Illinois Republicans have spent the last 5 1/2 weeks digging the Elephant's grave. The State machine is being crushed into a coffin-sized chunk of scrap metal. Ever since the party regulars dropped primary winner Jack Ryan to the media shark tank, there have been no oars in the state primary boat. With Jack off the ballot (he took five weeks to get his resignation on file), it should have been an old school, smoky backroom powerbroker canonization of the replacement. But the Republicans are so fraught with their own self-protection, minority whipped paranoia, they could not even cut a quick deal with a party regular.
The state GOP Central Committee met in Chicago like the old bureaucrats from the Kremlin. Seventeen people showed up to state their case for why they want to take the thankless job of running a no-win candidacy against the anointed prince of Illinois politics, Democrat Senate candidate B. Obama. Instead of announcing a candidate, the committee slunk to the podium to announce that it had whittled its selections down to 2 prospects: a former Bush undersecretary drug czaress, A. Barthwell, who may be the Republican version of Carol Moseley Braun. Barthwell left D.C. under the cloud of political incorrectness against an employee. The other candidate is a conservative radio talk show host who lives in Maryland who has never resided in the Land of Lincoln.
Apparently, the main criteria is that the candidate has to be an African American. A few committeemen were upset at the direction of the replacement vote. Most had supported one of the defeated primary candidates who were basically pushed aside for "new blood." Judy BarTheDoor Topinka, a graduate of the Loren Maltese school of press conferencing, was gruff, huffy and snitty when reporters began asking the basic question Why?
The dairy man, Jim Oberweis, wanted no part in being a sacrificial lamb. His only comment on the choices: "It will save me a lot of money." The state party has no real cash to make a real run at the Dems this year. Bush has forsaken Illinois. The party was looking for a name person who could WOW the media and downstaters. Orien Samuelson, the WGN farm reporter, was contacted by the US House Speaker and urged to run. He would have great name recognition, and possibly carry the downstate vote. But he has no personal wealth to run on or borrow against. Speaker Haskert promised if he would run, the money would be there. But who would trust any politician who is just looking for a warm body?
Alan Keyes, the Maryland talker, has run for president--- and lost. He has run for Senate in Maryland --- and lost. But to take a Hillary Clinton playbook pass and run for senate in a state in which you have no contacts, will not play well in the Midwest. He even said that when Hillary did the carpetbagging move! New Yorkers have some historical appreciation for carpetbaggers.
But Illinois is different. The state GOP trying to find a candidate outside its own borders shows that the state organization has fractured badly into sub-tribes of sniping power mongrels. Some are upset that the House Republicans sided with Madigan and got a budget deal. Some are jockeying for the run at governor. Some are trying to walk away and hide from the parade of manure to be showered upon the route of George Ryan trial next year.
The party's best hope is to submit the following name for the ballot: NONE OF THE ABOVE.
Opinion, Commentary, Editorial Cartoons by Ski.
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