Another primary election arrives in two weeks, which means that Illinois Republicans will yet again commit seppuku.
As usual, some Republicans seem happiest carving up each other, instead of their Democratic opponents. Their intraparty wounds will be sufficiently deep that enough embittered Republicans will stay home in the November general election to hand the election to Democratic incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn.
With four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor, three have no chance of winning. Only ego can
explain why the trio is still hanging around, tossing dirt on the most likely winner, Bruce Rauner.
If the trio has to stay in it until the bitter end on March 18, well, fine, that’s their right. But, really, guys, do you actually think that you are doing the party and the principles that you stand for any good?
All four candidates—the other three being Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford, State Sen. Kirk Dillard and State Sen. Bill Brady—think a lot alike on major issues. They certainly have much more in common with each other than they have with Quinn and the Democrats who have made a hash of Illinois.
Unless, of course, the trio share responsibility for the hash. It seems that many Republican voters might think they do, as evidenced by a Chicago Tribune poll last month that showed that Rauner, running as an outsider, had 40 percent support, compared with Brady’s 20 percent, Rutherford’s 13 percent and Dillard’s 11 percent.
The trio holds it against Rauner for being the new guy, lacking enough “political experience” in Springfield to be an effective governor. It apparently hasn’t occurred to the trio that Rauner’s not being a part of the Springfield circus is exactly why he’s got such a big lead. There’s good reason for wanting a new, “inexperienced” guy because Republicans and Democrats have played footsies in Springfield when it served their common interests. Even when it isn’t in the public’s interests.
In one respect, it seems the three are almost as determined to keep Rauner out of the governor’s mansion as is organized labor. And just how determined labor is to knife Rauner is signaled by its smear ad campaign against him, even before he’s named the party’s nominee.
That the unions have such a hatred of Rauner should tell you something. What it tells me is that a good reason to vote for him.
Meanwhile, over in the GOP primary to pick someone to run against the entrenched Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin, it’s a paucity, rather than an abundance of candidates that’s the problem. It’s perennial candidate State Sen. Jim Oberweis, a multimillionaire, against first-timer Doug Truax, a Downers Grove businessman and West Point graduate.
Like Rauner, Truax’ hands are clean of the current Springfield mess, which brings him a load of positive points.
When Oberweis let it be known that he was running again for the U.S. Senate, the general Republican reaction was, “What, him again?” He has a habit of running and losing, twice for the U.S. Senate, twice for the House and once for governor, before finally winning his state senate seat in 2012. Then there are gaffes and controversies that have soiled his previous campaigns.
But my question isn’t so much about why he is running yet again. It’s what he does. A better question is why does he still have an Illinois driver’s license?
The man is a menace. The Tribune revealed last week that Oberweis has been ticketed for speeding 11 times since 1988, more than half of them since 2003. Two, issued in 2012, were for driving at least 60 miles an hour in a 40 mph zone. In 2012, he was cited for running a red light and for disobeying a stop sign—the latter amended to a violation involving his auto's "signal lamps and signal devices."
Oberweis’ habitual disregard of the law and of other drivers’ safety disqualifies him, in my view, from a public position of trust. If he beats, Truax, the Republican ticket will be led by a lawbreaker. Why that doesn’t bother the other Republicans on the ticket seeking other offices is a puzzle to me. Isn't the GOP supposed to be the party that respects the law?
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