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The [Wednesday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

''The often leisurely game of baseball is filled with many small moments which catch a fan's breath. There is, for example, that wonderful second when you see an outfielder backpedaling and jumping up to the wall and time stops for an instant as he jumps up and you finally figure out whether it's a home run, a double or a single off the wall or an out."

- Sonia Sotomayor

Eric Zorn pretends liberals don't do the very same thing to Supreme Court choices made by Republican presidents as he thinks will occur with conservative critics of Sotomayor.

See, that's the problem with partisanship. Everything they do is heinous. Everything we do is blessed.

Our tribe is good, their tribe is bad. Even when we engage in the same tactics.

The rhetoric you see on right-wing and left-wing blogs, for example, is identical.

"Do they really think the American people are that stupid?"

"What part of democracy do they not understand?"

"They seem incapable of telling the truth."

And of course, both sides are the ones "speaking truth to power."

Ideology is inherently intellectually dishonest.

This is important because a meme arose a month or so ago about how Obama had "tried" bi-partisanship and it didn't work, so now was the time to use brute party force to pass his agenda. A spate of articles also wondered - now, not during the campaign - about the real utility of bi-partisanship.

But what the American people want is not so much a bi-partisanship where both sides work together on weak compromises - or, in the case of Illinois, to totally screw us.

They want a non-partisanship in which each side is honest about their own failings and policy isn't used as a political football. Where parties don't stop bills they really don't mind just to prevent the other side from scoring a win. Where honest discussion replaces demonization - and Zorn is demonizing in his post the same as those who suspects will demonize.

Non-partisanship doesn't mean you can't have Republicans, Democrats, liberals and conservatives and others. It means you don't turn every little slip-of-the-tongue and pseudo-scandal and policy debate into a political battle with regard only for the power of your own party and no regard for the actual consequences on the citizenry.

Partisanship is defending your party at all costs. It's endorsing Todd Stroger and Richard M. Daley and Rod Blagojevich for the good of your party - and your own ambitions - instead of doing what is right for the people.

Our side is never wrong. Your side is evil.

It's wrong when Miss California comes out against gay marriage, but when our president does we'll give him a pass. Unlike her, he must not really mean it!

This is what I saw yesterday, for example, in some brief Facebook conversations, in which liberals were quick to accuse those opposing gay marriage of being bigots, but even quicker to defend Barack Obama's position opposing gay marriage - on religious grounds at that.

"I'm a Christian," Obama once told the Tribune. "And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."

Obama did sign an IVO questionnaire in 1996 saying he supported gay marriage.

"But Obama told the Human Rights Campaign in a questionnaire earlier this year that he opposed the idea of civil marriage for gay couples, while supporting civil unions that include the same legal rights," MSNBC reported during the campaign. "He also said he would oppose efforts to block states from voting on this issue

"However, I do not support gay marriage," he said in the questionnaire. "Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman. If I was President, however, I would oppose any effort to stifle a state's ability to decide this question on its own."

So . . . he was fine with what happened in California, right? It was a state deciding the issue on its own - and taking the same position he holds.

Obama's position is also unequivocal in The Audacity of Hope.

And yet, unfathomable to Obamaphiles, a slew of them yesterday insisted to me that somehow they knew his real heart, and that deep down he was on their side.

But isn't that what conservatives accused Obama of during the campaign - hiding his real views?

Views that apparently only his most ardent supporters can access.

It's not healthy for a democracy to deify one side and demonize the other. Ironically, that was a central part of Obama's campaign message. I'm not sure how many folks got the memo, though.

Mystery Burris Theater
In which I insert myself into the just-released conversation between Roland Burris and Robert Blagojevich.

Speed Kills
Is the stolen base back? Dan O'Shea investigates.

Accountability Goof
"The Board of Education for the Chicago Public Schools is being forced to vote on over 100 school restructuring plans that were not properly reviewed and approved over the past three years," Alexander Russo writes in "Chicago Forced Into 'Do-Over' For Duncan-Era Goof."

Cubs Flub
A Bleacher Report slideshow corrects Jim Hendry's mistakes.

The Chicago Way
Appearing daily in references worldwide.

Today's Worst Person In Illinois
"All I can say is 'Waah waah waah, I want my Mommy,'" [Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline)] jokingly sobbed.

"For him to think that we should drop whatever we're doing to make sure he gets whatever he wants is amazing. Patrick Collins ought to learn that this is a give-and-take process. You just don"t get whatever you want."

Unless you pay for it. Like the video poker industry.

You're on the list, Jacobs.

Reform Rap
D'Oh! Springfield Is Not Funny Anymore.

More Roland
You're Busted, Burris.

Saving Gary
Airports and parking meters.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Waah.


Posted on May 27, 2009

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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