January 07, 2009
Out With the Rahm…

In the virtual public houses I frequent, there’s a significant buzz about Tom Geoghehan, who’s running for the House seat being vacated by Rahm Emanuel.

Certified FOBA (Friend Of Bad Attitudes) Mr. Fallows of The Atlantic pointed out this opportunity.

The remarkable thing is that in Geoghegan’s case writing has been a sideline. Day by day for several decades he has been a lawyer in a small Chicago law firm representing steel workers, truckers, nurses, and others employees whose travails are the reality covered by abstractions like “the polarization of America” and “the disappearing middle class.” Geoghegan’s skill as a writer and an intellectual are assets but in themselves might not recommend him for a Congressional job. His consistent and canny record of organizing, representing, and defending people who are the natural Democratic (and American) base is the relevant point.

The people of Chicago would have to look elsewhere for Blago-style ethics entertainment. Tom Geoghegan is honest and almost ascetic. Because it’s an important part of his makeup, I mention too that he is a serious, Jesuit-trained Catholic.

Mr. Frank, late of the Wall Street Journal but known as well for the hilarious One Market, Under God and the right-on What’s the Matter With Kansas?, has weighed in as well.

…Mr. Geoghegan thinks big while Democrats in Washington tend to think small, proposing a stimulus package here and better oversight there. The government’s goal, as he explained it to me a few days ago, should not merely be “to pump up demand again.” It should be to enact sweeping, structural change, “to get in a position where we’re not bleeding jobs out of the country.”

For the view that working people have no business with retirement and health care in the lean, mean, inevitable future, Mr. Geoghegan has a certain contempt. He wants to increase Social Security payments to make up for the destruction of private pension plans and expand Medicare with the goal of arriving, eventually, at single-payer health care. The $700 billion bank bailout, he says, proves that such expenses can be borne. What’s more, they’re necessary.

“Economic security is not only compatible with being competitive globally,” he tells me; “it’s crucial to it.”

It’s a little difficult to imagine a sane person lasting through a session of Congress. But it would be an interesting gambit.

Posted by Chuck Dupree at January 07, 2009 05:08 AM
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