Go with the runner up
Posted by aogWednesday, 04 August 2004 at 23:02 TrackBack Ping URL

My co-worked BBB provided the best comment I’ve seen on who should replace Jack Ryan as the Republican candidate for the US Senate in Illinois - Oberweis. After all, Oberweis finished second in the Republican primary, so it seems only reasonble to go with the runner up if the winner isn’t available. Apparently Oberweis was willing to run, as he was one of the candidate considered. Personally, given that he was the runnerup in the primary with at least a reasonable (>20%) amount of the vote in a crowded field, he should get the right of first refusal. But the Illinois GOP is the Stupid State Party of the Stupid Party and that seems to be out. Instead they’re considering Alan Keyes and “former White House deputy drug czar Andrea Grubb Barthwell “.

I don’t want to say too much about Keyes, even though I’ve got an 8×10 glossy of him right here in my desk. I don’t think I’d vote for him, although personally I like him. As far as I can tell, he’s Orrin Judd in black — a very smart theocon who’s completely unafraid of giving voice to his beliefs. He’d at least be entertaining to watch in a debate, but while it’s tempting to pull a Toricelli the non-residency issue is not a trivial one.

On the other hand, I’ve never heard of Barthwell and I live in the state. But she doesn’t sound like a winner

Some party insiders were surprised at the selection of Barthwell as a potential replacement for Ryan, who stepped down amid allegations he once took his wife to sex clubs. Barthwell has been the subject of a series of embarrassing revelations.

Republicans learned she contributed to Democrats and voted in Democratic primaries until 2001 when President Bush called her to ask her to serve as a deputy director at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

And an internal probe found she “engaged in lewd and abusive behavior” by joking about an underling’s sexual orientation.

“Are you f——— kidding me?” one GOP strategist close to the negotiations asked when told that Barthwell was in the top two.

No, Mr. Strategist, probably not. The Illinois Republican Party is the one, remember, that ran a gubernatorial candiate to the left of the Democratic Party candidate (one of the few times I voted Democratic). A candidate that was endorsed by this same party leadership. A candidate that is now wondering if he’ll be able to get asylum in Cuba from his buddy Castro instead of doing time in the federal penitentiary.

But the Illinois Republicans aren’t through being funny.

Barthwell has told the Sun-Times she supports abortion rights and opposes Bush’s proposed amendment banning gay marriage.

Keyes is a staunch opponent of abortion and gay rights.

But [State GOP Chairman Judy Barr] Topinka insisted “they are not necessarily on the opposite ends of the political spectrum.”

Oh, clearly not! I wonder if they do have anything in common…

State Sen. Dave Syverson […] insisted the committee did not choose the two because both are African Americans, like Obama.

Now, I can believe that about Barthwell, who sounds like the kind of Republican the Illinois Party likes to nominate, but Keyes? The State GOP quakes in its socks at anyone who’s publically conservative, much less someone as outspoke and uncompromising as Keyes.

All of this certainly makes me appreciate the “let Obama run unopposed” camp’s point of view.

P.S. Comments by Pejman and Spoons.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Spoons Thursday, 05 August 2004 at 17:37

That’s interesting. I can believe that the state GOP chose Keyes without regard to his race, because he’s got a national reputation and would be good for reengergizing the state party. On the other hand, I believe that they almost certainly chose Barthwell for her race, because no one’s ever heard of her, and she has little else to recommend her.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 05 August 2004 at 19:51

While we may think Keyes would re-energize the base, I can’t believe that the Illinoi GOP believes that. I remember other primaries for governor and senate where the GOP establishment fled in horror from openly conservative candidates. As for Barthwell’s little problems, former Governor George Ryan’s little problems were well known before he ran for governor on top of his liberal politics and the establishment backed him anyway.

pj Friday, 06 August 2004 at 12:30

When you have no chance of winning, might as well sow the seeds for the future. Barry Goldwater may have lost big, but he made a positive contribution. Oberweis might give the best chance of winning, but how big is that chance? As for liberal Republicans, they’re political suicide. The Dems have too many self-interested constituencies to swing many Dem votes by ideology, and the conservative half of the electorate is turned off.

It does sound, though, that the Illinois Rep. party fears being labeled racially backward if they run a white candidate against a black. That suggests that they are racially backward.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 06 August 2004 at 22:53

The Illinois GOP is backwards in so many ways it’s hard to keep track.

I understand building for the future, but I’m not sure carpetbagging is a good start.

I’m also stunned the the Illinois GOP selected him. This is a state party that, as far as I can tell, doesn’t actually believe in any of the national party planks. Fitzgerald had to fight against the party establishment in his primary because he was too conservative. And now they’re backing Keyes? Unbelievable.

pj Monday, 09 August 2004 at 09:09

Some blogger recently charged that the Democrats selected two of the members of the Illinois Republican Central Committee, and that a majority of the committee was corrupt and in league with established Illinois powers. It could be that Fitzgerald was conservative but electable, while Keyes is unelectable, so his conservatism is non-threatening.

End of Discussion