State & Local Politics

State & Local Politics

Nikki Haley: The new face of the South (Rick Perry/Nikki Haley 2012)

Think I’ll pack it in and buy a pickup . . . take it down to LA.
— Neil Young

The Democrats are experiencing “big-truck envy.” Somebody call Dr. Freud. It’s all about trucks now. Big ones. The entire political culture has turned on one symbol: Scott Brown’s pickup truck. Now the rumor that John Cougar Mellencamp might be thinking of running for Senate likewise comes down to trucks. For those who have been living under a rock for the past few years, Mellencamp is a pitchman for Chevy trucks and has probably logged more TV time in post-season football than Brett Favre.


What’s the matter with Massachusetts?

Two violent cases. Two district attorneys who went on to bigger things — one Martha Coakley, to become Massachusetts attorney general and then to an unsuccessful run, as a Democrat, for the U.S. Senate seat once occupied by Ted Kennedy; the other DA Bill Delahunt, since 1996 a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts.

There were many reasons Coakley lost that Senate race — among them a case from 2005 when, as Middlesex County district attorney, she delayed in prosecuting a policeman who was alleged to have sodomized his 23-month-old niece with a hot object, probably a curling iron. It was left to Coakley’s successor to prosecute, and the man is now serving two life terms. Rumors, never proven, abounded that the ex-cop’s father had political ties to Coakley.


Scandal(s) du jour

I was listening to the radio Tuesday morning, and Don Wade, who co-hosts (with his wife) a popular talk show on WLS-AM Chicago, was reporting the latest weather (snow and more snow) and strenuously hyping a story-to-come about what he promised would be a huge scandal.

Wade, no fan of Barack Obama, was so obviously delighted that I knew the bad guy would be a Democrat, and probably a member of the Obama administration.


Pawnbroker, prostitute, police report

Pat Quinn, the just-elected Democratic nominee for governor, is a seriously overweight man who loves his breakfast bacon. He defeated Dan Hynes, a seriously underweight man whose appearance comes to mind when listening to nutrition zealots preach that those who consume the fewest calories live the longest. (I’d rather eat the risotto and sacrifice a few years.)


The Illinois primaries from afar

I don’t live in Illinois anymore, although all of my extended family does. So I keep an eye on what happens there on a daily basis.

The New York Times had an interesting item in its op-ed pages this morning. It had the credit ratings of the most of the nations in this world, and all of the states. America’s credit rating is still at AAA, the highest you can get. Amazing but true.


Will John Kerry walk on the wild side? America needs a Council of Twelve

Should gay marriage be a states’-rights issue? Abortion?

Should the 10th Amendment be the First Amendment, as Jefferson might have liked?

Should we “End the Fed,” as Ron Paul and his son Rand (running for Senate in Kentucky and endorsed by Sarah Palin) would like?

Should we go back to a gold standard?

Is California really one state, or two states or more?


Scott Brown, Sarah Palin, Jefferson: New age of common folk all started by New Hampshire’s ‘Free Staters’

There has awakened this past year in Massachusetts and across the continent a new vein of conservatism that might be seen as the dawning of a new age of common folk.

Scott Brown in barn coat and pickup truck at the heritage hockey rink, and Sarah Palin, married to a fisherman and from people, as she says, who worked with their hands. While the Democrats have somehow managed to become the party of the rich and superrich, conspicuously being seen and seeing these past weeks at those new courts of Louis XIV and the Dauphine de France, Davos and Copenhagen: Bill Clinton, Haiti’s Lord Jim, with his 50 gold watches; Nancy Pelosi, of untold California millions; friends of Obama and Bill, who bask at Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard with John Forbes Kerry, said to be the richest man ever to run on a national ticket.


The end of liberalism

The country had descended into war, disassociation and debt because the king had fallen into a trance. It is the theme of that great, primitive myth of the English-speaking people, “Lord of the Rings,” which swept the airwaves at the turn of the millennium.

Then the king suddenly woke up. That is the sense of things with the election of Scott Brown. It came to mind again last night listening to an interview with Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, who is running for governor of California. America is coming out of a trance.


Who wears the cowboy boots in Texas?

First out it was Levi Johnston v. Sarah Palin. Then Letterman vs. Sarah Palin. And Republican PR person Steve Schmidt, way post-seasonal in the marketing curve, coming in just in these last few weeks. But now in Texas it is George H.W. Bush vs. Sarah Palin. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The Republican primary race in Texas is now virtually a referendum on federalism.

George H.W. Bush supports Kay Bailey Hutchison. Sarah Palin supports the current governor, Rick Perry.


What’s worse, a public official who takes two bucks in cash from each of hundreds of employees or a Speaker of the Illinois House who solicits big business for his law firm?

The answer, of course, is they both stink.

The latest corruption news in Chicago features Dorothy Brown, 56, currently the clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, and a candidate for Cook County board president, who, shall we say, encouraged her employees (she presides over more than 2,100 of them) to give her cash gifts for her birthday and for Christmas. When Chicago Tribune reporters started to ask questions, she stopped.