Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday Funnies: The Polka Kiss—Topinka and George Ryan? Brady as Eddie Haskell?

A Judy Baar Topinka presser from 10 days ago [Go here to watch][You may have to "drag the round ball," instead of click the play button to get video podcast going], when Leader Cross, who never is, cross—except maybe when he runs into a tough questioner from the media-- watch him, he doesn’t smile so much when he gets tough questions; Bob Biggins, a conservative State Rep?; Roger Eddy, a conservative downstate Rep.? and other state reps. came out of the closet and endorsed Judy Baar Topinka to be the Republican Nominee for Governor.

State Rep. Skip Saviano was there with a non-speaking role to endorse, but some of his more cynical critics would say that Skip was there to kick off the Dems for Judy campaign. Speaking of Dems, will former Cong. Bill Lipinski pay off a more than decade old debt and reciprocate by endorsing Judy? If so, Jim Nolepa probably will not be close behind. No dual endorsement from Bill and Jim to match Judy's dual endorsement of Bill and Jim in '94.

Of course, none of these endorsements was a big surprise. You kind of knew Cross was with Judy, all the way, so to speak. Minutes after Jim Edgar, with tears in his eyes at the Union League Club "Last Edgar Picture Show with Brenda," said he wouldn’t run, Leader Cross was saying nice things to me about Judy, but he said he wasn’t ready to endorse anyone AT THAT TIME. [BTW, Eric Robinson was prepping Edgar then and Topinka now; as the French say, the more things change, the more they stay the same: Getting ready for the third Jim Edgar term—the Netsch to Edgar to Topinka to Brady Tax Swap? Almost as pleasing to the ear to Combine baseball fans, as Tinkers to Evers to Chance to $]

As to Rep. Roger Eddy, his was a name thrown around as a Lt. Gov. running mate for Jude [as well, I might add, as a name to replace Jack Ryan when he withdrew in 2004 as the Republican Senate Candidate—small world, huh?]. And, as a long time public school administrator, I think it is safe to say Roger Eddy, like his fellow downstater Bill Brady, is no fan of school vouchers. Conservative Roger Eddy and Bill Brady? Not on education, that’s for sure.

Biggins? Well, he said he was won over by what a tough questioner Judy was in the State legislature on audits, or something like that. I wonder what Judy’s former Campaign honcho and Deputy Treasurer Marty Kovarik would have to say about that. I am guessing Biggins didn’t talk to Marty before offering his endorsement. Further, when it came to supping and sipping from George Ryan’s Illinois First trough, Rep. Biggins was not shy [See here].

Watch Judy [See here] respond with kissers at the presser. As Rep. Biggins points out, they never got that from Jim Edgar. Maybe next time around, Bob.

When I asked Judy if she would welcome George Ryan’s endorsement, Jude dodged that only to be asked by WLS’ Bill Cameron if she would kiss him if he did [endorse her]? Now, why didn’t I think of that?

Watch Judy deal with questions re money for her from the infamous McCook SOS facility. She looked and she looked, but no records of such.

Watch Judy say I like Bill! Sen. Bill Brady, that is. Brady is viewed by some as the Eddie Haskell [as in Leave it to Beaver] of the gubernatorial candidate field.

WLS Radio personality Teri O’Brien has been very fond of using “Eddie Haskell,” to describe Senator Durbin, suggesting she thinks Durbin pretends to be nice to and bi-partisan with Republicans, only to stab them in the back, when given the opportunity.

Similarly, some would suggest, is the behavior of smiley and boyish good looks State Sen. and Republican Primary guv candidate Bill Brady [Bloomington]. Sen. Brady, of the downstate Brady Bunch, has his own Eddie Haskell twist. Brady talks about running a positive campaign and signing on to State GOP Chairman's Andy McKenna “non-compete clause.” Brady then uses both as his justification for not criticizing any Republicans and in particular for not criticizing Illinois’ RNC Kjellander and his mentee Judy Baar Topinka [and then throwing Kjellander under the bus when it seemed like the right thing to do to placate the Tribune edit board].

However, Brady did it in a way that you got the impression it was with the understanding, if not approval, of Bob Kjellander and his friend, Jim Edgar. And, quite inconsistently, Brady has no problems with criticizing Oberweis, as when he asked Oberweis about his “case,” at Thursday night’s WTTW debate, referring to the phony smear that accused Oberweis’ Company of hiring illegal immigrants, when a cursory investigation by Brady of the reported facts would have revealed that it was a contractor, not Oberweis, who had the responsibility and even as to the contractor, it was a bogus charge that was never pursued.

Brady’s defense for his bizarre statements? He had none; he just flashed his Eddie Haskell smile, and said, “Golly gee, I just know what I read in the newspapers.” Then, Mr. Bill looked around for Wally, so they could get out of there before Ward Cleaver got home. This is the guy that Family Pac’s Paul Caprio [who once did work for the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation- School Vouchers, anyone?], former Chairman of the United Republican Fund and downstater, Lee Newcom and Illinois Review’s Fran Eaton want to see as Governor? Eddie Haskell for Governor? Looks to me like Eddie might need a little more work.

Of course, Judy Baar’s “I like Bill,” and her quasi-endorsement of Mr. Bill’s Campaign at the League of Women Voters debate only serves to fuel those nasty rumors about Sen. Bill Brady being supported by the Combine in its effort to drain votes from Oberweis and prevent him from taking hold downstate.

Back to the Presser with Judy, watch the AP’s Chris Hill pound away at all sorts of things. This guy Hill makes me look like a piker when it comes to tough questions. We should watch this guy more often.

Watch IRN’s Jim Anderson ask Judy if her endorsement by the legislative establishment means she is an insider? Good question, Jim.

Watch Leader Cross deal with my question about his potential discomfort of endorsing Judy even though she, unlike Rep. Tom Cross and candidates Oberweis, Gidwitz and Brady, declines to ask her friend and ally [when she was State GOP Chair, and perhaps before and after] the much maligned Kjellander to step down as Illinois’ RNC Honcho.

Watch Judy deal generally with the issue of whether she is hiding from her opponents and trying to “back into,” the Governor’s chair by “backing out of the WTTW debate,” as the AP’s Chris Hill put it [and not attending the AP Guv candidate discussion on the morning of the Topinka Presser]

And, watch Topinka Campaign Manager Barnich make a rare, cameo “on air,” performance to try to “clarify,’ whether Topinka is backing out of debates. And, watch Hill try to extend the scope of Barnich’s discussion. I am telling you, this guy Hill is one tough dude.

You can see all of the above, and much, much more, by going to the Judy Baar Topinka March 9, 2006 Presser, [Watch here]. Yet another “Public Affairs,” exclusive.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at