Monday, April 5, 2010

Illinois--The More Things Change, Etc.

Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) was appointed by the disgraced Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill the remainder of the term of South Side Chicago Democrat, now president, Barack Obama. His term expires this year, and the Democrats haven't lost any time in nominating another typical Illinois politician to fill the Senate seat.

And who better to hold the purse strings of the state of Illinois in the US Senate than the former state treasurer and executive of a family bank about to collapse in bankruptcy? The Democrats have chosen Alexi Giannoulias as the next protector of the people's money and well-being. Giannoulias was an executive of the family bank as it began its downhill slide. On his watch, loans of nearly $20 million were made to two convicted felons. He is now spending more millions in an attempt to get the minds of the voters of Illinois off his profligacy and questionable connections. In other words, business as usual for Democrats in Illinois.

National Press Secretary of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Deirdre Murphy says: "Alexi Giannoulias is running a strong campaign on the issues that matter to the people of Illinois--like job creation and the economy." OK, I know, I should resist the obvious. But I won't. How does Giannoulias plan on doing that? By hiring federal employees to create federal jobs while improving the economy by printing money to pay for them? And while he's at it, I suppose he could get special federal loan provisions for all the felons who will need seed money for their next ventures when they get out of prison.

If this weren't a Chicago bank that Giannoulias helped to run into the ground, I'd hesitate to mention the name of one of the two felons they lent money to. You'd probably think I was making it up. But they did indeed lend millions to Michael "Jaws" Giorango. Not as sexy as "Scarface," but it will do. Giorango got approximately $27 million in mortgages from the Giannoulias Broadway Bank, starting in 1999. "Jaws" was convicted on fraud, embezzlement and other charges related to his land trust businesses.

The other felon, Demitri Stavropoulos, was convicted of interstate bookmaking and prostitution. So far, investigations have shown that at least $20 million of the loans to the two crooks were approved while Giannoulias was senior executive loan officer for Broadway Bank. The wannabe Senator, of course, claims absolutely no knowledge of the loans and says he didn't sit on the loan committees that approved the loans. We all know that senior loan officers who are members of the family that owns the bank have absolutely no influence whatsoever on loan committees, right?

The Obama administration is focused on the idea that any senatorial seat which changes party hands in the upcoming elections is a referendum on Obama himself. This is particularly true of the seat which Obama previously held. So they will be pulling out all the stops to whitewash Giannoulias. The spin is already beginning about the bank failure being "old news." As if "old news" doesn't reflect directly on the "new candidate." Obama will reportedly be campaigning on Giannoulias's behalf personally. Stop laughing. That's not the kiss of death in Chicago and Illinois that it has been in the real world, or even Massachusetts.

Another part of the spin is that Giannoulias himself will only "recoup a few million dollars from the bank collapse." Well, that's comforting. Nothing like a poor politician who has only a few million dollars of his depositors' and investors' money left for himself. The sympathy vote alone could put him over the top.

Giannoulias's Republican opponent Rep. Mark Kirk is not being shy about calling Giannoulias out. "Alex Giannoulias misled voters to get elected state treasurer and continued to mislead voters in an effort to win election as a United States Senator." Kirk has occasionally been even more direct: "Giannoulias has falsely claimed that he didn't know about the criminal backgrounds of Giorango and Stavropoulos."

But how can Giannoulias fail if Obama comes to the state and starts talking about personal integrity and government transparency? When all the Democratic machine politicians join hands and praise Giannoulias and laud his financial genius, how can the Illinois electorate not be energized? This year, however, it may not be such a sure thing. Many Illinois elected Democrats have been critical of Giannoulias, or remain silent about his candidacy.

The State Attorney General, Democrat Lisa Madigan, has been pushed to ask Giannoulias to step aside, but she has not done so, largely because she seems more interested in a future run for governor. Her father, state Democratic Party chairman Michael Madigan, has been notably unenthusiastic about Giannoulias's candidacy. Never a good sign for a Democratic candidate.

Still, Giannoulias has many of the traits that helped Obama. He's young, attractive, has no record of accomplishments (good or bad), can say a thousand stirring words without a single concrete idea, and talks incessantly about his plans and dreams for the futures of Illinois and the nation. One can only hope that his plans for America are better than his plans for the family bank.


Joel Farnham said...


What really is amazing is that this man might be elected. I wonder if there is a photo-shop of Chicago Politicians coming out of some dark lagoon covered in grotesque political mucus. It would at least give us some warning.

Unknown said...

Joel: Sadly, there's a substantial chance that he'll get elected. I just think Illini and particularly Chicagoans find something terribly attractive about these crooks. My mother, a very modest and conservative woman, spoke rather admiringly (though not approvingly) of Al Capone. Considering her view of California politicians and their hangers-on, I never could completely understand that. Maybe it's a good thing we left Chicago semi-permanently in '47 so that the Los Angeles smog could clear her head.

Joel Farnham said...


I have never understood my parents complete embrace of political liberalism. They didn't practice it at home. They were highly conservative and practical there, but they still voted the liberal line even for Brown. My mother worked for the Dept of Agriculture and told me stories of how Brown mistreated people below him. She still voted for him. Amazing.

AndrewPrice said...

Sounds to me like a guy who fits right in with the modern Democratic party. Big business theives who send public (corporate) money to thugs and mobsters. Wonderful.

Tennessee Jed said...

I know Republicans can win in Illinois if they can win in Massachusetts.

Unknown said...

Joel: There's always hope. I was the same way with my family and my politics. Today, you couldn't get me to vote for a Democrat at gunpoint.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I sure can't find anything to disagree with in that statement.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: I'm rooting for the Massachusetts Miracle to infect California and Illinois (but I'm not making book on it). Even if the Democrats win these crucial races, they're going to know they've been in a fight for the first time in far too many years.

StanH said...

The ultimate, what’s in it for me state…Illinois!

Unknown said...

StanH: I wonder if they'll finally figure out they're running out of people to steal from?

Writer X said...

I think it's written in the Illinois constitution that a person has to have a criminal record before he or she can run for office.

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