The letter Andy McKenna should’ve had published in today’s Chicago Tribune

As a service to our fellow rank and file Illinois Republicans, we’re helping out our state party chairman with a better version of the letter to the editor he penned that appears here.

Time for change in Illinois

Illinois Republicans have endured failed leadership at the very top of their party and their state government for many years. The responsibility and power that was entrusted to us continues to be squandered.

Last summer, a handful of us went around the state and held meetings we called a “reform tour.” It was a silly embarrassment.

One of our favorite anecdotes following one of them – the one held in DuPage County – was that after state representative and long time Republican Party activist Paul Froehlich attended the meeting, he was so impressed with our plan that he decided to join the Democratic Party.

One idea we claimed to have heard about from attendees was the voters’ desire for a recall Amendment. The theory supporting this notion is that all of the problems in the state are due to Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Actually, if we were to admit it, most of the people who make up the Illinois Republican Party’s leadership believe that Illinois would be a better place had Judy Baar Topinka been elected in 2006. That way we would already have our enormous income tax increase and our enormous expansion of gambling.

Not only would the state contracts and bond deals be rewarding all of our friends and campaign contributors, but those pesky gaming lobbyists would finally be leaving those poor Republican state legislators alone.

Of course Rod Blagojevich isn’t the problem, and Judy Baar Topinka isn’t the answer to anything except the question, “how do we finally destroy the Republican Party in Illinois once and for all?”

Recalling Blagojevich will insure the rise of an even stronger Democrat, and the odds are the next Dem to live in the mansion in Springfield will have learned from Rod’s mistakes and will find better ways to insure Democratic Party dominance in this state for years to come.

As the Antoin “Tony” Rezko trial revealed more allegations of deep corruption in Illinois, we were constantly embarrassed by the fact that Bob Kjellander, Bill Cellini, and Stu Levine are all Republicans. We especially hated that the Rezko trial would’ve been much more damaging to the Democrat’s probable presidential nominee Barack Obama had not high profile Republicans in Illinois been equally involved in the scandal.

The ineptitude demonstrated by the leadership of the Illinois Republican Party is exactly what rank and file Republican voters can work to address at the upcoming state party convention in June.

I admit that the attitude of our party leadership has and continues to be one of arrogance and entitlement. We continue to ignore the wishes of the people and work to protect a culture of corruption.

Six years ago, Illinois voters threw Republicans out of office in response to our failed leadership, arrogance and inability to listen to the wishes of the people. Republicans were rightfully held accountable.

As party leaders we still still aren’t listening. It’s not all about a recall amendment. It’s about corruption and a lack of vision on the part of the leadership.

Republicans believe it is time for more openness and transparency in the party so the real work can begin to bring tax and spending reform and greater transparency to state government.

We believe it is time for change in Illinois. Accordingly, I hereby resign as Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.

Andy McKenna
Former Chairman
Illinois Republican Party

I hereby give Andy permission to use the text I’ve drafted for him. And because honesty and repentance should be rewarded, I wish him well in his future endeavors.