The [Monday] Papers
While polls are always just a "snapshot in time", as we are so often reminded by the campaigns most unhappy with the results, that is particularly the case when it comes to a poll like the one the Tribune published on Sunday - and if I were Republican gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka, I'd be pissed.
Simply put, the Tribune got caught with a major news event - the indictment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pal Tony Rezko - occurring on the last day of its four days of surveying voters, arguably rendering the results invalid. The Tribune ought to have gone back into the field with a new poll to accurately reflect the possibly altered state of the campaign (or, perhaps even more interestingly, a campaign unchanged by the indictment), rather than publish what had essentially become old news unreflective of new realities.
That, of course, would have been costly. But somehow, I think the Tribune could have afforded it.
Rich Miller says much the same, calling the poll "outdated and almost useless."
So now both papers have made polling goofs. The Sun-Times published a poll last month that virtually no political insiders believed to be accurate either.
Green Party candidate Rich Whitney garnered 9 percent in the Tribune's poll, despite being known to only a third of the voters. He might benefit more than Topinka from the governor's problems, as Democrats who can't stomach voting for Topinka look for an alternate place to park their discontent. Too bad the media is only beginning to discover that Whitney is actually on the ballot.
The Tribune editorial page nicely calls out the governor [and Republican congressional candidate Peter Roskam] for misrepresenting in their television ads what the Tribune has said about their opponents. "When Blagojevich and Topinka met with the Tribune editorial board last week, a reporter questioned the [Blagojevich] ad's representation of [a Topinka] quote. The governor ducked. 'I guess you should talk to the guy that does the commercials,' he said."
Um, okay, let's see if we can get him in here.
I mean, really. Maybe you should talk to him, governor.
Judy Baar Tosleepa
Then again, Topinka's sleepy and bored appearance (second item) before the Tribune editorial board is a perfect indicator of what we're in for for four years if she is elected. Let's face it, she doesn't seem to have a whole lot of energy to be governor - a job she seems to be running for only out of duty to her party, not ought of any particular desire on her part. No wonder voters are so unhappy.
On the heels of the White Sox's marketing deal with 7/11 to start all night games at 7:11 p.m., the governor has made a deal to change his name to Rod Blagooglevich in return for a google of campaign cash. Judy Baar Topinka has made a deal to change her name to the Judy Redhead Piano Baar Topinka in exchange for free cigarettes and gin.
Tony and Todd
The Tribune published its endorsement of Tony Peraica for Cook County board president on Sunday. Stroger's public appearances, including one before the Tribune editorial board, have been disasters. The Tribune also reports that its latest poll shows the race tied. And Peraica clearly has the momentum. "Candidate Todd Stroger seems to not have a grasp of the issues or the office," writes N'Digo publisher and editor-in-chief Hermene Hartman in the current issue. "[E]ven those who support him the most still know that he is not qualified and presents poorly."
Behind the Combine Curtain
John Kass's column on Individual A is a reminder that Sen. Peter Fitzgerald has done more for this state by fighting tooth-and-nail against the established powers to Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation) the U.S. attorney than, well, certainly than what his successor, Barack Obama, has accomplished for Illinois so far. Popularity and merit do not go hand-in-hand. Too bad the Republicans aren't running Fitzgerald for governor - or putting him in charge of cleaning up the national party the way he tried to clean up the state party.
The media is enthralled with J. Dennis Hastert's job 26 years ago as a wrestling coach, but is far less interested in his current job as a liar.
Rogers Park Ald. Joe Moore returns fire against the Trib's weird, impassioned, and seemingly personal attack against him that sounded like it came from someone who didn't get the service they wanted from his office.
Barack Obama wasn't on the cover of the Sun-Times on Sunday because his new book is so newsworthy; he was there to sell newspapers, just as Chicago magazine put him on its cover a few months ago to sell magazines - the idea to put him on the cover came more than a year before a suitable story angle was hatched. Obama is a celebrity. The media exploits that celebrity to make money. It's an unusual dynamic coming from the political world, and it has the effect of multiplying the hype tenfold. (This week Time magazine also put Obama on its cover; again, for newsstand sales, not newsworthiness.)
The question is, do we really want to elect a presidency based on celebrity?
It's true that Obama - through whatever strange combination of events including the weird divorce cases of two of his Senate opponents and the unbelievable gift of drawing Alan Keyes as his final foil on the way to Washington - seems to be in a unique position to be a uniting force at a time when this nation seems to need it most. He could also, though, represent the audacity of false hope invested in someone who has not yet earned it.
The truth is, Obama's first book was unreadable. His new book promises to be more enjoyable, but the excerpts in the Sun-Times were nothing more than platitudes.
The Audacity of Woodward
With Obama's book getting cover treatment in the Sun-Times, a review of Bob Woodward's State of Denial - you know, a book with news in it - got second-class treatment. Because it's not really important to learn just how deeply delusional the upper echelons of the United States government are about the war.
"For many years, we have been hearing the stories of both the failures and the successes coming out of the Iraqi desert," wrote reviewer Ted Widmer, of the Washington Post, because the Sun-Times can't be bothered to find their own reviewers. "It now appears that the failures were more pronounced than we knew and the successes more fabricated."
Gee, you think? When will the media learn?
Pronounced and Fabricated
Not only is the first phase of the O'Hare expansion project a boondoggle, but "The city has not yet sought federal funding or airline financial commitments to pay for the second phase of O'Hare expansion, which is the part of the project when most of the increase in airport capacity and reduction in flight delays would occur," the Tribune reports. (Italics mine.)
Have I told you lately how pretty the flowers are, though?
"If A Tree Falls In The City, Is It Just Election Time?" is the must-read of the weekend; a terrific piece of reporting.
What's it like to be the mayor's press secretary and listen to yourself saying things like this?
"On Friday, Daley spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard said she did not know whether the 12th Ward trees came down because of politics. 'Honestly, I don't know the circumstances of their removal, except it seems residents wanted them removed,' Heard said. 'The concerns of residents inform our decisions.'"
"But not all residents share the mayor's enthusiasm for trees," the Tribune reports. "In fact, many Chicagoans seem to loathe the trees in front of their homes and want them gone. They complain about all the leaves, the roots that clog pipes, the berries that stain sidewalks. Gangs, they say, use trees to stash guns and drugs."
These Old Cubs
Hiring Lou Piniella is hiring Dusty Baker is hiring Don Baylor - the biggest name on the market whose managing skills are based in another era. Joe Girardi was the man - the guy who would've been the Cubs' Ozzie Guillen - or Ron Gardenhire. Re-signing Aramis Rockhead Ramirez, instead of having already traded him is another sign that it's the same old Cubs. You don't win with players like Ramirez, who will put up the hollowest 100 RBIs and lose a dozen games for you with his glove, base-running mistakes, and lack of hustle. The idea that the Cubs are just a couple players away continues to feed the delusion. They finished with the worst record in the National League! The Cubs need a Girardi to rebuild an organization, not a Piniella to manage the latest edition of the same old team.
The Ozzie & Lou Show
"They've got good baseball people, and that's all I need to know," Piniella said.
Where, in a freezer somewhere?
Newspaper people are not very smart. [UPDATE: This link used to go a Northwest Herald editorial endorsement of Pat Quinn for lieutenant governor - based on the mistaken premise that the governor and lieutenant governor are elected seperately, instead of on the same ticket. The paper had already endorsed Topinka for governor. Removing the link, rather than adding a correction, is a pussy way of trying to erase history. I'm sure the editorial page would insist a politician own up to a mistake rather than try to make it disappear. But then, newspaper people are not only not particularly bright, they are the world's biggest hypocrites.]
They tend to need remedial training.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Splitting the ticket.
Posted on October 16, 2006