Category Archives: periaca

>OBSERVATION: Tony Periaca not quite cutting it.

>By every measure, Cook County Commissioner Tony Periaca is exerting leadership within the frail and floundering Republican Party. He is using his office to expose the nepotism, cronyism and corruption that abounds in Todd Stroger’s government fiefdom. He is runner for higher office, Cook County State’s Attorney. He is challenging the Democrat power structure at every front. His public relations machine is going at full tilt. He is raising money. He shows up at every event with an audience larger than my family reunion. In every way, he is making an effort to fill the huge leadership void that besets the GOP in Illinois.

So, why is he failing?

Some may argue with my view, but there can be no doubt that he is not living up to expectations … especially his own. Either he is a flawed candidate, or he is very poor at managing his public image.

Let me stress that I hope he can bring some leadership to the GOP, and begin to rebuild the party. I do not think he is wrong, but not cutting it with the public.

First and foremost — and for all his best efforts — he seems to lack charisma. I don’t mean that pretty boy, Hollywood casting look and Oxford eloquence. I mean that basic connect with the voters. He does not charge a room upon entering. There is no tittle of anticipation that usually surrounds the man on the rise.

This failure to connect cost him what should have been a clear victory over his weak and unqualified opponent in the race for president of the Cook County Board. Never has a Democrat candidate for county office looked so hopelessly and obviously unfit. Not since Republican Dick Ogilvie won the office in a 1966 upset has there been a better opportunity.

Periaca could not carry the county like many of those GOP stars of yore – Chuck Percy, Dick Ogilvie, Jim Thompson, Joe Woods, Bernie Carey, Jack O’Malley, Jim O’Grady, etc. And they had far tougher challenges. (I suppose there has to be some slack given for the number of stolen ballots. Even without concerted effort, the long entrenched Democrat political machine steals thousands of votes automatically. The system is so perfected, it cannot NOT steal votes.)

So, what is it about this guy that lacks curb appeal? Probably a combination of things. Since I don’t really know him personally, maybe my perspective is more valuable. I only see the public personae – the extension of him that will determine his political popularity.

There is a difference between being impassioned and arrogant. Periaca seems to fall on the wrong side of that divide. He does not seem to be the rallying point, the consensus builder or the team player (and even captains have to be team players).

Expanding on this later point, he does not seem to build camaraderie among any of the GOP crowd. He often seems as much at odds with the GOP leadership as he is with the Democrats. Granted, the GOP leadership has lacked a lot – most notably success. However, they do seem to be demonstrate modest improvements here and there. Regardless, the warring within the ranks that has destroyed the effectiveness of the right wing does not reflect any better on Periaca. His feud with Cook County GOP Chairman Liz Gorman detracts from his stature as a candidate.

There is also a thuggishness about him. The election night attack on the Board of Elections was only one example of his seeming pugnacious attitude. He seems to banter about with a political chip on his shoulder.

In observing him in social settings and in the audience, he appears to be a man with all the answers – most eager to express them from the platform or in conversation. He seems to have no need to listen – at least no desire. He has the answers to all the unasked questions. His self appointed mission is to postulate.

In addition, he lacks professed vision. Great leaders produce great visions, if not always the greatest results. We all know that Periaca, like Howard Beale in the movie Network, is “mad as hell” and so not going to take it any more. However, the unrelenting criticism, carping and complaining makes him too much the scold. It is ok to “tell it like it is” as long as you can also “tell it like it will be.”

Then there is the ambition that seems to be worn on his sleeve. Is he a “wannabe” or a “wannado?” Often candidates with a lack of vision are more interested in being this or that, rather than a vehicle for doing. He seems more driven by ego than issues. Of course, he talks about issues, but more like a means rather than an end.

As political leader, the public Periaca appears more like one of those ubiquitous designer knock-offs flowing from Asia. He looks good on first blush, but not quite the quality of the genuine product upon closer examination.

THAT is my perception of the public Periaca — the only Periaca most of the voters will ever see. Is that really him? I really don’t know.

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