Monday, October 24, 2005

Last night on Tom Roeser's "Political Shoot-Out," the host, journalist Jeff Berkowitz and Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica engaged in a lively discussion of the relative merits for the state GOP of a conviction or acquittal in the George Ryan trial. G-Ry's constant specter has haunted the state party since before he was elected governor, but a conviction, in addition to affirming the obvious, would do little for the Democrats. The trial itself-simply by reiterating nasty allegations and innuendos-will probably do more political harm than the verdict itself. An acquittal would only prompt allegations of bias-or, most preposterously, that as a Republican appointee-albeit a very independent one-Fitzgerald botched the case for his own political welfare. A conviction, at least, would allow the Ryan fiasco to slip quietly into the night, while an acquittal would keep the press howling for weeks. If anything, the timing of the verdict would coincide only with the March primary-and be only a faint memory by the general election. That isn't to say that, for the governor, at least, the race hasn't already begun.


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