December 1, 2013 By: Mark Glennon


Professional wrestling was never this entertaining: a credentialed Illinois Democrat in a nasty smackdown with a leading union guy.


In one corner, David Ormsby: longtime political strategist and writer. Not exactly my kind of guy because most of his earlier career was working for the Cook County pols like Madigan and Daley who bankrupted Illinois and Chicago.


In the other corner, Fred Klonsky: union activist with a leading blog in the state for public employees. He’s basically a living caricature of an ugly stereotype of a union guy. A near-Communist, he’s adored by Chicago Teachers Union head Karen Lewis. Under the byline “just watching the data,” he spreads endless distortions, swallowed whole by pensioners the way FOX News fans swallow it.


Well, Ormsby said a few things supporting pension reform, and one dime’s worth of that will earn you Klonsky’s wrath. Klonsky responded with some ad hominem stuff, which I won’t dignify by repeating because I assume it’s nonsense. Ormsby responds:

Setting aside the phony piousness about the rule of law, it’s about preserving union COLAs in retiree paychecks. That’s what unions do. I get it. But gussying up the union fight as something more noble than what it is – a grubby little fight over money for its members – by whacking opposing lawmakers who don’t take $10,000 IEA, IFT, AFSCME checks as “craven sycophants” of Madigan is unworthy of you, Fred.

Klonsky especially didn’t like that part about the pension fight being “a grubby little fight over money for its members,” and comes back:

The Democrats don’t waste their money on you. I was wrong. You are worthy.

Ormsby answers:

Being a self-righteous crank does not give license to fabricate crap.

You gotta admit — Ormsby knows how to turn a phrase. No wonder his guys have won so many elections around here. But with this kind of thing erupting between Cook County Dems and public sector labor types who traditionally bought them, maybe change is in the air. And maybe Ormsby forgot George Bernard Shaw’s wisdom about why you shouldn’t wrestle with a pig: “You’ll both get dirty and the pig will enjoy it.”