The hits keep on coming on Democratic Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias for his failure to address -- no, make that his steadfast avoidance of -- questions regarding his involvement with the checkered history and troubles of his family's bank. But now, it's not just opponent Republican Mark Kirk and the NRSC and ILGOP that are loudly clamoring for Alexi to come clean, it's the Chicago Tribune in an editorial this past week:
Now that Alexi Giannoulias is the Democrats' nominee for U.S. Senate, he's got an answer for everything: Jobs, jobs, jobs. That's not what people are asking about, though, and Giannoulias knows it.
Voters want to know about his role in his family's struggling Broadway Bank, and Giannoulias promised he'd provide those details after the Feb. 2 primary election. "If I'm fortunate enough to make it out of the primary, we can have that conversation," he said. His plan now seems to be to stonewall until November. Or forever.
If there's one thing that serious media folks like the Chicago Tribune absolutely can't stand, it's being blown off. The Tribune itself recalls in the editorial how it even brought now-President Barack Obama in to explain himself over his associations with Tony Rezko after much hemming and hawing:
Giannoulias needs to borrow a page from his friend Barack Obama, the man whose former Senate seat he hopes to fill. Campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama spent months trying to dismiss questions about his associations with the same Tony Rezko. But the issue wouldn't go away. Finally he sat for a 90-minute Q & A with the Tribune editorial board.
"By the time I leave here today, you may not be happy with all my answers, but at least you can't say that I have not answered your questions," Obama said. "Is that fair?"
It's fair. Giannoulias promised a similar accounting if he survived the primary. It's time.
If Alexi thinks he can ignore Mark Kirk and the Republicans, that's fine. It's all part of political strategy, and that's what partisan campaign ads are for -- to focus on your tightly controlled message and get votes without having to answer the hard questions. No doubt Alexi, though he's crying poor now, will have plenty of money to get his message out.
He can even ignore the calls of his campaign chairman, Senator Dick Durbin, to fess up and get whatever he has to say over with. Who knows if Durbin is really serious anyway, or if his call to Alexi to come clean was just for political show.
But he can't ignore the Trib for long. Alexi has little hope, barring some kind of Kirk implosion, of getting the Trib endorsement this Fall, as they endorsed Kirk in the GOP primary and Alexi's opponent, David Hoffman, in the Dem primary. But the Trib and other career journalists will dog Alexi without mercy until he submits himself to a full interrogation from the media, without stonewalling.
Based on how the Trib handled the Rezko issue with Obama, maybe Alexi shouldn't be too worried, as I thought the newspaper was pretty easy on Obama once they got him in there. But Alexi is no Obama, and the more these newspaper sharks smell chum in the water, the more bloodthirsty they get.