Saturday, February 18, 2006

Rauschenberger- Birkett, a virtual debate; Judy/Andy

Revised significantly at 6:00 pm on Saturday

Tough Week? Worried? Heavy Saturday night date? Well, then, take the pick-up. And if that doesn’t work, then--

Take a load off Fanny
Take a load for Free
Take a load off Fanny
And (and) (and) you can put the Load right on me. [From the Band's Weight and the Easy Rider soundtrack of a few whiles ago]

Still feeling down? Then I have just the thing for you. A virtual debate among the two major Lt. Gov. Candidates: DuPage County State’s Attorney Joe Birkett, leading in the most recent Chicago Tribune Poll, with 27%; and State Senator Steve Rauschenberger, with 20%.

Of course, conservatives are drooling, thinking either of those two guys or Oberweis or Brady could have been the Conservative nominee, going one on two in what they think would have been an easy race against moderates Judy Baar Topinka and/or Ron Gidwitz. Instead, Birkett and Rauschenberger settled for second fiddle, draining votes from either of the remaining conservatives' choice, and the remaining two conservatives are likely to cut each other up, allowing Judy and maybe even Ron to win. Further, although Oberweis has high name recognition, he apparently is not known by many Illinois Conservative Republicans to be conservative, and thus is losing much of that vote to the likes of Judy Baar Topinka. It is no wonder conservatives are grumpy all day and have trouble getting through the night, these days.

Watch here to see Republican Lt. Gov. candidates Birkett and Rauschenberger interviewed separately by Berkowitz. Rauschenberger will also air this coming Monday night through-out the City of Chicago at 8:30 pm on CANTV, Cable Ch. 21 [The City edition of Public Affairs]. See here and here for partial transcripts of the show with Rauschenberger.

Joe Birkett, who won the Golden Gloves and who tells us he is a counterpuncher, will also air this coming week on the suburban edition of “Public Affairs." The Suburban Public Affairs airing schedule is as follows:

The suburban edition of "Public Affairs," is regularly 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 night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, (parts of) Inverness, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and every Tuesday night 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.
Speaking of counterpunchers, the guy who is looking punchy this week, and he didn’t even get hit, is State GOP Chairman Andy McKenna, Jr. Ron Gidwitz's mildly negative ads drew fire from Team Topinka-Birkett. Team Topinka-Birkett whined all over the city, including to Chairman and Chief Flak Catcher McKenna and Chairman Mckenna took the bait and whined to anybody who would listen. The State GOP and/or friends apparently leaked a Letter, around town to such notable Democratic/moderate Republican leaning media as Rich Miller of Capitolfax, from Andy to Ron asking him essentially to pull his ad and to Cease and Desist the negative stuff.

Here is what Andy thought: he could respond to Gov Candidate Judy Baar Topinka crying on his shoulder by deciding a political ad is deceptive or inaccurate and he could ask Guv Candidate Ron Gidwitz to withdraw it or edit it, and Ron would do so?

Now, why would Ron do that? Because he didn’t want Andy to frown at him? Because the "moral authority," of Illinois’ RNC member Bob Kjellander, the Combine's patron saint, would be brought to bear on Ron Gidwitz? Because the Republican State Central Committee would frown at Ron? Is there any answer to this question that makes any sense? I mean, really what in the world could Chairman Andy do to or for Ron? The answer that comes to mind is nothing, zero, nada, zip.

Wouldn’t it be easier to calculate the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin than to come up with an explanation that could make Andy’s behavior seem sensible? What power does Andy have? None, zero, nada, zip. Yes, there are a number of rich friends of Andy who continue to donate to the State GOP and show up as they did earlier this week for the State GOP Loop gala honoring the outgoing Cong. Hyde and helping to fill the State GOP coffers. But, Ron has his own rich friends and a more extensive civic, business circle of donors than Andy's, who Ron used to corral for the State GOP when he was helping Chairman Judy and who he now corrals for Team Gidwitz-Rauschenberger, or Team Gidberger, for short.

Now, what is Andy going to do about the next negative ad from Ron or Jim Oberweis. Why, he will huff and he will puff, and he will blow that mean Mr. Gidwitz down. You have to wonder. Is this really the way Andy’s dad’s company got to the top? Huffing and puffing all that paper?

Team Gidwitz-Rauschenberger shrugged. A really bad week for Andy McKenna? I’d say so. Here is a hint, Andy. If you don't have the power, don't get suckered into a fool's errand.

And, Chicago Week in Review, acting as Public TV's collective mouthpiece for Illinois and especially Chicago Democrats-- and moderate Republicans, portrayed all the whining by Andy as a sensible act to save Judy, which they view as the same as saving the Republican Party. After all, as that crew sees it, only Judy Baar Topinka can and should win the Primary, so why allow anybody to challenge the "moderate," wing of the Republican party. In usual fashion, Jim Oberweis and Sen. Brady weren't even mentioned by the Chicago Week in Review panel-- and the only reason that Gidwitz was mentioned was to blame him for needlessly and inappropriately harming WTTW's beloved moderate and liberal Republicans.

A really bad week for fairness and balance on WTTW? I'd say so. Indeed, compounding the above unbalanced reporting, the moderator of Chicago Week of Review, Joel Weisman, and Lilia Chacon, Fox Chicago News, were about to blame, last night, the recent Cook County jailbreak on a Cook County Sheriff's employee trying to help that "Republican candidate for Cook County Sheriff, Richard Remus," before ABC-7 News' ace political reporter, Andy Shaw saved them from that gross mistake by pointing out Remus is a Democrat, and of course nobody from the CWIR panel could or would come up with the name of the actual, slated Republican Candidate for Cook County Sheriff, Peter Garza.

I mean, really, how could we expect anybody at WTTW to know who Peter Garza is? Quick, call Carol Marin, maybe she knows.

You see, if you are a political spectator, this wasn’t such a bad week. Lots of humor from the actions of the State GOP, and then more humor in the reporting on same by WTTW, which continues to think it can cover the whole political spectrum by starting in the center and moving to the left.

You have to be smiling already, And, you haven’t even watched the Rauschenberger and Birkett shows, yet.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at