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Topinka is a zombie

Friday, Apr 28, 2006

My Sun-Times column runs today.

I have this image in my head of Judy Baar Topinka that I can’t shake. It came to me after she won the Republican gubernatorial primary last month and it won’t go away.

She’s a zombie monster.

I don’t mean that literally. It’s not like I expect to see her wandering the streets chewing peoples’ faces off. I mean politically.

As any horror film buff knows, it isn’t easy to kill an undead zombie monster. The heroic victims try and try, but nothing seems to work at first.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

27 Comments
  1. - Schiznitz - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:02 am:

    Its Blagojevich that is creating the zombie. Everything he does comes across as disingenuous slick marketing. He lacks credibility. He dresses like a TV Governor, but doesn’t govern.

    You can only fool the people so long.


  2. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:06 am:

    Good point, Schiznitz. Blagojevich as Worcestershire sauce.


  3. - VanillaMan - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:16 am:

    Its called innoculation. This is when a veteran has had everything thrown at them over a 20 year period, and voters see this longevity and start trusting them.

    After three statewide runs, voters feel they know Topinka, or ought to know her enough to support her. Blagojevich is going to have to unveil a real shocker to change voter’s perceptions about her.

    After a turbulent four years, voters want a comforting governor. They want reform, experience, and adult management. They do not want to hear about their governor’s testicles, federal investigations, cronyisms, or high falutin promises. The mood is right for a veteran woman reformer like Topinka.

    I’ve been reading very snarky personal insults about her from flakey bloggers, and they simply hold no credibility since these attacks seem so schoolyard-ish. Duct taping her to Bush or Ryan, or whoever is the new “evil one”, isn’t addressing the main issue in 2006. Blagojevich is the issue, and thats his problem.


  4. - Pat Collins - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:22 am:

    Interesting column. However, you could also make the point that, given her being elected state wide and having establishment backing she SHOULD have easily won the primary.

    But it is true that her voters seem to be “hers” and are staying put. To beat an incumbent, you need to:

    1)Show the incumbent is doing a bad job. Well, GB Rod seems to have that covered.

    2) Show you are a cerible alternative.

    I think (2) is why Rod is attacking all the time. If he keeps her from being an reasonable alternative, he wins.

    Attacking a strength is very K. Rovian. I think Rod hasn’t punched the panic button yet. He’ll go on for a while on Ryan. Also, the gun ban issues play to his base.

    This looks to be a turnout election. If Rod turns out the people who think gun bans actually work, and that abortion ought to be like McD (everywhere, and easily available to 13 year olds and their 30something lovers) he likely wins.

    don’t forget that not only are conservatives not likely to turn out for JBT, the looming Amnesty for illegals will depress their turn out even more.

    I confidently predict that if an amnesty passes, the Major easily wins the 6th, and Bean gets planted in the 8th for the next 20 years.


  5. - anon - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:23 am:

    Fun column Rich, but the problem Rod faces attacking her strengths is that the majority of her support is coming from the “anyone but Rod” voter.


  6. - Lovie's Leather - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:36 am:

    Here is Rod’s problem… an election is about the incumbent. He needs to be highlighting things he has done well for the state… maybe he tried and couldn’t find anything. I don’t know. But Topinka is making this about him. And he is making an awful mistake trying to make the election about her. This early, he needs to be running a positive campaign. Make the election about you, Blago. That wins votes. But I guess I really don’t care. I am behind Judy 100%. So, go out and make a fool of yourself…. After November, you will only be remembered as “Public Official A.”


  7. - Shallow Pharnyx - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 9:56 am:

    I agree with anon 9:23. I am one of those “anyone but Rod” voters. Well almost anyone (no Obie or Brady).


  8. - Anon - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:12 am:

    Wooden stake through the heart usually works.

    Maybe they could take it from the tree some vandal cut down at Starved Rock because the staffing has been decimated.


  9. - Pat Collins - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:24 am:

    Wooden stake through the heart usually works.

    That is a vampire.

    I think in the movie you needed to shoot them between the eyes. Kind of hard for Gun Ban Rod to do that…..


  10. - DOWNSTATE - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:48 am:

    Sorry Rich but that clown suit would fit Blago better.Maybe that is what it is going to take to get this state on it’s feet to rip someones face off.


  11. - anon - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:53 am:

    You need to cut/knock their heads off before they can eat your brains and turn you into a zombie. The best way to kill a zombie is … hold on a second … what’s that noise … Oh my god, they’re at the door, they’re getting in, aaaarrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh ….

    Must eat brains, must eat brains, must eat brains


  12. - DOWNSTATE - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 10:54 am:

    I like the news break on the right Costello’s ex-son-in-law arrested who just happens to be the state pilot this bunch in office hired to fly the Gov. around.


  13. - Bob - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 11:26 am:

    My freinds and I think she looks like the joker from batman. The clown suit fits that better too.


  14. - Wumpus - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 11:39 am:

    Pat C, what establishment backing did she have? Granted, she has won statewide, but the party was very fractioned. You had diifrent factions:
    A. Only Judy can beat Blago crowd - Judy
    B. I hate Judy and Bob Kj.., I am crazy -Bi-Polarwies ™
    C. I am an outsider, a reformer while I donate to JBT campaigns and George Ryan’s legal defense fund like it is a tax write off - Gidwitz
    D. I am the sane conservative, but I am downstate and no one knows me. -Brady
    E. Andy Martin-Andy Martin


  15. - soccermom - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 11:55 am:

    I am sending the Governor a copy of “Shaun of the Dead”. I only hope it gets to him in time.

    “This November, aim for the head…”


  16. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 12:08 pm:

    Great column, Rich. Great column. I agree with Vanillaman that Topinka has been innoculated. But I’d also point to something you said in your own column: Topinka finished the GOP primary exactly where they started. If she finishes the General Election with no more support than she has now, she’ll lose.

    I’d also disagree with you on one point. The key for Blagojevich isn’t women, it’s Democrats. Right now he’s only getting 65% of his own party. I think he needs 80% and to win. Fortunately for him, most of those Democrats also happen to be women, so he can kill two birds with one stone.


  17. - Ivory-Billed Woodpecker - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 1:01 pm:

    Luckily, a manual for confronting this problem is now available in paperback.
    http://www.bordersstores.com/search/title_detail.jsp?id=53534316&srchTerms=zombie&mediaType=1&srchType=Keyword


  18. - Pat Collins - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 1:17 pm:

    Pat C, what establishment backing did she have?

    Jim Edgar, for one. Big Jim for another. Is that Establishment in this state what is?

    Establishment = combine/”regular republicans”. The kind who like Kjellander since he’s K Rove’s buddy.

    Andy Who? was a nobody.

    Brady was a regional candidate (and, if you like conmspiracy theories, a spoiler). I don’t think he had committmen men support outside his area.

    Gidwitz was the other “establishment candidate, but he never got traction. Had JBT failed or looked bad he would have become their candidate. At least the Establishment believes in having a Plan B now :)

    Oberwise had a lot of support, but I don’t think anyone will pretend it was from anyone who could remotely be called “establishment”.


  19. - Pat Collins - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 1:18 pm:

    Jim Edgar, for one. Big Jim for another. Is that Establishment in this state what is?

    Let’s try again.

    Jim Edgar, for one. Big Jim for another. If that isn’t Establishment in this state what is?


  20. - DOWNSTATE - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 1:31 pm:

    Well he has found the money to buy Meeks off now he he could figure out how to get rid of Topinka he could be governor again.If not then JBT’s lead is going to grow every week.


  21. - Walking Wounded - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 2:36 pm:

    Rich, you’ve got the wrong party when it comes to dealing with politics and zombies. There’s a good line in the movie, “The Ghost Breakers”…Scientist, “A zombie has no will of his own. You see them sometimes, walking around blindly, with dead eyes, following orders, not knowing what they do, not caring.”
    Bob Hope: “You mean like Democrats?”


  22. - Anon - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 2:44 pm:

    The last Dawn of the Dead with Ving Rhemes (who was close to the Jack Ryan family) is good
    Meeks can play that role


  23. - Papa Legba - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:06 pm:

    Rich. I’m afraid you let the jeanie out of the bottle. I can see JBT stalking you through the halls of the State House with a wild, though crazed, look in her eyes saying get the political writer, get the political writer, gimme a smoke, get the political writer. Be careful if you hear a scraping noise on your doors or windows at night. It may not be your cat, just a flesh eating, money munching, Red-Headed candidate.


  24. - WTF! - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:29 pm:

    I think Judy looks more like Tinky Winky the Teletubby than a zombie. I hope Rev. Falwell doesn’t see that picture


  25. - Wumpus - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 3:37 pm:

    Thanks Pat, I am not trying to insult you. but the vote was split pretty well. My second point is that there isn’t much of a republican establishment.

    Who was Jim “911 commission, my law firm gives pro-bono legal counsel to Ryan” Thompson supporting.


  26. - Lovies's Leather - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 4:54 pm:

    Hey there YDD, you say Judy will lose if she has no more support in the future. She is up 6 points in the polls. If she gains no support nor loses support like the primary, it would seem she wins the general by 6 points. But, if you want to use Blagomath, go right ahead….


  27. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Apr 28, 06 @ 5:29 pm:

    Lovie, usually you have something intelligent to say. What happened?

    Topinka is up 43%-37%, depending on which poll you believe. If she still has 43% on Election Day, she loses. Big Time.

    Why is this relevant? Because Topinka started out the GOP primary with 38-40%, but all of the undecideds broke against her. Unless the undecideds break Topinka’s way AND turn out to vote, she’s toast.

    Conventional wisdom says that the undecided’s will break against the incumbent. That’s why conventional wisdom thought that George W. Bush was going to lose in 2004 and George H.W. Bush (sitting VP) would lose in 1988.

    It is the job of campaign staff to disprove conventional wisdom, and this campaign is anything but conventional to begin with. Topinka has alot of goodwill among the voters, but she is still relatively undefined on the issues. There’s a chance that one and even two more candidates will get into this. You’ve got a Democrat with an unprecedented cash advantage and a GOP President who’s poll numbers are dragging his party to the ocean floor.

    Blagojevich is buying low levels of t.v. ads now that will gradually build up to sear a negative image into voters minds. No roundhouses, but alot of jabs.

    Will it work? That depends on many factors, but I can’t argue with the strategy.


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