The defeat of Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special U. S. Senate election by Democrat Doug Jones shows that character still counts in that deeply red, deeply conservative southern state.. As Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass eloquently explains, Republican voters were so repulsed by the widely believed sexual predator Moore that they sacrificed their own political and ideological positions and either didn't vote or voted for Jones.
Would that character counted as much in Chicago and Illinois.
If it did, we wouldn't have gonifs running Chicago and Illinois. If it did, we wouldn't be driving people and businesses out of the city and state by the bus and truck load. If it did, we wouldn't be so mired in financial muck that our schools, health care and social service providers, and transportation systems can't properly educate and serve those most in need. If it did, we wouldn't have wasted billions and billions of dollars rebuilding O'Hare Airport without improving it one wit for the sake of political insiders, contractors and patronage loafers.
Chicago and Illinois quite rightly have been swept up in the outrage over sexual predators and molesters. They are seen, even here, as possessed of deep character faults that disqualify them from holding public office.
But for some reason the crooks, boodlers and scoundrels who dominate Chicago and Illinois politics escape any condemnation for having flawed characters. It's as if engaging in corruption is no character flaw. It's as if cheating taxpayers has little or no moral component that is sufficiently serious that it should require Chicago and Illinois politicians to resign.
Instead, Chicago and Illinois voters keep returning the same flawed characters to office year after year.
Take Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios. A series of Chicago Tribune investigations, called the Tax Divide, reveals him to be to be the boss of a property tax system that "creates an an unequal burden on residents, handing huge financial breaks to more affluent homeowners while punishing those who have the least, particularly people living in minority communities."
It's a system that benefits connected attorneys such as House Speaker Michael Madigan (him again) and Ald. Edward Burke (14) to profit by appealing (intentionally?) inaccurate property tax assessments year after year. The Tribune editorial board has correctly called for his resignation, He's also now the target of a civil rights lawsuit that alleges that he knowingly produces inaccurate assessments that punished poor and minority homeowners across the county.
But you know that he won't resign. More than likely, he'll be re-elected. That's because too many voters in Chicago cling to the unbending rule that issues mean more than character. These are voters who believe that supporting the liberal or Democrat Party platform matters more than character. These are like the voters who turned a blind eye to President Bill Clinton's character flaws because he was pro-abortion. These voters are the same kind as the Republicans in Alabama who voted for Moore because their issues are more important than his character. These voters resemble President Donald Trump who turned a blind eye to Moore's character because it was important for the Republican agenda to keep Alabama's Senate seat in the hands of the GOP.
Politics, indeed, makes strange bedfellows.