Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Card Game

The backstory is this:
A campaign official for Cook County Board president candidate Ald. Todd Stroger (8th) resigned his position Tuesday following news of his arrest last week for allegedly harassing an ex-girlfriend.

Sean Howard, who was a scheduler for Stroger and who also serves as spokesman for the Village of Dolton, quit his campaign post after a spokesman for Stroger's opponent, Cook County Commissioner Anthony Peraica (R-16th), mentioned Howard's arrest to a group of reporters Tuesday morning.
But making a bad situation much worse is this:
Robert Shaw, who with his brother is a longtime supporter of the Stroger family, said he was outraged the Peraica campaign would stoop to leaking arrest information about Howard, and claimed it was racially and politically motivated.

"This leak is from an individual who's trying to get at Todd Stroger, in my opinion," Robert Shaw said. "It can't be nothing but something anti-black."

"I've been in this business (of politics) for 54 years, and I've seen all kinds of tricks. I think this is an attempt to malign a respected black man," Shaw said.
Now Dan Proft and I may disagree on some things, but not on this on issue. In fact, I think that he summed things up pretty well.
Peraica campaign spokesman Dan Proft scoffed, saying, "Howard got arrested, and it's our fault? These guys are embarrassing.

"This has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with us, nothing to do with race. This is a charge filed by a black woman against a black man by the Flossmoor Police Department. That is where the circle closes."
Given their past relationships, and a little knowledge of the Shaw brothers, I'm working from the presumption that Shaw's comments were made with the intention of helping the Stroger campaign.

But if his logic is that he can ramp up turnout in the African-American community by playing the race card where it doesn't appear to be at issue, that strategy seems not only disrespectful to the very community at which it is aimed, but also likely to backfire.

I think that frivolously playing the race card is an offense to the legacy of all people who fought for, and continue to fight for, civil rights. And I believe that the vast majority of intelligent people, of every color, feel the same way.

If, on the other hand, Shaw sincerely believes his comments, that's just inexplicable. Maybe I'm being naive, but I don't remotely see any indicia of race in what happened. I've seen worse done than leaking public information in countless elections involving white, black and Latino candidates. (Maybe somebody should ask the Shaws about what was done to Rep. David Miller in the last election cycle.) Noble politics? No. Racist? Not a chance.

In any event, I think that Shaw's remarks will do nothing but force Stroger to have to comment about them which, three weeks out from an election in an surprisingly tight race, cannot be what he wants to be doing.


At October 17, 2006 at 11:41 PM, Anonymous Heard it all said...

Nice job of writing a tactful post on a delicate subject. Dems including me have to hope that Stroger is quick to distance himself from Shaw's race-baiting. If not, he could lose as many white votes as he gains black votes.

At October 17, 2006 at 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, with friends like the Shaws...

At October 17, 2006 at 11:48 PM, Anonymous heard it all said...

One more note, if it was Proft that got arrested and Howard pointed it out, do you think that Shaw would be saying that Howard was a racist? That should answer this question.

At October 18, 2006 at 12:08 AM, Blogger Levois said...

I doubt Stroger has the backbone to distance himself from this. And this furthers my impression that he isn't ready for being big time at the county.

At October 18, 2006 at 6:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is that since you are not black, you don't understand.

At October 18, 2006 at 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous 6:23 - puhleeze. john, you're an undercover brother, and that's okay by me. dig?

At October 18, 2006 at 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the epitome of all that is wrong in local politics, namely nepotism & corruption, it figures that the Shaws would speak out for Stroger. Not sure it helps as much as it serves as a reminder.

At October 18, 2006 at 11:22 AM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...


While I think your comment was in jest, I will say that I hesitated writing about this because I thought that some people may actually feel that way.

That being said, I believe that this is an issue that impacts all of us, and to that end, it is incumbent upon all of us to denounce those tactics which are clearly intended to do nothing but divide.

The race card has been used to sow discontent between whites and blacks, blacks and latinos, and even wealthier blacks and less fortunate people in the black community.

In none of those situations should it be tolerated, and only by speaking out against it will that message be made clear.

At October 18, 2006 at 4:41 PM, Blogger grand old partisan said...

Well said, Representative.

Anon 6:23 - this isn't about perspective. No reasonable person could believe that Peraica wouldn't have mentioned the arrest of his opponent's spokesperson if they were of the same race - which is the standard that must be met for it to be considered "racially motivated."

At October 19, 2006 at 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone running in a tight race would mention the opponents press person getting arrested for stalking. Thats fair, thats politics.

I can understand that Todd needs as much help as he can get, but bring the Shaws in the mix is a liability. Iam not sure that he "gains" black votes.

recent elections prove that that type of politics doesn't work when they bring it up in their old school ways with blacks as well as whites (Bob Shaw lost to Don DeGraff(white) by over 90% in the Village of South Holland that is mostly Black)

Todd may think they can deliver based on long time relationships with his dad, but its gonna put him in a bind not to alinate both whites and blacks.

Who North of Madison is really stumping from Todd Anyway?


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