Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eric Zorn and Dan Proft: Longing for Alan Keyes? Journalism makes strange bedfellows?

Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn has responded to this author’s post suggesting that Oberweis stand his ground and better yet, that the so-called Republican Party leaders find something better to do than see if they can pressure Oberweis into giving up his nomination as the Republican candidate in the 14th CD fall general election.

First, Zorn misses a major point of this reporter’s argument. Yes, I argued that the so-called party bigwigs have no carrots or sticks to induce Oberweis to give up his nomination. But, more importantly, as this reporter argued, the so-called party leaders are people of either little or long-ago accomplishment, so by what moral or other authority do they override the Republican primary voters judgment of last month that Oberweis should be their nominee. Zorn fails to address that point.

Second, Zorn asserts that Oberweis is 0 for 4, having lost two Republican U. S. Senate primaries, one Republican gubernatorial primary and now one 14th congressional district general election. But, shouldn’t Eric give Oberweis credit for winning two Republican primaries in the 14th CD, making him 2 for 6 Of course, that is not as good as say, Cong. Rahm Emanuel and Cong. Melissa Bean, but then, again, Oberweis doesn’t have convicted felon, Water Dept. and ward boss Don Tomczak and his City of Chicago Daley army of employees working for him, so you have to cut Jim a little slack.

Third, Zorn doubts that “Oberweis can rehabilitate himself with the voters,” because Tom Roeser has concluded, “Oberweis plain and simple is not liked.” But, the Republican Primary voters in the 14th CD “liked him more than Sen. Lauzen,” a month, or so, ago when they voted to make Oberweis the Party standard bearer in the March Special Election and in the regular November election.

Fourth, Zorn cites to Russ Stewart for the argument that Jim, aside from being “pompous, arrogant, intolerant and utterly insufferable,” is unelectable. While this reporter would concede that he has met more charming and likable pols than Jim Oberweis; others, with similar personality deficiencies, have been big winners.

For example, Cong. Dan Lipinski, while not being a big charmer, has now won two contested primaries and a general election. Many Democrats have castigated Cong. Rahm Emanuel as completely lacking in the personality skills for elected office and he won a tough primary in 2002. Indeed, although I don’t agree, some Democrats, not to mention Republicans, have described Emanuel as "arrogant and stiff," and no one seems to think he should be disqualified from running for office, after he won a primary. Even Senator John McCain, with his reputation for a hair-trigger temper, will admit no one in the Senate will mistake him for “Miss Congeniality,” and he is now the Republican nominee for President.

Fifth, Zorn trots out archliberal-archpundit, Larry Handlin to tell us that media will do stories about how Republicans are dissatisfied. with Oberweis. I suppose in the same way they were dissatisfied with Peter Fitzgerald, Jack Ryan and anyone else who wouldn’t bow to the Daley Ryan Combine with which Thompson, Edgar, Topinka and McKenna could get along and which consists of the likes of Bob Kjellander, aka as individual K by the U. S. Attorney, and Gov. George Ryan, now doing serious time. Maybe the media should ask Thompson, et al why they tolerate or have chosen to be a part of the Combine, as opposed to why they are dissatisfied with Jim Oberweis, if indeed they are.

Sixth, Archpundit- archliberal predicts that Foster will raise his profile with good earned media. Let’s think about that—Oberweis was generally very accessible to the media with numerous opportunities given to the press to question him collectively and individually. Foster was kept in a bubble, with his campaign turning down numerous joint forums or debates, e.g., League of Women Voters, WTTW, Fox, opportunities for pressers after the debate, e.g., At Issue (BTW, accepted by Oberweis). And, how much did you hear about that from the MSM or edit boards? Not at all. As the Chicago Tribune said, Foster was transparent. For the MSM, this reflected the usual liberal media bias. For the Chicago Tribune, this reflected it is a part of the Combine? Almost enough to make John Kass, blush, one would think. Come to think of it, one wonders if Kass was invited to sit in on the Chicago Tribune’s edit board session.

Seventh and most disappointing in Zorn’s hit parade was Dan Proft, his former mentee for which Zorn apparently still has some affection. Proft put together a tendentious piece for Human Events, trying to argue that no national trends were important for the 14th CD general election and to do that, he had to dump a bit on his partner [Pascoe, handling the Oberweis campaign] and a lot on his partner’s client [which sounds like an odd term, but it is accurate], so dump he did. For example, Proft repeated the “assertion,” that Oberweis hypocritically hired illegal immigrants. Presumably, Dan knows that the assertion is false. It was an independent contractor to the Oberweis Dairy that had hired illegal immigrants, not Jim, nor his Company.

Proft refers to Oberweis’ gaffe-filled campaigns. But, such was not the case for the primary or the general in the 14th CD; Proft was just throwing a bit of mud up there to help with his argument that the 14th CD result had no national implications. Indeed, if the quote out of context to which Proft refers in his Human Events piece was a gaffe and that’s not clear, it presumably was Proft’s campaign consulting partner’s gaffe, and not Oberweis, as the quote was used extensively in TV ads and mailers. Last time this reporter looked, those kinds of decisions are made by consultants, not by candidates.

And, then Proft reminds Zorn that maybe Oberweis’ short and perhaps non-existent campaigns for party office should count, too, in Oberweis’ won loss record.

Perhaps, but then maybe Zorn should trot out Proft’s won loss record. Let’s see: Proft lost with Pat O’Malley, over-all you probably have to count Jack Ryan’s end result as a loss; then a big time loss for Alan Keyes; and a loss for Rauschenberger, and maybe another for Gidwitz-Rauschenberger, and a loss for Peraica for County Board President. Oh yeah, a win for moderate Republican Beth Coulson—but Beth pretty much wins those on her own; and a win for Larry Dominick in Cicero. So, Proft is 2 wins, 6 losses as a consultant? Oberweis is 2 wins, 4 losses as a candidate, and Zorn is using Proft as an authority to take the candidacy away from Oberweis? Maybe Zorn should start taking away candidates from Proft.

Eighth, and most importantly, by what right does Zorn, with a few journalists and a few pols in tow find the moral authority to nullify the will of the people. To paraphrase the late William F. Buckley, Jr., this reporter would take the will of the first two hundred listed registered voters over the opinions of the media and combine pols. Indeed, didn’t the majority of about 75,000 voters in the Republican Primary in February decide they wanted Oberweis for their nominee in the fall general election? And, Zorn says Party Big-wigs like Topinka, Kjellander, Edgar and McKenna should take the nomination away from Oberweis? Didn’t we try that approach in 2004? Topinka, Kjellander and Edgar [in the guise of the Republican State Central Committee and with the blessing of Proft?] brought us Alan Keyes? How did that work out, Eric? And, now you want to do it again?

Recently posted shows on the Public Affairs Youtube page include, among others, tonight's show with Senator Brady, our show with former Sen. Rauschenberger, assessing Barack Obama, our prior show with Republican U.S. Senate nominee Dr. Steve Sauerberg, discussing his opponent--Senator Durbin-- and domestic, cultural and foreign policy issues, our prior show featuring State Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston,IL), discussing Barack Obama, as well as various Illinois Budget issues (spending, mass transit, capital budget, education, gaming and taxes) and possible 2010 Illinois gubernatorial candidates and 2010 U. S. Senate candidates (assuming Obama moves up to President in 2008) , a discussion with State's Attorney for Cook County Republican nominee Tony Peraica; and Anita Alvarez, Chief Deputy to current State's Attorney for Cook County Dick Devine and now the Democratic nominee for State's Attorney of Cook County.