Reviewing the Republican candidates for Illinois Governor (Part 3)

Conservatives have been hearing speeches, reading campaign materials, and seeing the positions candidates are taking on the issues for decades. Many of those politicians professing to be supporters of limited government and traditional values have gotten elected. So the question is begged – why is government at all levels such a mess?

I have addressed at some length the failure of both our Republican Party leadership and the failure of those Republicans we’ve elected. You don’t arrive where we’re at in Illinois – or in Washington, D.C. – if the GOP was being led by competent people.

It’s impossible to know for sure how many of those we’ve given the responsibility of party or public office were honestly in it for the right reason. It comes as a shock to no adult that often politicians and political players are corrupt, unmotivated, or in it for the wrong reasons.

Regardless of what is in their heart or mind, we can judge their win-loss record, and that record is abysmal. Local, state, and federal government spending is out of control. Taxpayer funded education K-through-college is bloated, inefficient and mostly ineffective. Radical and frankly childish left wing social causes are on the advance dumbing-down and polluting our laws, public institutions, and our culture.

As I mentioned in part one of this series, all of the candidates for governor on the Republican side are running to the right – only Bob Schillerstrom is a liberal on the social issues. The rest would like nothing more than to win Ronald Reagan’s endorsement – if that wasn’t impossible due to circumstances beyond their control.

At the end of the day, however, voters have to look beyond the pronouncements and weigh the character and potential competency of those whose names are on the ballot.

Jim Ryan

I first met Jim Ryan in 1993 and was actually offered a job on his campaign for Attorney General byDon Totten, his primary campaign manager at the time. (Don is retired now. I wrote about him in a column several years ago. He was one of the original Illinois Reagan supporters back in 1975.) I didn’t take the job.

Ryan won that race in 1994 and was reelected in 1998. He won the GOP nomination for governor in 2002, but ran a mostly lackluster campaign, having brought in a competent campaign team too late to salvage his bid.

Jim’s website and quotes to the press reveal that he’s running as a conservative, but his long tenure in Illinois politics has now caused him to carry a lot of baggage. No bigger example of that baggage is his friend and huge donor Stuart Levine. Google that name to learn more.

Ryan’s judgment missteps go beyond just corrupt political donors. The kinds of activities that have kept United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald busy for many years now were mostly ignored by Ryan during his tenure as A.G.

Ryan’s poor judgment also extends beyond his inability to see public corruption in his own party. While Ryan is pro-life, his confusion is apparent when it comes to the connection between theeconomic and social issues – especially human sexual disorientation.

While that malady is common in Illinois GOP politics, the party’s standard bearer should have better sense than what Jim Ryan has shown so far. His support for adding “sexual orientation” to the state’s non-discrimination statute shows a disqualifying lack of good sense.

Dan Proft

I first met Dan in late 2001 when he was working as an assistant to Pat O’Malley’s campaign manager during the governor primary that Jim Ryan won. I like Dan, and in my view he has the best line of the campaign to date. When asked what would be among the first things he’d do as governor, he said he’d change the name of the state to Indiana in order to fool businesses who are locating there instead of here.

Dan is smart – but young, and he isn’t ready to take on the job of chief executive officer of the fifth largest state. He has been successful in his public relations business, but that success is mostly tied to contracts with the town of Cicero and other Cicero area governmental bodies.

Someone once said that if you’re a smart young lawyer you shouldn’t go to work for Al Capone no matter how much he pays you. Cicero continues to be a target of federal investigators. The GOP has enough ethical problems as it is. While Dan is surely as pure as the wind driven snow, the press will be happy to highlight his name as that corruption-laden town makes the news in 2010.

Dan’s fire and fists can be assets to the GOP, but the problems in this state are much greater than a 37-year-old’s résumé can fix. It’s my guess Dan knows that political reform must precede policy reform, and he should devote his energies to helping on that front.

Over a year ago I joked with Dan that he should run for governor. When I saw Dan for the first time on the campaign trail back in August we laughed when I reminded him that I was just kidding. I’ve mused with friends that Dan isn’t actually running for governor, but to be a Fox News Analyst. That spot no doubt leads to better pay anyway, and he can always take another shot for public office down the road.

Up next: Adam Andrzejewski.