Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tom Geoghegan In The Final Stretch-- Chicago Special Election Is Next Tuesday


Ken seems to put a great deal of stock into a very few pundits he admires. One is Harold Meyerson and through Ken's commentary I have come to see the wisdom of his perspective on a great many issues. Today's Washington Post column, Another Star in Chicago, coming on the heals of President Obama's unifying speech last night is something I hope that at least everyone in Illinois' 5th congressional district reads.

Today Meyerson was moved to venture into the heartland for a topic, just as he had been almost exactly 5 years ago when he introduced his readers to a charismatic young state Senator named Barack Obama who was making a bid for a U.S. Senate seat. Next Tuesday is the Democratic primary that will determine who will represent the 5th CD. There are a whole slew of acceptable better-than-run-of-the-mill candidates-- and then there's Tom Geoghegan, the author, labor lawyer and activist Meyerson focuses on today.
[T]his candidate has a lot in common with Obama. Both are Harvard Law grads. Both have authored notable books. Both worked on behalf of unemployed steelworkers: Obama as a community organizer, this candidate as a lawyer who won 2,500 of them their pensions after their employer refused to pay up. And both have politically problematic names... A wry, heterodox liberal intellectual with a lifelong passion for American workers, Geoghegan first burst on to the literary and political scene with a great, slightly crazed ode to Chicago-- in the best tradition of Hecht, Algren and Bellow-- that ran in the New Republic in the 1980s and then with his 1991 book Which Side Are You On? Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back, which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has since written four other books, some on the shambles that is the American legal system. He's became the go-to lawyer for Chicagoans who've lost their jobs through discrimination or who've been denied the pay they've earned. And now, he's the congressional candidate who supports single-payer health care, expanding Social Security to compensate for the decimation of private pensions, and government investment to rebuild our offshored manufacturing sector.

...There are, by actual count, a gazillion candidates for Emanuel's old seat on Tuesday's ballot, including a number of conventionally liberal pols, some of whom would probably make fine members of Congress. But Congress has no shortage of conventionally liberal or conventionally conservative pols. Of streetwise political intellectuals who've devoted themselves to a career of economic justice it has none.

I'm not predicting that Geoghegan will make quite the splash in world affairs that my earlier Chicago endorsee has made. I'm not even predicting that he'll win. But while the nation is going through its first real systemic economic crisis since the Depression, a guy who can knowledgeably compare public works programs clear back to the Jefferson administration and who can sniff out a bankers' relief program a mile away seems to me exactly what Congress needs.

Meyerson follows endorsements in the last couple of days by three of Chicago's legendary progressive reformer elders, Abner Mikva, Dr. Quentin Young, and Leon Despres, and from one of Tom's former opponents, Marty Oberman. Many in the Inside the Beltway Establishment have other favorite candidates. Predictably Emily's List endorsed a woman, basically their only criteria for endorsement these days. And some of the labor unions we've grown to trust came out for those who have scratched their backs in the grubby world of backroom politics. DFA, The Nation, Progressive Democrats of America, the American Nurses Association, the Greater Chicago Caucus, the Teamsters and Steelworkers unions and a long list of progressive writers from Katha Pollitt and David Sirota to Thomas Frank. Garry Wills, Don Rose and James Fallows have come out for Tom.

Ken first introduced DWT readers to Tom back in September, 2007, when few imagined he would one day get a chance at cleaning up a congressional seat held by corruptionists Rod Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel. We endorsed him on January 7 and added him to our ActBlue page. Today, the first 25 people who donate at least $25 to Tom's campaign at that page will receive a thank you in the form of the brilliant new double CD, Quixotic by Matt Keating.



In case you were considering voting for Sara Feingenholtz, you won't be the only one. This picture is Rahm Emanuel's home and that sign is for the tepid, well-behaved Sara, who, if she gets into Congress, will never bother anyone and never make a commotion-- just the way Emanuel likes 'em.

Labels: ,


At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Geoghegan worked for Len Despres for, oh, about 25 years. Of COURSE Len endorsed him!!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home