Some random thoughts about presidential politics

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Some random thoughts about presidential politics
By RAY HANANIA • Friday, January 27, 2012
Voters in South Carolina apparently don’t think its that wrong to cheat on your wife, but they do think it’s wrong to cheat on Jesus.

That’s the message I got from the trouncing Newt Gingrich gave former Republican front-runner Mitt Romney there this week.

Gingrich has a documented history of mistreating his former wives. The accusations by his last wife that he wanted an “open marriage” didn’t seem to undermine the boost he received when Rick Perry withdrew from the election and urged his voters to back Gingrich.

In reality, Mitt Romney received more votes in South Carolina than he did in his prior contests. Gingrich though consolidated the Evangelical Christian vote, the hard right, that dominates South Carolina politics.

We’ll see what happens in Florida.

Both Gingrich and Romney released their income taxes. Romney got the spotlight. Romney earned more than $42 million while Gingrich only earned about $3 million.

And that means something? Romney’s money came from his businesses while Gingrich’s money came from investments. Are they really any different?

Most national politicians are millionaires who spend their time trying to tell average Americans like you and I that we can achieve our American Dream by working hard, too.

But in today’s economy, working hard still doesn’t even pay your mortgage. And the truth is 2012 isn’t that much different from 1960. Voters today just don’t like Romney’s Mormon religion, just as they disliked and feared the Catholic religion of John F. Kennedy.

Have we really changed in 52 years? I don’t think so.

I can’t get past the real problem in our political environment. My real disappointment is in President Barack Obama.

Obama is just not tough enough. He’s trying to change that, but the truth is I wonder if he really has what it takes to be our president. He doesn’t seem to want to fight with the passion it requires to achieve his lofty goals of change.

Where is the change today? The economy is worse than when he came into office three years ago. Of course, the poor policies of former President George W. Bush set the stage for today’s tragic recession, a recession that has being on far too long.

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The 23rd Ward was, at one time under former Congressman and Democratic Committeeman, one of the most powerful wards in Chicago next only to the 13th Ward and the 14th Ward.

This week, it was turned into milk toast, redrawn to satisfy the demands of the growing Hispanic community. Even though Hispanics were the strongest cohesive population in the old 23rd Ward, Hispanics do not vote as intensely as do the minority white population. So, they had to add even more Hispanics to make it easier to elect a Hispanic alderman.

Even with the increase, it won’t change. But will change is that the ward has lost its cohesiveness. It stretches like a snake from the far west to the far east in Chicago.

That will make representation weak and the people who live in that ward will suffer for it.

Sadly, this isn’t about representation at all. It’s about power politics in a city that is in a mess, to put it mildly speaking.

Who’s going to change all that?

Likely, no one.

(Listen to Ray Hanania every Sunday on WSBC AM 1240 radio from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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