Saturday, December 12, 2009

Polling and Jim Ryan: Who is inside Jim Ryan and what did Dan Curry do with the real Jim Ryan?

Revised at 2:40 pm on Saturday to add my favorite "Ryan Centrist," story about Ryan's demand for solo billing at the City Club of Chicago.
Curry hypes the Tribune poll

So, the big news in the Republican gubernatorial primary is not so much the big lead by Ryan in the Chicago Tribune phone poll, a poll which is notoriously inaccurate from time to time. As the only previous holder of a statewide office in the race, you would expect a big name recognition edge for Jim Ryan, and the poll probably reflects that. Also, the poll questions and its associated methodology weren’t released, so we should reserve judgment for that reason alone.

What did Dan Curry do with Jim Ryan?

No, the big question being asked in the Republican Primary is who has taken over Jim Ryan’s body and what did Dan Curry, his campaign guru, do with the real Jim Ryan. Curry writes a blog called Reverse Spin, but his handling of the Ryan campaign is known as “regular spin.” Curry is matching McKenna’s Ryan McLaughlin, stride for stride, in running an opaque, as opposed to transparent, campaign. McLaughlin uses hair and money to obfuscate the real Andy. Curry uses Curry’s views to obfuscate the real Jim. Flip sides of the same coin.

Ryan tries to back into the nomination

Curry treats Ryan’s apparent lead the way an agent for a baseball player batting .406 in the last week of a season might act. He would try to have the manager pull the player from the line-up to see if his guy can “back into,” the .400 batting average, at season end.

Ryan the Centrist

The Jim Ryan we knew in 2002 was either a moderate conservative or a conservative moderate, or maybe even what the Tribune prefers for a Republican nominee—a “pragmatic moderate conservative,” which was the label they used for gubernatorial nominee Judy Baar Topinka in 2006. In the 2002 gubernatorial primary, Jim got 44% of the vote and seemed to enjoy painting himself as the centrist, yet conservative in the race, with Pat O’Malley to his right garnering 29% and Corinne Wood to his left garnering 27% of the vote. Although a former champion boxer, Ryan did complain that he felt like a punching bag at forums in 2002, getting hit from both the right (O'Malley) and the left (Wood). Ryan's solution? Just don't show up with Wood and O'Malley and get the City Club of Chicago to give Ryan his own solo lunch program. More "transparency," from Dan Curry.

Ryan the apologist

The pro-lifers were not happy with Jim in the 2002 campaign—they said he seemed to apologize to audiences for his Pro-Life views. The hero of the Pro Life Movement at that time was Senator O’Malley, not Attorney General Ryan. They [See Jill Stanek] didn’t think Attorney General Ryan was doing everything he could to go after hospitals who allegedly looked the other way when infants born alive in botched abortions were allegedly left to die in linen closets.

Jim Ryan, against school vouchers before he was for them

The Jim Ryan of 2002 did not support school vouchers-school choice, although he may have been okay with charter schools, if not a vigorous proponent. Indeed, those views were fairly similar to those currently held by President Obama. The Jim Ryan of 2007 was comfortable enough with the ideology of Ralph Martire {virulently anti-school voucher) to join, in 2007, the union dominated board of Ralph’s organization: Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. Sometime recently, Jim Ryan’s name was removed from that Board, at least on the organization’s website, without much fanfare.

Jim Ryan, for a big income tax increase before he was against it.

Yes, Jim Ryan told this journalist in 2007 that he did not have to agree with all of Martire’s views to join his Board. But, just which views of Martire did Ryan follow or like? That Martire never seemed to meet a tax hike that he didn’t like? Jim Ryan did like, in 2007, Martire’s proposed tax swap, resulting in a net tax increase at the time of about six billion dollars. A few months ago Jim Ryan told this journalist those pro tax increase views were held before the recession hit, implying that if there were no recession now, Ryan still would favor a big time tax increase. Yet on ABC-7’s NewsViews last week, Ryan tried another Curry dipsy do—arguing that we can’t raise taxes now because there is so much government waste. Jim explained, in a new revelation, that state government hasn’t been efficient since Jim Edgar. Now Jim Ryan is an Edgarian, as opposed to a Martirian.

Curry: the master spinner

So, who is the real Jim Ryan? Where is the real Jim Ryan? Perhaps only Curry knows and he ain’t telling. Will Dan Curry succeed in keeping Jim under wraps and out of the range of any tough, hard-nosed interviewers through the February 2, 2010 Primary? They don’t call Curry “regular spin,” for nothing.

Playing Hide and Seek with Dan Curry: Now you see Jim Ryan, now you don’t

If you are getting dizzy following Jim Ryan’s views, can you imagine how Jim Ryan feels? Which suit does he wear each day? So perplexing. Which persona should he wear that day? Jim Ryan might have to call Dan Curry before getting dressed. A Big tax increase or no tax increase? School vouchers or traditional public schools? Ralph Martire or Milton Friedman? Rolando Cruz, Innocent or guilty? Stu Levine, Friend or Crook?

You see Dan, you can hide some of Jim Ryan from the media all the time. Or, you can hide all of Jim Ryan from the media some of the time. But, you can’t hide all of Jim Ryan from all of the media all of the time. Of course, that won’t stop you from trying. The real question is why would the real Jim Ryan want you to? Why, indeed?
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