I figure the internal polls must have Sara Feigenholtz doing well in the race for the Fifth Congressional District, because the other candidates are after her.

A day doesn’t pass without a press release from Cook County commissioner Micke Quigley or state rep John Fritchey hammering her for not being a good-government reformer.

Now the Tribune‘s getting into the act. At yesterday’s editorial endorsement interview, Trib editors demanded that Feigenholtz admit responsibility for a dirty trick in which “pollsters” called Fifth District voters and bashed her opponents, particularly Fritchey.

The Tribune demanded she answer a simple question: Was that phone attack orchestrated by your campaign? Feigenholtz refused to answer the question. “I do not talk about internal campaign strategy,” the Tribune quoted her as saying. “We are running a positive campaign.”

Well, I’ve got a message for the Trib, Fritchey, Quigley, and everybody else out there: Feigenholtz isn’t a reformer. She’s never been a reformer and she’s never going to be a reformer. Instead, like Fritchey, she’s a loyal foot soldier in House speaker Michael Madigan‘s Democratic legislative army. The last thing any of these folks want to do is reform this system. 

And Feigenholtz isn’t really running as a reformer. As far as I can tell from reading her literature and hearing her speak, her main issue is health care. Beyond that she’s running as a woman, which makes a lot of strategic sense because, well, she’s a woman–in fact, she’s one of only two in a 12-candidate primary, and we’ve seen how women can fare in races lousy with men. Her mailings feature pictures of her late mother–a former family doctor–and promise she’ll work like hell for national health care. They don’t even mention reform. So to criticize Feigenholtz for not being a reformer is a little like smacking Mayor Daley for not outlawing patronage. It’s beside the point.

I do wish Feigenholtz had owned up to those phone calls, if her campaign was behind them. I don’t know why she bothered being so coy–the voters probably wouldn’t hold it against her. I’m pretty sure Chicagoans don’t even like reformers. If they do, they have a funny way of showing it because they rarely, if ever, elect them.