Friday, June 25, 2004

Ryan blog.

Better temps today. I think it broke 70 F this afternoon, due to constant sunshine. This inspired me in the early afternoon to walk to my favorite CBD post office, the Haymarket District PO on Clinton Street, to buy stamps. I favor it because there’s seldom a line, unlike every other post office within walking distance of my office. This is probably because the main bulk of Northwestern (Ogilvie) Station is between the post office and the main part of downtown. A lot of people probably don’t even know it’s there.

En route, about a block south of the post office, I noticed a knot of people standing around the entrance to 118 N. Clinton, a small office building. Not just any knot of people, but reporters. Parked up and down the curb were TV vans, complete with tall antennae, the sort with black cables twisting caduceus-like around them. About ten TV cameras were mounted at the edge of the sidewalk, all pointed at the entrance of 118 N. Clinton. Still photographers and people making notes were also around, waiting for something to happen. The crowd, about 30 people, wasn’t so thick that I couldn’t walk by and on to the post office.

I walked back the same way, and was curious enough to ask a fellow what was going on. He said that Jack Ryan was expected to give a statement here soon. In fact, he was late, the man thought. He didn’t need to tell me that everyone was expecting Ryan, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate this fall, to throw in the towel and drop out of the race today.

For the benefit of non-Illinois readers, I’ll quote from this morning’s Sun-Times: “Ryan, 44, [has] spent [this] week in a media and political fire storm after a California judge unsealed child custody battle records from 2000 and 2001. Actress Jeri Ryan accused Ryan of insisting during their marriage that she go to sex clubs, where he asked her to have sex with him while others watched. Jack Ryan denied the charges at the time.”

A third-rate sex scandal, but we’ll take what we can get here in Illinois. Ryan’s a chump anyway. The worst kind -- a rich chump with a pretty face. I suspect he won the primary merely because he was the most telegenic. Still, if I had the opportunity to see him bow out in person, that would be something worth seeing, a small footnote in the history of the Senate. So I waited a few minutes on the off chance that he would show up. But I soon gave up on it, since I had work to do back at my office.

The main beneficiary of this particular teapot-sized tempest is the popular Democratic candidate, state Sen. Barack Obama, whose name alone is almost enough to vote for. Even with a better replacement candidate running against him, it’s Obama’s race to lose.

Later in the afternoon, I heard on the radio that, indeed, Jack Ryan had acknowledged his political demise, though apparently he didn’t give the press on Clinton Street the benefit of his photogenic mug. An updated story on the Sun-Times web site said that “his campaign issued [a] written statement after dozens of reporters, photographers and cameramen spent the morning camped outside his West Loop campaign headquarters.” Ah, so 118 N. Clinton was campaign HQ.

Ryan’s statement was short on contrition, long on blaming the media for his problems. Contrition would be appropriate, I think, not for his lurid hobbies (which he no longer denies), but for embarrassing his party. “Jack, got any skeletons back there?” “No sir, all those bones were cleaned out a long time ago.” Chump.


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