If you live in Illinois and watch television, you probably have seen — or at least ignored or skipped past — a lot of political commercials lately thanks to several statewide offices being up for election this year. There is one political commercial that particularly irks me — that of former attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Jim Ryan.
Here’s the narration of the entire commercial: “He learned the values of hard work at an early age. Twice elected attorney general, he prosecuted dozens of public officials for corruption — both Democrats and Republicans. He took on Blagojevich before anyone else. As an educator, he’s inspired young people to enter public service. Now he’ll clean up Springfield, attract new investment and create real jobs without raising taxes. One man has the independence, the character and the strength it takes. Jim Ryan for governor.”
Here are my problems with this commercial:
1. As the narrator mentions Ryan learning the values of hard work at an early age, the onscreen image is of a young Ryan boxing next to a headline that says “Jim Ryan wins Golden Gloves.”
Here is another politician who was once a Golden Gloves boxer, albeit briefly: Rod Blagojevich.
2. The narrator says Ryan prosecuted dozens of public officials for corruption. He neglected to mention Ryan’s wrongful death-penalty prosecutions of Rolando Cruz and Alex Hernandez in the 1983 kidnapping, rape and murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico.
3. The narrator says Ryan “took on Blagojevich before anyone else” as the onscreen image shows Ryan and Blagojevich debating during their 2002 battle for governor. Ryan was not the first person to oppose Blagojevich in a run for public office. Blagojevich didn’t run unopposed when he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and the United States Congress — or in the Democratic primary for governor in 2002, for that matter.
4. This quote from former U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois) appears onscreen: “He’s the straightest arrow I’ve ever known.” The quote is from the August 21, 1997 edition of the Daily Herald. Not only is the quote 12 years old, but Hyde has been dead for two years.
Ryan is leading the Republican pack running for governor, but he probably isn’t the best choice for the GOP nomination if I can pick apart his campaign commercial this easily — and I’m not a sleazy political operative.