As a long-standing liberal reformer, I should be outraged by the ongoing federal corruption probe that’s encircled key members of my beloved Democratic Party.
The probe includes, but is not limited to, Illinois house speaker Michael Madigan, former state representative Luis Arroyo, state senator Marty Sandoval, Alderman Ed Burke, Alderwoman Carrie Austin, etc.
I should write a few hundred words of righteous indignation, maybe call it the Chicago Way. And quote someone saying “only in Chicago.” And connect it to tales of sordidness going back to the days of Boss Daley.
But instead I’m going to try something different. I’m going to cover Democratic scandals as though I were a Republican covering Trump’s scandals.
Like I was, I don’t know, a Republican writer for a Republican newspaper. We’ve got one in town. So I have a model or two to emulate.
As you probably know, the new standard for Republican coverage of Trump is that there is no standard. Anything goes.
I’m not just talking about abuse of power, with Trump shaking down the Ukrainian president.
Or theft: Trump just pleaded guilty to misusing about $2 million from his charity—the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Trump took donations from suckers dumb enough to think he’d spend it on helping veterans and used it to pay off business debts and buy a portrait of himself for one of his hotels.
Barely a word from Republicans about this. What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?
And it’s not just corruption. Apparently, the Republican Party now sanctions sexual assault. In the last couple of years, at least 17 women have accused Trump of everything from rape to sexual harassment.
That sound you hear from the Moral Majority is silence.
Anyway, I figure—if it’s good enough for Trumpsters, it’s good enough for me. So let’s see what happens when I cover Democratic corruption the Republican way.
I will make an exception for Alderman Ed Burke. I figure he gets what he deserves because he was Trump’s property tax lawyer. As for the others . . .
I’ll attack the accusers and defend the accused. I’ll call it a coup. I’ll talk the way Republicans talk about Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democrats who lead the impeachment inquiry.
I’ll say they’re trying to accomplish through federal investigators what they couldn’t do at the ballot box—beat Michael Madigan.
I’ll ignore the mountain of evidence that powerful Democrats were swapping this for that. Just the way the Republicans have ignored the mountain of evidence against Trump.
Instead, I’ll change the subject. I’ll say—let’s investigate the investigators. Who are those federal agents—members of the Deep State—who have launched this unwarranted attack against Madigan?
And what are their connections to the Republicans? Any Republicans, at any time.
Have they donated to Republican campaigns? No? Well, then do they have wives or husbands or children or uncles or aunts who have donated to past Republican campaigns?
And even if they don’t, I’ll keep asking the questions as though they have. You repeat a lie enough, and someone will believe it’s true.
I’ll publish the names of investigators and whistle-blowers so my followers can intimidate them with threatening e-mails and tweets.
I’ll mock the investigators and whistle-blowers with insulting nicknames. I’ll disparage them on a daily basis. When they hold press conferences, I’ll encourage Madigan to issue nasty tweets about the prosecutors.
When the Republicans call that witness tampering, I’ll say innocent people have nothing to hide.
Why stop with Madigan? Let’s throw Cook County state’s attorney Kim Foxx into the mix. Wouldn’t that be fun? On any given day there must be at least four Tribune writers trying to bring her down.
Have any of them been in contact with the investigators looking into Smollettgate?
If so, let’s see their phone records and e-mails. I’ll encourage Foxx to stonewall investigators by refusing to comply with their subpoenas and ordering her underlings not to testify. Just like Trump is doing with his White House aides.
Let’s see what happens if Foxx plays hardball like Trump. If she does, I’ll just keep my mouth shut about it. Pretend it’s not going on.
Instead, I’ll make up stuff about Sheila O’Brien, the former judge who pushed for an investigation into Foxx. That’s what a Republican would do if the roles were reversed.
I’ll throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks. For instance, when the feds leak tape of Luis Arroyo allegedly taking a bribe from a state senator, I’ll want to know who gave the feds the right to tape Arroyo’s private conversations. What secret underground tribunal run by Stalin-like operatives convened to snatch away Arroyo’s constitutional rights?
I’ll say we should subpoena the federal investigators who are subpoenaing the Democrats. What secrets are they hiding?
I’ll close by repeating myself—repetition is the key. As the Republicans have demonstrated. And so . . .
This investigation into Madigan and the Democrats is a coup. A witch hunt. A hoax. The worst abomination of justice in the history of the world. As bad as McCarthyism. No, worse.
I’ll call it an attempt by Republicans to do by secret federal investigation what they couldn’t do at the polls: beat Madigan’s aldermen or state reps.
I’ll say they can’t beat the Democrats at the county or state level. They can’t even beat them in DuPage County. So they turned to the Deep State to undo our democratically sanctioned elections.
I’ll offer Republicans a challenge. Hey, Republicans, you want to get rid of Michael Madigan? Here’s what you do: Go to the polls and vote. That’s how we do things here.
I’ll say until you beat Madigan where it counts, stop crying like the little Republican babies that you are.
Oh, yeah, it’s fun writing a column like a Trump-loving Republican. Easy, too. It’s like playing tennis without a net or out-of-bounds lines.
You can whack the ball all over the place and still pretend you’ve scored a point. v