THE BLOG
06/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Oh, My Todd [Stroger]: 'An Exercise in Fertility'

On Wednesday's "Don Wade & Roma Morning Show" Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said he may or may not veto Tuesday's vote to repeal a 1 percent Cook County sales tax increase imposed last year. He is said to have the votes to do it.

"Why do an exercise in fertility?" he asked Don and Roma. "If they don't really care about what happens? If they don't think they need the money, then say nothing and we'll just let it happen. But somebody's gotta do something."

The transcript is cleaned up on the Progress Illinois Web site but the audio of the interview with Don Wade and Roma is also posted and Stroger clearly says "exercise in fertility."

The malapropism from Stroger -- whose apparent functional illiteracy is so striking that he makes Mayor Daley sound like Winston Churchill, and George W. Bush sound like Adlai Stevenson -- rang a bell when I heard it.

Driving and listening to the news on the radio last winter, I caught part of Todd Stroger reading a statement about improved services at the Cook County Hospital, now the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, named to honor Todd's late father and predecessor as County Board president (and the only reason why Todd Stroger would ever be the head of anything).

Todd was touting the services at the Stroger Hospital and was about to get to the new and improved facilities for obstetrics, but as he got to the word "obstetrics" or "obstetrical," on his script he tried several times to say it, failed, and, finally, just gave up. On the radio, he sounded like a kid in third grade who hadn't quite mastered phonics.

If Todd Stroger loses the next election, let's just hope that President Obama doesn't summon him to Washington as Surgeon General. (I make that joke because I still can't get it out of my head that the President, then the junior senator from Illinois, while not actually endorsing John Stroger over Forrest Claypool in the primary for county board president, sent a message to vote for John by withholding an endorsement for the reformer Claypool. After it became clear that John was incapacitated by a serious stroke, Todd was slipped in to replace his father in the general election in November 2006. Obama, along with his senate colleague Dick Durbin, then enthusiastically endorsed Todd.)