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The bloodlust is out of hand

Friday, Apr 30, 2010

* We’ve talked about the subject of my Sun-Times column most of the week. The silliness of the media as they engage in a feeding frenzy on the Giannoulias campaign. But you might want to read it anyway…

Political reporters, columnists and pundits don’t always band together as one, but when they do, watch out, especially when they’ve decided somebody is a bad guy and they’re going to “do something” about it.

Sometimes, it’s justified. The alleged hooker-knifing, wife-abusing Scott Lee Cohen is a case in point. Once we figured out that we had really goofed by not looking into the Democratic lieutenant governor nominee’s background more carefully, we pounced and tore him to shreds. But it was the right thing to do. Our mistake was not doing it earlier.

But it’s almost as if Cohen’s political blood tasted so good that members of the media wolf pack have decided that they just gotta have another kill. The bloodlust is leading some of them to resort to distortions and outright fabrications to achieve their goal.

The Cohen story practically wrote itself. It had just about all the elements of the perfect political scandal: sex, lies, drugs, lawsuits and violence. There was no need to embellish it.

But far too many of the stories being written about U.S. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias are taking embellishment to a whole new level.

The Chicago Tribune published a story earlier this month revealing that Giannoulias’ family bank had loaned two apparently mob-connected criminals $20 million. A banking consultant from Texas handed the Trib this ready-made quote: “Banks are not supposed to be doing business with criminals.”

But I searched Cook County Chancery Court records and found no less than 27 lawsuits, foreclosures, etc. filed by banks, financial service companies and a couple others against the two men over the years. Of those 27, just five were filed by Broadway Bank, which was owned by Giannoulias’ family before it was shut down a week ago by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Deutsche Bank, First American Bank, CitiMortgage, Austin Bank and more have all filed legal actions. Some were dismissed, some are still pending. The point is those two fellows did business with a bunch of different banks and had trouble with quite a few. But you’ll never read about that in the Tribune. The paper’s story was designed to look like Broadway was the exclusive go-to haven for mobsters. Turns out, there was nothing exclusive about it.

Seemingly seconds after the announcement that President Obama had planned a visit to Downstate Quincy, the chattering class speculated whether Obama would invite Giannoulias or throw his old friend and protege under the bus.

When asked last week if he had been invited, Giannoulias said he hadn’t, so the commentariat instantly leapt to the conclusion that “death by Trailways” was in Giannoulias’ immediate future.

Trouble is, no reporters bothered to see if any other Illinois VIPs had been invited. Nobody had been. The official invites didn’t go out until Monday.

That didn’t deter the feeding frenzy. The subject even came up at a White House press conference. Hours before the visit, Giannoulias was taunted by a Chicago reporter who wanted to know whether Giannoulias’ campaign needed “a presidential hug.”

All of the breathless anticipation was for nothing. Obama gave Giannoulias a shout-out from the podium and hugged him after the speech, and his top political adviser, David Axelrod, brought Giannoulias backstage for a friendly meeting.

I recently obtained a letter written by a Chicago reporter begging one of those two above-mentioned alleged mob guys to spill his guts about his dealings with Broadway Bank. He was lured with the promise that he could “change history.”

Instead of trying to “change history,” how about just focusing on telling a full and accurate story once in a while?

* Lynn Sweet helps shoot down this whole “Obama will push Giannoulias out of the race” stuff

Admitting he had no evidence, Sen. John Cornyn, who runs the Senate GOP political operation, suggested Thursday that the White House may try to force Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias out of the race — speculation that was flatly denied by the White House.

When I asked Cornyn, who’s from Texas, why he thought the White House would do that, he said: “I don’t know. Giannoulias is a flawed candidate and they are realizing it and I think they are worried. . . . I hope they respect the choices of Democratic primary voters and don’t engage in some sort of back-room shenanigans.”

A Giannoulias campaign spokeswoman said Cornyn’s comments were “ridiculous.”

Cornyn’s comment came a day after President Obama, in Downstate Quincy, gave a shout-out to Giannoulias, calling him the “soon-to-be senator” in a remark I think was calculated to quiet talk about distancing himself from Giannoulias.

“No one here is trying to ‘muscle’ him from the race. That should have been clear from the president’s comment yesterday,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Thursday. “Kind of ironic that on the day that Gov. [Charlie] Crist was forced out of the Florida Republican primary that Sen. Cornyn would be suggesting we would muscle someone out of a Senate race.”

* And, man, is this headline ever silly: “Rahm for Senate? He may be one of the Democrats’ most viable candidates in Illinois.” Yeah. Emanuel would do so well statewide here…

One intriguing idea being considered: Force Mr. Giannoulias out of the race and replace him with . . . Rahm Emanuel. Mr. Emanuel is still popular in Illinois and there was a big push to get him handpicked as the Obama successor back in late 2008. Democrats have used the shaft-and-shift strategy before, as in New Jersey in 2002 when they dumped a walking wounded Bob Torricelli as their Senate candidate a few weeks before Election Day.

The first person to publicly suggest this was Rod Blagojevich, so that gives you an idea of how wonderful it is.

* Related…

* Chris Kennedy to Don & Roma: “Lexi got in and I didn’t, and he deserves credit”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


35 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 5:18 am:

    When there’s blood in the water, some members of the media mob have visions of being the next Woodward and Bernstein. But those guys, of course, did some actual enterprise reporting; they weren’t just following the mob.


  2. - John Bambenek - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 5:35 am:

    Gotta love that spin… Crist wasn’t forced out of the GOP Primary (which hasn’t happened yet), he saw he couldn’t win the primary so he was going to try to go independent because that’s his best path to victory.


  3. - lake county democrat - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 6:30 am:

    “Of those 27, just five were filed by Broadway Bank…”

    Did any bank have more suits? Also, let’s remember that Alexi invited this — he had every opportunity to make full disclosure prior to the primary. Instead he said “I’ll tell you IF I win the primary” (as if he wasn’t already elected to a high state office and owed full disclosure anyway). I’m not saying the media shouldn’t be fair, but it’s hard to feel sorry for the guy.


  4. - wizard - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 8:14 am:

    jb-you’re right, crist bailed because he could not win. maybe the obama hug will help lexi just as much:)


  5. - Conservative Republican - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 8:15 am:

    If Rich Miller leaned Republican, he would be well schooled in the syndrome of “media pile on”.

    But once it happens to a Dem golden boy, all of a sudden it becomes “troubling” and a “frenzy”. My only quibble with Rich’s views on the latest reporting is that his perspective is a bit laser-focused. The Giarongo (sp?) deals and the White House caution are only two slivers of this ongoing headline-yielding scenario. Perhaps its jealosy; the media whittling a 30 yr old whizz kid down to size. But under the circumstances, shouldn’t this “people’s hero” be put under the microscope before he is elected to the most powerful legislative body in the world?

    On Obama and Alexi, my theory: While Broadway was booming, it stood as a promising honey pot for progressive Democratic politicians: Obama, Blago, etc etc. Obama saw a win-win in backing Alexi for Treasurer in that quite unuasual move for a freshman US Senator. What Obama was doing was cultivating a reliable and growing Democratic funding institution- Broadway Bank. His personal assist to Alexi would induce the Giannoulias family into even stronger Obama loyalty.

    Several things have changed since then. Obama became President (brass ring) and doesn’t need Broadway. Broadway collapsed, ergo no longer relevant as a funding source. Alexi has lackluster term in office; no percentage in continuing to be an Alexi cheerleader. Obama doesn’t need Alexi any more which is why the WH tried to convince Lisa Madigan to run.

    Rich Miller, I agree that the WH was never going to act is if it was distancing itself from Alexi. But on the other hand, a perfunctory “shout out”, a few minutes “private meeting”, and a hug, are, in Presidential terms, cheap grace.


  6. - wndycty - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 8:37 am:

    @lake county democrat I’m not sure what Alexi invited. Banks, all banks make loans, and many banks make loans to folks of questionable character who have the assets/credit history to justify those loans.

    Why Alexi/Broadway has been singled out as doing something out of the ordinary with the implication that there could have been wrongdoing is just bogus.

    Its amazing that people will defend Bill Brady not paying taxes because of a downturn in the economy and not think that he did anything wrong in the operation of his business, but when Broadway Bank fails it raises questions about Alexi’s character/judgment despite the fact he has not been involved in the bank for almost four years and the downtown of the economy which has resulted in numerous bank closings.

    But there is a narrative that folks are trying to peddle about Alexi that is just not true.


  7. - shore - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:15 am:

    Have to disagree with you. No one ever writes columns about how unfair it is that republicans get hit or empties barrels of ink revealing the truth which is that he’s an independent moderate.

    No one also writes columns about the fact that Kirk has 30 years of statesman experience and Alexi, has a failed bank on his resume. If you want to take the high road, write about THAT.


  8. - Conservative Republican - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:30 am:

    @wndycty

    What Alexi “invited” was the pitch that, over the wisdom of the Democratic State Central Committee, he was the ideal “people’s” choice as the next Treasurer of the State of Illinois. This despite the fact that he was in his twenties and his only “work” experience was as a basketball player in Greece and a flunky for his dad’s bank…of couse the latter was magnified into “senior loan officer” of one of “Chicago’s most successful banks”.

    As Treasurer, he served in office alongside Governor Rod Blagojevich without a whimper and then proceeded to lose over $50 million in Bright Start citizen invested funds and many millions in mishandled debt work outs. Some record for a banking industry leader…

    I also might interject that his office was not shy about piling on against defeated Republican candidate Judy Barr Topinka, which widely publicized how cigarette smoke- and dog-hair-infested her executive office was once Alexi took over. By then Topinka was a failed politician with no future threat to Alexi. If he is up to trashing the personal reputation of a 60 year old plus woman, why should he be surprised that the bona fides of a “senior loan officer” are being subjected to closer scrutiny?

    I had an “LOL” when reading the press releases of Alexi’s campaign ” ’splainin” his involvement in the mobster loans. They specifically walk back the “senior loan officer” moniker and state that Alexi’s involvement in the $20 million mobster pimp’s loan was only “clerical”.

    Accordingly, I would happily join you in calling for a major pull back of press scrutiny into Alexi’s, and his family’s, background if Alexi and his campaign will agree to refer to his pre-Treasurer’s office career as that of a “clerk”.

    Wouldn’t you agree that going from “clerk” to the U.S. Senate in 5 years is the more compelling story?


  9. - VanillaMan - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:34 am:

    When Cohen got the boot, I wrote that since this happened, Giannoulais was next. Reporters are overcompensating for their massive failure to do their jobs regarding Cohen. It is all very predictable, and understandable. Is it fair? No, but since when are campaigns conducted fairly?

    Remember the Palin kerfuffle with Kirk? How utterly ridiculous was that? We’re still hearing about it! Brady’s taxes? Really? Non-payment of non-taxes is an issue? Having his taxes available at the state capitol instead of in the Loop - is an issue?

    Giannoulias is a one-note Nelly, and this month, he lost his sheet music. Like Brittany Spears, Alexi Giannoulais has had his day being celebrated for being pretty and young, but over-reached for stars requiring talent beyond his ability. Who asked him to run for the US Senate besides People magazine? Even his old basketball buddy tried to talk him out of this.

    Giannoulais gets what he deserves. He wasn’t satisfied building his resume in statewide office. He didn’t listen to veteran politicians wiser than he. He knew his family’s bank was going bust. He knew off of that - and still ran!

    What’s fair about him doing that? We’ve accepted his multi-million dollar display of hubris as typical campaign crap. So the Media’s coverage of Giannoulais’ bank failure, coupled with his family’s $70 million dollar haul, and how his family disaster will cost each of us while he stays rich - is fair too.


  10. - Heartless Libertarian - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:35 am:

    @wndycty It is amazing to me how people still harp on Bill Brady for not paying taxes when his business lost something like $160,000 in 08. Okay, why would you pay taxes if all of your salary for a year was less than 0? Not having to pay taxes when your business is going through tough times helps insure survival for many. All I’m really saying is… it is nice to see a small business guy actually get a break rather than walmart.


  11. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 9:36 am:

    - No one also writes columns about the fact that Kirk has 30 years of statesman experience -

    You should be thanking journalists if they don’t remind the tea partiers that Kirk has been a politician for years. Also, everyone is writing about how Alexi has a failed bank on his resume, including Rich. And notice Rich didn’t include that in the list of ridiculous embellishments. So try to get past your bro-love of Kirk and see that Rich isn’t defending Alexi, he’s defending fair journalism.


  12. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:00 am:

    shore, Kirk’s resume is full of BS and half truths.

    Kirk’s claims of military accomplishment are as thin as Giannoulias banking record.

    There’s enough there to tell misleading truths, but not enough to demonstrate either has acquired competence or learned anything along the way.

    As for Kirk being a statesman… puh-leaze. The guy is consistently wrong on foreign policy issues.

    Kirk’s speciality is working the media. And that has been made easy b/c the two biggest media outlets are aligned with him on their key issues, so they actively help Kirk.


  13. - Captain Streeter - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:18 am:

    Rich your true colors are showing. Did Durbin appoint you Co-Chair of Alexi’s bid yet?? If this were a Republican banker, Rich you would be calling for his head, saying he is a spoiled brat rich kid who’s family helped him win office. Its amazing to me Alexi gets a free pass from liberals, but if Kirk worked at a failed FAMILY bank to “earn” his place in life, well that would be just awful right??


  14. - Conservative Republican - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:22 am:

    Another reason I think Rich is looking at this too narrowly is mirrored by his comparative views on Blagojevich.

    For years, Rich has written about the plain indications of serious problems, including possible criminal conduct, within the Blagojevich administration. However, it took an indictment and an early morning arrest to unleash the media scourge of Blago. Since then, Blago has been grist even for the tabloid mill, and there is nothing too extreme that can be said about the man. I wouldn’t rise to Blago’s defense on anything, but don’t you consider stuff like Sharon Osbourne calling him completely “stupid” etc as a media pile on? I’ll give Blago a few things: his is an impressive spokesman, particularly given how he stays on message with his incredible story. He might make a successful criminal defense attorney himself if he ever gets his law license back (assuming a conviction). Rich has never doubted that there was substance to the Blago matters, and his continual put-downs of Blago reflect that.

    However, Rich is unable or unwilling to suspect similar problems with Alexi.

    The Alexi story is almost a rewrite of Blago’s — North Side Chicago whizz kids who would have been nobodies were it not for solicitious, generous, wealthy parents/in-laws. Both Blago and Alexi are so infused with the air of entitlement it isn’t even funny. With Blago there was smoke, and we all now know there was fire…enough fire to motivate his fellow Democrats to impeach him.

    With Alexi, there is most definitely smoke. An aggressive media is just looking for the fire, even though there was a fire to look for long before the Broadway Bank takeover by the feds.


  15. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:22 am:

    Captain Streeter - Again, along with Shore, you apparently can’t read. Did Rich say anything about it being unfair to bring up the bank failure? Sure didn’t. Get a clue.


  16. - Conservative Republican - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:24 am:

    P.S.

    The story line that Alexi was a “senior” bank “officer” is now plainly evident as a lie.

    I think that’s a big enough lie to engender media suspicion.


  17. - dupage dan - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:38 am:

    Mr Nyberg,

    =Kirk’s resume is full of BS and half truths.=

    That’s rich. Wow, stop the presses, a politician pads his resume. OMG!

    BTW, please stop making derisive comments about those who serve our country in a time of war. It is distasteful to say the least.

    There are plenty of things that Kirk has done and said that can be criticized. Shore made no reference to Kirk’s service so why did you have to add that? Distasteful, provacative and boring.


  18. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:50 am:

    “If this was a Republican banker…”

    Does the name Clyde Savings & Loan ring a bell?

    Rep. Henry Hyde sat on the board of Clyde Savings & Loan while he was the ranking Republican on the banking committee.

    Clyde failed because of illegal acts by the board of directors. Every member of the board had to plead guilty to criminal acts, except for Hyde.

    Hyde made and seconded some of the motions that resulted in the bank failing.

    Hyde was also an inside player in keeping regulators off the back of the entire S&L industry.

    Don’t you remember how the Chicago Tribune did all those front page stories about Clyde and Hyde?

    Oh, right. They didn’t.

    Broadway failed because of the bad economy and the Trib gives it story after story even though Alexi Giannoulias acts were not the proximate cause of the bank failing.

    Hyde’s acts were the proximate cause of Clyde failing. And Hyde was doing shady stuff as part of the cover-up. The Trib did write a story (IIRC) on Hyde hiring a private investigator to go after his critic (Anderson was the guy’s name IIRC). But the Trib barely covered the Clyde story at all.

    Captain Streeter, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about if you believe Rich’s column reflects going easy on Giannoulias.


  19. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 10:52 am:

    Mark Kirk’s statements about his military service are as bogus as Giannoulias’ claims about banking.

    The difference is that the media asks Giannoulias questions about his claims and the same media doesn’t ask Kirk questions about his claims.


  20. - shore - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:35 am:

    karl, you had 5 chances to beat mark. 0-5, in the 3rd most democrat district held by a republican in the country. you and ellen need to calm down and rethink yourselves.

    kirk is now surging-with a lead 8 points over alexi and I am sure alexi is polling right now-we haven’t seen one from him in a long time.

    the other thing is that the closer we get to november the further we move away from bush administration and the harder it is going to be for voters to swallow his whining when lets face it, kirk has a pretty spiffy resume.

    here is the latest poll which shows alexi at a pathetic 38 percent in a state obama carried with 62 percent of the vote.

    http://realclearpolitics.blogs.time.com/2010/04/30/il-gov-sen-kirk-support-up-since-broadway-bank-failure/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+timeblogs/real_clear_politics+(TIME:+Real+Clear+Politics)&utm_content=Twitter

    It’s also worth noting rasmussen yesterday had a poll with alexi getting just 53 percent of voters in illinois who said they voted for obama in 08. that’s the lowest percent by far of any dem us senate presumptive nominee-I think the next closes t was 65 percent and the top was 85 percent.

    you got problems.


  21. - A.B, - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:36 am:

    Kirk’s statements about military service are bogus?

    I grew up in a military family. My father, a 23 year veteran, and I have seen Kirk’s badges and let me tell you, that man has accomplished a lot for a full time military officer, let alone a reservist.

    I have also personally spoken with other members of the Prowler squadron he flew with and the guy they call “Rooster” is highly respected. I have also met members of the British military who served with Kirk and felt so strongly about him, they came to the US to support him.

    His time serving his country in Iraq and in the former Yugoslavia are significant deployments for any military intelligence officer. Top that with the fact that he has achieved the honor of “Intelligence Officer of the Year” in 1999, further proves those claims to be ridiculous.

    Nyberg don’t start making making claims you know nothing about, especially when it is about how a military man or woman serves their country. The nation decides who serves, in what region and in what capacity. Mark Kirk has done so honorably for almost two decades and deserves that respect.


  22. - Honest Abe - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:47 am:

    Nice spin doctoring from Axelrod: Crist dropped out of the Republican primary to run as an independent because Rubio is throttling him in the GOP polls. Alexi is being subjected to a whispering campaign since certain Democrats want to go all Scott Lee Cohen on him. Not an apt comparison from Mr. Combover.


  23. - bored now - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:49 am:

    gotta love the kirkites. mark kirk (r-wall street) plays the media like a fiddle. but his apologists scream bloody murder at the slightest criticism of saint kirk.

    when i read rich’s column, the first thing i thought was, this is inside baseball. which, granted, is the kind of thing that rich does well. trying to keep everyone honest. and, oh btw, more a critique of the media and its feeding frenzy mentality than of he who apparently walks on water.

    but the reaction here demonstrates a complete lack of faith in saint kirk. people here keep saying that the protector of the big banks wants the representative of the little banks to stay in the race! that saint kirk wants to pound giannoulias, but not so much that alexi exits the race. they have concluded — i think appropriately — that alexi’s presence is saint kirk’s best chance to win in this democratic state.

    so why the criticism of rich (who could be seen as doing kirk’s bidding by toning down the feeding frenzy and keeping alexi in the race)? i can only assume that kirk’s apologists understand the shallow ground he stands on, and won’t allow anything to undercut their savior.

    i dunno, maybe saint kirk can’t handle illinois politics and needs all this protection. maybe he’s just profoundly naive, and needs your help. and i agree that it’s likely that saint kirk can’t play with the big boys. maybe that’s why he continues to occupy the pages of the eastern establishment press but won’t sit down for the rough and tumble questioning of the chicago press. so i suppose you protectors better bone up. because the giannoulias family bank has failed, alexi has owned up to it, and we haven’t yet even touched the surface of saint kirk’s poor judgment, questionable votes (and statements), his flagrant violation of the military code, his obeisance to southern conservatives like george bush and mitch mcconnell, on and on, etc, etc. i can understand your reactions; i’d react sharply, too, if i was supporting a lightweight like saint kirk…


  24. - cassandra - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:51 am:

    Others have probably pointed out that it is in Kirk’s best interest for Alexi to be the candidate.
    If it were Lisa or some other Democratic light without much baggage, he’d be toast this still blue blue state.


  25. - Independent - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 11:55 am:

    “Broadway failed because of the bad economy….”

    Most small banks survived the recession without being shuttered by the FDIC. They did so by not heavily relying on brokered deposits, and they diversified their investments beyond highly risky real estate ventures. The Broadway story is primarily one of excessive risk taking and gross mismanagement.

    In 2006 when Broadway was strong Alexi was the supposed financial genius behind these decisions. By 2010 they flipped the story 180 and he was just another Joe Sixpack employee. Which version is true isn’t really important, just that he sold us a bag of lies in ‘06 or he’s doing it now.

    Sadly I think Alexi will pull out a close win as Illinoisans adore charismatic empty suits.


  26. - Conservative Republican - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 1:09 pm:

    VanillaMan @ 9:34 clinches the big picture on Alexi with an adroitness no one can top.

    You pro-Alexi posters should read his post before you repeat Alexi’s talking points ad infinitum. VMan states the issues that have to be addressed by Alexi even if he has an airtight alibi for Broadway’s mobster customers and its financial meltdown (except that the $70 million Broadway special dividend issue will never go away…). And Alexi will never satisfactorily resolve those issues.


  27. - Bubs - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 1:35 pm:

    There could not have been too much pitching on Alexi on the recent Obama trip, since it was government funded. The tea leaf reading on that trip and “hug” stuff is way off. Much more concern should be directed to Rahm’s nuanced response to Durbin’s plea for WH help. But it is likely that Alexi is just temmporarily
    “radioactive” in the eyes of the WH. Obama needs less personal controversy right now, not more. It is only the beginning of May, and Obama will come home for Alexi this Fall. It will have impact, but who can say if it will be enough.

    If both sides think the other is getting a pass, things are probably all right. But the “Hyde & Clyde” argument on Kirk is pretty bogus. Alexi rode to victory as Treasurer in 2006 proclaiming his banking prowress. He just has to live with all of this now.


  28. - The Mad Hatter - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 1:56 pm:

    “The bloodlust is leading some of them to resort to distortions and outright fabrications to achieve their goal.”
    Sounds a lot like what happened in the last presidential election and what’s currently happening to the Tea Party. No wonder no one trusts the media to be impartial.


  29. - Fed up - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 2:44 pm:

    Carl speaking of lies and half truths aren’t you the one who claimed the loans Alexi made to convicted felons and members of organized crime were “good loans”. Yeah you know a few things about lies.


  30. - LincolnLounger - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 3:31 pm:

    So he was a brilliant, whiz-kid banker during the good times and a flunky clerk now that there’s trouble? It seems to me that Team Alexi is the thin-skinned bunch who whine about “noun, verb, and Broadway Bank” because the media is finally doing its job in not letting Alexi have it both ways.

    For the record, this Broadway Bank stuff isn’t getting much play outside of Chicago and Spfld.


  31. - Conservative Republican - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 3:46 pm:

    PPS

    I just received Mark Kirk’s campaign email. It notes one additional item that did not occur to me, but has direct relevance as to the continued newsworthiness of Broadway Bank and Alexi’s involvement.

    Now that the FDIC has taken control of the bank, it will subject Broadway and its former owners to an investigation fueled in large part by the FDIC’s current control of the books and records. Any malfeasance by the bank’s former officers may be the subject of various actions by the FDIC to recoup taxpayer funds and other losses.

    Alexi and his brothers will be in the cross hairs of this investigation. With the FDIC backlog, expect this to incumbate. How would Illinois voters feel if Alexi were charged with malfeasance a few years down the line?


  32. - ZC - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 4:08 pm:

    I try and keep an even keel on this Alexi flap, because I remember another candidate for office who got a huge amount of “she’s unqualified,” “her family got her where she is,” “she never did anything in her life,” “her family is corrupt,” etc. That candidate was Lisa Madigan.

    The other point, obviously for me, is what does this have to be with being a -Senator-. People talk about Mark Kirk being a true indpt Senator. I say, BS. There is no such animal anymore, not at present, in the US Senate. Put bluntly, a vote for Kirk -is- a vote for Mitch McConnell; it’s a vote against health care, it’s a vote against financial reform, it’s a vote against immigration reform, and so on. Now if you oppose the Democratic version of all those things, fine; I understand that. But for me, a vote for Kirk remains a vote to help obstruct a wide range of Democratic policies I believe in.

    I am sure Mark Kirk is a perfectly nice guy. It’s even possible that, were I assigning one of them to teach my Sunday school, I would prefer Kirk over Alexi. However, that has little relevance for what kinds of -votes- they will cast, once in office. I hope at some point the media coverage will center back around the very different policy consequences that will stem, nationwide, from a Kirk vs. Giannoulias Senate seat.


  33. - A.B, - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 4:24 pm:

    ZC -

    I think there is one thing to look at in regards to your otherwise well thought out and objective post.

    Kirk has been a national leader on crossing the aisle. As the head of the Tuesday Group, he has been the leader of Republican legislators who cross the aisle as moderates. Now people can certainly cherry pick specific legislation to try and define him otherwise, but any objective political insider will tell you that the Members of Congress who will routinely cross the aisle and stand against their leadership are the Blue-Dog Democrats and the Tuesday Group Republicans.


  34. - ZC - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 5:09 pm:

    A.B., agreed Kirk voted against a lot of GOP positions in the House, on the floor. On the other hand, he could afford to - he was in the similar position to some of the “Blue Dog” Dems today, who can desert their parties on key votes when their vote isn’t crucial.

    In the Senate side, however, Kirk won’t be in that position. On a lot of votes, he will be the “pivotal” vote - in the sense that just about any Senator is pivotal. The greater the GOP pickup, of course, the less pivotal he’ll be, but no question he won’t have much room to maneuver.

    So how would he vote, if his vote was decisive on some key issue? I hope the media presses him more on this, over the summer. Note: I understand Kirk has every incentive to be fuzzy on this! Why he’d lay all his cards on the table, I have no idea. But barring that, voting for Alexi G. seems to me the best alternative.


  35. - Independent - Friday, Apr 30, 10 @ 5:17 pm:

    A vote for Alexi is a vote for the same style over substance politics that have put Illinois in deep fiscal trouble and made us a national ethical embarrassment. At some point I feel you have to say “enough” and do something to help reverse the sorry state of affairs. I don’t want an Alexi victory to inspire another generation of slick empty suits.


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