Thursday, August 19, 2004

Updated August 19, 2004 at 11:15 pm

Chairman Topinka sticks the shiv in Jack Ryan one more time, just to make sure everyone knows he was pushed- he didn’t jump and he better not dare come back, at least not while Judy is running the show.

Chairman Topinka’s Little Red Book: The “Ick” Factor, she calls it. Fudging of the truth, she calls it. First, she played the accordion. Now, she plays with words. So, who was playing with the truth? Judy Baar? Jack Ryan? Rod McCulloch? General Borling? All of the above? Some of the above? We discuss, you decide.

State GOP Chairman Judy Baar Topinka said today [Interviewed on Chicago Tonight] yeah, the Senate Candidate selection process was a tough slog, but it was that “Icky,” old Jack Ryan who made it impossible for Judy Baar to do her job and recruit all of those primo senate candidates who just couldn’t want to be Judy’s boy or Judy’s girl.

And, somehow, when we weren’t looking, Judy Baar, or somebody, must have held a Jack Ryan- Jeri Lynn Ryan divorce“trial,” with half of the statements under “Oath,” [as Chairman Topinka puts it] and found Jack guilty of “trying to force his wife to have sex in front of other people.” Not really, that is-- there never was a trial with sworn testimony under oath, or anything like that, in the Jack Ryan- Jeri Lynn Ryan divorce. There never was a summary judgment. There never was a verdict.

All that the public, including Judy Baar, had to judge Jack Ryan was a bunch of contested allegations and a lot of rumor and innuendo. But, gee, you would never know this from listening to Chairman Topinka. Essentially, Judy adjudicated Jack Ryan as guilty of “trying to force his wife to have sex in front of other people.” Where, when and how did she do this? That type of information we did not find out from tonight’s Bob Sirott show, aka WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. Indeed, if Chairman Topinka uses that same deliberating style if she becomes Governor, we might have some summary executions.

Hmmm. Where have I heard that phrase before? The “force his wife,” stuff. The Divorce-child custody dispute allegations? Nope, not even in the allegations. Rod McCulloch’s [General Borling’s former campaign manager] statement, uses the word, “force,” but that portion of the McCulloch statement, along with most of the remainder of the McCulloch statement, was discredited by the child custody records that the California state lower court required to be released to the Chicago Tribune and WLS, other media and the public, as a result of the Tribune/WLS lawsuit.

Is the false assertion that Jack’s ex-wife alleged, “force,” also in the McCulloch Affidavit that the Chicago Tribune requested and obtained from its source Rod McCulloch? Perhaps, but it hard to know as both the Chicago Tribune and its source, Rod McCulloch, have declined to release the affidavit to this blogger.

So, in short, the allegation of Jack Ryan’s ex-wife, which remains a contested, unproven allegation, is not even reported correctly by Chairman Topinka, below. Although Judy couldn't seem to mirror Jeri Lynn Ryan's allegations, the Chairman did seem able to mirror the allegations of Rod McCulloch, which have been shown to be inaccurate. And, yet, Topinka is lecturing others on deception? And telling us the party of Family Values couldn’t tolerate Jack? Since when has Chairman Topinka referred to her Party as the Party of Family Values?

What would Topinka mean by Family Values? We don’t know. WTTW and Elizabeth Brackett didn’t challenge Topinka on any of the above, or the below. Brackett seemed to take this as the gospel according to Topinka. Now, if I were doing the questioning, I think I would have asked Chairman Topinka about this stuff. Isn’t that what journalists are supposed to do? Be skeptical. Challenge, Challenge and more Challenge.

No wonder I can’t “persuade” [or should I say force] Chairman Topinka to do my show. I have “asked,” but perhaps I should “insist.” Ask, persuade, insist, force—what’s the difference? Apparently not much, if you are speaking with Chairman Topinka.
Chairman Judy Baar Topinka: …He [Jack Ryan] said he was going to go. We weren’t even sure he wasn’t going to stay on and run, even at the end of the line.

Elizabeth Brackett: Did that discussion ever come up with him, that he really wanted to stay on the ballot.

Topinka: No, but there was some concern and there was a little fudging of the truth in the past—just because he said he was getting off the ticket, we did not have it confirmed that he really was. So, it is very difficult to try to get another candidate, get another candidate up and running—all the legalities, of which there are many—put together, ready to go and then possibly have Jack Ryan still there… it was really difficult.

Brackett: At some point, when you look back at the whole situation, do you think the party might have been better off had Jack Ryan just stayed on the ticket?

Topinka: No, I don’t think there is any way that a party that runs on Family Values could have had Jack Ryan and his experiences and even—and I know what happens in custody battles—but even if his wife said half of what she said under Oath—there was just no way you could sell him as a candidate, no way, I mean he [Jack Ryan] did not pass what I would call the “Ick,” factor, and that was very important.

Brackett: Had you been deceived by Jack Ryan about what was in those divorce records?

Topinka: Well, that was pretty heavy stuff. And, I mean I did ask him. I know that Jim Edgar did. We all asked him. We were told there was nothing there, even to the night before they were released. That there was nothing there that would be embarrassing. Now, frankly. Most gentlemen, most husbands do not try to force their wives to have sex in front of other people in a public place with shackles and whips and mattresses on the floor, I mean that is just not going to play. Now if both of them wanted to do it—sex, between a married couple, is their business, but it is obvious that this woman [Jack Ryan’s ex-wife, Jeri Lynn Ryan] did not want to have anything to do with it—she was very public about it, there was no way that this was going to play.
Chicago Tonight, with Elizabeth Brackett interviewing Illinois GOP Chairman Judy Baar Topinka, who was at the State Fair for [Icky?] Republican Day, August 19, 2004. The show, Chicago Tonight, repeats again early Friday morning at 1:30 am and 4:30 am on WTTW, ch. 11.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of “Public affairs,” can be reached at