Carol Felsenthal
On Politics

4 years
ago

Could Jan Schakowsky Lose in November?

Joel Pollak, the 32-year-old Harvard-educated Tea-Party-backed candidate for the 9th Congressional District (currently occupied by Jan Schakowsky), had what seemed like a hugely successful fundraiser on Wednesday afternoon. Featuring Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, the luncheon was held at the…

Carol Felsenthal

4 years
ago

Lon Monk Back in the Hot Seat—and Back in the Day

Rod Blagojevich wants the jury in his corruption trial to know that Lon Monk, his former BFF, is a turncoat. Blago’s grimaces, eye rolls, and frantic scribbling during Monk’s testimony—not to mention his dagger-eyed stares at his former campaign manager and groomsman—may have been for show, but those who know the former governor know that he once truly loved Lon Monk…

Carol Felsenthal

4 years
ago

Law-School Loser?: Blago’s Curious Comment

On the first day of his trial, Rod Blagojevich encountered two students from Chicago’s John Marshall Law School. When the students approached Blago to introduce themselves, he “shook their hands and told them that he once tried to enroll at their school,” according to Stacy St. Clair’s report in the Chicago Tribune. “‘I applied there on Monday and was rejected Tuesday…. That’s why I’m not defending myself.’” Not true…

Carol Felsenthal

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4 years
ago

Rain and Tar Spoil Obama’s Parade

What a crummy weekend in Chicago President Obama suffered. At my dinner with friends on Sunday night, one of the younger guests—who had worked for Obama, as had his parents—used the word “optics”, arguing that Obama’s messaging these days is a mess. If the President had a competent message shaper, this young man said, surrogates would…

Carol Felsenthal

4 years
ago

Rahm Emanuel: The Next Democratic Party Chairman?

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot with Fred Beuttler, the deputy historian of the House of Representatives and a font of knowledge about that institution. Recently, we discussed one of my favorite subjects: Chicagoan Rahm Emanuel, the former congressman for the 5th District, now serving as chief of staff to President Obama. Beuttler speculates that…

Carol Felsenthal

4 years
ago

All the Comforts of the House (of Representatives)

A recent Wall Street Journal story reported that Andy Goss, a former Army interrogator seeking the GOP nomination for a Congressional seat from Arizona, is proposing to cut congressional pay by 40 percent (salary is currently $174,000) and use the dollars saved to build a barracks on Capitol Hill. Four of the 19 members of the Illinois delegation go Goss one better: they sleep in their offices. All four are Chicago Democrats…

Carol Felsenthal

4 years
ago

 

The Wives Club: No Wonder Blago Wanted That Job for Patti

How lovely for Carrie Zalewski and Lynne Sered. Governor Pat Quinn recently appointed the two women to plum jobs on state boards that pay six-figure annual salaries. Each woman appears to have solid credentials. But—in the kind of coincidence that seems to happen all too often in Illinois—each woman also has a powerful connection…

Carol Felsenthal

4 years
ago

Alexi G’s Basketball Diaries

Many stories about Alexi Giannoulias, the candidate for the U.S. Senate seat once held by Barack Obama, mention that the two are basketball-playing buddies. Not recently: They haven’t played since Obama won the White House. In a phone interview, Alexi attributed this to the President’s busy schedule, but reports suggest that Obama’s advisers want their man…

Carol Felsenthal

4 years
ago

A Republican Ahead in Hawaii—A Sign of Things to Come in Illinois?

At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday, President Obama drew applause when he mocked the conspiracy theory that he was born in Kenya. “It’s been quite a year since I’ve spoken here last—lots of ups, lots of downs—except for my approval ratings, which have just gone down. But that’s politics. Beside[s], I happen to know that my approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth…

Carol Felsenthal

4 years
ago

Forrest Claypool to the Rescue?

Editorial boards and earnest columnists have exhorted readers to sign those petitions for Forrest Claypool—the one man, in their words, standing between fair property tax bills and Joseph Berrios, a machine pol who won the Democratic nomination for assessor in February.

The signatures are flowing in, and the 52-year-old Cook County commissioner will almost certainly claim a spot on the November…

Carol Felsenthal

4 years
ago

 

Houlihan on Giannoulias vs. Kirk: Alexi’s In to Win

Early Monday morning, I spoke on the phone with Jim Houlihan, whom I interviewed in person last Wednesday. I wanted an update on the Senate race in light of the closing of the Giannoulias family’s Broadway Bank on Friday. Houlihan was in Washington for the wedding of a friend, but he got a chance to see his pals, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel…

Carol Felsenthal