Kass throws Mitt Fitz

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Patrick Fitzgerald
  • Patrick Fitzgerald
Mitt Romney is five months away from being nominated for president, if he is, eight months away from being elected president, if he is, and ten months away from entering the White House. Last Friday Romney was interviewed on WLS AM radio by John Kass and asked a question close to Kass's heart but likely far from Romney's pressing concerns:

Would Romney reappoint Pat Fitzgerald as U.S. attorney in Chicago?

"Well, you know I don't know him terribly well," said Romney. "I don't think I've ever met him. I'm afraid I've got to meet the person and look at his record."

To Kass, Romney's failure to give him a "straight answer" was yet more evidence of his "excessive timidity," and he devoted his Sunday Tribune column to Romney's performance. "The man is tone deaf," Kass wrote. "Romney's ear is tin, and here's why. WLS is a conservative station, and vehemently anticorruption. And those listeners are exactly the kind of voters Romney must convince if he wants to be president."

Kass, a fierce foe of political corruption, which in our state often takes the form of mendacity, pandering, and the swapping of key appointments for political advantage, could only have meant one of two things: Romney, who probably hasn't made up his mind yet about his vice presidential running mate, let alone his secretary of state, should already know who he wants as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; or Romney should have lied.

Fitzgerald has already held the job for more than ten years, longer than any of his predecessors, and Romney would be his third president. His tenure brings to mind J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1935, when the bureau was created, until he died in 1972. One reason the six presidents he reported to kept reappointing Hoover was that they were afraid of the information he might leak about them if they didn't; but another was the fawning journalists who sold the public the myth of Hoover as the incorruptible guardian of law, order, and babies asleep in their cradles.

When power corrupts, nothing moves along the process like being told you're incorruptible and indispensable and the world needs to treat you that way. Kass thinks too long and hard on public servants gone bad not to know that.

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