- M. Spencer Green/AP
- Bruce Rauner got the Trib‘s endorsement.
I’ve never been whiplashed by a journalist the way I just was by Mark Jacob, the Tribune‘s deputy metro editor. I thought I remembered everything about that year of years, 1968, but in Sunday’s Trib, Jacob (and Stephan Benzkofer) offered “10 things you might not know about 1968,” and true enough, I didn’t know most of them. For example, I didn’t know Alexander Dubcek was conceived in Chicago until Jacob and Benzkofer told me so. My hat was off to them.
But then I turned the page and what did I find—Jacob’s inane defense of the Tribune for banishing gubernatorial from its pages. (But then, no one’s finest hour is spent defending a party line.) Challenged by the crusading Eric Zorn, who called the ban inane and condescending, Jacob mounted an astonishing defense—gubernatorial is one of those words that “look and sound awful.”
It doesn’t look awful. It looks pretty long. As for how it sounds—have Tribune surveys established that its readership now consists of people who sound out, syllable by syllable, words of more than one? Jacob compares gubernatorial to fecund, a wonderful word that apparently sounds a little too much like what it means (fertile) for the Tribune to handle.
I turned the page again, and sure enough: there was the Tribune endorsing Bruce Rauner for governor without once using the word gubernatorial. (Though it somehow showed up online in a handful of captions to photos that accompany the endorsement.)
The endorsement, I must say, got along nicely without gubernatorial. What it could have used was a serious argument for voting for Rauner. I’m not a fan of Pat Quinn (going back to the 70s, when he was in the services of Governor Dan Walker), or of the Democratic establishment in Springfield, and I’d have no problem voting for Rauner if he gave me a single good reason why I should. Illinois needs to be put back on its feet financially, and if Rauner has presented voters with any specific ideas about how he’d do that, the Tribune didn’t mention them. Nevertheless, he deserves “the power to revive Illinois.” In what ways is that the same as the power Rauner’s familiar with, the power to buy an ailing company cheap, prop it up, and sell it for a bundle? (Just asking, but does the Tribune‘s editorial page wish the Tribune Company had put itself in Rauner’s hands?)
Quinn is no “disruptive visionary,” the Tribune sighs, and indeed he isn’t; if only it followed that therefore Rauner is. At least Rauner has “outsider moxie” (whatever that is), says the Tribune, and knows how to say no; but that’s pretty much the case the Tribune makes for him. When a newspaper’s holding its nose it should admit it.
(I told myself, well, the Sun-Times will endorse Quinn, and then we’ll have the equally feeble argument for the other guy. But then I remembered that the Sun-Times doesn’t do endorsements any longer. Someone should make the case for Quinn, though I’m not volunteering.)