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Monday, November 01, 2010  

Tribune Editorial Translator: Run for the Hills! Edition

Few things in life are as bracing in their capacity for repulsion as the Chicago Tribune editorials. Sure, the WSJ is doing its level best to make the old Pravda seem reasoned and independent. The New York Times is stuffy and arrogant and the Washington Post is relentlessly pointless, but the Trib has captured an editorial style all its own. Call it Establishment Punk. Or whatever. Anyway, we've had some fun with them in the past. And now in my capacity as informed citizen, I'm reading their endorsements. Check out their tongue-tied nod for Bill Brady. It's almost all trashing Quinn, which I get, and Illinois generally, which is fair enough but not exactly the kind of thing you litigate in one election. So here's what they say about the man they want to turn the keys over to for the next four years.

What they said: We have knocked Brady for offering no detailed plan to fix Illinois' finances.

What they meant: It's only fair of us to note this unfortunate fact, since fixing the state's finances is the whole shooting match and since we're about to endorse this guy. But, you know, plans aren't everything. Stalin had five-year plans, and those were really bad.

What they said: Quinn keeps offering plans, many of them reliant on still higher taxation.

What they meant: Because detailed plans or no, we just hate paying for stuff. I'm not kidding. We compulsively stuff our pockets with condiment packets and napkins when our big brother takes us out for lunch.

What they said: The AP said Quinn "hopes 'investing in people' will help the Illinois economy grow and fill the budget hole when coupled with unspecified spending cuts and the possibility of more federal aid."

What they meant: Bill Brady's plan to create a moronic, highly pliant state full of troglodytes will surely appeal to employers. Unspecified spending cuts are a little bit more bad when proposed by a Democrat.

What they said: This is the governor who told our editorial board, "You can't have a fairy-tale world."

What they meant: We will keep saying this over and over again if we have to. Only one candidate in this race can have a fairy-tale world, and it ain't Pat Quinn.

What they said: We guarantee that if Brady is elected, we will demand from him a reinvented Illinois — streamlined and with lower overhead — before anyone in power whispers "tax increase." We think he'll be a receptive audience.

What they meant: In our heads, state politics works this way. We set out big, bold principles--reinvention, streamlining, overhead-lowering--and politicians listen, or they don't. Pat Quinn won't talk specifics, because he doesn't have the cojones to stand up to Mike Madigan and demand that stuff get streamlined. All sorts of stuff could benefit from a little of that. Not to mention the huge parts of the budget dedicated to overhead.

What they said: As he told us eye-to-eye, we cannot continue to have public sector unions bankrupting Illinois.

What they meant: We continue to be impressed that a Republican is hostile to unions. Who needs a bunch of stupid detailed plans for this and that when you've got the kind of eye-to-eye rapport we have with Brady about the unions?

What they said: Brady's success or failure depends on the team he assembles and, most of all, on whether he has the spine for this job.

What it means: You can't blame us if he totally hoses it up, because it will hinge on teams and spines and that sort of thing. We can't know about those things in advance any more than we can know detailed plans and the tedious legal niceties of pension funding. We're on visual here, folks. Work with us.

What they said: As Quinn has taught us, that one criterion means more than all the plans and promises combined.

What it means: The Teamspine (tm) criterion has not been met, that's for sure.

What they said: Does Brady have what it takes? We don't know, but we think he does.

What it means: This was part of the raw roundtable transcript that somehow got left in here. But seriously, we're all screwed.

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posted by Benjamin Dueholm | 11:46 PM
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