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  • Rostenkowski on Politics 101

    Rostenkowski on Politics 101

    “The game is compromise. That’s politics.” -Dan Rostenkowski This month The Atlantic published an article titled “How American Politics Went Insane,” diagnosing the cause of the pervasive political disintegration in Washington, D.C. as “chaos syndrome.” Joining the choir of complaints about the chaos undermining American politics, the author, Jonathan Rauch, offers a new tune: “Our most pressing political problem today is that the country abandoned the establishment, not the other way around.” Rauch contends that in the course of reforming … Continue reading

  • [Dan Rostenkowski Congressional race 1994]

    [Dan Rostenkowski Congressional race 1994]

    Dan Rostenkowski runs for reelection in the 1994 Congressional race, despite facing allegations of fraud and corruption. Continue reading

  • [Rostenkowski raw #201]

    [Rostenkowski raw #201]

    Raw footage from the 1981 documentary “Rostenkowski,” a portrait of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful figure in Chicago (and national) politics. The tape begins at a local Chicago courthouse. Midway through, it cuts to the outside of a campaign rally for Dan Rostenkowski. Whole tape is mostly b-roll. Continue reading

  • [Rostenkowski raw #203]

    [Rostenkowski raw #203]

    Raw footage from the 1981 documentary “Rostenkowski,” a portrait of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful figure in Chicago (and national) politics. The footage is from a rally for Rostenkowski in the field house in Chicago’s Pulaski Park (which sits in Rostenkowski’s district on Chicago’s northwest side). Rostenkowski acknowledges the camera crew’s presence while on stage and has the audience give a round of applause to Tom Weinberg. He then introduces Judge Robert J. Sulski, who is running for retention (re-election). Sulski reminds the audience that a judge running for retention needs to gain 60% of the vote to win. Rostenkowski reiterates what Sulski said. Rosty next introduces Nick Melas, the president of the Chicago Sanitary District, who is running for reelection. Continue reading

  • [Rostenkowski raw: New York Democratic convention #5]

    [Rostenkowski raw: New York Democratic convention #5]

    Raw footage from the 1981 documentary “Rostenkowski,” a portrait of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful figure in Chicago (and national) politics. On the floor of the convention center at the 1980 Democratic National Convention. Features footage of Rostenkowski working the phones on the speakers’ podium. Illinois delegates are also interviewed. They are asked what Rostenkowski’s role is at the convention. Few of the delegates seem to know. One suggests that Rostenkowski’s role is to find common ground among the various factions of the Democratic Party that are represented at the convention. Continue reading

  • [Rostenkowski raw: Rosty on TV at O’Hare]

    [Rostenkowski raw: Rosty on TV at O’Hare]

    Found footage for use in the 1981 documentary “Rostenkowski,” a portrait of the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful figure in Chicago (and national) politics. Assorted clips taped off TV news for reporting on Rostenkowski’s decision to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. There are many timecode breaks and blank segments between clips. There is also a lot of [unrelated to this documentary] footage of Mayor Jane Byrne’s husband Jay McMullen, who had recently decided to leave his job at the Chicago Sun-Times. Continue reading

  • [Rostenkowski raw #106]

    [Rostenkowski raw #106]

    Raw footage from the 1981 documentary “Rostenkowski,” a portrait of the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful figure in Chicago (and national) politics. In this tape, Joseph K. Dowley, chief counsel to the Way and Means Committee, is interviewed. He discusses what a “powerful and important position” the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is, and informs us that it has traditionally been a stepping-stone to the House Speakership. Continue reading

  • [Rostenkowski raw #204]

    [Rostenkowski raw #204]

    Raw footage from the 1981 documentary “Rostenkowski,” a portrait of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful figure in Chicago (and national) politics. At a rally for Rostenkowski in the field house in Chicago’s Pulaski Park (which sits in Rostenkowski’s district on Chicago’s northwest side). The tape opens with Nick Melas, President of the Chicago Sanitary District, giving a speech. Dan O’Brien, Illinois state legislator and Democratic Committeeman for Chicago’s 43rd Ward, speaks to the crowd after being introduced by Rostenkowski. After O’Brien, an unidentified speaker, who is not on camera (the camera seems to be pointed toward the ground) urges to the audience vote the straight Democratic ticket, reminding them that: “the party is more important than any of us.” The next speaker is Lester Foreman, candidate for Circuit Court Judge. Then Morgan Finley, candidate for Clerk of Cook County Circuit Court, is introduced by Rostenkowski. His walk down the isle is reminiscent of flamboyant boxing champ, complete with wailing sirens, handshaking, and confetti. At the end of the tape, an unidentified speaker, presumably the emcee, urges the precinct captains in attendance to take the rally signs home, and then display the signs on election day. Continue reading