The [Monday] Papers
"Actually I think [Scott Lee] Cohen's biggest problem is that we in the news media failed the voters by missing the story," Mark Brown wrote over the weekend, "and now we can't let up until we have atoned for our sins by pounding him into submission."
Cohen submitted last night, dropping off the ticket so the Democratic State Central Committee can choose someone of clearly stronger moral fiber to help them block ethics reform while doling out contracts to cronies and voting themselves pay raises. Thank God for our media watchdogs!
"Trust Us, Mr. Cohen: You are Not Wanted," the three people who make up the Sun-Times editorial board blared on Sunday.
I don't recall ever seeing a similar headline about the skanky Michael Madigan.
"The people of Illinois don't want you as their lieutenant governor," the paper's soothsayers declared. "The polls will prove it soon enough."
They just know - and they must have the track record to prove it. After all, conventional wisdom is always right, right?
"Nobody's going to vote for a man who's wrapped up like a mummy in words like 'prostitution' and 'steroids' and 'knife.'" Words like "bribery" and "clout lists," yes, but not prostitution!
Apparently the Sun-Times has never heard of Marion Barry or William Jefferson or the collective DUIs of the Bush-Cheney administration.
Just to be sure, though, I submitted a query to Beachwood Labs: How often has conventional wisdom been right? The answer: Never.
America would never put Dan Quayle within a heartbeat of the presidency!
And I'm sure Illinois would never put a 27-year-old neophyte whose only political experience seems to be as an intern within a heartbeat of the governor's office. Oh wait, that's the Republican nominee.
Steroids? JFK was the dopest pill-popper ever to hold the presidency. At least Cohen's drug use appears to be in the past. How many alcoholics - present and recovering - hold public office in Illinois today?
And the sneering that accompanies every use of the word pawnbroker is palpable. At least he's not a corporate liar, er, lawyer.
"People May Have Voted, But Decency Ruled," Richard Roeper's column moralizes today.
Really? Since when is the Illinois Democratic Party the arbiter of moral decency? Since Madigan became its chairman?
"The speaker is prepared to work with the members of the (Democratic) State Central Committee, Gov. Quinn and Senate President (John) Cullerton to work on selecting a replacement," Madigan's spokesman Steve Brown said on Sunday.
The speaker isn't, however, prepared to answer questions from reporters. Apparently that wouldn't be the decent, democratic thing to do.
It gets richer. Alexi Giannoulias, who never met a shady bank client he didn't like, was so offended by the allegations against Cohen that he called on him to step down, notwithstanding the reputation of his family bank as mob-friendly and perhaps between meetings with Michael "Jaws" Giarango.
Lisa Madigan also joined the chorus of upright politicos pressuring Cohen, though she omitted any criticism of the state party chairman who failed once again to take any interest in his job. Maybe that's because the state party chairman is her father, who helped put Lisa into office by strong-arming the state's political establishment and those who fund it. That, however, was never a moral crisis in her mind.
The media's muddled minds continued apace as well. On Sunday, the Sun-Times's big headline was: "Ex-Girlfriend: Cohen Is Not Fit For Office."
That would be the prostitute who lived with Cohen for a few months a few years ago. The paper somehow decided she was the central character witness even though she only spoke through her attorney and could not be questioned by reporters. Cohen's ex-wife, however, who in divorce papers accused him of trying to forcibly have sex with her during their marriage, has been saying for days that Cohen is "not that person today and hasn't been for quite some time."
Even more bizarre is that Mayor Richard M. Daley emerged as the seemingly lone voice of reason over the weekend. "So anybody who's arrested and the case is thrown out, they should not run for public office?"
Yes, it's not as simple as that. The Tribune on Sunday reported that "He has been sued dozens of times for back taxes, had trouble paying his mortgage and has been cited numerous times by the city for building code violations and failing to pay water bills."
And I've already stated Cohen shouldn't be anywhere near the governor's office. But then again, neither should Pat Quinn. The hypocrisy of our media and political elites is rank.
The media is also shading its case. In the Tribune's story on Monday, the paper acknowledges that "Cohen indeed did mention [the domestic battery charge] to reporters covering his campaign," but takes him to task for "omit[ting] critical details found in the police report and other court records."
Cohen, it seems, was too busy "stressing that the charges were dropped when the girlfriend failed to show up in court to press them."
And in today's Sun-Times, the paper describes Cohen's appearance last week on Chicago Tonight with his supportive ex-wife as "chaotic." I must not have been watching the same show. (A Sun-Times editorial described his as "the guy," to, you know, further diminish his stature into . . . one of us. The media prefers fake Everymen to real ones.)
Mary Mitchell, meanwhile, found Cohen's ex-wife to be "tacky" - unlike the North Shore's Jenny Sanford, the disgraced wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Mitchell, ever on the ball, apparently missed the news that our Jenny married the guy despite his insistence that the part about being faithful be dropped from their wedding vows.
I guess tackiness is a matter of interpretation.
Finally, Neil Steinberg congratulates himself today for resisting the urge to vote for Cohen based on their shared Judaism. Instead, the smartest political commentator in the world cast a vote for "a man whose name I had never heard, a man about whom I knew absolutely nothing."
Apparently Steinberg isn't paid enough to do his own homework before stepping into the voting booth. Instead of thinking for himself, he just followed the endorsements of his own paper. So he cast his vote for state Rep. Art Turner (D-Chicago). That would be the guy Michael Madigan backed.
But Cohen is the one with the character problem.
COMMENT: From Noell Jezek:
Ya know what? I'm writing in Cohen for governor in the general in November. It appears the rest of the politicians and media are absolutely clueless. Cohen is a folk hero and probably would have no problem tellin' it like it is. Where do those jackass Democrats come off? These are the same clowns that voted Blago in for a second term even though he was under investigation. Give me a break.
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Posted on February 8, 2010
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