Couple of weeks back, discussion among my oldest friends turned, as usual, to politics. This is generally considered a no-no at barbecues where the booze flows freely, but some of my friends are journalists so the rule doesn't apply to them. At least, they flaunt the rule with the emboldened impunity attributed to booze.
Anyway we were talking about the Senate campaigns of Barack Obama and Jack Ryan. A Los Angeles judge had previously ruled in favor of releasing some of Ryan's divorce records to "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Boston Public" star Jerri Ryan. Speculation began about what was in the records that Jack Ryan wanted sealed. "He wanted it sealed because it's gonna come out that he went to sex clubs with her," was the reply from one of my reporter friends. This led to fantasizing of Jerri Ryan in her "Seven of Nine" costume working as a dominatrix.
Well the files were released and, sure as shit, the speculation at this picnic was on the money. The silence in the background is the Ryan senate campaign coming to a screeching halt, his toothy grin replaced by the pursed lips and measured cadence of a man trying to spin gold from rotten straw. The allegations- and I stress that the information in the Ryan divorce records are that- puts Jack Ryan further behind Obama in the race to fill Peter Fitzgerald's Senate seat.
Obama, for his part, hasn't demanded Ryan resign from the campaign, wisely opting to stay quiet while Ryan defends himself to a press corps that's just tasted blood. At this rate, Obama could waltz in to the White House unscathed should he choose to run. The Hyde Park-based state senator was running a distant second in the Democratic Primary to Blair Hull before allegations of spousal abuse against Hull derailed his well-organized and self-financed campaign.
Ryan outpaced dairy magnate and racial paranoid Jim Oberweis in the Republican primary. To many in the state GOP hierarchy Oberweis is looking like the better candidate right now. State treasurer- and GOP chairwoman- Judy Baar Topinka went so far as to demand for Ryan's resignation from the campaign after assurances that what was sealed in his divorce files was not embarrassing to the party. But then maybe Jack Ryan has a different definition for embarrassing than the rest of us.