Many CT readers will be familiar with the work of Tom Geoghegan. We’ve often talked about his book, Which Side Are You On which is a simply wonderful piece of political writing – brilliant, complicated, beautifully written, arguing with itself the whole way through. Now, he’s running for the Democratic nomination in Rahm Emanuel’s old district. I’m usually a bit chary when intellectuals run for office – they (we1) are usually not very good at all at dealing with the day-to-day grind and compromise of politics. But Geoghegan, as James Fallows says is different.
The remarkable thing is that in Geoghegan’s case writing has been a sideline. Day by day for several decades he has been a lawyer in a small Chicago law firm representing steel workers, truckers, nurses, and other employees whose travails are the reality covered by abstractions like “the polarization of America” and “the disappearing middle class.” Geoghegan’s skills as a writer and an intellectual are assets but in themselves might not recommend him for a Congressional job. His consistent and canny record of organizing, representing, and defending people who are the natural Democratic (and American) base is the relevant point. The people of Chicago would have to look elsewhere for Blago-style ethics entertainment. Tom Geoghegan is honest and almost ascetic. Because it’s an important part of his makeup, I mention too that he is a serious, Jesuit-trained Catholic.
This is a purely personal endorsement; as a general rule, we don’t take collective positions on issues or people at CT. But I can’t imagine anyone more likely to contribute more to American political life than Geoghegan. I’ve contributed money to his campaign – if you want to do so too, you can do it easily here. There’s a Facebook group here (with a good bio attached).
1 In case it’s not clear, the term ‘intellectual’ here doesn’t refer either positively or negatively to intellectual worth, but to social position.