Thursday, March 18, 2004

Jack Ryan, Republican 

The Trib today has an article about Jack Ryan that talks about his sealed divorce records. But as I type, both Tribune reporters and lawyers and members of the Democratic Party are out trying to unseal those records. Now, there could be something in those records that in my mind really would disqualify Mr. Ryan from holding high office, but I think the odds of that are low. There's no reason to believe that the records contain anything concerning spousal or child abuse, which are about the only two issues that would matter to me, divorce-wise.

From what I'm reading and hearing, it seems like, at worst, the records contain allegations of some seriously kinky sexual practices. Really, I don't care about this, but many voters probably would (or at least the state GOP would think enough do to go into a panic). It's also possible that the kinky practices involved Ryan forcing or coercing his ex-wife into sexual situations she did not approve of. This would seem like a real issue, because it would show a deep disrespect for women. I doubt the veracity of these rumors, however. A friend who knows Jeri Ryan (nee Lynn Zimmerman) tells me that she can't imagine Jeri Lynn allowing herself to get into such a situation (although she doesn't doubt Jeri Lynn's ability to claim such things in response to being cheated on). So let's just assume they're not true.

This goes to my bigger point of why I don't want these rumors to be true and why I don't want this to be an issue. This race pits two young, dynamic and charismatic individuals against each other.* And both candidates show at least a modicum of cross-over appeal. This could be a great race to energize the electorate and get people engaged again in politics. Not to mention is should get some national attention.

But, if the race turns into sleazy attack upon sleazy attack, people will just get even more cynical about politics. This race has the ability to do the opposite: both candidates, it seem, actually value service to the community and aren't just in this for themselves.** Jack Ryan, it seems, wants to run on education and has the biography to back that up.

So this post is really just about my wanting this race to be a clean one, as it has the potential to be a transformational race in Illinois politics.

* Jack Ryan doesn't seem so charismatic to me, unless you define charisma as good looks. But his supporters claim he is.
** Again, looking at Jack Ryan's website, his positions seem quite similar to Hastert's and Delay's. But maybe he really is a different kind of republican.

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