Friday, November 25, 2005

WBEZ’s 848's Month in Review: Be there or Be square

Tune in, Turn on, but don’t drop out, when you tune in this morning to the "848" program's month-in-review segment (9:35 a.m, WBEZ-FM Radio 91.5) where blogger and fair minded Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn (Change of Subject), blogger Leigh Anne Wilson (One Good Thing) [the lady’s a riot, she should do stand-up] and I join perhaps the fairest public policy show host in town, 848’s Steve Edwards, the White Line down the middle of the Road , in discussing, debating, analyzing, and looking for some humor in the state and local public policy and political issues of the last month. Along the way, we propose nominees for the most significant story, the month’s winners and losers, the most over-reported and the most under-reported stories, as of this past Tuesday afternoon’s taping.

BTW, 848 has the best Associate Editor in the city in Adriene Hill, who helps make every show a success. Smart, balanced, hardworking, always with good humour, knows how to get and prepare the guests and is instrumental in making the show a success. What more could they ask for?

If you are beyond WBEZ’s powerful signal, you can tune in [here] and if you sleep in, try Chicago Public Radio’s audio library at the same link, within a day or two of today's airing, a library where you can also find much else of interest, entertainment and significance. (Read Leigh Anne's account of the taping here)

Through the miracles of modern technology and foresight, DuPage State’s Attorney Joe Birkett [See here], who not only tuned in, and turned on, but dropped out [mid-Tuesday afternoon) before he dropped in the Guv race, was correctly analyzed and considered in our analysis. In short, he was a non-factor in the Governor’s race, all along, as no one really thought Birkett was in for the distance. He could still cut a deal, but that is pretty unlikely.

Although not really discussed in the program, it is worth noting that it is sad, but true, that the ghost of Jeanine Nicarico sits on one of Joe’s shoulders and the still alive and well, connected by DNA to the murder and imprisoned Brian Dugan sits on Joe’s other shoulder. In Joe’s heavy backpack are a still substantial campaign debt from his close 2002 AG contest with Lisa Madigan and the fact that twenty-two years after the brutal rape/murder of three year old Jeanine Nicarico, nobody has been successfully prosecuted for that heinous crime, and Joe says, Not my fault? Or, as the song goes, “Please, please, please, just wait a little bit longer,” Dugan’s not going anywhere, says Joe. Justice delayed is justice denied, say his critics, on all sides. And, that is even before they get to the saga of Rolando Cruz. See generally, [here]. A heavy backpack and a cross to bear? Maybe lighter by 2010.
An Obama Love In:
Eric Zorn: …I still say that guy [Senator Obama] may be positioned for a run [for President] in 2008.

Steve Edwards: Jeff, as a long time watcher of politics, what do you think of that prospect that Eric just put on the table?

Jeff Berkowitz: Barack Obama has a good shot at being the Vice-Presidential candidate to Hillary Clinton as the [Democrat] Presidential candidate [in 2008]. It is going to be very tough for him to be the Presidential candidate, but I agree with Eric, it is a possibility-- because of that magnetism. There is nobody in either Party who has the magnetism of [Senator] Barack Obama.
Leigh Anne Wilson: …I agree with Jeff, the most reasonable thing to do, if they are going to run [Senator] Hillary Clinton, is to put him as VP, because he has incredible star power…great on the Daily Show.
Eisendrath shakes things up for the Ds and Topinka for the Rs?
Jeff Berkowitz: As a close runner-up [to most significant story of the month], Ed Eisendrath may be running against [Gov.] Blagojevich. You’ll have a Democratic Primary and that would be the best news ever for the state GOP.

Eric Zorn: .. I would agree with Jeff that that is a big story. My main story this month is candidate chess—how the things are moving around the chess board…I have talked to Eisendrath and his…potential entry into this is based on these looming scandals in the Blagojevich Administration…on the Republican side, Judy Topinka has gotten into the race which has thrown the Republicans into a bit of a dither because…
Leigh Anne Wilson: …She [Judy Baar Topinka] has great magnetism…She always comes across, even if you don’t agree with her, as an extremely reasonable, likeable person…

Steve Edwards: If in fact Judy Baar Topinka enters this race, as she says she is going to do, how does that change the calculus on the Republican side of the Primary?

Jeff Berkowitz: Well everybody is anticipating that, and they have been doing so for a long, long time…she very well could win if all these conservatives stay in [the Republican Primary], likely Brady gets out and runs for Treasurer. The establishment would like to have somebody there they can trust [and Gidwitz gets out]…that leaves only Rauschenberger and Oberweis against Judy, that’s a tough race for Miss Topinka
Winners and Losers:
Steve Edwards: Leigh Anne, who’s on your list [of winners] this month?

Leigh Anne: I am going with Judy [Baar Topinka], again.

Eric Zorn: I have a list of losers: Consumers, because Marty Cohen, the Citizens Utility Board Chair, got rejected as head of the Illinois Commerce Commission…commuters, smokers, Chief Illiniwek, Derek Moseley, the Emerald Casino, O’Hare Expansion, pit bull owners and Lord Conrad Black

Steve Edwards: That’s a long list of losers, Jeff, what would you add?

Jeff Berkowitz: …I differ with Eric, the consumers are not a loser, you want somebody who can balance benefits and costs when making decisions about public utilities…Sheriff Sheehan is a loser…looks like he won’t get his guy Tom Dart there [to replace him]…could be Jim Burns…a very clean guy to put there… Peter Roskam, a loser [this month]; he’s got a challenge [in 6th CD primary] apparently from a moderate Republican-- John Vivoda; won’t be a tough challenge, but it will cause him …Emerald Casino investors…Ron Gidwitz
Topinka and the Press
Jeff Berkowitz: …the Press love her [Judy Baar Topinka]. She is a moderate Republican. I have got to say this, Eric. The Chicago Tribune loves moderate Republicans. So, they help her, the Sun-Times helps her. The Daily Herald helps her.

Leigh Anne Wilson: I love her, too, actually.

Berkowitz: Look, this is their choice. This is their preference. They may as well say, “We Love Judy.”

Steve Edwards: Do you buy that, Eric?

Eric Zorn: Yeah, I mean the Tribune is a moderate Republican newspaper. I don’t have any-- I mean, that’s where our editorial board comes down…
Excerpts from the Friday morning, November 25, 2005 Episode of “848’, airing at 9:35 am on WBEZ, 91.5 FM Radio and also on the WBEZ website and subsequently in the WBEZ audio library [See here].