratic Primary Candidate for Metropolitan Water Reclamation Commissioner and son of Frank Avila, Sr., Democratic Metropolitan Water Reclamation Commissioner and Gary Skoien, newly elected Cook County GOP Chairman and former Governor Thompson staffer, held on April 25, 2004 at the Renaissance Hotel in Chicago)
Blogging with Eric Zorn: Dead fetuses, dead military personnel, fairness, pictures, the right question and carrying ideas to their logical conclusion.

Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune columnist and a leader in the blogger movement [] and I have been having a dialogue on our respective blogs during the last week. Zorn started it with an April 20 entry that included photos of the flag draped coffins returning from Iraq and the war dead comprising a photo of President Bush. And, he described the photo of the coffins as a photo that President Bush does not want “you to see.”

I responded on this blog [April 21, below] by asking if Eric Zorn is as fair and balanced as he claims and as I think him to be, why didn’t he include some photos of dead, aborted fetuses and describe them as “the photos pro-choicers don’t want you to see,” or photos of, say, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, which could comprise a picture of John Kerry [who has said he would not have removed Saddam, unless he could have internationalized the effort] and describe the photo as a photo that Presidential Candidate Kerry does not want you to see. Indeed, given Kerry’s recent flap with Catholic bishops, perhaps Zorn could have described the photos of dead fetuses as the photos that Senator John Kerry does not want you [or perhaps Cardinal George or the Archbishop from Washington, DC] to see.

I intended to raise with Eric Zorn issues of journalistic fairness, a trait that Eric prides himself on, as well as the issue of how best to decide complex public policy issues.

Zorn, in his April 22 entry in his blog, graciously acknowledges the “larger point…about the use of powerful images in political or social debate,” that I raised. Zorn says his bias is toward posting and publication. I wouldn’t necessarily never print such pictures in print or electronic publications, but my bias is toward more of a rational than emotional decision-making process.

But, fair is fair, and this issue of fairness, is the point Zorn blew right by. Zorn has discussed abortion from time to time. If his bias is toward publishing pictures to help everyone decide, let’s see those dead fetuses. It is not the way I would try to reach a rational decision on how the abortion issue should be handled. But, since Zorn thinks his readers can handle it and should be asked to handle it, bring the pictures on. And, no, let’s not say, well, the fetuses are a little graphic, but having President Bush’s cheek made up of dead soldiers is well, not too much, for the readers to handle. I don’t think that response is terribly consistent.

Moreover, if Senator Kerry’s apparent unwillingness to support military action in March, 2003 or to pay for it in October, 2003 (notwithstanding his Yes vote in October, 2002), would have been likely to result in a repetition of mass killings, say 300,000 Iraqis, by a Saddam left to his own devices, well then, imbed those 300,000 deaths on Kerry’s gentle, perhaps Botoxed, cheek, and Zorn should proudly print that photo. Zorn should say—nothing inflammatory about 300,000 deaths morphed into Senator Kerry’s face; indeed, it is just tautological, as Zorn said about the American dead military morphed into President Bush’s face. I mean, fair is fair.

Now, those kinds of pictures are not the ones I would put on my site to reach rational decisions about abortion or war, but they are the paths Eric Zorn went down, so Zorn should trot out the pictures of dead fetuses and 300,000 Iraqi deaths morphed into John Kerry’s face. As we say at the University of Chicago, I am just carrying Zorn’s ideas [implicit and explicit] to their logical conclusion. A pursuit-- Zorn conceded on my show just last month—that is something he loves to do—that is, carry ideas out to their logical conclusion. As the deceased Richard Weaver, previously a Professor in the English Department at the University of Chicago, said and titled a book long ago—“Ideas Have Consequences.” And these are the consequences of Zorn’s ideas. I don’t mean to be harsh, boys and girls, but ideas are not to be trifled with.

Finally, Zorn asks each reader to look at the images of coffins and Iraqi dead morphed into Bush’s face so that “you can decide if you would give your life or your child’s life for the cause we are fighting for in Iraq.”

But, that is the wrong question to ask. Should we also decide whether we will have a local policy in favor of apprehending bank robbers by asking if you are willing to risk your daughters’ lives to stop the bank theft. Same with fires? Will we only have a fire department that risks lives to put out fires if you are willing to put your children into a lottery to become firemen [or firewomen].

We have, last time I looked, in the United States, a free society. The Government, constitutionally, does not have the power to coerce me, or my kids, or anybody else, to join the military or the police or the fire department. However, if my kids, others or I voluntarily choose to join such government activities, and society, through its elected representatives, chooses to take such police, fire, or military action, and to tax all of us collectively to finance such activities, then we proceed. If not, we don’t. Those are the right questions to ask in a representative democracy, i.e., do I, as a citizen, think the cause in Iraq is worth X lives and Y dollars? Indeed, a somewhat wordy way of saying it, but that, of course, is no doubt a good part of the referendum or election we will be having on November 2, 2004—a somewhat more relevant and scientific click poll, hanging chads and all, than that offered by my good friend and fellow blogger, Eric Zorn.

Jeff Berkowitz, the Host and Producer of “Public Affairs,” can be reached at

Pat O'Malley, the Once and Future Republican Primary Candidate for Governor, argues for dumping Republican National Committeeman (Illinois) Bob Kjellander and much, much more on tonight's [April 26] City of Chicago edition of "Public Affairs," airing through-out the City of Chicago on Ch. 21 [just one channel short of CBS] at 8:30 pm. O'Malley debates and discusses various public policy and political topics with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz.

Honorable mentions on tonight's City of Chicago edition of "Public Affairs," include such notables as Corinne Wood, Rod Blagojevich, Judy Baar Topinka, Bob Schillerstrom, Bob Kjellander, Dave Sullivan, Kirk Dillard, Steve Rauschenberger, [RNC ?] Dan Proft, Barack Obama, Jack Ryan, Gary Skoien, Maureen Murphy, Tony Peraica, Andy McKenna, Jr. and Jim Oberweis.

Pat O'Malley, former three term state senator, suggests on tonight's Public Affairs that Illinois Leader President Dan Proft should replace Republican National Committeeman Bob Kjellander, who was the focus of criticism during the recent Republican primary U. S. senate race. O'Malley argues that Kjellander's actions to "secure," Republican votes [Sen. Sullivan and Sen. Dillard] to help Democratic Gov. Blagojevich pass legislation authorizing a bond sale of about 10 billion dollars showed poor judgment and put Kjellander's own interest ahead of the Republican Party. The legislation was opposed by Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson and the Senate Republican Caucus. O'Malley also argues that the Republican Party should start involving more young people [Proft is 31] in leadership roles .

O'Malley, although making a pitch for transparency by Jack Ryan, declines to say whether he was or is an investor in the, an online conservative publication. O'Malley, a former State Senator, states he is considering running for Governor, again, in 2006 and that he does not think State Senator Steve Rauschenberger will run for Governor, as he thinks Sen. Rauschenberger's interests are more in the legislative arena. He also discusses the possible gubernatorial candidacies of Judy Baar Topinka, Bob Schillerstrom and Corinne Wood. O'Malley and Berkowitz discuss, as well, the Jack Ryan/Barack Obama U. S. Senate race. A partial transcript of the show is included, below:
Berkowitz: As we sit here on April 10, there are two ways of looking at this [Senate] race, you have an...articulate conservative in Jack Ryan, somebody who we know and who has been on this show [two times], certainly articulate and thoughtful and is a good representative of the conservative point of view-- more than that, but that is one aspect; Barack Obama is articulate, been on this show [seven times], good representative of the liberal point of view, but the question is will we get to that [clash of views] because there is this issue of the sealed records, that is-- his[Jack Ryan's] child custody records, some would say his divorce records-- he would make that distinction-- are sealed and people are-- there are rumors about what is in there and should they be disclosed. Some are saying just that undercurrent is holding this race back from being the kind of discussion that I just mentioned of policy issues. What is your take on that? Is that currently happening and what will happen during the rest of the campaign?

O'Malley: Well, first of all, I know for a fact, because I got a call the day after the primary campaign, and Jack Ryan and his campaign staff were busy working the next day, which speaks well for their campaign. No. 2, this issue- you mentioned transparency before-- there has been some discussion that Mr. Ryan needs to become transparent on this issue. You know, at first blush, one would have to say- you know what, if he is protecting a child...

Berkowitz: If he is protecting a child, we would all agree that should be left confidential. But, if he is portecting himself and the Party from embarrassment, then what?

O'Malley: Well, my understanding is as of just these last couple of days, is that there is a referee who has been appointed to review the file and make a determination as to those items that need to be addressed to protect the interests of the child and distuinguish those from all others and I believe it is Ryan's intention to make those public. So, I think the public then will have the transparency that they are looking for--

Berkowitz: So, is it your sense that that will get removed as an issue and then we will see a race of [public policy] issues or--

O'Malley: Well, I hope it will get out of the way and that we will have a race of issues because I think you characterized both of these gentleman very well. I served in the [state] Senate at the same time as Barack Obama did; I think we shared six years together and Barack is-- He is certainly liberal, there is no question about that--

Berkowitz: Even as Jack Ryan is certainly conservative, to be fair.

O'Malley: He [Obama] also is articulate. Well, some people might say, if there is a moderate in this race- it is probably Jack, because Jack may be socially conservative; he may be fiscally conservative, but he also is almost a bleeding heart, about taking care of kids--

Berkowitz: about caring about the poor and Hope, Growth and Opportunity

O'Malley: and it is not just talk with Jack

Berkowitz: But, you can be conservative and be that, don't you think?

O'Malley: Absolutely, and that's the point.,,I was trying to say that if you are going to contrast them, I think the person who really cares in this race, based on my experience between serving with Barack and learning about Jack Ryan would be Jack Ryan.

Berkowitz: Well, I think Barack Obama certainly cares, too, so we are not going to let it go--

O'Malley: Oh, I have been there; I see how he cares.

Berkowitz: Well--

O'Malley: It's called [the] Great Society, reinvented.

Berkowitz: Well, you have a difference of opinion [as to what policies are best to pursue] but in terms of both individuals caring about assisting people, I think we can say they both care.

O'Malley: Oh, I don't question that.
Jeff Berkowitz: None of the other candidates, other than Rauschenberger, called for Bob Kjellander to step down [from his RNC post].

Patrick O'Malley: Not a one did.

Berkowitz: Now, Kjellander is a political operative, a lobbyist-- would that be a fair statement?

O'Malley: He is a lobbyist--

Berkowitz: He got an $800,000 fee for assisting in what?

O'Malley: Securing votes to pass a 10 billion dollar liability onto my children and my grandchildren. And, of course, everybody else's.

Berkowitz: He helped Gov. Blagojevich get the votes to pass the Governor's legislation to sell essentially 10 billion dollars worth of bonds, have an appreciation [of two billion billion dollars], credit that to reserves and therefore help deal with some of the deficit last year. Am I summarizing that correctly?

O'Malley: That's not what it did.

Berkowitz: It was an authorization to sell bonds, right?

O'Malley: It was an authorization to sell bonds, but the better interpretation--

Berkowitz: In the amount of?

O'Malley: 10 billion dollars was the authorization. You know, I am not going to argue his position--but let's look at the result. The people of Illinois are now 10 billlion dollars more in debt and the obligations--

Berkowitz: We don't know the result yet because the Blagojevich people were saying they could issue these bonds at five or five and one-half percent and get a return of eight per cent [on the funds] and therefore get essentially a two billion dollar capital gain.

O'Malley: Well, what they say and what's happening--

Berkowitz: But, that was the argument, right?

O'Malley: They can argue that until the cows come home; the bottom line is that it hasn't happened yet.

Berkowitz: Right, it is a thirty year plan.

O'Malley: This is government. Government shouldn't be speculating in the market place.

Berkowitz: So, you would have opposed that legislation?

O'Malley: Absolutely. Most Republicans in Illinois--

Berkowitz: And Gov. Blagojevich needed some Republican votes on that [to pass that legislation in the Senate] even though the Democrats have a pretty wide margin.

O'Malley: He [Blago] needed two Republican votes and Bob Kjellander went and secured them.

Berkowitz: And, who did he get to vote for this?

O'Malley: Well, the two that he[Kjellander] brought to the table were Sullivan from Park Ridge--

Berkowitz: State Senator Dave Sullivan

O'Malley: and [State] Senator Kirk Dillard from Hinsdale.

Berkowitz: And, he [Kjellander] secured them, that's what you are saying?

O'Malley: Correct

Berkowitz: And, do you think that kind of action, earning that kind of fee [$800,000], assisting Gov. Blagojevich- in your mind, is that accurate, is that what you think happened?

0'Malley: That's absolutely what I think happened.

Berkowitz: And, do you think that disqualifies him from being the RNC representative from Illinois?

O'Malley: It shows poor judgment and it shows putting personal interest ahead of what's good for the party.

Berkowitz: And, on May 14-15, there is a Republican State Party Convention in Collinsville, Illinois and that issue will be coming up among those who are attending that convention?

O'Malley : Well, that issue is alive and well right now, today. There is no question about it.

Berkowitz: It could be changed today? The Republican State Cental committee, is that what it is called? Those individuals could change that. right?

O'Malley: Yes, they could.

Berkowitz: And, even if they don't want to do it, the appropriate people who are attending the convention who have the power, they could cause the State Central Committee to put this up for a vote [The 19 State Central Committee members- one from each congressional district-- each appoint a nominator, and if seven of the nineteen nominators support sending the RNC position to the Convention for a vote of county delegates, off it goes. So, are there 7 State Central Committee nominators who would like to see Kjellander replaced?]

O'Malley: If there is a groundswell and there is a candidate at the convention, yes, that could happen.

Berkowitz: ...will it happen?

O'Malley: I would say right now it is in a period of formation.
whether it will--

Berkowitz: Who are some of the candidates to replace Bob Kjellander?

O'Malley: I think a lot of the U. S. Senate candidates's names havs have been mentioned.

Berkowitz: Steve Rauschenberge?

O'Malley: Steve's name has been mentioned.

Berkowitz: My understanding is that Steve doesn't want to do it. Is that your understanding?

O'Malley: I don't have a clear message from Steve on that...

Berkowitz: Who else? Is Oberweis thinking of challenging?

O'Malley: I haven't heard yet.

Berkowitz: McKenna?

O'Malley: McKenna...has said no...

Berkowitz: Would you support Andy Mckenna, Jr. if he were interested in it.

O'Malley: I could. Sure. Andy is a solid young man. I think he could do a great job for us.

Berkowitz: Pat O'Malley, would he do it?

O'Malley: If Pat O'Malley needed to do it, Pat O'Malley would be happy to do it. I would think Steve Rauschenberger feels the same way. But, let me make an appeal on your show for something else. I think it is time for Republicans in this state to start embracing young people. What a great opportunity right now with that office being opened up. Let's get one of the young people--

Berkowitz: Who do you have in mind?

O'Malley: Dan Proft would be excellent.

Berkowitz: Now, as we just said, you and Dan are very close. Dan is what- he is the President of the Illinois Leader- that is an online publication--, the Illinois Conservative voice, that has been around for, what, over a year-at least a year, longer--

O'Malley: Dan is 34 years old [Actually, only 31, but as a result of working so many jobs at one time, he may give the appearance of being 34] and the number of young people in this state who are looking for something to connect with is phenomenal and I think it would be a great opportunity for the Republican Party to embrace young people.

Jeff Berkowitz: Now, back to the Illinois Leader, are you the financial backer of the Illinois Leader?

Pat O'Malley: [Lots of laughter by Pat O'Malley]

Berkowitz: Well, that's a legitimate question, isn't it?

O'Malley: No, Dan Proft is the President of the Illinois Leader and he is doing a great job.

Berkowitz: He is the officer, but who provided the financial backing for the Illinois Leader.

O'Malley: As far as I know, Dan Proft did.

Berkowitz: ...So, you don't have any investment in the Illinois Leader?

O'Malley: Why would I have an investment in the Illinois Leader?

Berkowitz: I asked you a question. Do you have an investment in the Illinois Leader?

O'Malley: [More laughter]

Berkowitz: Are you going to answer that question.

O'Malley: Maybe we should speculate- let everybody speculate that I do.

Berkowitz: Okay, so you do have an investment in the Illinois Leader?

O'Malley: No, I didn't say that and I won't say that.

Berkowitz: You won't answer. It is privately held and you won't disclose who it is who owns the Illinois Leader.

O'Malley: I don't know those facts. It is not for me to share.

Berkowitz: You don't know those facts.

O'Malley: I am not in a position or privileged to share that kind of information.

Berkowitz: You say you are not in a position to-- do you know who owns the Illinois Leader?

O'Malley: I have some ideas of my own.

Berkowitz: What would those ideas be?

O'Malley: They are not for publication.

Berkowitz: Why is that? It is a serious thing. We always talk about transparency in politics. Here is an important publication and it is important certainly within conservative circles. And, you have just suggested that Dan Proft should be considered to be the RNC representative from Illinois. And, Dan Proft is the President of the Illinois Leader. Isn't it important to know how closely aligned Pat O'Malley is with the Illinois Leader. Does he [O'Malley] have an ownership share? If he doesn't, who does? It is a legitimate question for transparency.

Pat O'Malley: Call Dan Proft.

Berkowitz: You don't want to tell us. I think we have asked him before and I think he has said it is held privately and he is not going to disclose the owners. I think he said that on this show.

O'Malley: Maybe he and they can change their minds. [After this taping, Public Affairs contacted Dan Proft and Proft said the Illinois Leader was privately owned and he would not disclose the identities of the owners].
Jeff Berkowitz: …Pat O’Malley, as we sit here on [April] 10th, the two people [who are running for Cook County GOP chairman] are Maureen Murphy, who currently is the Cook County GOP Chairman and she is also on the Board of Review…and she is being challenged by Cook County Board Member Tony Pereica…and so Pat O’Malley, who is going to win…?

Pat O’Malley: My understanding is that there is a third candidate out there.

Berkowitz: Who is that?

O’Malley: I am not at liberty to announce who that candidate is. It was just shared with me the other day…somebody…in the northwestern suburban communities.

Berkowitz: What about you? Are you supporting Peraica? Murphy? Or somebody else?

O’Malley: That selection is made by the elected chairmen from the townships and the city wards, …there is no opportunity for anyone else.

Berkowitz: …You could twist…a few arms, if you want to. Who are you supporting?

O’Malley: I have not gotten involved in it.

Berkowitz; … you are not predicting who will win?

O’Malley: you know I would say that Peraica is very aggressive and Maureen Murphy has had a challenging tenure. I think she has served in this capacity for two years and she has been very challenged by all the problems that exist for Republicans in Cook County and it would seem to me that there is a real opportunity here for a third candidate to slip in and somehow make peace.

Berkowitz: Peraica is sort of a moderate, at least on some social issues; Maureen is pretty socially conservative, they are both economic conservatives; That is my impression, is that your impression?

O’Malley: I would say on the latter issue, I think that is absolutely true.

Berkowitz: What about socially conservative?

O’Malley: There is no question that Maureen is. I served with her. She was in the General Assembly.

Berkowitz: Would you as a social conservative be concerned about having Peraica there.

O’Malley: I really don’t know what Peraica’s position is on social issues.

Berkowitz: I think he said on this show that he would support Senate Bill 101 [Legislation to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing and employment]

O’Malley: Is that right?

Berkowitz: That was more than a few months ago. Perhaps that has changed. Of course, it wasn’t something he was focusing on a lot…

O’Malley: I wonder if he knew what it was all about.

Berkowitz: Well, I tried to explain it [to him on the show]

O’Malley: Of course, they [ Cook County] had a registry they established [to facilitate domestic partnership employee benefits].

Berkowitz: That’s right, he opposed that, but he said on this show that he opposed it because he didn’t think it would have any impact—it wasn’t so much- I didn’t get the impression- philosophically [he did say that that he had to represent his constituents]. You understand that? You don’t get “Public Affairs,” so you may miss out on some of this.

O’Malley: I should get “Public Affairs.”
Pat O’Malley, interviewed on “Public Affairs,” recorded on April 10, 2004, and as is being cablecast in throughout the City of Chicago tonight, Monday, April 26 at 8:30 pm on Ch. 21; Ed. note: On April 14, 2004, the Cook County GOP Ward and Township committeemen elected Palatine Township Republican Committeeman [and former Gov. Jim Thompson staffer] Gary Skoien as their new Cook County GOP Chairman, with Skoien defeating the incumbent-- Maureen Murphy, 61% to 39%, and Peraica dropping out of the race before the election. See, blog entries, below, for analyses of the election.
Jeff Berkowitz, host and producer of "Public Affair," and author of this blog, can be contacted at

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Thom Serafin, Head of the communication management consulting firm of Serafin and Associates and a Fox News Political Analyst, is featured on this coming week's suburban edition of "Public Affairs." Serafin advises, on the show, President Bush and John Kerry on how to deal with PR and crisis management aspects of terrorist incidents; advises Jack Ryan on how to deal with sealed records, advises Obama, Ryan and Bush on what their campaign messages should be; debates and discusses with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz who will win the Senate race, whether there will be a resurrection in the Illinois GOP, school vouchers , "Monkey Business," Gary Hart, when bad things happen to good politicians, Carol Marin and media bias or fairness.

A partial transcript of the show and suburban airing schedules [channels, dates, times and suburbs] are included, below. The show will also air in the City of Chicago on Monday night, May 3 at 8:30 pm on Ch. 21.

Jeff Berkowitz: …Within what period of time, one year, two years [when will there be another terrorist incident in the U. S.?]

Thom Serafin: From the perspective of being the crisis communicator, in that position, my attitude is, and I think the President is laying the groundwork for that and he has alerted everybody to that, this is a war, we are at war here, even though we are comfortable at home, and we have the wine and cheese set and we have the baseball games and we have summer vacations, we are at war and we have American soldiers dying- 88 in the last month, or three weeks in Iraq. So, this has been a tough month, a terrible month, but it has brought home to the United States the reality that this is a war. And, we are at war because we are concerned about another attack; there will be another attack- we hope it is not on our soil, but you saw what happened in Madrid, and what happened with the elections [there].

Berkowitz: Make a prediction; we are not going to let you off the hook.
There will be another [terrorist] incident in the U. S. ? Within what period of time?

Serafin: …I think they are going to try to do something between Labor Day and Election Day [Nov. 2, 2004]—sometime between September and the end of October.

Berkowitz: Are they trying to influence the [U. S.] Election just as they did in Spain by doing that? …They are disagreeing with you[r] [previous statement that a terrorist incident in the U. S. before the election would benefit President Bush politically.]

Serafin: Who is they?

Berkowitz: [Osama] Bin Laden. Al Qaeda. Because they are saying basically “We [Al Qaeda] are trying to skew this election toward John Kerry, and if we [do a terrorist] incident [in the U.S.], that will cause President [Bush] to lose credibility, lose strength, we will help elect John Kerry.” Their view is that John Kerry will be more sympathetic to the treatment of the terrorists. I am not saying that the terrorists are right. But that sounds like the strategic view of Al Qaeda.

Serafin: Right, and they have put John Kerry and his people on the spot. And, his influence on what happens in Washington. If you look at the responses he [Kerry] has had since Madrid, they have been very surgical on how the President is handling the Iraqi War.

Berkowitz: He is now becoming much more of a supporter of the War in Iraq.

Serafin: Well, he [Kerry] has to be very careful, because if he goes the other direction, and he becomes Bin Laden’s candidate for President-

Berkowitz: So, Kerry is moving toward the center.

Serafin: Yes.

Berkowitz: In any case, whether it is the typical movement of any politician having run in a Democratic Primary that is to the Left—just as the Republican Primary is to the Right—now Kerry is moving to the Center, but in addition there is this strategic military reason for doing so.

Serafin: Right, he is being very surgical with the language…He has been very quiet the last two or three weeks while the President seems to be twisting in the wind with this Iraqi situation.
Serafin: I became a journalism student because of Watergate…[The late Former Senator] Paul Simon was my journalism teacher at the time and he said, “let’s go change the world.”

Berkowitz: Did you? Did Paul? Paul was the U. S. Senator for--

Serafin: Well, you change the people around you and hope they go out and change other people around them. I don’t know if you change the world. One man can make a difference. One woman can make a difference…[Ed. Note, Talking about changing the world, Bono [U2] said, “I can’t change the world, but I know people who can. That’s probably the deal here.” Perhaps this was said with reference to his trip to Africa with former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill to elicit more assistance from the U. S. to deal with HIV-AIDS in Africa. CNN Presents, Time’s 100 Most Influential People, 4/24/04.

Berkowitz: Would you say that you tend to lean as a Democrat because of the influence of Paul Simon?

Serafin: …Years ago, I would have said, Yes. But, because of that influence, I have really been more of an independent. Not that I have not been able to identify with the Democrat or Republican Party. But, I have always kind of identified with a box of issues that have been important to me. I thought that Gary Hart was brilliant when it came to foreign relations. I worked for him…in the first campaign [83-84] as a volunteer; in the second campaign [87-88] I was actually working running the State of Illinois and back and forth to Iowa.

Berkowitz: Were you advising him how to deal with Monkey Business?

Serafin: Well, you know, that was a very, short brief two week period. We didn’t have a lot of time, unfortunately. I wish we had—

Berkowitz: Now Monkey Business was the name of the boat, right?

Serafin: And, Donna Rice was the name of the individual.

Berkowitz: And, …reporters suspected he [Gary Hart] was having an affair, a relationship with someone [while running in the Democratic Primaries for President]

Serafin: Yes, I went on Ch. 5 to talk with Carol Marin that evening and you know [if] he had an erection on a Wednesday evening, it became front-page news everywhere [on Thursday morning].

Berkowitz: He had a what?

Serafin: An erection.

Berkowitz: We can say that on TV.

Serafin: Well, we did that night, too.

Berkowitz: But, the point is, he was being followed by the press [because they suspected an affair] and he knew that and he told the reporters to follow him and they followed him and found him with Donna Rice. Was that kind of a dumb move, would you say?
Jeff Berkowitz: The question is—will it be a [U. S. Senate] race of issues. That is, will we see the clash of the articulate, conservative thoughts of Jack Ryan and the articulate, liberal thoughts of Barack Obama or will it be the rumor and innuendo about Jack Ryan and his sealed child custody records or divorce records or what is in those records and I raise that in the context of what we have just been talking about— Gary Hart’s Monkey Business. Has the nation and the state matured as to non-policy issues…and what a candidate has done, whether it is [Democratic U. S. Senate Candidate] Barack Obama or [Republican U. S. Senate Candidate]Jack Ryan?

Thom Serafin: Excellent point. The problem with Jack and the problem with Blair Hull is the way you respond to those issues. It is not the divorce or it is not the—in any divorce and I talk about this with my friends who have been divorced—you make wild charges back and forth, because you are leveraging whatever it is you are going to decide in front of a court of law. I am worse, you are terrible. He did this. She did this. Most of it is not true or it is exaggerated.

Berkowitz: So, what does Jack Ryan do. Give him some advice. Has he asked you for it. Have you been retained by Jack Ryan.

Serafin: No, No. I have not been retained. But, I know Jack. You have to put it out on the table.

Berkowitz: Transparency?

Serafin: Full disclosure

Berkowitz: Now, why isn’t he doing it.

Serafin: I think he is not doing it because he probably thinks there are things in there that he feels can be damaging to his personal

Berkowitz: you would say to Jack what when he told you that?

Serafin: I would say, Jack, it is a divorce proceeding. And, there are many people who have been divorced in this country. They understand what happens in those situations.

Berkowitz: They’ll understand?

Serafin: The line between love and hate is very thin.

Berkowitz: So, they’ll understand? Put it out there and they’ll understand?

Serafin: I think if you go out there and use third party messengers and you speak to that issue, the answer is yes.

Berkowitz; Third Party messengers?

Serafin: Well, you know-- he has a family. His wife is out there.

Berkowitz: His ex-wife [Jeri Lynn Ryan].

Serafin: His ex-wife. His mother. He has a great family.

Berkowitz: So, they should be talking about this for him.

Serafin: They should be speaking to his character. The issue is about his character. It is not about what is in his divorce proceeding.
But, the other side is going to take advantage of it and ride it all the way to victory, I think.

Berkowitz: Is that your prediction. You are predicting this evening, April 15, Barack Obama wins.

Serafin: Well, I don’t make predictions. But, I certainly think he is going to win this race.

Berkowitz: By what margin.

Serafin: Oh, I don’t know. If you look at generic polls: if people are going to vote Democrat or Republican in the fall, the generic polls that I have seen- The Republicans are behind 52 to 36 [in Illinois].

Berkowitz: So, a lot of this problem is not Jack Ryan’s problem, it is the problem of the Republican Party versus the Democratic Party in Illinois.

Serafin: The Republican Party in Illinois is on Life Support and even then I think people have already pulled the plug on it. So, you need a message, you need messengers, you need leadership—

Berkowitz: You need a resurrection. We just passed Easter. There was a Resurrection—Christians would believe.

Serafin: But, you are talking about a great man who was resurrected. In this situation, a great—

Berkowitz: Christ. Jesus Christ. You are saying Jack Ryan is no Jesus Christ, is that your point?

Serafin: That’s correct. [Laughter] You are really good.

Berkowitz: He may be- [that] in the Republican Party, if he leads a resurrection. That might change your mind. He might be able to walk on water.

Serafin: That’s right.

Berkowitz: I don’t mean that in a sacrilegious way. But, they need somebody almost with that, if not a miracle, that kind of accomplishment. You know, what about—

Serafin: What’s the message? What’s the message of the Republican Party?

Berkowitz: Well, the message of Jack Ryan, you have heard him, right. It’s about, it really kind of takes after Jack Kemp: Hope, Growth, and Opportunity. The difference is—Jack is taking something and made it a theme--Education. You folks are working with Students First [Foundation—], Right?

Serafin: Right.

Berkowitz: And Ron Gidwitz?

Serafin. Right.

Berkowitz. And, their approach is we need to spend more money on education, basically.

Serafin: Right.

Berkowitz: And, Jack says no. He says what we need to do is give people school choice. You know, you have seen this backpack.

Serafin: Yes

Berkowitz: We take our—oops, I wonder if I brought my $9,000. Jack says almost the same thing. We spend $9,000. Here we go. We spend $9,000 on education in the City of Chicago [Public Schools] per kid, per year. That is the operating cost. If you include capital costs, it is $11,000 [per kid, per year, that we spend.] …
Berkowitz: … My point here is not to say Jack Ryan is good, Barack Obama is bad because they are both good gentleman- I like them both. And, we will let voters decide. We are fair and balanced, here. We are sort of like Fox—tough, but fair. So, I am not taking a position on a candidate. We will let voters decide. But, you said, is there an issue? Well, this is a very dramatic issue. It is the first time that I know of—of a major Republican candidate across the state of Illinois saying he cares about low income people across the state of Illinois enough to put his neck on the line, to take on the teachers’ unions- who, you know, are adamantly opposed to this [School Choice, school vouchers]. That is an issue, is it a winning issue?

Serafin: It is part of a winning issue. And, that is part of a winning message. What you need is—you need a more sophisticated system of education here in Illinois. And, what he is talking about is a tactical solution to a specific issue. But, then, those children that are left behind, those children that won’t have the kind of sophisticated teaching—

Berkowitz: Wait a second, who is left behind? Everybody can go. They all have the choice. If all 440,000 kids want to go to a private school, they go.

Serafin: What private schools do they go to? There aren’t enough private schools.

Berkowitz: Well, you understand [what happens] in capitalism. Demand creates its own supply. So, when we give people four billion dollars-- we are currently spending 4.9 billion dollars [on the CPS] in the City of Chicago. If we give people essentially 5 billion dollars of purchasing power to spend at the school of their choice, within very short order, you will have lots of entrepreneurs, and lots of private schools, and lots of choice in a spread of geographic areas…

Serafin: …I happen to agree with the [school] voucher program—I support—

Berkowitz: So, you favor school choice- school vouchers?

Serafin: Yes. I grew up in Milwaukee and the program is working in Milwaukee.

Berkowitz: It is working in Milwaukee. It is working in Cleveland.

Serafin: But, that only takes a small layer of it. You have to deal with all of those other children that don’t have the same opportunity and won’t have the opportunity to use those vouchers.

Berkowitz: Who won’t have the opportunity?

Serafin: The school system we have—

Berkowitz: All right, we don’t time to go further on this. [But] I got quite a concession. You like school vouchers—we are going to move on because we don’t have too much time [left]. But, anyway, you can see that could be a major issue….

Berkowitz: My point is, all of that [that you raising about education] takes time because that is a political negotiation. The thing that Jack Ryan is suggesting [vouchers] can happen right now without altering political power.

Serafin: You think he is going to make that the cornerstone of his campaign?

Berkowitz: You have to listen to this guy, yes. He is talking about lowering taxes. He is talking about increasing jobs. He is talking about, what-- helping low income people have access to the free market. This is one of his themes. Now, we will see—the question is, how fair is the press going to be in covering this.

Serafin: Well, if you are relying on the Fourth Estate, my old career, journalism, to be fair, you are going to be out of luck. It is not about—

Berkowitz: They are not fair? Ch. 11 is not fair.

Serafin: No, I mean—

Berkowitz: You are saying, No, they are not fair?

Serafin: No, I don’t think anybody in the business is fair. Because we are not looking for fairness. You are looking for copy and putting people on the air and newsmakers, television is looking to put the hot story on the air that night—

Berkowitz: Wait a second, wait—

Serafin: They have six crews and you have 22 stories and you have to make decisions about what you are going to put on the air and you have to be able to do it in a minute and half package and you do a stand up and then you have to write a lead in, so you can’t deal with these complex stories--

Berkowitz: Well, no, wait a second—we are going to continue to speak as the credits roll…

Berkowitz: …why doesn’t fairness sell? You know, there is very little politics [discussed] on 2, 5 and 7. Even Ch. 11 {WTTW, Public TV], Chicago Tonight used to be a half hour [of Public Policy issues programming]. They expanded it to one hour and then they cut the public policy [discussion] down to fifteen minutes. Now, what kind of a way is that to run a railroad? You want to be critical of Ch. 11, WTTW tonight?

Serafin: No, time is money. I am not being critical of anyone. The facts are—

Berkowitz: No, it’s supposed to be an educational program. It is public TV. Why would they add gadgets, gizmos and movie reviews and cut down their public policy. Where is their balance on WTTW? They have Tavis Smiley on there, who is quite a liberal. They have Bill Moyers [who is far left]. This is from the national aspect of Public TV. Where is the conservative? I am just saying—where is the fair and balanced?

Serafin: That’s a good question. That’s a good question.

Berkowitz: So, you agree with me.

Serafin: Our country has attention deficit disorder. That’s why people deal in sound bites. That’s why USA Today is such a wonderful newspaper for most of the country—the stories are short and written at the fourth grade level.

Berkowitz: So, what is the message for Jack Ryan that you would tell him that he needs to win.

Serafin: He needs to grow taxpayers. Growing taxpayers means educating their kids, getting them good jobs.

Berkowitz: What is the message for Barack Obama?

Serafin: Barack Obama has got to move a little bit more toward the middle and appeal to the moderates a little bit more. I think he is in pretty good shape. He could ride this all the way—

Berkowitz: What is the message for George Bush? Can he win?

Serafin: George Bush can win if he can solve and get a victory in this war.

Berkowitz: Get a victory?

Serafin: You know, capture Bin Laden- bring some peace for three or four months.

Berkowitz: So, capturing Bin Laden might do it?

Serafin: You can’t win with 88 Americans dying every three weeks between now and Election Day.

Berkowitz: Is it “National Security, stupid,” Is that the issue? Or, is it “It’s the Economy, Stupid.”

Serafin: It is the War on Terrorism.

Berkowitz: So, it is National Security. It is not the Economy. It is not jobs. It is not health care.

Serafin: No.
Schedule for Upcoming Suburban editions of "Public Affairs:"

Week of April 26-- Thom Serafin, Fox News political analyst and President of Serafin and Associates, debates and discusses with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz what PR firms can and do do when bad [and good] things happen to good politicians.

Week of May 3-- State Rep. Julie Hamos (D- Evanston) debates and discusses with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz affordable housing, education funding, tax increases, unemployment, minimum wage increase, the Governor's plan to reorganize the State Board of Education and various other state legislative issues.

The suburban edition of "Public Affairs," is broadcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire,
Riverwoods and Winnetka.

The suburban edition also is broadcast every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.
Please send any comments about this blog or the Public Affairs show to
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of "Public Affairs." He can be reached at

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Pat O'Malley, a Republican Party leader, speaks about the
Jack Ryan v. Barack Obama U. S. Senate race:

Berkowitz: As we sit here on April 10, there are two ways of looking at this [Senate] race, you have an...articulate conservative in Jack Ryan, somebody who we know and who has been on this show [two times], certainly articulate and thoughtful and is a good representative of the conservative point of view-- more than that, but that is one aspect; Barack Obama is articulate, been on this show [seven times], good representative of the liberal point of view, but the question is will we get to that [clash of views] because there is this issue of the sealed records, that is-- his[Jack Ryan's] child custody records, some would say his divorce records-- he would make that distinction-- are sealed and people are-- there are rumors about what is in there and should they be disclosed. Some are saying just that undercurrent is holding this race back from being the kind of discussion that I just mentioned of policy issues. What is your take on that? Is that currently happening and what will happen during the rest of the campaign?

O'Malley: Well, first of all, I know for a fact, because I got a call the day after the primary campaign, and Jack Ryan and his campaign staff were busy working the next day, which speaks well for their campaign. No. 2, this issue- you mentioned transparency before-- there has been some discussion that Mr. Ryan needs to become transparent on this issue. You know, at first blush, one would have to say- you know what, if he is protecting a child...

Berkowitz: If he is protecting a child, we would all agree that should be left confidential. But, if he is portecting himself and the Party from embarrassment, then what?

O'Malley: Well, my understanding is as of just these last couple of days, is that there is a referee who has been appointed to review the file and make a determination as to those items that need to be addressed to protect the interests of the child and distuinguish those from all others and I believe it is Ryan's intention to make those public. So, I think the public then will have the transparency that they are looking for--

Berkowitz: So, is it your sense that that will get removed as an issue and then we will see a race of [public policy] issues or--

O'Malley: Well, I hope it will get out of the way and that we will have a race of issues because I think you characterized both of these gentleman very well. I served in the [state] Senate at the same time as Barack Obama did; I think we shared six years together and Barack is-- He is certainly liberal, there is no question about that--

Berkowitz: Even as Jack Ryan is certainly conservative, to be fair.

O'Malley: He [Obama] also is articulate. Well, some people might say, if there is a moderate in this race- it is probably Jack, because Jack may be socially conservative; he may be fiscally conservative, but he also is almost a bleeding heart, about taking care of kids--

Berkowitz: about caring about the poor and Hope, Growth and Opportunity

O'Malley: and it is not just talk with Jack

Berkowitz: But, you can be conservative and be that, don't you think?

O'Malley: Absolutely, and that's the point.,,I was trying to say that if you are going to contrast them, I think the person who really cares in this race, based on my experience between serving with Barack and learning about Jack Ryan would be Jack Ryan.

Berkowitz: Well, I think Barack Obama certainly cares, too, so we are not going to let it go--

O'Malley: Oh, I have been there; I see how he cares.

Berkowitz: Well--

O'Malley: It's called [the] Great Society, reinvented.

Berkowitz: Well, you have a difference of opinion [as to what policies are best to pursue] but in terms of both individuals caring about assisting people, I think we can say they both care.

O'Malley: Oh, I don't question that.
Pat O'Malley, interviewed on "Public Affairs," recorded on April 10 and as is being cablecast in the suburbs this week [See, below, for suburban airing schedule and locations] and as will be cablecast in the City of Chicago on Monday night, April 26 at 8:30 pm on Ch. 21

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn's latest blog entry, TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 2004, [], see below, takes us to some of the pictures of what it means to bear any burden, pay any price for freedom and liberty, paraphrasing JFK, Kennedy, not Kerry, that is:


Caption: "Flag-draped coffins are secured inside a cargo plane on April 7 at Kuwait International Airport."

Meanwhile, here is a photo mosaic making its way around the Web in which the war dead become the image of President Bush.

But, since I know Eric Zorn to be fair and balanced--indeed almost the equivalent of a publc service, when will he be putting up the photos of what partial birth abortions bring us, or perhaps abortions in general? or maybe the tens of thousands (or is it hundreds of thousands) of Iraqis who were slaughtered by Saddam and his "insurgent" friends that he left behind for us-- Yes, what is the rate of substitution for an Iraqi life and a U. S. Soldier, 100 to 1? And, these pictures would be labelled as what-- photos the Pro-choicers don't want you to see? Photos Michael Moore doesn't want you to see?

Ah, and just how do we capture in pictures the possibility of freedom caused by the removal of Saddam. Yes, what would Bill Moyers of that fair and balanced PBS say about that on NOW? Or What would Tavis Smiley of that fair and balanced PBS say about that on Tavis Smiley[Arianna Huffington last night and John Dean tonight as guests; I mean, what could be more fair than that--Tavis probably thinks he had two Rs on his show? Or what would Washington Week on the Left of that fair and balanced PBS say about that? Or Jennings, Rather and Brokaw? Or CNBC, MSNBC or CNN? You can see why we need Air America.

I mean, perhaps I am jumping the gun. Perhaps Eric simply thought the pictures were thought provoking, as indeed they are. But, if we are going to try to use pictures to decide tough issues, shouldn't we be fair and balanced in our selection of which pictures to show. In the words of our fearless leaders (Bush and Kerry), bring them on-- Pictures, that is.

Perhaps the "balanced," pictures just weren't ready, yet. After all, it took a while for someone to produce, "The killing fields." I mean, two million people are so easy to overlook.

Speaking of Michael Moore, that hero of the Left, his site-- is one of those internet sites with the picture of the War Dead morphing into Bush that Eric references. An April 14, 2004 entry from Moore's site gives us some of the wisdom of Michael Moore:

"The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win."

"There is a lot of talk amongst Bush's opponents that we should turn this war over to the United Nations. Why should the other countries of this world, countries who tried to talk us out of this folly, now have to clean up our mess? I oppose the U.N. or anyone else risking the lives of their citizens to extract us from our debacle. I'm sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end."

Yes, you can see why Michael Moore is so respected by the Left. Just maybe God will forgive us? Glad to find out from Mr. Moore that God is not dead, only hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. But will God or the Iraqi people forgive Michael Moore? I wouldn't think so. Here is an idea, maybe 9/11 Commissioner Ben-Veniste, if he finally discovers that Jamie Gorelick has a conflict, can ask Hamilton and Kean to replace her with Moore. Michael certainly is an objective kind of guy and he should fit in with the rest of what has become known as the 9/11 Circus.

I look forward to Eric's next slide show.

Jeff Berkowitz can be reached at

Monday, April 19, 2004

Tonight, Monday, April 19, Cable Ch. 21 at 8:30 pm is, of course, the regular weekly time for “Public Affairs,” through-out the City of Chicago. Become a Paul Green/Jeff Berkowitz watcher. Indeed, you can find Ch. 21 by stopping just one channel short of CBS (Two and a Half Men?), and yet you get so much more—A thoughtful, yet entertaining, humorous and illuminating clash on the national and state issues of our time.

Much, much better than Hannity and Colmes, Deborah Norville, Larry King, Las Vegas, Antiques Roadshow and even the Apprentice (We trump Trump).

Paul Green, WGN- 720 AM Radio Political Pundit and Roosevelt Prof., debates and discusses with show host and legal Recruiter Jeff Berkowitz Women’s rights; the Iraq War; School Vouchers; Does Race matter? Is the Machine Dead? Is God Dead? Barack Obama v. Jack Ryan/ As goes Ohio/Michigan, so goes the Country? Kerry v. Bush/ Blago v. Lisa Madigan/Can Berkowitz Stump Paul Green? A partial transcript of some of the show’s scintillating dialogue is included, below. Of course, the dynamic style and humor of our guest can only be captured by the TV show, not by mere printed words.
Paul Green: …When you think of Jeff Berkowitz, you always think of someone who has been in the vanguard for Women’s rights.

Berkowitz: Indeed, I have. I have two daughters. There is nothing I want more than equal opportunity for women. Anybody who has daughters would say that, right?

Green: I have one, too.

Berkowitz: There you go.
Berkowitz: …Can [John Kerry] build any trust in his foreign policy?

Paul Green: Sure.

Berkowitz: You think so, hasn’t he been on all sides on all issues?

Green: That is what the Bush people want to say.

Berkowitz: Well, would you say that?

Green: Well, one side he has been on—there is no one in the White House or anyone there who is talking tough who has ever been in battle. I mean it is easy—

Berkowitz: Yes, but if you are a hero, and he is a bona fide hero in terms of the military action that he gave this country in the early 70s

Green: Yes.

Berkowitz: Does that mean that you are necessarily the person with the best [foreign] policy thirty years later simply because you engaged in some heroic activity thirty years previously?

Green: Well, it is not a negative. You know, we have a long history in this country of electing Generals as Presidents.

Berkowitz: He is far from a General

Green: No, he defeated one in the Primary.

Berkowitz: Well, yeah, that guy was far from a General, too.

Green: I didn’t realize Jeff that you had become a military expert—

Berkowitz: Oh, come on now.

Green: The fact of the matter is—

Berkowitz: You are going to equate Wesley Clark with Dwight D. Eisenhower?

Green: Most of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s career wasn’t nearly as good as Wesley Clark’s. Eisenhower did peak at the end, but for most of the time, he was a gofer. If you read the history of Dwight Eisenhower--

Berkowitz: Yeah, but the end is what counts.

Green: Well, indeed, no argument there.
Berkowitz: Is education important to jobs in Illinois?

Green: Oh absolutely. And, again, each of these issues is so complicated and so—

Berkowitz: Is it so complicated? We have this backpack, here and you know this backpack, right?

Green: Oh, I know.

Berkowitz: This is our miniature backpack, but it will suffice.

Berkowitz: So you know the Jack Ryan approach [to this issue]. I am not supporting any candidate [for the U. S. Senate], but I am going to highlight the difference here. Jack Ryan says he supports school vouchers, school choice. We spend $9,000 [per kid, per year in the Chicago Public Schools] on operating costs. It is about $11,000- if you include capital costs. Jack says, give each student the amount equal to operating costs, or a little less. So, let’s say [we give each student] $9,000- that’s my approach. Put it in the backpack. Strap the backpack on each kid. There are 440,000 students in the City of Chicago. Let’s just talk about the City of Chicago now. We could talk about East St. Louis, as well.

Berkowitz: Give the backpack of money to the parent of each kid. The parent now has a choice. If the parent chooses to go to a private school, the backpack goes to the private school. The money follows the kid. Out goes the kid and out goes the money. The public school isn’t any worse off because it has lost one kid, but it has also lowered its operating cost by $9,000, the average operating cost of educating a kid in a Chicago public school.

Berkowitz: Now-- there is competition. Now-- there is innovation. Now-- possibly more kids can learn how to read, write, do math in a private school. How can anyone be against this? Well, Barack Obama, Democrat U. S. Senate candidate, is adamantly opposed to what I just said, school choice – school vouchers. Jack Ryan, Republican U. S. Senate candidate, is for this option. So, that is one case in which there is a choice, not an echo [between these two Senate candidates].

Green: When you replay this over the air, I certainly hope you have Stephen Foster music, like a beautiful dreamer, because that would certainly fit what you just said.

Berkowitz: What is the problem with that. Here, you take the backpack.

Green: No, Jeff, there is a lot of money in there.

Berkowitz: How is a student worse off as a result of that backpack? Answer that question.

Green: …You have turned into a bureaucrat. Forget all the finance and forget all the education factors, how are you going to administer that? Who is going to do that?

Berkowitz: State and Local governments. Just like we do it now. Only difference is--

Green: State board of education? Local school districts?

Berkowitz: For the city of Chicago, it is very simple. The CPS has the money now. It simply takes these backpacks, it takes the money it gets from the state; takes the money it gets from the property taxes, it accumulates all of the money and puts it all into the backpack, and it says you have a voucher for $9,000 and that’s it. If you go to a school, so that school gets you as a student, [then for the first year, the school would get a voucher that it could redeem for $9,000 from the CPS; in subsequent years] it would get a voucher to redeem from the state and local governmental units for a total of $9,000.

Green: Who is going to transport the kids?

Berkowitz: Well, if they are close enough

Green: Oh, if!

Berkowitz; Many will be. Look, producers tend to go where the customers are. The customers are in various geographic areas.

Green: On, so we are not going to have existing schools, we are going to have new schools?

Berkowitz: If you are going to have 200,000 students leave the public schools, you are going to need some new schools.

Green: And, who is going to run those schools?

Berkowitz: Entrepreneurs, the same kind of people who make computers, build cars, service cars, provide stores—you know this is not a socialist country; it is a free enterprise country. Do you wake up every day and say who is going to produce sweaters that you buy, suits that you buy?

Green: No, don’t change the subject.

Berkowitz: It all comes from free enterprise.

Green: What are the responsibilities for those people? How are they going to--

Berkowitz: [Their responsibility is to] satisfy the customers more than they are now because the customers can always go back to the crummy schools that failed to teach them how to read.

Green: Most of those crummy schools may close.

Berkowitz: If they do [and the customers want them back], they’ll come back. Government is never slow to step into--

Green: Who is going to pay for all this?

Berkowitz: Who is going to pay? We are paying now. We are paying 4.9 billion dollars [per year] now [for the CPS].

Green: But, you are going to pay more. You better get a bigger backpack.

Berkowitz: Oh no, I don’t think so.

Green: Because the backpack that they are going to take back from some fly by night operation—Who is going to license those schools?

Berkowitz: The same people who do it now. They do accreditation. We are just not going to—

Green: The State Board?

Berkowitz: We are going to look at very basic things. If there is fraud—

Green: Will these be private religious schools?

Berkowitz: We can cross that bridge if we have to but I am saying-

Green: Do we avoid the First Amendment?

Berkowitz: Even if we don’t allow them to be religious, they would be very much improved for students.

Green: So we are going to use tax dollars to support various religious groups.

Berkowitz: No, I am saying if you want to say we can’t do that- the U. S. Supreme Court actually differs in the Zelman case from [what you are suggesting]. But if you think the Court would agree with you, I think people would be content to have private, non-sectarian school choice.

Green: What if we have 20,000 kids who want to go to Islamic schools?

Berkowitz: Well, they can do that now but they have to pay [for that themselves].

Green: You would support that?

Berkowitz: No, I am saying that if you think that is the case and the Supreme Court would support you [that is reverse Zelman and say that vouchers can’t be used at religious schools], I can live with it either way [religious or not religious schools]. My concern is to allow kids who are not learning how to read to have an opportunity to do so. That is probably the most important thing we can do for them, right?

Green: Well, we agree on that.
Berkowitz: Basically, [Senator John Edwards] was running [for President] on a protectionist program, which we had in the 1930s-- which helped turn a recession into a depression—when we raised tariffs all around. This was John Edwards' solution basically, he didn’t say it clearly—but it was basically to wall off opportunities, to wall off globalism, to wall off trade—not exactly an enlightened approach from somebody who is the Director of the School of Policy Studies, right?

Green: Don’t equate me with John Edwards.

Berkowitz: No, I am saying you would refute that because you don’t teach people that trade is a bad thing, do you?

Green: No, no.

Berkowitz: But, that is what John Edwards was saying: Trade is a bad thing.

Green: We have a New Economy- but the people have to earn a living and—

Berkowitz: They do.

Green: And, all of the fancy verbalizations of the famous Jeff Berkowitz doesn’t take away from the fact that there are a lot of working people out there that are struggling to earn a living. And that is a problem that the President of the United States has to—

Berkowitz: Hope, growth and opportunity. Cutting tax rates, giving people an incentive to work, save and invest will create more jobs. You can’t dispute that, can you?

Green: We’ll see if in fact they create more jobs or if they just pocket the money.
Berkowitz: We are taping this show on April 1, 2004, …but just about a year ago, April 3, 2003, you said on this show, “I have no problem with the whole idea of going to War in Iraq.” That was your statement—are you going to stand by that.

Paul Green: Yes.

Berkowitz: It was a good move. Would you say that?

Green: Anything to get rid of Saddam Hussein, I think, but there was more that I said, too.

Berkowitz: There was. You said there were three ways to analyze this to see if this was a good public policy action. One, is the U. S. safer? Let’s analyze that now. Is the United States safer as a result of going into Iraq?

Green: That’s a really tough question. There hasn’t been any terrorist attacks in this country but I think the question remains very open whether or not we are safer and what’s happening now in Washington with the 9/11 Commission and all that coming out, my guess… is probably no change.

Berkowitz: Not safer, not less safe?

Green: Right, the risk is about the same… go ahead, read the other two.

Berkowitz: Is it a better life for the Iraqi people, as we sit here today?

Green: That is a very tough question. We are trying to create a democracy in a region that only has one or maybe two democracies [and that has] no tradition of democracy. We are trying to imbue individuals who have deep religious and tribal differences with the notion of the rule of law and the rule of the ballot box…It is going to be a very tough slog…it is a gray area- there is no—

Berkowitz: What is the grayness? You, at one point, had a ruthless dictator who had shown the propensity and willingness to use chemical and biological weapons. Now, that person is not in power. Now you have a governing council that is more democratic.

Green: Well, anything would be more democratic

Berkowitz: So, that is a plus. And, you have a constitution tentatively written. And you have a chance that there will be democratic elections within the next year to elect a government. Now, how could that possibly be worse than what the Iraqi citizens had a year ago?

Green: Three or four possible answers. No. 1, you will never hear me say anything positive about Saddam Hussein. Anything would be better than him. But, put that aside for a second. Are the Iraqi people better off now, to use the Ronald Reagan line, than they were a year ago? That’s debatable. Is the economy coming back?

Berkowitz: Why is that debatable?

Green: Let me just finish my points. No. 3. The economy of Iraq…some of these…overstated views that we would be viewed as liberators—You know, vice president Cheney doesn’t talk much, but when he does talk a lot, it usually is not the truth [Ed.note—Paul Green says he is the “white line down the middle of the road”; It appears the “White Line” is veering, here, to the left] You have this notion—we aren’t liberators, we aren’t selling Iraqi oil and having them pay for their own rehabilitation. It is costing American taxpayers an awful lot of money. And, No. 4, All the things you mention about the potential good things [e.g., a model democracy in the Middle East], none of them may work—we may end up with a complete morass there where we have this constant fighting and picking off our soldiers and no chance of ever having anything close to a democracy…on the other hand Saddam Hussein was one of the most ruthless individuals who have ever lived—getting rid of him was a plus, so as I said at the beginning, it is not a good multiple choice question because there is not a simple answer. There is that gray area in there…I am not very optimistic.

Berkowitz: …Would you say over the long haul, over the next 5 to 10 years that what we did in Iraq …is it more likely than not to be a plus or a minus?

Green: …Looking at it for 10 years, if in fact some of what we are promising happens, and if by some miracle, there is a notion of democracy, I think it would be a positive… That to me is the real issue, [that is] are we going to stay the ground, is it worth it?

Berkowitz: If it is George W. Bush and he is re-elected, there is no doubt, he will stay the ground. If John Kerry…is elected instead of George Bush, then it is questionable whether we will stay the course, right?

Green: Yeah, I think John Kerry is not bound by the kind of things that George Bush is—who basically has staked his entire reputation on this notion…in many ways George Bush is a bleeding heart on the issue of Iraq, trying to do for the Iraqi people what they don’t want to do for themselves.

Berkowitz: No, no.

Green: I am sure you believe that.

Berkowitz: No, we are not all that altruistic. You had said we are into nation building. That is exactly what George Bush had said we wouldn’t do when he ran. But, all things changed on Sep. 11, 2001. All people were required to re-assess their prior positions. Bush did. Cheney did. Rumsfeld did. They all looked at this and said what we have been doing in the past hasn’t been working to make it safe for the United States. [They decided] we needed to go into the Middle East to try to create a friendlier environment and less friendly one for terrorists because we can’t simply build a fence around the United States.

Green: But, the issue is—going to Afghanistan and searching for the people who committed 9/11 is one thing. Going to Iraq is another. And, if you read Dick Clarke’s book, “Against All Enemies,” I mean that’s a real issue. That there were people there who were gung ho to go into Iraq before 9/11.

Berkowitz: Gung ho where?

Green: Within the Administration. Before the terror attack.

Berkowitz: Those are people who perhaps had some foresight to say, “You had terrorists not only as a problem in Afghanistan because that country was providing a safe haven for them but you had terrorists and allies in other countries—

Green: But, that logic suggests that we also should be invading Syria, we should be invading Iran—Egypt is coming up close.

Berkowitz: Not necessarily, because by having a demonstration effect, by taking an action—you can deter others. Don’t you think
North Korea, at least for a while, seeing what happened [in Iraq], became a little more friendly toward the U. S., a little more willing to consider some intrusion into what they are doing.

Green: I don’t think either one of us knows exactly what is happening to North Korea.

Berkowitz: What about Libya? Did Libya suddenly have a change of heart [after the military action in Iraq]?

Green: Well, I think Qaddafi has been moving in that direction.

Berkowitz: But, you see my point—you don’t have to go around attacking every country [friendly to terrorists] to have an effect.
Paul Green: The machine has been dead for a very long time.

Jeff Berkowitz: Would Barack Obama have won if he had all the [same] attributes, but he had been white-- all the [same] attributes that he has, as substantial as I say they are, but he had been a white person rather than an African-American person, would he still have won?

Paul Green: I think he probably would have won; he wouldn't have won by nearly as large [a margin]; everything worked out for him including the collapse of Blair Hull. He had the best-run campaign.
Paul Green: ...I'll make a prediction on this- he who carries Ohio- Michigan will win the [Presidential] election.

Berkowitz: Yeah, but I think-

Green: Because of the job loss. Will Bush's performance, and say he withstands the current flap over 9/11 and all that stuff with the Commission, will his anti-terrorism posture trump the loss of jobs?

Berkowitz: Well, maybe-- because people say a re-election is a referendum on the existing President?

Green: Of course, that's what it has to be.

Berkowitz: Might these people ask-- how will John Kerry be more likely to provide jobs for people in Ohio and Michigan than George Bush? What's the answer to that question?

Green: Well, you have to look at the whole economic agenda. You know there is so much that has gone on, and to people around George Bush's credit- he has withstood some real heavy body blows- you know Texas oil companies who are basically thugs in the street, stealing money- he withstood that--

Berkowitz: Texas oil companies who are thugs in the street?

Green: Yeah, Enron. Enron to me is the equivalent of a street gang with nice suits. I mean, what they did-- those individuals should be doing hard-- in fact they should be in the cell with Saddam Hussein, taking people who worked for their company-

Berkowitz: How is that George Bush's issue, though?

Green: Well, Texas oil company. Check his D-2s. He [President Bush] has done very well down there, raising

Berkowitz: No, but Enron was pretty nice to Democrats, as well--

Green: I know, it was the Clinton thing, of course.

Berkowitz: I am just saying, they [Enron] would give to anybody.

Green: Of course, it goes back to Franklin Roosevelt. I mean, we know that. That's what you do; you could get a job at the White House-- Duck and Dodge.

Berkowitz: I mean I am just asking how is what Enron did attributable to George W. Bush?

Green: So, you have the scandals with Enron, which cost people jobs and their life savings. You have the first President who has lost more jobs than he has created. Fact, remember I am the White Line down the middle of the Road. I am just saying- Fact. So, you have this economic policy where people are really hurting and the question is--

Berkowitz: Well actually, there are people who dispute that- that he has lost more jobs than he has created.

Green: Those are the people who--

Berkowitz: No, if you look at Bureau of Labor and Statistics Data--job growth [over the last few years] has actually occurred. [Indeed, a day after this taping, it was announced that 308,000 new jobs were created in March, 2004].

Green: Yeah, most of the people who are really thrilled with George Bush are the people who made a lot of money and had their taxes cut...
Jeff Berkowitz: ...You have [Gov] Rod Blagojevich trying to look like a reformer; You have [AG] Lisa Madigan trying to look like a reformer. Why don't we just auction off these things [casino licenses] and get [the state] out of this business?

Paul Green: You see, I believe in free enterprise. Just like you.

Berkowitz: Okay, so auction them off.

Green: No, not auction them off.

Berkowitz: Highest bidder.

Green: We did that.

Berkowitz: And, then the government reneged...

Green: I think-- why should businesses be protected because they want to make a profit. I think whoever has the money to build a casino should do it. I don't think we should limit it to ten [casinos]. I think Waukegan should get a casino. I think there should be a casino in Rosemont. I think there should be a casino in the south suburbs-- near the Indiana border. And, if they go under, they go under- they lose their investment. The State has no responsibility to guarantee people success.
Paul Green, WGN political pundit and Roosevelt University Professor, interviewed on "Public Affairs," recorded on April 1, 2004 and to be aired through-out the City of Chicago, tonight, Monday, April 19 at 8:30 pm on Ch. 21. The show with Paul Green will also have a special encore airing later this week at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, April 21 on Comcast Cable Ch. 19 in 10 North Shore and northwest suburbs: Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Franken and Friends, Off or On the Air? Does it really matter?

Eric Zorn, Tribune columnist and an inspiration to bloggers everywhere, informs his gentle blog readers (, with regard to the continuing saga of Bungalow, Bill, aka, Al Franken, et al "Air America," "I'll keep the station on in the background Friday-- since I don't understand any of it, it's not distracting in the least-- and will update this blog the second I hear Air America's programming back on the air."

And, his faithful blog readers will be waiting breathlessly, no doubt. HA! Perhaps “Franken and Friends,” performance has improved, but I listened to Big Al and the NPR lady the first day they were on as they fawned all over Al Gore and I think somebody else got involved in that conversation and sort of apologized to Franken for supporting Nader. I think that was the high point. Based on that, I thought they should rename it- As the Stomach Turns, a perfect name for a daytime soap. I mean really now, listening to Al Gore, in 2004, whine some more about Florida in 2000? As the kids tell me when I lament something too much, Get over it!

If it's any comfort to my friends, readers and viewers on the left, I don't listen to Rush much either, even if I happen to be in the car, which is about the only reason I would turn on the radio during a weekday. Although much more polished and entertaining than Franken and what's her name, it is all pretty much tendentious, partisan, predictable, not very informative and boring rants.

Yes, Franken might have a friend on with a different viewpoint, even as Rush has some callers from the other side, but both shows are not about a clash of ideas (let alone a Clash of Civilizations) or a serious policy discussion, as Eric Zorn, I believe, would concede. Call me elitist if you will, but both shows are like junk food for kids. Better than Jerry Springer and fun to eat once in a while, but what adult would want a steady diet of that stuff.

Al and the NPR Lady are similar to Ski and Skinner, although Nancy may have been a notch above Al-- e.g., Nancy's reference, at a Northwestern University Democratic Senate Candidate Forum, to the "Wack" jobs that Bush keeps sending up as judicial appointments. Now that was a humorous line, even if it was a bit misguided on substance.

Fine, if the left wants to have silly rants to balance out the silly rants of the right, even if they have to subsidize it because the market is not there to support it, that's just great. A little less room for us fair and balanced guys, but I can live with that. But why Zorn would want to devote so much of his scarce time and space on his insightful blog to discuss whether Air America can figure out how to meet a payroll is quite puzzling, indeed. The commercial success of either program would and does serve to prove little more than De gustibus non disputandum est. Who knows-- they might even try to resurrect Air America on a Multicultural Radio Broadcasting station by speaking a dead language. Try that for total immersion.