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Tom Geoghegan

Page history last edited by Gauran 10 years, 1 month ago

Tom Geoghegan is a labor lawyer, writer, and a candidate for Congress in Illinois's 5th congressional district Special Election. He announced his candidacy via blog post on The Huffington Post[1] January 6, 2009.

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On the issues

Here are Geoghegan's positions, quoted from his site.

Workers’ Rights and Trade

“The countries with the strongest labor movements are also the most open to free trade. Sure, there is, and should be, some protectionist instinct. But the protectionism of an open democracy, with labor rights, is much more modest than the protectionism of a ‘managed democracy’ without one.” (9/07/07 American Prospect)

Reviving Labor

“Indeed, all sides, even the Bob Dole Right, could stand a little more class-based politics, a little more Dunlop-type rationality. ‘The great thing about class-based politics,’ a professor once told me in college long ago, ‘is that it’s rational.’ Instead of the Politics of Meaning, we talk $1.25. The purpose of such politics is not to heat the country up, but to calm it way down. Get back to the America of Dwight Eisenhower, when labor was at high tide and there was social peace. But to get back to that Era of Good Feelings, first we have to remind people, ‘You’re Being Robbed.’” (6/23/95 American Prospect)

On Banking

“Before Congress goes after bank misdeeds on Wall Street, let’s stop the petty theft on Main Street. I mean the predatory mortgages and usurious loans. Had we protected the poor and the weak, the problems of our mighty banks might not be so great. Why don’t we have a “National Usury Act”? Why, in the party of William Jennings Bryan, is there no one demanding an interest cap on our Visa cards and our MasterCards?” (5/06/08 American Prospect)

On Iraq

“I’m against invasion. As Doctor Johnson might say of so rash an act—the expense, damnable (up to $200 billion or more); our strategic posture, ridiculous (as our allies flee us, and North Korea goes nuclear); and any pleasure, even for a hawk, fleeting (since we may be in Iraq a very long time). So count me in with Robert Byrd, the pope, James Baker, and Joschka Fischer. As to the blow-back? Maybe a movement for international law. Bad for the Bush crowd, but good for our country. In the long run, if we’re going to survive as a superpower, as I hope we do, we’ll need a smidgeon of such law to check and balance us.” (2/19/03 Slate)

Layoffs

“It hollows out companies so they can’t compete. It hollows out the country by removing middle-class jobs. It hollows out the middle-class employees who are laid off and then too often drop permanently to a demeaning, low-wage way of life. To Mr. Uchitelle, who reports on economics for The New York Times, corporate America’s addiction to the layoff has gone past the point of economic rationality. In this fascinating book he tries to tell the history of the United States in our time as the unchecked rise of layoffs.” (03/09/06 New York Times)

Student Loans

“Declare an amnesty. Or let college grads off the hook if their incomes fall below a certain level. Or at least let them discharge the loan in bankruptcy.” (7/02/03 The Nation)

Create More Jobs, Less Prisons

“It’s strange that the incarceration rate is not as big an issue in the U.S. now as it was in Dostoevsky’s Russia, not to mention Dickens’ England. It’s strange, because the numbers are so much bigger. For locking up people, the U.S. has a capacity that is unmatched in the history of the world.” (12/26/07 American Prospect)

Healthcare

“First, we should “re-enact” Medicare — for everyone. We should take our single-payer health-care system and just make it wall to wall. Aside from its merits, people also understand it, while they don’t really understand any of the health-care plans. One thing that Ronald Reagan proved is that people like big, simple ideas: In his era, the big simple idea was tax cuts, and in ours, the big simple idea should be “Medicare for all adults,” and “national coverage of children, too.” (I know it comes out to the same thing, but since single-payer is a big pill to swallow, it’s nice to cut it in two.) Above all, keep it simple. The Democrats seem to specialize in coming up with health-care plans that only Paul Krugman can understand.” (10/26/07 American Prospect) “Did you know that uninsured people pay two to three times what you and I, as insured patients, have to pay? I bought a class-action suit case for uninsured patients because the hospitals gouge them. You and I have Blue Cross or Humana to negotiate for us and lower the prices. The uninsured have no one.” (Which Side Are You On?)

Democracy

“I say to my friends that the Democratic party is missing the real issue: it should live up to its real name and stand for more democracy. Democratize the workplace, democratize the economy, democratize the whole country, in new ways, we go into the next century.” (Which Side are You On?)

Fighting for Working People

“The line of battle keeps going backward. First, it was: Would they be union? We lost. Then would they keep a pension? Lost. Then, health insurance? Lost, either all or part. Now it’s: whether they are really “employees” at all or just independent contractors. That’s the big one now”. (Which Side Are You On?)

Democratizing Foreign Policy

“That is, we just pass a simple law. ‘Yes we will comply with Kyoto.’ Or: ‘We’re in the ICC.’ It’s a straight up or down vote in the House. Then it’s 50 votes plus the veep in the Senate, if we get rid of the filibuster under special fast-track-type rules. Otherwise our next president is going to be a Woodrow Wilson.” (06/18/07 American Prospect)

Immigration

But in all these proposed tests of good citizenship, an obvious one is missing — a requirement that new citizens register to vote. It’s especially in the interest of progressives to say: ‘If you want to be a citizen, persuade us you’re going to be a citizen and vote. Don’t show us your bank account. Prove to us you’re going to read a paper, follow current events, and take up the responsibilities of democratic self-government.’ (05/23/07 American Prospect)

 

From the Tribune questionairre

 

Whom did you support in the 2006 primary and general election for president of the Cook County Board? Please explain your thinking.

I supported Forrest Claypool in the 2006 primary for the same reasons the Tribune did. I have brought three separate suits against John Stroger for different forms of political corruption. I won two of those suits and almost won the third!

First I sued Stroger for putting cronies in top management at the Public Defender's office. I won. Then I sued for cutting off Claypool and others from speaking at County Board meetings. Stroger relented and settled. Then I sued the Board of Elections (really Stroger) for political manipulation of polling sites for early election voting. There were no polling sites on the Lakefront. Judge Coar was dismayed but did not think there was time to give appropriate injunctive relief.

 


Biography

 

Geoghegan is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He has represented the United Mine Workers, Teamsters for a Democratic Union, and currently works at Despres, Schwartz and Geoghegan. He has been a staff writer and contributing writer to The New Republic and his work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Dissent, The American Prospect, and The Nation. His commentary has been featured on National Public Radio, Nightline, The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, CNBC, and PBS's WTTW-11.

 


 

Fundraising and financiers

 

 

Meet Tom in Portage Park

What: Come and enjoy a cup of coffee with Tom Geoghegan and members of the Portage Park community

Where: Home of John Arena, 4137 N LeClaire Ave

When: Saturday, February 28, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

 

 


 

 

Endorsed by:

 

Hon. Marty Oberman, Hon. Abner Mikva, Dr. Quentin Young, and Hon. Leon Despreshave endorsed Tom Geogahan, Thomas Frank, historian has also endorsed Tom.

Endorsements

Groups and Media Outlets

American Nurses Association

Better Democrats 2010

CNA/National Nurses Organizing Committee

Democracy for America

Greater Chicago Caucus

The Nation

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Progressive Democrats of America

Steelworkers Local 7243

Teamsters Local 743

Students for a New American Politics

Individuals

Dean Baker

 

Leon Despres

 

Stuart Dybek

 

Barbara Ehrenreich

James Fallows

Thomas Frank

James K. Galbraith

 

Aleksandar Hemon

Hendrik Hertzberg

Mickey Kaus

Alex Kotlowitz

 

Sara Paretsky

 

Rick Perlstein

Katha Pollitt

Don Rose

David Sirota

Michael Tomasky

Garry Wills

 

Naomi Wolf

 

Dr. Quentin Young

Students for a New American Politics (SNAP), Endorsement

Katha Pollitt, The Nation

[Geoghegan is] a true progressive, honest, prochoice and pro-gay marriage, and if elected he would push, knowledgeably and aggressively, for all the right, important things. . . . Sick of timorous, dithering Democrats? Tom could be the next Paul Wellstone.

Michael Tomasky, The Guardian online

In his writing and in his legal work, Tom is man of unfailing integrity . . . The Congress of the United States should be so lucky as to have Tom be a member. He’s really top-notch.

James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly online

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 Congress would be better if Tom Geoghegan were part of it.


 

What the papers say:

 

Washington Post on Tom

FIVE DAYS TO ELECTION

“He has since written four other books, some on the shambles that is the American legal system. He’s became the go-to lawyer for Chicagoans who’ve lost their jobs through discrimination or who’ve been denied the pay they’ve earned. And now, he’s the congressional candidate who supports single-payer health care, expanding Social Security to compensate for the decimation of private pensions, and government investment to rebuild our offshored manufacturing sector.”

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/24/AR2009022403017.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

 

Geoghegan may turn 5th District race on its ear

6 DAYS TO THE ELECTION

From Laura Washington in the Chicago Sun Times:

“There’s an interloper in these environs. He’s stealing voters’ attentions and affections. . . . . That interloper is the wiry-framed Tom Geoghegan, the labor movement’s Don Quixote.

 

 

Abner Mikva, Marty Oberman, Dr. Quentin Young, Leon Despres Endorse Geoghegan

ONE WEEK TO ELECTION!

CHICAGO – Legendary progressives Hon. Marty Oberman, Hon. Abner Mikva, Dr. Quentin Young, and Hon. Leon Despres have endorsed Tom Geoghegan for Congress.

 

Thomas Frank in The Wall Street Journal (1/7/09)

I can't help but think what a refreshing dose of plain-spoken Midwestern reality Mr. Geoghegan could bring to the nation as a whole.

Online Articles, Columns, and Editorials

The Atlantic Monthly

The Chicago Sun-Times (here and here)

The Chicago Tribune (here and here)

The Guardian

The Nation (here, here, and here)

The New Yorker

Time Out Chicago

The Wall Street Journal

Katha Pollitt, The Nation

[Geoghegan is] a true progressive, honest, prochoice and pro-gay marriage, and if elected he would push, knowledgeably and aggressively, for all the right, important things. . . . Sick of timorous, dithering Democrats? Tom could be the next Paul Wellstone.

 

Michael Tomasky, The Guardian online

In his writing and in his legal work, Tom is man of unfailing integrity . . . The Congress of the United States should be so lucky as to have Tom be a member. He’s really top-notch.

 

James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly online

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 Congress would be better if Tom Geoghegan were part of it.


 

 

Tom’s Writings

Articles

The American Prospect

The Daily Beast

The Harvard Crimson

In These Times

The Nation

The New Republic

The New York Times (articles by Tom and reviews of his books)

Salon (articles by Tom and reviews of his books)

Slate

Books

 

Which side

Secret lives

See you in court

In america's court

Law in shambles

 


 

What the bloggers say:

Blogs

Crooked Timber

Daily Kos

Digby’s Hullabaloo (here and here)

Eschaton (Atrios)

Ezra Klein

Five Thirty Eight (Nate Silver)

Huffington Post (here and here)

Kausfiles (here and here)

Matthew Yglesias

Fashion Trends Blog

Talking Points Memo

Wallwritings

Scheduling Software

 


 

External Links

Tom Geoghegan's official site

 

 

Footnotes

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-geoghegan/im-running-for-congress-i_b_155579.html

Comments (1)

Rob said

at 11:15 am on Feb 26, 2009

Tom Geoghegan represented my wife and I after we had both been fired from a the Large Natural Food Store Chain for their violating the FMLA. I had first met Tom when I was in college. I had read his book, "Which Side Are You On?" because it had a brief section on Danly Machine, a formally family owned manufacturing company in Cicero, IL, I was working in the engineering department. I was involved with a WHPK radio show name "On The Fence," my job was to travel the city interviewing dying socialists, old time union organizers, and people involve in the struggle for labor rights.

Later, at the World's Largest Natural Food Store Chain and Labor Law Skirting Hole Tom was my regular customer. I was management, but definitely sympathetic. Tom would come in and we would chat, moving to the side of my deli, speaking out of earshot of my staff and the rest of management, we would discuss who the store "Team" system was in place to shoulder the workers at the store with the responsibility of Margins, Labor and their own pay. Unlike Union Grocery Stores the grocery I worked at tied my salary and all those who worked it to the success of the entire store. A full 5% or better of the salaries came from bonus that were directly tied to profitability, another 20% tied to whether the department itself came under its labor budget. We would come in on our days off,voluntarily put in an hour or two to make sure our departments were perfect. Eventually the department of Labor awarded Manager for working the front lines instead of managing.

The only hope to at fairness was a company sponsored "Team Member Advisory Board," akin to a company sponsored union delegation, illegal under the 1936 Labor Relations Act. Tom saw this immediately.

I have known Tom for 16 years, as a writer, lawyer and friend. He has been a hero, my counsel, and my friend.

Tom Geoghagen is the honest, down to earth, intelligent and professional person we need to represent the 5th District.

Rob Poe

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