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Was this really necessary?

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014

* Marcel Pacatte spews bile in Crain’s

But [Judy Baar Topinka] also was a disaster to the state party she ran at perhaps its most critical moment, in the aftermath of George Ryan. What he wrecked, she smothered. She was not to blame for the mess—she didn’t give us the Jim Ryans or the Jack Ryans or the Rich Williamsons. But she was hapless at a time when the party needed vision and direction. Instead, she gave us the laughingstock candidacy of Alan Keyes in the U.S. Senate race won by a guy named Barack Obama.

And in her own race for governor, while she may have spoken for many when she famously dismissed her primary opponents as morons, there she was, a clown, in a relentless polka across television screens with felon George Ryan in her race against a guy under federal investigation during the campaign, Rod Blagojevich.

Perhaps her most unfortunate moment was when she tried, as state treasurer, to get the state to forgive $30 million in loans to Bill Cellini, which Attorney General Jim Ryan blocked as a bad deal for the taxpayers but which Topinka defended as better than nothing.

1) Topinka didn’t “give” us Alan Keyes. She fought tooth and nail against that idiotic appointment. She had her own candidate, an African-American woman, but Sen. Dave Syverson pushed hard for Keyes and “won” that battle.

2) She was “a clown”? What a needlessly gratuitous shot.

3) When the dust finally settled on the hotel deal, Topinka rightly pointed out that if her deal had been allowed to go through the state would’ve made more money.

I don’t ever recall meeting Pacatte, even though he claims he “covered Judy Baar Topinka in Springfield.” That doesn’t mean he’s lying, it’s just that he wasn’t someone of any particular significance.

* His conclusion

Those lionizing her or making more of her than she was would do well to remember that. For her part, she likely would meet the exaggerated praise with a healthy eye roll and a cutting and self-deprecating aside, and then gracelessly ask the governor to pull some strings to get her son a job at Southern.

Another needlessly gratuitous shot at a woman who’s barely been dead for two days.

* However, I do agree that she’d be rolling her eyes at the exaggerated praise. She was indeed a self-deprecating politician.

Those who praise her bipartisanship are absolutely right to do so, but she also considered herself to be a Republican through and through. Yeah, she was pro-union, pro-choice, pro gay marriage and favored a minimum wage increase, but she backed Bruce Rauner for governor and worked closely with him after the election ended.

She was a very kind, sweet and considerate human, but she could also be tough and even ruthless. At one point, she stopped speaking to me for two years over something I’d written. I never held it against her, but, man, she had a temper.

* So, I’m not saying here that criticism is out of bounds, I’m saying that gratuitous, false insults of the recently departed violate common decency standards.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - NiagraFalls - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    Amen, Rich.

  2. - Lil Squeezy - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    Politics certainly does bring out the worst in us. In a decent society we would have some understanding of what is important, and at least wait a week to publish criticisms of the dead. But whatever, lets get back to being Democrats and Republicans, because that is what is important to too many of us reading this blog.

  3. - Steve schnorf - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    I have been wondering for 24 hours what Pacatte had to say about all this. We all know how he’s the guy we all listen to for the real scoop.

    Rich, really good point on the often ignored fact that the taxpayers would have been well ahead if Judy’s deal on the hotels had gone thru rather than what actually happened years later.

    Who is this Pacatte guy anyway? Anyone know?

  4. - Soccermom - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    My favorite JBT story actually makes tremendously clear that she was, um, unhappy with the decision to run Keyes….

  5. - Soccermom - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    Marcel Pacatte teaches reporting and writing at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He also is managing editor of the site Medill Reports.

    So how many thousands of dollars are kids paying to get this guy’s priceless insights???

  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:53 am:

    In the hours after a death, be it someone of notoriety or someone of anonymity, those who are left can choose in those early hours to see things through rose colored glasses, or speak with a cold blackened heart…

    Some cold blackened hearts think they speak with relevancy, when reality shows, they just have a cold darkened heart.

    Decency has never warmed a heart that is cold.

  7. - Elo Kiddies - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    Using one of Blago’ more shameless attack ads as the basis for part of this critique is particularly egregious.

  8. - Steve schnorf - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Mom, however much, too much. I know that it’s unfair generally, but sometimes it’s just too apropos to resist; them that can’t do, teaches

  9. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    Never heard of this guy, and I pay pretty close attention. His obscurity appears to be richly deserved.

    Crains needs to sharpen the editing pencil. The Keyes reference is just flat-out wrong. How that went down was in all the papers at the time, including Crains.

  10. - Stones - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    It sounds like Marcel Pacatte is the clown to me. Just sayin’

  11. - Mad Brown - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Opinions are like armpits Marcel, everyone has at least one, and many stink. We’ll keep on remembering Judy without yours.

  12. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    ” That doesn’t mean he’s lying, it’s just that he wasn’t someone of any particular significance.”

    Feel free to change that to present tense.

  13. - Ginhouse Tommy - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    There is a blue light special going on today at K-mart on personalities. This guy needs to get himself one. The one he got at Big Lots broke. If this is what he is teaching his students they are bound for failure. Quinn called her a force of nature and everyone else heaped praises on her and this stuffed shirt says this. What a jerk.

  14. - Wensicia - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:04 pm:


  15. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    Yep, Schnorf, there are those who retreat to the academic when they can’t make it “outside” that fit your comment about teaching. Many more are there because they truly want to teach and have the skills to do so.

    To the post–Meow!! This is not a critique but a hatchet job by Pacatte. A good example of poor journalism.

  16. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    Thanks for the information that she opposed the Keyes fiasco. My only problem with her had been that she was head of the Republican party when he was chosen to run for Senate. I thought she had more power in that role than she did. Would have been happy to vote for her choice.

  17. - Rhino Slider - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    I thought she was very lonely. It seemed like a career in politics made her wary of trusting people, even and especially people who should be allies.

    I think she could pull off a giant smile and hug for anyone as social politics dictated (even Blagojevich whom she detested), but had very few saw the true woman.

    Her family pride was sincere. Her politics were even sincere. But she kept her true self very, very private.

  18. - Question - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    Rich- who was JBTs preferred US senate candidate after the Jack Ryan fiasco?

  19. - Mason born - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    Just when I thought the debate over who should replace JBT was bringing out all the partisan d-bags one more shows up.

    Is it really that hard to disagree with someone and still show respect or at the least decency? Get over yourself.

  20. - Arizona Bob - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    Not a good practice to play the “Emperor has no clothes” gambit before the object is in the ground, and while eulogizing is still taking place.

    Couldn’t this wait until next week?

    JBT certainly made her share of mistakes, and there was very little she supported in the GOP platform, despite being in a strong leadership position. In fact most gay privilege and abortion promotion issues put her at odds with the GOP base.

    There will certainly be some harshness when her history is being written, and I’m sure she’d be OK with that. She was tough as nails, and she was always honest about what she believed and supported despite the fallout.

    A lot of her associations weren’t the most savory, but this is politics, not bean bag.

    Most of us would prefer not to know how the sausage was made, and she was an EXPERT sausage maker.

    Rich, are you considering doing her biography after the dust settles? Sounds like you’d be an excellent choice to fairly tell her story.

  21. - anon - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    JBT’s harshest critics were from the rightwing of her own party. Their lack of enthusiasms in 2006 gave JBT an additional barrier to overcome.

  22. - A guy... - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    What an incredible jackass. The Keyes thing is so completely false it discredits him as a teacher at Medill or anywhere else. His credibility is shot with that one alone.

    I suspect this fool posited something in an interview that was idiotic and she told him it was. I’m very actively involved in the media, and until I read this entry TODAY, I’d never, ever, heard of this guy.

    Clearly he wants to be the contrary dude who’s going to say what he thinks others are thinking. He’s dead wrong. Even the hardest right wingers had a soft spot for JBT when their disagreements were vehement. She tolerated ignorance better than just about anyone. She tolerated naivete. She tolerated political convenience.

    What this guy made me appreciate about her today is that she didn’t suffer (willful) fools, and he is one. She had his number from the get-go and schooled the professor the old-fashioned way; she kicked his butt. He resents it. And being the tough guy he is…he waits until she dies to take his shot at her. Wimp!

    Ironic thing: she could probably still kick his butt. In her honor, I’m helping!

  23. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:16 pm:

    I think we all got a glimpse into why Prof. Pacatte is no longer a working journalist.

  24. - Illinoisvoter - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    Does this piece from the Daily Herald show a
    more accurate picture for those who knew Judy
    Barr Topinka ?

  25. - JoanP - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    @ Illinoisvoter -

    The author of that article is the reason I couldn’t vote for her in that race. I understood WHY she had Birkett on the ticket, but couldn’t stomach the thought of him succeeding her. So I “wasted” my vote on Whitney.

  26. - Apocalypse Now - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    Ok, Marcel Pacatte’s 15 seconds of fame is over. Now, he goes back to teaching and any reference to him as a Professor is a black mark on all educators. Let’s hope we are around to comment on his obituary.

  27. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    Then you know mime, right?

    Then you’d definitely know which gesture I’m using to answer your ignorant rant.

    A governor goes down sending a political party which was on the cusp of obsolescence, into oblivion. Ryan was the bottom of the barrel and an old man by the time he finally reached that gubernatorial crown. He waited for a generation. The party was out of steam by the time old George got the nod.

    George Ryan took a party at the tail end of a generation of state rule, and drove a wooden stake through it’s future. Even without a conviction, the GOP was like the Kremlin in 1984 - out of gas.

    Yet you blame the lady who survived it all? I have been around long enough to know that what Topinka and Didricksen had to deal with as successful statewide ladies in the Illinois GOP was sexist, ignorant and nasty. A remarkable tone deaf assessment of what political advantages each lady offered to the party which disliked both winners.

    Its pathetic that even after decades of political successes and foresight in political shifts over the past thirty years, Judy Barr Topinka still gets the back of your hand like she was still some oddity with an ethnic heritage you didn’t understand.

    Pull on a vertical black and white striped shirt and put a beret on that empty head of yours and get back in the park where out of town visitors can photograph you in your imaginary box of stupidity.

  28. - Anonymoiis - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    I’ll echo a lot of other commenter’s reaction to this “reporter”: “Who?”

    If he honestly was “covering Judy” and believes she was pushing Alan Keyes…..then the only thing to say politely is this guy is an idiot.

    Some academics think their job is to be a contrarian to every issue. It boosts their ego by thinking that makes them appear intelligent. Facts aren’t always important to them, just the idea that they’re “making people think.” The only thing this article makes this guy appear like is a giant tail end of a horse.

  29. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    Just goes along with the rest of the stuff at Crain’s…the writing there seems to range from the brilliant to the ridiculous, kinda like Sally Field’s “box of chocolates” from Forrest Gump. You never know what you’re gonna get.

  30. - MrJM - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    I don’t ever recall meeting Pacatte, even though he claims he “covered Judy Baar Topinka in Springfield.” That doesn’t mean he’s lying, it’s just that he wasn’t someone of any particular significance.

    Aaaaaaaaaand scene.

    – MrJM

  31. - The Historian - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    I believe the answer to Question’s question was a woman named Andrea Barthwell, whom Rich implicitly referred to, who’d been some sort of anti-drug official in D.C…..

  32. - ZC - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    Some journalists still working are making the error too FYI (not defending Pacatte; maybe this is where he got his erroneous info):

    From Tony Arnold and the AP yesterday, the WBEZ tribute (link to audio / text below)

    “As she won more elections, Topinka became more involved in the state Republican Party, becoming its chair. In 2004, she led the party to a candidate who would spectacularly lose against Barack Obama for the U-S Senate seat…. Remember Alan Keyes?”

    It seems like we need to squash this meme before it grows…

  33. - Percival - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    The fiasco was not hers. When Ryan met with her to discuss running she asked him directly in front of witnesses whether there was anything in his past that would embarrass the GOP. He said no. That turned out to be “less than the truth.” In the end, people like Denny Hastert pulled the trigger on Ryan more than Judy, even though she was furious with him. She pursued other candidates, even Ditka. She unhappily accepted Keyes solely because no one better would run, and some key people were pushing Keyes. Judy did all she could in an utterly disheartening situation. The idea that she caused any of it is simply not true.

  34. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    JBT left us at the top of her game, so this author’s tactless and petty criticisms are easily disregarded. She just won an election. How did she do in Chicago, for a Republican? I voted for her this election, my first ever Republican vote.

    JBT has a lot of admirers and supporters, and that is because of her life’s work and legacy. The reasons why people loved and admired her, regardless of political party or ideology, should be publicized so soon after such a notable person passes away. They are ample.

  35. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    === So, I’m not saying here that criticism is out of bounds ===

    I’ll say it.

    If the only way you can advance your opinion is to take advantage of the rare moment after someone dies and:

    1) They cannot defend themselves, and

    2) Everyone with a shred of humanity is withholding any criticism so that your tiny blade of grass stands out like a forest

    Then in evolutionary terms your opinion is not worth advancing.

    You want to criticize Topinka’s policies, plenty of time to do that.

  36. - anon - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    When she was party chairman, JBT didn’t even have a vote. The members of the central committee who did have a vote are the ones responsible for the Keyes debacle.

  37. - Ghost - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    Few people follow the operations of the IOC but she served that office well; with limited budgets she drove technology upgrades and put everything out on the web for ease of access. She was not just a great person, she made excellent decisions with her office. Th comptrollers office is the secret sausage plant of the state, and she ran it extremely well with limited resources.

  38. - Honestly - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    Proof that being ignorant is not a state of mind but a personality

  39. - vole - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:53 pm:

    OK, it took quite a gal to survive all that zany IL political history that was wrenching to live through but now I just can’t help but laugh about some of it.

  40. - Ginhouse Tommy - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    He was trying to stand out by dissing an obviously very popular lady. Take other side to show her flaws. Her legion of friends over shadow that. The fact that she was so very genuine and real while other members of her party who opposed her where stiffs. This guy may find doors slammed in his face in the future if he tries to interview some of her political friends.

  41. - D.P.Gumby - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    Who actually ran the polka w/ Ryan ad? I thought it was Blago, but someone said it was someone in the Rep. Primary. Can anyone answer?

  42. - Tikkunolam - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    Since Mencken’s obituary for William Jennings Bryant, writers have tried to make waves with harsh word for the dead. A few have pulled it off when they had long histories with truly odious subjects- Hunter Thompson on Nixon and Hitchens on Jerry Falwell are the best of the genre.

    Pacatte’s screed is an embarrassing attempt at imitating that tradition. It’s an understandable impulse to be contrary in the face of universal praise for a politician, but impulse journalism is ill-advised.

    Moreover, every hair-trigger negative obit drains out ability to be shocked. Used sparingly, they’re an incredibly important part of public discourse. Obituaries aren’t the place to hash out petty disagreements. Save the venom for the true villains.

  43. - Legal eagle - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    Question- as I recall it wasn’t a African Ammerican Woman I remember it being a woman from cook county but forgot what her background was or her name.

  44. - Amalia - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    bad timing, bad writing tactics.

  45. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    I would be the first to say that writing this the day after JBT passed is incredibly distateful and call Pacette’s motives into question. But Crain’s, the same periodical that our own blogger writes for, made the conscious decision to publish this. I can only conclude that they did so because they felt that it would make some eyeballs pop. In that respect they’re equally culpable. Wait a week and/or take out some of the animus and this article hardly warrants any attention. And while JBT was generally a well liked pol she wasn’t a saint and she’s still a human being. She had the same failings as all of us. She deserved better treatment from Pacette AND Crains.

  46. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    Legal, it was indeed Andrea Barthwell. She was black. Still is.

  47. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    Rich, why reprint this no class piece? It’s just what the author wanted.

    You, know, Judy probably didn’t care what reporters, professional pols, and pundits thought of her anyway…they passed judgement on her, while the citizens of IL eleted her.

  48. - illini - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Willy, you said it well! And I do not always agree with you.

  49. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    ===why reprint this no class piece?===

    Because it royally ticked me off and somebody needed to call this fool out.

  50. - vole - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    Wow, 2 Ryans, 1 non-Ryan Ryan, 1 Keyes, and Blago on one post! If there ain’t something redemptive about all this … roll away the stone Judy! Live on!

  51. - Nonplussed - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    The good thing about this article is that somewhere, JBT is having a good laugh about it.

  52. - Cheswick - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    Definitely unnecessary. Judy was a household name in my Dem household. Marcel Pacatte? Never heard of him.

  53. - Scooby - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    The school should kindly thel him that while he has a right to freedom of the press, as a representative of a repspectd institution, he should use common sense, judgement and class. The man is obviously troubled, angered and probably jealous because now his legacy will be that he maliciously attacked one of the most loved Illinois public figures one day after her untimely death.

  54. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    I always voted her her in every election. I am Pro-Life but that issue did not make me any less of a supporter because she was a sincere politician is a state without many.

    I will miss her. We do need more like her.

    Also, I do agree that it is bad Karma to dump on a person after they just passed. It is also bad form. Respect the dead.

    There is plenty of time for history to judge her and it should be in a respectful manner.

  55. - DuPage - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    This Pacatte sounds very insignificant and looking for his 15 minutes of fame. He got his 15 minutes and earned well-deserved disdain and disrespect from all of us.

  56. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    ==In fact most gay privilege and abortion promotion issues==

    Bob, you’re a moron. You’ve just joined Marcel in my book. Gay privilege? Abortion promotion? If those were intelligent comments they’d deserve an intelligent response. But since they aren’t I leave it at simply “moron.”

    As for Marcel, he is absolutely disgusting. He doesn’t belong in any classroom teaching anybody anything if this is the garbage he spews. Why in the world Crains would even print this trash is beyond me.

    As @A guy said, what a jackass.

  57. - John - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    I always voted her her in every election. I am Pro-Life but that issue did not make me any less of a supporter because she was a sincere politician is a state without many.

    I will miss her. We do need more like her.

    Also, I do agree that it is bad Karma to dump on a person after they just passed. It is also bad form. Respect the dead.

    There is plenty of time for history to judge her and it should be in a respectful manner.

  58. - Filmmaker Professor - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    “common decency standards”? Rich, you must be new to this here internet.

  59. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    But Crain’s, the same periodical that our own blogger writes for, made the conscious decision to publish this. I can only conclude that they did so because they felt that it would make some eyeballs pop. In that respect they’re equally culpable.


  60. - Michael Westen - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    Yes Rich, Barthwell was black. She still is. She was a Democrat. She still is. That’s why she didn’t get chosen.

  61. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    How about an exception from the profanity restriction to comment on this little ? Thanks, I feel better.

  62. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    Actually I dont’ feel better. When I typed it there were suppossed to be well paced blank spaces in several spots. Stupid _______ computer.

  63. - Boone's is Back - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    ===I don’t ever recall meeting Pacatte, even though he claims he “covered Judy Baar Topinka in Springfield.” That doesn’t mean he’s lying, it’s just that he wasn’t someone of any particular significance.===

    Heh. Well put.

  64. - Lobo Y Olla - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    You’ve never met me either, Rich. I like to think I am of some significance. I am not in any way supporting this mope’s post.

  65. - midway gardens - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    Arizona Bob - equality is not privilege. Legality is not promotion.

  66. - BehindTheScenes - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    I lost a friend…
    The State lost a great public servant.
    Pacatte is just lost to the scrap heap of insignificant history.

  67. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    Lobo, no offense meant. It’s just that I would likely know the person if he was a regular reporter. Turns out, he was a PAR intern. I have a policy of not trying to get to know most of those folks too well. They’re gone after one session.

  68. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 3:21 pm:

    The irony of 2004 is this:

    The state party banded together like never before to get Judge Lloyd Karmeier elected to the Illinois Supreme Court.

    That same year saw the State Central Committee and a few members of the Congressional delegation foaming at the mouth to replace JACK! Ryan because of some “liaisons” (a word I actually heard used more than once by GOP officials) with his wife that occurred in a foreign country.

    JBT had much more influence on the first portion of my post than the second. She was under serious fire to replace JACK! and I think she truly was worried that she would have been tossed overboard if she did not relent.

  69. - walker - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    Felt bad enough already with Judy’s passing.

    Now I’ve got to be reminded how sickeningly bad some political commenters can be.

    The political world is just not a very friendly or truthful place.

    Another reason to cherish JBT.

  70. - Jon Lester - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    Michael Weston- your spot on and maybe she was considered but she wasn’t the first choice and I am doing research to find out who was.

  71. - Interested Observer - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 4:22 pm:

    The first half of Pacatte’s piece could not have been more laudatory of Topinka. You do your readers a disservice by only picking the parts with which you disagree. Public servants are far from being perfect people. Real journalists talk about the good and the bad upon the passing of a public servant. Some journalists submerge themselves so deeply in the political fishbowl that they become incapable of reporting relevant information about the subjects they report upon.

  72. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 4:24 pm:

    ===Real journalists talk about the good and the bad upon the passing of a public servant.===

    Real journalists don’t make stuff up in order to peddle crud like that story.

  73. - Percival - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 4:27 pm:

    Team Sleep, it was Hastert, Kirk who pushed to get Ryan out. Quite correctly in my view. As State Chairman, Judy was in an impossible situation because she needed a candidate.

    As far as Jack Ryan, he brought it all on himself. He and his advisors thought that his wife’s affidavit about his bizarre sex desires was in effect buried in concrete by time and sealed court records. He was wrong.

  74. - Michael Westen - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 4:27 pm:

    Look I loved Judy too, but let’s not rewrite history to pretend that Alan Keyes was foisted on Judy one morning out of the clear blue sky.

    The truth is that after JACK! left, as Chairman Judy let her personal feuds with several of the possible candidates interfere with her better judgment. She and her minions on the Central Committee rejected, scared off, or ran roughshod over a dozen Illinois mainstream potential candidates including Oberweis (the runner up to JACK!), Rauschenberger and others. In hindsight, does anyone doubt that any of those folks would have been better than Keyes.

    Finally, after Judy and the libs on the Central Committee ransacked all of the Illinois conservatives and then tried to foist a woman who voted in the Democratic primary AND contributed money to John Stroger and Dorothy Tillman, that Syverson and his cronies countered with Alan Keyes.

    I don’t think Syverson (and Dan Proft-let’s not forget his role in this) ever expected his suggestion of Keyes to be taken seriously at first.

    Keyes was suggested more as a “well if all we’re looking for is a black candidate, what about him, at least he’s a Republican.”

    The rest is history.

    Again, RIP Judy, she was a great dame, but let’s not rewrite history and pretend she was an innocent victim when it came to the Alan Keyes saga.

  75. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 4:31 pm:

    ===You do your readers a disservice by only picking the parts with which you disagree===


    First, the link is there. Twice. People can read the whole thing if they want.

    Second, “fair use” limits what I can post here.

    Third, what kind of doofus thinks I should just ignore his slimy falsehoods?

    Fourth, bite me.

  76. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 4:33 pm:

    ===including Oberweis===

    Oberweis was personally nixed by Karl Rove as a replacement. That was the primary of the black helicopter, remember? Rove didn’t want any part of Oberweis.

    Stop rewriting history.

  77. - Michael Westen - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 4:39 pm:

    Um, I’m not. Rove didn’t have a vote on the Central Committee. And if he was so influential, how did we end up with Keyes.

    If you are suggesting that Judy would have welcomed Oberweis with open arms if only for Karl rovethen whatever you are smoking, I want some. That’s absurd and you know it.

    Did Rove also personally reject Rauschenberger and the others. Did he personally lobby for Keyes? Again, I know she was your friend. I liked her too.

    But her handling of JACK!’s replacement was not her finest hour. And if you contend otherwise, you are the one rewriting history and blinded by sentiment.

  78. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 5:08 pm:

    ===Did Rove also personally reject Rauschenberger and the others===

    Rauschenberger came in third. Once you skip over second, you can’t do thirds. Simple.

    ===If you are suggesting that Judy would have welcomed Oberweis with open arms if only for Karl rove===

    Nope. But Rove was the one. He was a pretty powerful dude back then, if you recall.

    ===But her handling of JACK!’s replacement was not her finest hour. And if you contend otherwise===

    Did I? Where?

    You’re constructing straw men throughout your comment. That’s not easy to argue with because you automatically assume evidence that doesn’t exist.

    So bugger off.

  79. - k3 - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 5:11 pm:

    Speaks volumes that I google this guy and can’t find a thing about him. All we need to know…

  80. - Percival - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 6:48 pm:

    Anybody who thinks Judy in any way wanted Keyes to be the nominee that year is nuts. She ran out of other options and acceded to pressure from the right.

  81. - Leprechaun - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 7:05 pm:

    JBT was never for Keyes and that’s a fact. JBT was backed doored by the far Right nut bags against most her choices. Raushenberger undermined her the whole time.

  82. - Mouthy - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 7:30 pm:

    I had nothing bad to say about JBT before her passing and the same goes for after. You have to be some kind of sleazy lowlife to write that kind of garbage against someone that can no longer put you into your proper place. The place where water goes when it’s done with the gutter..

  83. - Clevelander - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 8:56 pm:

    Gumby, I believe it was the Oberweis campaign & the Roeser people who ran the Geo. Ryan Polka video in the 2006 primary.

  84. - jake - Thursday, Dec 11, 14 @ 11:37 pm:

    One of the amusing things I remember about the Keyes campaign was the lengths JBT would go to avoid being photographed with Keyes. If anybody out there can find a picture of them together, you are better at web crawling than I am.

  85. - T.J. - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 1:52 am:

    Maybe there will be another thread to blame those responsible for importing Keyes to Illinois. But this thread is disgusting enough already without allowing them to upstage the dearly departed.

  86. - no plan b - Friday, Dec 12, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    It seems like there was an English instructor named Marcel Pacatte at Lincoln Land Community College in the early 80’s. But he was old back then; maybe this is a son or relative.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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