Raffaele Raia, the Italian philosopher — and my barber — says that politics never really changes.
Politics is stubborn, like an angry jackass with shampoo on its head.
“Oh, you’ve never heard this one?” asked Raffaele, clicking his scissors.
I’ve used Raffaele’s pearls of wisdom in the past. And many know I have a weakness for parables involving politicians and gaseous donkeys. Raffaele said his parable comes in a rough Neapolitan dialect that I wouldn’t understand.
So tell it to me in English.
“OK, here goes: If you shampoo the head of a jackass, you’re wasting water, soap and time,” said Raia.
It’s a lesson in futility. And it’s also quite futile to expect jackasses, or humans, to change their nature. With less than two weeks to go before the Illinois March 20 primaries, we’re almost out of time.
So I’m squeezing a few items — call them Kasstigations — into one column.
President Donald Trump isn’t running in the primary, but there are plenty of Trump cards being played in Illinois politics. He’s the political bogeyman around here. And even though there’s a war in Syria and Trump is apparently going to hug North Korea rocket man Kim Jong Un , the media is turgid with reports that years ago, before he even talked about running for president, Trump had sexual congress with a porn star named Stormy Daniels.
Also, that a Trump lawyer paid the porn star $130,000 for keeping her mouth shut before the 2016 election, and that the non-disclosure agreement included a weird and completely unbelievable Trump alias: David Dennison.
David Dennison? Really?
I had planned to condemn Trump for using an obviously fake and tasteless name like “David Dennison” for a smarmy liaison with a creature like Stormy Daniels.
But years ago, gazillions of angry liberals — militant feminists among them — all but beat me half to death, threatened my job and screamed at me that a president’s sex life is a private matter and none of my business.
OK, I give up. They win.
But the real-life David Dennison, a 58-year-old auto-parts importer from New Jersey, has feelings too.
“I would love to know who came up with my name,” Dennison was quoted as saying. “If you are going to use an alias, isn’t John Doe or Fred Smith better than David Dennison?”
Isn’t “Dirk Diggler” a proper presidential alias?
“But everybody knows who Dirk Diggler is,” said a colleague, noting the movie “Boogie Nights” about the porn industry.
Yet it’s clear that the president might need a new alias someday, and I went online and found the name generator of sex addict and famously creepy former Congressman Anthony Weiner , whose generated name was “Carlos Danger.”
And upon entering “Donald” and “Trump” into it, a name came out:
Now that’s a proper alias for a president with a porn star.
My own generated name is Anibal Stealth. All I need is an ascot, a cigarette holder and a string of polo ponies.
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski is one of the last, if not the last, pro-life Democrats left in Congress.
And now he’s being targeted with pro-abortion rights money that is helping his challenger, Marie Newman. She’s touting an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders , the Vermont socialist.
Her Sanders endorsement provides happy Bernie Bro news that competes with a just-published Tribune story about how she and her husband co-owned an Aurora business with a felon.
“Bernie Sanders won his district,” said a union guy supporting Newman. “And Lipinski doesn’t support abortion. He hasn’t evolved.”
Exactly. Dan Lipinski is Roman Catholic and he takes his faith seriously. I know him. He’s a neighbor. He won’t evolve out of his faith.
Over the years I’ve read hundreds of stories full of liberal media anxiety over Republicans becoming more conservative. Yet every day, Democrats move farther and farther to the far, far left.
And Democrats trying to oust a moderate, one of the last pro-life Democrats in Congress — for keeping true to his Catholic faith — seems to me to be a mistake.
Boss Michael J. Madigan was also given a spin through the Carlos Danger name generator.
Madigan’s new name? Armando Verboten.
That’s just superb.
The other Madigan minions work equally as well. Democrat State Rep. Bob Rita of Blue Island becomes Marcelino Risk. Madigan’s mini-me, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, becomes Julio Cesar Jeopardy. And Madigan’s troubled Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios becomes Mariano Covert.
Madigan can’t afford to lose Berrios — also the Cook County Democratic Party chairman by Madigan’s grace — who is facing a tough Democratic primary challenge from Oak Park businessman Fritz Kaegi.
Berrios accepts campaign donations from lawyers who make their money reducing property taxes in Cook County. Berrios’ property tax assessments — according to a Tribune investigation — penalize minorities and the poor while favoring the wealthy. By amazing coincidence, Boss Madigan makes a fortune through his own law firm, reducing property taxes for wealthy landowners.
Berrios also has a habit of hiring his family and putting them on the county payroll.
Kaegi is the progressive Democratic candidate.
So I called Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th , who tells everybody he’s a progressive, to ask if he’d endorse Kaegi.
The progressive Ramirez-Rosa’s spokeswoman, who by coincidence also works as spokesman for Berrios, said she’d pass on my request.
Six hours later, progressive Ramirez-Rosa — also the Democratic Ward Committeeman of the 35th Ward — called to tell me he’s not making an endorsement.
That’s a tacit endorsement of Berrios, if not more. That’s doing Berrios a solid.
“I disagree,” he said. “I don’t want to disparage Fritz Kaegi. But I can’t vouch for him. Of course, I’m not endorsing Joe Berrios.”