In a post-debate media appearance that streamed live online, Mark Maxwell, Capitol bureau chief for WCIA-TV Champaign, noted the nasty tone of the exchanges between Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker, and asked:
“Is there anything that you admire about Mr. Pritzker? An action or achievement? Is there anything you think he’s done that you think is worthy of praise?”
A slow pitch down the middle of the plate, yes. A predictable question that offers an easy chance to exhibit the magnanimity and grace most people like to see in their politicians, and one that played into Rauner’s recent declaration that he was newly committed to bipartisanship.
Businessman Chris Kennedy famously whiffed on a similar pitch in a Democratic gubernatorial debate prior to the March primary. “Can each of you name a positive thing your opponent has brought to this race?” moderator Carol Marin asked.
Kennedy looked down at his lectern for five excruciating seconds when it was his turn. “I mean,” he stammered at last, “I’m challenged in this election, because I think that as Democrats, we believe government can be our ally. And when J.B. emerges as the poster child of all that’s wrong with the corrupt system in our state, it’s difficult for me to heap praise on him. And that’s where I unfortunately need to end it.”
Rauner didn’t hesitate when he whiffed at the question.
“I’ve been very clear that I believe (Pritzker) is lacking in integrity, in ethics and in character,” he said, launching a 90-second, entirely negative talking-points tirade accusing Pritzker of being an unpatriotic tax cheat and self-dealer. “It’s appalling.”
Pritzker was not asked a similar question during his appearance before reporters Thursday, but at the primary debate he summoned praise for members of Chris Kennedy’s family based on their role in the Special Olympics.
Rauner’s answer, like Kennedy’s before it, suggested that the race has become blindingly personal, for him, so rooted in genuine animosity that the battle of ideas has given way to a sandbox fight.
In fairness, the televised portion of the debate suggested the same all around — it was dispiritingly nasty and personal, with Pritzker repeatedly calling Rauner a failure and a liar, and Rauner raging at Pritzker, “You’re not worthy of public office,” at one point, and “Shame on you, Mr. Pritzker, shame on you!” at another.
“For me, this is very emotional,” Rauner said.
Try making it rational. The lot of you. Look forward. Tell us why, if we vote for you, the next four years will look different from the last four years. Be specific. What will your budget priorities be? How will you balance revenue and spending without the fairy dust of ideological fantasies?
Numbers, please. Not slogans. Not insults. Not rage so blind you can’t find even one nice thing to say about an opponent.
Cop union defiant to the end on Burge
When news broke Wednesday that former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge had died in Florida at age 70, the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police had a platinum opportunity to offer a conciliatory grace note to the community.
Burge, after all, was a famously brutal and unrepentant cop, a convicted felon whose illegal depredations in the interrogation room have cost the city more than $100 million in legal settlements over the years.
Burge and his “midnight crew” of brutal subordinates tortured mostly African-American suspects with electric shocks, beatings, burnings, suffocation and other techniques in an effort to extract confessions, some of which later proved false. He was convicted of perjury in 2010 for lying about what he’d done and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison.
Burge hadn’t been active since 1991, when the department suspended him based on torture allegations (he was fired in 1993), but for more than a quarter of a century, his legacy has been a stain on the majority of police officers who follow the rules and heed the Constitution while doing a dangerous and necessary job.
He did not create the difficult relationship between poor blacks and law enforcement, but he aggravated it and came to symbolize the distrust and contempt in which many in rough neighborhoods view the police.
That relationship is in a particularly fraught state right now as the murder trial of white Officer Jason Van Dyke for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, an African-American, proceeds at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
The time was right for a conciliatory statement from the FOP expressing condolences to Burge’s family but distancing the city’s men and women in blue from the conduct of which Burge was more than creditably accused.
Instead we saw a post from the union on Facebook that included condolences but churlishly began, “The Fraternal Order of Police does not believe the full story about the Burge cases has ever been told.”
And we heard Dean Angelo, former head of the union, saying to reporters outside the Van Dyke trial that “Jon Burge put a lot of bad guys in prison that belonged … in prison. People picked a career apart that was considered for a long time to be an honorable career and a very effective career. I don’t know that Jon Burge got a fair shake based on the years and years of service that he gave the city. But we’ll have to wait and see how that eventually plays out in history.”
No, we won’t. The history is written. It’s damning. And best thing police can do now is demonstrate in words as well as deeds that they’ve moved beyond those days and are committed to seeing they never come back.
McCarthy: Arrest the cops!
Former Chicago police Superintendent and current mayoral hopeful Garry McCarthy has an … um … interesting take on the July 7 anti-violence protest that shut down a portion of the Dan Ryan Expressway. In a show of unity, Superintendent Eddie Johnson and other officers walked side-by-side and arm-in-arm with the demonstrators during that march.
“They violated the law,” McCarthy said to host Bill Cameron on WLS-AM’s “Connected to Chicago” program Sept. 16. “That’s not OK. I mean, that’s not OK. We want police officers to enforce the law, not to violate it. And if an officer violates the law, they should be prosecuted. Whether it’s a shooting or whether it’s a domestic violence incident. Whether it’s stealing. Whether it’s working with narcotics dealers. Or walking onto the Dan Ryan in uniform.”
… in case you were wondering what a McCarthy administration would be like.
The winner of this week’s online reader poll for funniest tweet is a bit of advice from @thewritertype: “Confuse future archeologists by burying your pets in elaborate military uniforms.”
To receive an email alert midweek after each new poll is posted, go to chicagotribune.com/newsletters and sign up under Change of Subject. You will never regret it.
Feeds,News,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago,Opinion
via Home – Chicago Tribune https://ift.tt/1LjWzdx
September 21, 2018 at 06:00PM