Ice cream and politicians


If you are an American shopper buying ice cream for the family, what flavor would you be most likely to buy? The "correct "answer is vanilla for most people. But we all know that there are many variations on that basic theme! You can get old—fashioned high butterfat naturally flavored, or artificially flavored, or low fat yogurt or Rocky Road. So what will the basic Midwestern values—oriented shopper choose tomorrow? We'll find out the answer on Tuesday in the mayoral election of a middle class suburb of Chicago called Berwyn, Illinois.

Berwyn is so unhip that it has been a running joke for native son Chicago TV host Rich Koz, 'The Great Svengooli,' for decades. Naturally, real estate values have doubled in the last four years. And with those rising values have come rising real estate taxes demanded by the Blue State tax and spend liberalism of Chicago.

Berwyn is a virtual museum of FDR liberalism. The main street, Cermak Road, is named for Anton Cermak who was elected mayor of Chicago in 1931 and who died alongside FDR in an automobile drive—by shooting in 1933. Wikipedia says this of Cermak, 'Cermak is considered the father of Chicago's great Democratic machine'.

Tuesday's election will feature four candidates, each trying to market his own variation on vanilla. The one thing all the candidates agree on is that 'this town is finally ready for reform.' The question in debate is how little will be enough to win?

The oldest candidate, Raymond Fron, is a long time alderman who is the classic FDR Democrat. He is given little chance of success for demographic reasons, most of the town's other FDR Democrats have died of old age. He is Mr. Artificially Flavored. A pale imitation of the original, debased by years of compromises.

Next up, is the Regular Democratic Party candidate, Michael Woodward. Currently the City Clerk, you can think of him as Mr. Yogurt, the Harry Truman Democrat in the race. With aggressive support of the existing power structure and from the neighboring Chicago Democratic Machine, he is the biggest advertiser and something of a favorite to the worried liberal media. The concern here is the similarly loud renegade Ex—Democrat alderman gadfly, Michael O'Connor. Without doubt, he has been the most strident voice calling for 'reform.' He could be considered the JFK Democrat of the bunch, Mr. Rocky Road, who promises the New Berwyn Camelot. Quite the dilemma for the Democratic voters, stick with the horse who got you here or follow the dreamer to Camelot? You can see the liberal media's confusion. Which will the voters choose? But they love it because the horse race sells newspapers!

Virtually unnoticed in all the hoopla is the Republican candidate, Anthony Castrogiovanni. His campaign is invisible. But with a core of Republican voters behind him and the massive divisions within the Democrats, he has a chance to pull a really revolutionary upset and bring Berwyn into the Reagan Revolution. The only candidate without direct financial ties to the political status quo, he is Mr. Old Fashioned Natural.

On full medical disability pay from his job as a Cook County Sheriff's officer (he has Crohn's Disease) he has promised to cut spending and reduce taxes. A true heir to Ronald Reagan, 25 years later. And if the Republicans can get the turnout numbers that George W. Bush energized, he just might do it. And that would be a true sign that FDR Democrat liberalism is dying, both demographically and politically. A trend first publically visible when Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's son Patrick turned Republican and joined the U.S. Army!

Bruce Thompson  4 4 05