There's a Right Way to Get Rid of a Rogue Republican Chairman
Jim Oberweis' heart may be in the right place, but we've still got to work on his head.
One of my very favorites things in life is when, soon after writing a series of columns on a sensitive subject, a reader or reality comes around to prove my point. This time, my point is proven by Geneva’s brand new 25th District state Sen. Jim Oberweis.
The topic we’ve been occupied with is how the wackiest elements of the Republican Party insist upon dooming its prospects by wielding social issues as the kind of cudgel that makes most of us cringe.
Of course, Mr. Oberweis made me look good when he called on preposterous Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady to resign. Considering Mr. Brady’s questionable judgment and abysmal track record, I’m right behind the senator, but the problem is he issued the proclamation based on Brady’s sudden support for same-sex marriage.
Jim! Why would you willingly choose to enter that quagmire when there were already so many good reasons to get rid of this guy?
Why, you could send him packing because he lacks the capacity to understand a party chairman can’t play favorites. Signing on as Kevin Burns’ county chair campaign manager was a breach of etiquette much like bringing ribs to a Bar Mitzvah.
You could remove him because, when he did play favorites, his candidate lost by an astonishing 40 points. Personally, I’d consider hiring Mr. Brady to run my opponent’s campaign.
You could dispense with him because, in an insolvent state where the fiscal cliff is a fond memory and pension reform consists of a cartoon reptile, Republicans still can’t win an election to save their narrow, stilted and fearful lives.
And don’t tell me it’s the Chicago Democrats, either, because we’ve had plenty of GOP governors — Ryan, Edgar, Thompson, and Ogilvie just to name a few.
You could fire him because anyone responsible for creating a party platform consensus who then has the nerve to say he was speaking as a private citizen when he undermined that platform, obviously has no clue what it means to be a party chairman.
But the one thing you don’t do is call on him to resign for, like the proverbial broken clock, finally getting something right. We all know the party of less government should get their prurient and prying eyes out of our bedrooms and stop hanging their hats on silly social issues that cost them elections.
I do believe Jim’s heart was in the right place when he told the Daily Herald, “All of my time is now being spent responding to emails on social issues. I don't think those are the most pressing issues we should be dealing with,” but then he made it that much worse by citing the same silly social issue.
What Illinois voters really hear is: Here’s another intolerant Republican wingnut who’s trying to oust a progressive party leader because the GOP is nothing more than a bastion for angry old white men.
The voters don’t follow folks like Pat Brady, but statements on same-sex marriage certainly do get their attention! So if you’re going to discard an inept party chairman — and you should — then you’ve got to do it for the right reasons.
Since Illinois Republicans don’t seem to get it, let me put this into a perspective that should scare the heck out of ‘em.
Six of Geneva’s 21 precincts, nine of St. Charles' 34, and 10 of Batavia’s 21 went for Barack Obama. Not only that, but the president managed to prevail in, of all places, Kane and DuPage counties. If you’d proposed those possibilities just four short years ago, I’d have asked your significant other to lock up the liquor cabinet.
Among the population under age 5 in Kane County, white folks are now the minority! Forty-six percent are Hispanic, 40 percent are Caucasian, 7.5 percent are African-American and 3.5 percent of them are Asian.
Democrat Sue Klinkhamer, an eminently incompetent politician who changes parties more often than Donald Trump changes skin tones, managed to pull 40 percent of the county chair vote from perennial winner Chris Lauzen without even bothering to campaign.
If Kane County Republicans aren’t shaking in their shoes, then they better get started.
The problem is we desperately need some reasonable Republican voices to descend upon Springfield to save us from our Madigan-esque self-inflicted wounds, but that ain’t about to happen until the Illinois GOP stops turning to the Tea Party and stops obsessing about social issues.
So, Jim! While I wholeheartedly agree with your ousting-Mr.-Brady intiative, I’d feel a lot better if you did it for the right reasons.