Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What do a Trekkie and the Coach of Da Bears have in common?

The beautiful Jeri Ryan seen above had a role on Star Trek, but more importantly she was once married to Jack Ryan. Ryan was a Goldman Sachs genius with an MBA and JD from Harvard. He cashed out and eventually ran for Illinois Senate in 2004. Unfortunately for him, his divorce records from 1998 contained seedy stories of a sexual deviant. In March of 2004 he handily won the Illinois Senate Republican Primary and looked to be a formidable opponent with deep pockets. On June 21, a court order unsealed the divorce files and Ryan's campaign was sunk.
In a bind, with little time to spare, the Illinois Republican Party turned to Mike Ditka. The former coach of the Super Bowl Shufflers was an immensely popular figure in Chicago, a local businessman, and conservative minded. Ditka mulled over, but declined the offer, leaving Alan Keyes as the last minute fill-in.
So should Obama send a little thank you card to Ms. Ryan and Ditka? In June of 2004, Barack Obama was not the juggernaut he is today. Coming off a failed bid for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2000, Obama was the clear Democratic favorite, but a relatively untested newb. He faced Ryan, a rising star himself in Illinois politics, and the reality that the Senate seat had been vacated by a Republican. Once Ryan had shot himself in the foot, he still had a hurdle to clear. One may scoff at Senator Ditka, but in a country where Jessie "The Body" Ventura, and The Terminator are governors, name recognition goes a long way in popular elections. Obama would not be in the position he is today without the platform of a Senate seat. Everyone needs some breaks along the way, let's be thanks Obama got his fortuitously, and not from the Ole' Boy's Network.