The LuLac Edition #137, Jan. 21, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: THE LATE FLORIDA SENATOR AND JFK WINGMAN GEORGE SMATHERS, DOCTORED PHOTO FROM SPY MAGAZINE CIRCA 1993 OF HILLARY CLINTON AS A DOMINATING FORCE (WHAT THE HELL, WE HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO CLAIMS HE'S A "DECIDER", WHY CAN'T WE HAVE A "DOMINATOR", COULDN'T DO ANY LESS DAMAGE!) WILK'S NANCY KMAN, THE LATE TREASURER OF PENNSYLVANIA (1980-1987 WAS HIS TENURE) R. BUDD DWYER AND STEVE CORBETT (PHOTO CIRCA 1988) CO-HOSTING THIS WEEK'S WILK MORNING PROGRAM WITH THE AFOREMENTIONED AND PICTURED KMAN.
HILLARY MEANS TO DOMINATE
The announcement from Senator Hillary Clinton that she is forming a committee to run for President gives you a clear indication that she is leaving nothing to chance regarding her Presidential bid. As the satirical, cropped photo from a mid 90s now defunct Spy Magazine indicates, the lady means to dominate the competition. Here are some interesting aspects of her recent actions:
1. Clinton might have announced later but the web announcement of Barak Obama earlier this week forced her a hand a bit. Still that’s a good thing because she has the opportunity to let Democrats know she has 14 million dollars in her coffers, can get more almost overnight and is in fact the only person in the race with 100% name recognition.
2. If you notice her Web speech, note the background. Very muted images of the former President and most current and only spouse. Bill Clinton, like herself in his administration is a two edged sword. Mr. Clinton can raise a ton of money, has already provided valuable campaign staff resources that could have gone elsewhere and for the most part was a pretty popular President. The other side of the equation is that there is a perception that the Clinton prosperity coincided with strong economic times and the Lewinsky scandal and Mrs. Clinton’s reaction or lack thereof to it, might be a liability. Either way, Senator Clinton has to know that her husband is a mixed bag of both good and bad. The good thing about this is that when Mr. Clinton served as President, he and his staff walked a fine line regarding Mrs. Clinton’s own roles as spouse, First Lady, and health care advocate.
3. The timing of the announcement was professional and impeccable. A Saturday morning in a relatively slow news week. She gets total coverage on the Cable News Networks on Saturday where there is no big sporting events going on except the tennis matches in Australia and a few basketball games. Her announcement is talked about on all the Sunday morning talk shows and can even be part of the upcoming State Of the Union discussion.
4. Her message seemed calming. While Obama earlier this week called for a new way of thinking about politics, and was not specific, Senator Clinton talked about having a national conversation. She sat in a living room with muted, conservative colors and asked for the thoughts and ideas of Americans as she set out for the Presidency. This was a far cry from the perception of the 1990s of Mrs. Clinton as a staunch and unbending health care advocate who was going to tell America how to fix its problems, not ask. Also there was none of the blather about getting “two for the price of one” that her husband offered during the ’92 campaign.
It appears Senator Clinton has learned the lessons of the past and seems poised to be the front runner in this campaign and embrace that role. But that said, it is early and events can derail many a frontrunner. Examples are Howard Dean, the late Edmund Muskie and the late George Romney. But for now, Senator Clinton has ended the speculation and seems poised to do battle and possible vanquish Mr. Obama.
DON’T FORGET THESE GUYS
Senator John Edwards has a message and organization that seems to resonating with early voters. People are impressed with his frank answers to the Iraq war issue. Senator Chris Dodd in New Hampshire recently conceded that as a twenty five year veteran of the Senate he should not be outshone by Obama and Clinton who have less than a decade in the upper body. Dodd mentioned that the times call for people who don’t need on the job training, which was a clear jab at the two Junior Senators from Illinois and New York. Senator Joseph Biden has been touting his years of foreign policy expertise and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is set to announce. Richardson will be the first Hispanic to run for President. All of these competitors will not shy away from Senator Clinton and will do their best to make a race of it.
However the way Democratic primaries are structured, or for that matter any election, Senator Clinton as the lone female might have a huge advantage. She will come into the contest with a block of people just voting on gender and that may be enough to carry a close primary state. Recent history has shown that current Ltn. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll in 2002 won the Democratic primary over 6 males and current Representative Karen Boback of the 117th District won her primary over 5 males with a consolidated block starting out.
Currently, Senator Clinton leads in the polls by a whopping 47%.
KMAN AND CORBETT TEAM
While Kevin Lynn basks in the Jamaican sunshine this week (he picked a great week to go) Nancy Kman will be joined this week by former Times Leader columnist Steve Corbett. WILK has been extremely creative in getting guest hosts while some of the regular staffers take vacations. The show airs 6AM to 9AM with news from Bud Brown, Sports with Joe Thomas and Traffic updates from my good friend RustyFender.
TWENTY YEARS AGO JAN. 22, 1987
Twenty years ago today, Pennsylvania was shocked by the televised suicide of state Treasurer R. Budd Dwyer. Dwyer was convicted of taking kickbacks from a computer company that did business with the state. In hindsight many have said that Dwyer got a raw deal and took the fall for other Republican officials in the State. Dwyer was first elected Treasurer in 1980, then re-elected in 1984. Up until the investigation, he had been touted as a candidate for Ltn. Governor. As a matter of fact, the day he held his news conference, Dwyer, looking down at the Capitol as preparations were underway for the swearing in of the Casey-Singel team, he remarked that if not for the investigation, “that could have been me and Bill Scranton down there”. Dwyer never ran for Ltn. Governor when the investigation broke. Scranton’s running mate was State Senator Mike Fisher who later ran for Governor in 2002. Scranton and Fisher were beaten by less than 70,000 votes.
It has never been mentioned in press reports which has always surprised me but the Thursday before Dwyer killed himself, NBC ran an episode of L.A. Law where an attorney in a conference room pulls out of a manila envelope a pistol and shoots himself in exactly the same way Dwyer did a few days later. That has always made me wonder if the distraught Dwyer had seen the show.
A year after the suicide, I attended an appearance by Dwyer’s wife at Bloomsburg University on a Sunday night. His wife answered questions about mental health and depression and spoke about the warning signs of someone contemplating suicide. Her comments about his specific situation was that he just snapped and was in deep despair.
MONDAY NIGHT, Jan. 22nd at 10PM on PCN TV, the reporters in the room where Dwyer died will be interviewed.
Here’s a recap of who Budd Dwyer was and the circumstances that led to his death:
Budd Dwyer was an American politician, born in 1939 in St. Charles, Missouri. He was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1965 to 1970, the state Senate from 1970 to 1980, and state treasurer from 1980 to his death in 1987. He is best known for the spectacular way in which he died -- he arranged for the broadcast of his suicide to a nationwide audience. During the early 1980s, employees of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania overpaid millions of dollars in FICA taxes. As a result, the Commonwealth began requesting bids for the task of calculating refunds to each employee. One firm, California-based Computer Technology Associates, was owned by a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native named John Turquato. Turquato used his Harrisburg-area connections and a series of bribes that totalled approximately $4,700,000 to obtain the contract, worth $12-15 million. An anonymous memo then reached the governor's office, describing the bribes that had taken place. In late 1986, Dwyer was charged as having accepted a related kickback of $300,000. Dwyer was convicted, but continued to maintain his innocence. If sentenced, he would have been removed from office and spend up to 55 years in prison. On January 22, 1987, the day before the sentencing, Dwyer called a press conference to "provide an update on the situation". At the conference, a visibly agitated and nervous Dwyer stated that he would not resign his position as state treasurer. He then handed out a series of envelopes (which contained copies of a suicide note), then pulled a .357 Magnum from another envelope. Chaos broke out as those in attendance pleaded with Dwyer to put the gun down. "Please leave the room, If this will...if this will offend you.", he asked, "Stay away....this will hurt someone." He put the barrel of the firearm into his mouth and pulled the trigger, paying little regard to the still-rolling television cameras. Dwyer was killed instantly. Much to the chagrin of Dwyer's family, fascination with the suicide continued long after his death. Copies of the suicide footage continue to circulate on the Internet to this day and have also appeared in many Faces of Death-type movies. In 1995, rock band Filter had a hit with the song "Hey Man, Nice Shot", which, although not explicitly mentioning Dwyer, was clearly about his suicide. The case of the Dwyer suicide has long been a favorite of professors of journalism ethics. The suicide is often used to demonstrate that news editors, especially in the medium of television, must be prepared to make near-instant decisions, weighing both the psychological impact on viewers and the need to compete with other outlets. In the Dwyer case, news editors had to decide whether or not to air the graphic images live, in the middle of the afternoon, or to delay broadcast of the tape (or portions thereof) until the evening news. Of the six Pennsylvania TV news stations covering the "press conference," only one elected not to cut away; five others aired the footage, in drastically edited form, on the evening news; and one used no footage at all.
George Smathers died this weekend, he was 93 and a United States Senator from Florida. Smathers, a bachelor in 1950s Washington was John F. Kennedy's "wing man" and also was a great friend and confidant of the late President. Smathers in his later life donated millions to the Florida State Library system, even having a huge learning center named after him. When the Bobby Baker case (a bribery scandal case involving a former Lyndon Johnson aide) seemed to be taking root and possibley involving Vice President Johnson, Smathers was looked upon as a possible replacement with Kennedy on the '64 ticket. Dallas of course changed all that. The Florida lawmaker however is most known for the Urban campaign legend of a speech he made against his opponent, incumbent Senator Claude Pepper. This was set in the backdrop of 1950s Florida. Here's what Smathers supposedly said about his foe from no less a source than Time Magazine reported that Smathers had said, "Are you aware that Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law, and he has a sister who was once a thespian in wicked New York. Worst of all, it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper before his marriage habitually practiced celibacy." However, no Florida newspapers covering the campaign ever reported such remarks contemporaneously. Smathers offered $10,000 to anyone who could prove he said it, and to this day there have been no takers.