Topinka's Tall Tale

Hardly a hero in 2006

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    You lost fair and square.

    Judy Baar Topinka - now running for state comptroller - likes to remind voters that "everything" she said about Rod Blagojevich when she challenged him for the governorship in 2006 "has come to pass."

    Not so fast, Judy.

    With the exception of a small cabal of Democratic leaders - including Barack Obama - everything we all said about Rod Blagojevich has come to pass. We all knew indictments were in the offing.

    And yet, Topinka still got clobbered.

    Let's face it, she was a lousy candidate who ran one of the lousiest campaigns for governor in recent memory.

    While her criticisms of Blagojevich were spot-on, they also weren't any different than what loads of folks were already saying.

    Topinka failed to capitalize.

    At first she seemed a reluctant candidate, pressed into service because her party couldn't find anyone else strong enough to take on the monied incumbent.

    And then she came off as an angry crank, instead of the raspy-voiced tell-it-like-it-is anti-politician of yore.

    Finally, she lacked a message about herself, an agenda for the state (especially an aggressive reform agenda), and a display of abilities that would lead voters to think she was up to the job.

    True, Blagojevich's bank account was bulging and perhaps no Republican could have beaten him that year, especially with the memory of George Ryan still lingering.

    But Topinka would be disingenuous to base her "comeback" on the premise that she was right about Blago.

    That was hardly a tough call.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.