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Saturday, April 13

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Whenever a new technology hits, you can count on political campaigns to try to seek a way to use it to their advantage; sometimes it works (Internet) sometimes it doesn't (performance art). One thing is certain: there is going to be some nerdy type on the campaign is going to insist that if they just use X technology, they will have the edge. This filters down from the big, nationally watched campaigns (think Virginia U.S. Senate race) to the tiny ones (50th Ward of Chicago).

For your perusal and enjoyment, some of the best (and worst) campaign material on the You Tubes is below. Mmm.

First off is the highly offensive, ridiculous "James Cappelman for Alderman — I Think He's Gay." Not official campaign material, but worth the watch. Don't watch this at work, please.

Wow. Remember how crazy the 46th Warders got? Want a visual affirmation of the looniness? Enjoy. By the way, this has to win, hands down, for Trippiest Politically Themed Video in history. It was also a finalist for "Most Likely To Be Enjoyed By Members of Strawberry Alarm Clocks." Yikes. Make sure you click on "More" under the video description. Who the hell sings that song?

When Tip O'Neill said "all politics is local," he should have said, "Unless you're talking about Chicago, in which all politics is beyond local into some sort hyper-micro-politics that justifies producing an overly dramatic video about a liquor store." Coming from me, that's a compliment.

Tim Egan, candidate for the 43rd Ward, kind of hilariously wants it both ways. For a video with the theme, "Politics is serious," this video is ridiculous. Extra points for the guy who calls him the "Eganator," in a strangely anachronistic Bronson Pinchot-style impression of a "Hollywood guy."

Ladies and Gentlemen: Alfredo Castillo. Fifteenth Ward.

This Scott Waguespack character is just gosh-durned likeable. How can you not like somebody who ends a good government reform proposal with this sentence: "Who knows, maybe we'll stop some of that government waste."

Michele Smith, yet another 43rd Ward candidate, should get some dap for her volunteering of the high school video in this video.

By the way, if you're ever alderman of the 49th Ward, for God's sake, pay attention to what the liquor stores are doing.

Naisy Dolar. Good video, but is somebody shaking out a sugar packet right next to the microphone?

And the single best video of this cycle so far: this guy drives around the 3rd Ward. With a camera.

Probably the most effective negative ad in political history.

GB store


the pet / January 31, 2007 8:28 AM

The "Trippiest Politically Themed Video" - the band would be My Chemical Romance.

I"m going to have to watch that one again when I'm more awake. I don't do trippy before coffee.

JP Paulus / January 31, 2007 2:26 PM

Get ready of an onslaught of comments by IrishPirate & WhatTheHelen.

My question is for those who honestly are deciding betwen James Cappleman & Helen Shiller (who i believe are the swing vote that determines the winner) -- do these videos have any effect on you, and if so, do they push you toward or away from James Cappleman? Even though it's not from his campaign, he has the power to denounce them (like Peter Roksam & Tammy Duckworth could have done with the commercials produced by their respective parties' National Congressional Committees.

Tom Mannis / January 31, 2007 4:09 PM

Wow, this is a brilliant posting; I enjoyed it very much. I'm linking to it on my blog. Here in the 49th, things are interesting in large part because we have an incumbent who is known internationally for his various, uhm, antics. Thanks for this great piece. Keep it up.

KL / January 31, 2007 5:04 PM

50th Ward Aldermanic candidate Naisy Dolar has another YouTube video.

The incumbent has plastered so many of his signs in empty lots and storefronts in the ward - what does exactly say about his time in office? Hmmm...

Naisy will change that!!!

irishpirate / January 31, 2007 5:37 PM


where do you live JP? OH, I remember.......Rogers Park.

Nuff said on that.

As for the story on the videos I think the second one is great and I find the first one amusing. Lighten is not meant to be serious.

For serious hard hitting stuff with no offensive material at all(BIG LIE) check out


Levois / January 31, 2007 6:34 PM

These are some great videos. I hope this is a trend. It looks like we don't have to wait for some of this stuff to be on cable access. All we got to do is look at YouTube.

Jocelyn / January 31, 2007 7:15 PM

Wow, and I thought we in the 49th Ward had it bad. That Shiller one is a killer.

malik50ward / January 31, 2007 8:22 PM

I really like Naisy, I'm glad she is running. She is the only candidate that seems to understand what we, the residents of the 50th ward, really need. Good luck to her.

WhatTheHelen / January 31, 2007 10:21 PM

We would never want to disappoint JP Paulus, resident of the 49th ward, who wishes he could live in the 46th, but his wife won't let him.

Hi JP.

For those interested, there are probably two or three dozen 46th ward videos on WhatTheHelen?!, all categorized by the respective "authors":

DStratis Videos

The Irish Pirate's Videos and

The46thWard's Videos

Some videos are completely nuts, we freely and joyously confess. Others are VERY serious, and focus on VERY real issues, which fits in with the WhatTheHelen?! theme: part circus, part serious. A little bit of something for everyone.


Life is too short to sit on your ass and let the world run you over.

Vote and have a voice.

WhatTheHelen / February 1, 2007 10:55 AM

Forgot one video, which was created by someone other than a 46th ward resident.

It's one of our absolute favorites, and is a hoot!:

Save The Puppets!

vit / February 1, 2007 3:32 PM

That Shiller one is brutal

Ken Smith / February 24, 2007 2:34 PM

As the creator of the 3rd Ward video, I'm flattered you think it's the best of the lot.

In the 50 years we've lived in our home, it's been in the 14th, 11th and, since 1992, the 3rd ward. Dorothy Tillman is, by far, the worst alderman we've ever had to deal with.

The best laugh I've had all week is the glossy brochure I got in the mail from her office listing all her "accomplishments". Most still on the drawing boards or outside of Bronzeville, by the way. Meanwhile, the 3rd Ward has 5,000 vacant lots, half the number in the entire city. And no grocery store!


About the Author(s)

Richard F. Carnahan is a true South Side Sox fan who's played a bit part in Chicago politics more than once over the years. Contact him at

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