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Politics ain’t beanbag

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* The Tribune’s Mary Schmich

Several political flyers have arrived in my mailbox recently that have been very effective in helping me decide how to vote for the next governor of Illinois.

According to the return address, they’re paid for by JB FOR GOVERNOR and they’ve almost convinced me — not to vote for J.B. Pritzker.

Until the flyers started arriving, I had an open mind. I don’t assume all billionaires are bad or that rich people can’t care about the poor, and in Pritzker’s ubiquitous Facebook ads — the man advertises more on Facebook than Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop — he talks the right talk, in the manner of an affable, feisty uncle.

But I believe the flyers. Not what they say, but what they reveal. And what they reveal is a man too ready to play nasty.

Unless you’re running a race on the North Shore, I always say that when you start seeing columns and editorials like this one, your message is getting through.

And if you think it’s harsh now, you’d better leave the state before October.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

27 Comments
  1. - Tom - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:15 am:

    “Unless you’re running a race on the North Shore, I always say that when you start seeing columns and editorials like this one, your message is getting through.” I taught you well, Mr. Miller!


  2. - A guy - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    It still strikes me as a little bit more unusual coming from this columnist.


  3. - TKMH - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:17 am:

    THANK YOU. Politics, indeed, ain’t beanbag. I read this piece on my commute today and rolled my eyes–hard.

    Notice how she didn’t complain about how JB has relentlessly criticized Rauner (”failed governor,” “I will be in charge”); it’s only complaint-worthy when he turns fire to his other opponents. It reeks of hypocrisy.

    ==Unless you’re running a race on the North Shore, I always say that when you start seeing columns and editorials like this one, your message is getting through.==

    The 17th district State Rep. race has had some interesting developments because of negative mailers, is that what you’re referring to?


  4. - Perrid - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:18 am:

    Heh. Nasty? Most of his hits seem fairly normal to me. Now that means the normal amount of spin and exaggeration, which is not ideal, but nothing surprising. Is she upset by the amount or something? If the other candidates had his money to burn they would be doing the exact same thing. Just look at the absolute fabrications that Rauner is throwing at Ives.


  5. - ILDemVoter - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:19 am:

    I think (although I can’t read the columnist mind) is the *amount*
    Its overwhelming though I suppose…that’s the point.


  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:21 am:

    If you don’t think North Shore races get nasty, you have not seen the mailers from Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz for the Laura Fine seat. And you have to look hard and think in order to figure out where they are coming from. Apparently the Speaker is worried about Candance Chow.


  7. - Arsenal - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:21 am:

    So, what’s it say about Biss and Kennedy, that they both went negative first? Kennedy couldn’t even bring himself to say something *nice*!


  8. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:22 am:

    Hey Mary, can you see your house from up there?

    I don’t believe a word of it. The purpose of the column is to establish the writer as somehow above it all.

    Like the ketchup on hot dogs bit, it’s hackneyed and lazy.


  9. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:23 am:

    ===you have not seen the mailers from Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz===

    I’ve written about that race several times, including in a newspaper column. I’m well aware. We’ll see if Chow can take advantage of it. Not sure she’s doing as much as she needs to do. 8 days.


  10. - Not Rich - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    when I see the words “Chicago Tribune”, I just think “RAUNER”, blah blah blah..


  11. - Flip357 - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    I would contend that Schmich was looking for a reason NOT to vote for a particular candidate. It is incredibly easy to eliminate consideration of a candidate, but the true search should be to find a reason TO vote for a candidate. Our mindset should be to find reasons to support candidates, not a race to the bottom.


  12. - Cosgrove - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:30 am:

    She never mentioned the substance of the mailers which made the whole column misleading and a bit strange.


  13. - PublicServant - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    I bet she got a Trib corner office for the column though…just sayin.


  14. - JS Mill - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:45 am:

    This isn’t nasty, yet.

    The general election will get nasty. Nastier than we have ever seen.

    And that is saying something.


  15. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:50 am:

    More “Good Cop, Bad Cop” from the Chicago Triune.

    Hey, Mary: speaking of “nasty,” when was the last time you read a Kass column? How about your own paper’s editorials about Madigan, Berrios, Stroger, and the Democratic Party?

    Newspapers help set the public standards for what is — and is not — acceptable for public debate.

    So unless Mary is prepared to wet her quill and excoriate Chris Kennedy for attacking JB Pritzker’s parents, spare us the handwringing.


  16. - dbk - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:51 am:

    This is par for the course, isn’t it? Not having followed a primary campaign closely, it seems pretty SOP. Not pretty, but predictable.

    I’m reading Anthony Trollope’s “Dr. Thorne” these days; Chapter XVII is called “The Election.” The campaign: went on too long, turned dirty in the end, candidates revealed their worst selves, operatives played their usual dirty tricks, and approximately the amount of money in Ft. Knox was spent. Plus ca change, etc.

    Politics is politics.


  17. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    Yo Mary. Would you like some cheese with that whine? I mean seriously, the stuff coming out of JB is cuddly bunny tame compared to the garbage being spewed by Jen Gong-Gershowitz. It’s Speaker playbook 101 but it’s on the North Shore so we’ll see if it works. The best thing going to JGG is that it’s a big field so the organizational support should win the day. It’s gross and unbecoming and she should feel some shame, but I’m not holding my breath.


  18. - Blimp - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:26 am:

    As cautious, re-formless and spineless as JB is, he is the best of the lot. A little bare knuckles politics is fun…


  19. - @misterjayem - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:27 am:

    “what they reveal is a man too ready to play nasty.”

    My god, I’d hope so.

    – MrJM


  20. - Gooner - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:45 am:

    For what it is worth, the J.B. pieces have pushed me towards Biss too.

    However, the effect that they purport to be negative was not the reason.

    Instead, they point out policy differences on which I agree with Biss.


  21. - Just Observing - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:46 am:

    === If you don’t think North Shore races get nasty, you have not seen the mailers from Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz for the Laura Fine seat. ===

    I’ve seen social media chatter about the mailings, and I’ve seen uploaded pics of the front of the mailings, but nobody has been super clear (and I haven’t seen pics of the “paid for”) if these are Gong-Gershowitz paid mailings or DPI mailings.

    I also wonder, outside of Chow supporters and other activist types, how many average voters will know or take the time to look at the “paid for” and hold it against Gong-Gershowitz.


  22. - Responsa - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 11:49 am:

    Mary is a long time respected Chicago columnist and seems to know the Chicago region through and through. She writes on a range of issues from family stuff, to social history, to politics, to popular culture, to introducing her readers to interesting (non-famous) persons she has come across along the way. I never think of her as using her column as a bully pulpit. If she is observing and picking up a vibe about this election it is probably worthwhile for people running the campaigns to at least contemplate her observations before automatically poo-pooing them.


  23. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:37 pm:

    == If she is observing and picking up a vibe about this election it is probably worthwhile for people running the campaigns to at least contemplate her observations before automatically poo-pooing them. ==

    I suppose one might waste a couple of seconds contemplating her observations, but the reality is that the same people that say they hate those negative ads turn around and cast their votes in line with the negative messaging. Unless voters behave the opposite of how they always have, her column is basically tripe.


  24. - a drop in - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    Responsa, you re exactly right. Therefore, I expect the Mary Schmich column on the unfair, ugly Rauner radio commercials against Ives shortly…/s


  25. - Dupage Bard - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 1:00 pm:

    Mary Shmich is this your first day in Illinois?


  26. - Scott Fawell's Cellmate - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 1:15 pm:

    Responsa +1

    Mary is a thoughtful, insightful writer. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for her writing and I regularly read her columns. HOWEVER, by citing 2 particular candidates (and only these 2), both whom are of the same party, she invites an honest suggestion of bias. For example, if you’re going to cite examples of “unusually mean” ads this year, how can you not discuss Jeanne Ives’ TV commercial that was decried as “racist, sexist and homophobic” in her own newspaper ? Hopefully, she publishes a follow up column this week where she shows balance.


  27. - oof - Monday, Mar 12, 18 @ 2:26 pm:

    Hey Mary, you should spend more time with Kristen “Katrina” McQueary. Actually, about 5 minutes with her should be more offensive than anything JB has sent you.


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