Friday, January 21

Unfinished Thoughts Finished: Tim Roemer

I actually have some free time — I'd almost forgotten what that was — and decided to post a few things that I would have done in and around the essays, if I had a spare moment. In other words, I'm actually going to, you know, blog.

I wrote Monday's Tuesday's early Wednesday's Marchand Chronicles about Tim Roemer not just because I'd been deprived of almost any other relevant topic. Roemer was my Congressional representative for a dozen years, and politically speaking, I know a lot about him despite voting against him every chance I could.

I would have done a personality profile, but unfortunately I was absent that day in class.

Let me explain.

In the fall semester of 2000 I had a course at Notre Dame called "Persuasion, Commentary & Criticism." In other words: "How To Write Op-Ed Columns." Given the historic events in the fall of 2000, it was the perfect time to be enrolled in such a course, and I'll always remember it. One day my future children will be bored to tears as I relate anecdotes about how I got the chance to write about everything from the presidential election and the ensuing recount mess to Tim Russert's markerboard and the popularity of a show called "Survivor" (as I surely hope "reality" television will be considered an odd fad by then).

My professor was South Bend Tribune writer and chief columnist Jack Colwell, who has a name that makes him sound like a grizzled cigar-chomping hard-headed old-school journalistic scribbler but in reality, he was one of the kindest, most genial professors I had at ND. Even with the polarizing events taking place outside our twice-weekly enclave, our class was a model of professionalism and thoughtful discussion, and I have no doubt it was Jack's steady stewardship that brought that out in us.

Jack's position and influence helped him offer us a very unique opportunity that October: on the two days we had class the week after fall break, we would be able to hold a mock press conference with each of the candidates for the U.S. House from Indiana's District 3: Tim Roemer and the man who's our current Congressman, Chris Chocola. The following Monday, we would be required to submit a newspaper-style editorial endorsement for one of the two candidates. (As in the eventual election, Roemer won narrowly among my classmates. He retired from Congress after that term; Chocola defeated Jill Long Thompson in the 2002 House race and was re-elected last November.)

Unfortunately, my reliable pickup truck broke down on the way back from my fall break trip. My dad had to come fetch me and I missed the Monday class where everyone else interviewed Tim Roemer. I've always been disappointed by that, as I really would have liked to have the opportunity. I didn't really know much about him.

However, my father did, being in the same high school graduation class. My dad didn't hold a high opinion of Roemer. Still doesn't. If Roemer is elected to the DNC chairmanship, I promise I'll post his yearbook photos. Keep in mind, they graduated in 1975, so Roemer looks positively groovy.

If by chance any of you DNC delegates took a wrong turn in Albuquerque and wound up here, I'll have you know that if you think he's a pseudo-conservative cream puff who can't play hardball with the Republicans, you're dead wrong. In 1990, he defeated popular Republican incumbent John Hiler in part because of negative attack ads aimed at Hiler's previous occupation: banking. The ads featured animations of coins and bills stacking with cash register sounds, implying that Hiler was a wealthy robber baron who wouldn't do right by regular-Joe Hoosiers. After Roemer won the election, NBC's Today show singled out those ads as some of the most brutal of the campaign season.

In 2000, Chris Chocola mounted a surprising challenge by using a tactic almost unheard of in federal campaigns: when Roemer's team aired a standard, positive, I'm-from-here-and-I-represent-you television ad, Chocola attacked those ads by saying that Roemer actually resided in an affluent D.C. suburb in Virginia, no longer had an Indiana residence or even drivers' license, and spent only the minimum 40 days in the district to qualify for residence for the election. Roemer beat back the challenge by hammering Chocola on Social Security privatization, using a pullout quote that Republicans insisted was off-the-cuff and out of context. In any event, it worked: Roemer won by a narrow 52%-48% margin.

Just wanted you all to know a little more about the guy whose intellectual and political diversity will probably be his undoing, as the Democrat rank-and-file closes their ranks and files around Howard Dean. Shame, really; you won't realize it until much later if at all, but you'll be far better off if you choose Roemer.

Hmm. That was a rather long unfinished thought. It seemed a lot shorter in my head. I'll get to the rest of them later. Look for the first Translations tomorrow.


Location: Mishawaka, Indiana, United States

I graduated with an English degree from the University Of Notre Dame in 2001, and in 2008 I have a day job that has nothing to do with my degree but gets the bills paid in a semi-regular fashion. (I have running water five days a week!) The idea is that once I get turned around on my bills, I go to grad school. I also have an idea for cold fusion. Anyone's guess which will be feasible first. In non-work mode, I'm usually reading columns by famous and well-read thinkers, blogs by critically praised writers, or sometimes blogs by overzealous cranks who make me laugh. I yearn to be all three at once; until then I'll settle for being the third. I also have an undying love for the Chicago Cubs and Notre Dame football. Praise them and I'll buy you a beer; curse them and I'll dump it over your head. If that's not enough, I'm becoming quite the fan of no-limit Texas Hold'em. My games have one of two results: I either win all the money or whine because I didn't win all the money.

marchandchronicles -at-

Fair warning: I reserve the right to post any and all criticisms and flames, in their entirety. Seriously. Just ask this guy.

July 2006
May 2006
April 2006
January 2006

January | February | March | April
May | June | July | August
September | October | November | December

Essays on whatever I feel like writing about.

August 8, 2005: High Gas Prices
August 1, 2005: Judge Roberts' Hearings
June 20, 2005: Senator Durbin's Comments
May 23, 2005: Newsweek & Pepsi
May 2, 2005: Al Gore's MoveOn Speech
April 25, 2005: Lebanon
April 18, 2005: The Nuclear Option
April 11, 2005: Pope John Paul II
March 5, 2005: The Domino Effect
January 31, 2005: Iraqi Elections
January 24, 2005: Bush's Inaugural
January 17, 2005: Roemer, Dean & The DNC

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Contributor to Steal The Blinds


marchand chronicles has such massive readership and influence that it makes me weep.
—Glenn Reynolds


Damn right.


What's Your Line?


I absolutely love the name of your site.

Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson, Power Line
Just the name? Not the content? . . . I'll take it.

You have something in common with Dave Barry, Hemingway, and Mark Steyn: I'm not linking to them, either.


That's good stuff there Mark.

Dean Barnett, Soxblog
Psst, it's "Mike."

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Okay, so I don't really have a copyright. But I still don't want you ripping me off. Reprint it all over the Internet if you like, but give me proper credit and link back to me. Besides, if you're going to plagiarize, steal from someone with some talent.

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