If politics was only a matter of ideology it’d be so much easier to figure out who is the best candidate to support. Voters could follow along a check list of a person’s positions on the issues and make a judgment about who best represents their values.
Unfortunately, as this column continually notes, a lot of men and women who hold office as conservatives are – for the most part – useless to the cause of advancing solutions based on the Republican Party’s Platform principles. There is no reason to elect any more of them – and nothing good is accomplished by giving any one of them a political promotion.
No better example of this exists than former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a man who was conservative when it came to the check lists but nearly a complete failure as a political leader. President George W. Bush campaigned as a fiscal conservative and won two terms – and we know what happened to government spending during his tenure.
There are countless other examples – especially here at the state level. Our last Republican governor, George Ryan, ran to the right when he campaigned in 1998. Immediately after he took office someone famously said in the spring of 1999 that Ryan proceeded to govern as if aliens had come and occupied his body. Ryan’s “Illinois First” spending plan and his first state budget live in infamy.
Two of the candidates for governor – Andy McKenna and Bill Brady – have been the topic of many articles found in our archives. Both men campaign today as conservatives, but both men are a big reason why conservative principles have hardly seen the light of day in Illinois.
McKenna will go down in history as the worst state party chairman in history – which is quite a feat since Judy Baar Topinka preceded him in that important post. McKenna’s four and a half year reign was a time of lost elections and further IL GOP collapse in Illinois.
The list of his mistakes, foolish decisions, and outright lies is too long to list here. Andy came onto the scene as the corrupt old guard’s candidate to oust U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, and never redeemed himself despite many opportunities. McKenna’s campaigning now as an “outsider” isn’t audacious, it’s humorous.
Bill Brady has been a state legislator since 1993. After serving in the house, he was appointed to fill a vacant seat in the senate in 2002. Sixteen years in the General Assembly is a very long time. When Brady took office, state government was in relatively good shape as compared to today.
No individual member of the General Assembly can be blamed for the steady descent of our state’s fiscal situation (or any of the other state governmental boondoggles). But they can individually be blamed for their silence and their failure to attempt to rally any reform movement.
Bill Brady stands with a select group of Republican “leaders” who have actually stood in the way of GOP success. His presence in the 2006 primary was encouraged by old guard Republicans as a way to split the conservative vote so Topinka could win the nomination.
At no point did Brady ever have a chance to win that campaign. He didn’t have the financial resources, name i.d., and we’re still waiting to see the poll he claimed to have showing he could win. If Bill would’ve exited that race he would have won the respect of many and have been the clear favorite in 2010. Instead, he chose to play the role – and win the moniker – of The Spoiler.
This past spring, Brady again showed extremely poor judgment by being one of the few active voices opposing SB600 on the floor of the state senate. SB600 – as you can read here – is clearly the most important piece of reform legislation in recent years.
Andy McKenna and Bill Brady can only win the primary for Illinois governor if enough Republicans remain uninformed about their true record. Neither Andy nor Bill has the temperament, judgment, or record of accomplishment that would lead to the support of GOP voters who want to see their values and principles advanced.
Both men are attempting to fool conservatives once again that they have what it takes. Ample evidence is available that neither should be trusted with the nomination or the governor’s office.
To read much more about both men, enter their last names (separately) into the search box above.
Up next: Jim Ryan and Dan Proft.