Skip to comments.Conservatives on the verge of controlling Illinois GOP
Posted on 07/28/2002 11:25:53 AM PDT by BillyBoy
First a little background info. For those of you who don't know, the Illinois GOP has basically been controlled by a moderate "country club" establishment for at least 30 years. Back in the 70s, the party "leadership" lined behind Gerald Ford for President over Illinois' native son, Ronald Reagan. In the 80s, they nominated and won with a "Republican" Senator who was so liberal than the state's moderate Democrat Senator, Alan Dixon, actually ranked slightly MORE consevative than him in the ACU ratings. But there's been a power struggle for control of the state GOP for most of 2002. Observe excerts in this piece from the Illinois Leader just 10 days ago:
The liberal wing of the Illinois Republican Party likes to blame the conservative wing when things dont go right. If a liberal Republican loses, its the fault of conservatives who stayed home or didnt get involved. If a conservative loses, its the fault of conservatives who put up a candidate too extreme on the issues.
The meltdown of the Illinois GOP is squarely on the back of the non-ideologues and it is they who have shown no interest in party unity. It began with George Ryans praise for Fidel Castro and Paul Vallas and harsh words for all three Republican gubernatorial candidates in the primary. It proceeded with Lee Daniels ascension to Chairman of the State Republican Party. It continues with the recent actions of Congressman Mark Kirk...and former Governor Jim Thompson.
Rep. Kirk blocked OConnell [from appointment] for her failure to support him in the 10th Congressional race in 2000.
Add to this, former Governor Jim Thompsons attendance, this past Wednesday night, at a fundraiser hosted by the law firm of Winston & Strawn for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rod Blagojevich. Thompson is the Chairman of the Board of Winston & Strawn. Isnt that cozy? This comes amid reports that Jim Ryan is badly trailing Blagojevich in fundraising (not to mention in the polls). With GOP friends like Thompson, Jim Ryan need hardly worry about the Democrats.
The actions of the current leaders of the Illinois Republican Party are all the more curious given the GOPs general state of disgrace thanks to George Ryan, et al. Its a different face on the same old way of doing business and conservatives continue to be treated as a nuisance to the powers-that-be. When that changes, the GOP can begin a true rebuilding.
-- from http://www.illinoisleader.com/opinion/opinionview.asp?c=1366
That was then. Since the April 2002 Primary, the forces within the party have remained fractured and engaged in a three-way ideological bloodbath (between the unabashedly liberal RINO wing, the "finger to the wind" moderate wing, and the principled conservative wing). They were still fighting to a standstill.
Two days ago, conservatives finally got the upperhand.
The Chairmanship of the Illinois Republican Party has been up for grabs for almost a month. Lee Daniels, the moderate minority leader of the Illinois House (he lost four out of five elections under a REPUBLICAN drawn map) had been appointed chairman in 2001 thanks to lots of seniority and people owning him favors-- big time. Daniels served 7 monthes. He ended under a "cloud of investigation" for state employees as election workers on state time. The party nominee for Governor, Jim Ryan, knew he must get Daniels to resign.
The expected guy to fill the vacany was former Governor Jim Edgar, a "fiscally consevative, socially liberal" very popular leader. He wanted to take the job but had other committments. Then the party leaders asked the CEO of Quakers Oats to take the job. He didn't want to quit his day job. Then they asked Congressman Ray LaHood, the moderate-conservative rep. from Peoria who presided over the Clinton impeachment. He said no. The GOP had to settle on an intermin chairman, Dallas Ingermon. They would reconvine in three weeks to pick a new chairman. The front runner in the next two weeks appeared to be buisnessman Greg Baise, a solidly "pro-choice" Republican who had backed RINO Corinne Wood for Governor in the primary. Conservatives would not stomach Baise. Finally, Senator Fitzgerald did some arm twisting and insisted on a hard core conservative. Under pressure and desperation, the Illinois GOP leaders relented-- and our new chairman-- Gary MacDougal-- turns out to be the very person the grassroots conservative activists had urged to run for office and defeat the moderate establishment a year. From the Chicago Sun-Times, July 26th:
The new chairman of the Illinois Republican Party warned Friday of a "nuclear winter" for businesses if Democrats sweep the Legislature and win the governor's race in November. Gary MacDougal, a conservative businessman who helped rewrite the state's welfare laws, accepted the party chairmanship after several marquee Republicans turned down the post. The party's state central committee unanimously approved his appointment Friday. "Facing this job is a daunting thing," MacDougal said. "I've climbed the Matterhorn. I've climbed the Grand Teton. Those seem like molehills compared to some of the challenges we have up ahead." MacDougal conceded that Democrats, who drew the state's new legislative map, appear poised to win control of the House and Senate this year. If they do and Democratic U.S. Rep. Rod Blagojevich beats GOP Attorney General Jim Ryan in the governor's race, it would spell disaster for businesses, he said.
"I believe that Jim Ryan's opponent is owned and operated by the union bureaucrats ... and the trial lawyers," MacDougal said.... Weinberg [said] MacDougal's conservative views are out of touch with mainstream voters. "We have to have a little sympathy for Gary MacDougal," Weinberg said. "Certainly being appointed chairman of the Illinois Republican Party in July of 2002 is like being named captain of the Titanic after it already was taking on water." Republicans have struggled to distance their ticket from political scandals involving top party officials. House Republican Leader Lee Daniels stepped down as party chairman earlier this month amid allegations members of his House staff campaigned on state time during the 2000 elections. Daniels has said he was unaware of any wrongdoing. Federal prosecutors also are continuing their investigation into the trading of drivers licenses for bribes when Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, oversaw driver's license bureaus as secretary of state. MacDougal said he shares Jim Ryan's position that the [[RINO] governor should either resign or fully explain his role in the license scheme. But MacDougal also declared his party is not alone in scandal. Federal prosecutors have been asked to look into allegations the staff of Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan the state party chairman campaigned on state time and received improper bonuses. "I believe that the sleaze is bipartisan sleaze" MacDougal said. He called on Blagojevich to demand that Madigan resign as party chairman. "There were dark clouds around the chairman of the Republican Party, and Jim Ryan stepped up and took action and changes were made," MacDougal said. "As we speak, there are very comparable clouds around the chairman of the Democratic Party." Weinberg said Blagojevich is not considering asking Madigan to step down. "There are tremendous distinctions between what Lee Daniels is alleged to have done and the stories about Speaker Madigan," Weinberg said. "You cannot equate the two cases." Cook County Republican chairwoman Maureen Murphy of Evergreen Park, who sits on the committee that approved MacDougal, described the Democratic ballot as an "All My Children" ticket. Blagojevich, attorney general candidate Lisa Madigan, Comptroller Dan Hynes and treasurer candidate Tom Dart all have parents or close family members involved in Chicago politics.
"The pitch that these are 'fresh faces' is (erroneous)," Murphy said. Jim Ryan said MacDougal is committed to expanding the base of the party. "I would describe Gary as a fiscal conservative with a very strong social conscience," he said
Naturally, a mere change in the head of the state party from a wimpy moderate to a fiery conservative doesn't mean a conservative "take over" of the party, but due to the "meltdown" of many of the establishment leaders, reformist conservatives have slowly begun taking over many of the key positions within the party in the past few monthes. Observe:
Gary MacDougal is a wealthy businessman with an impressive resume. MacDougal has been a partner at the international consulting firm McKinsey and Company and was former chief executive officer of Mark Controls Corporation. He is on the board of directors of United Parcel Service.
MacDougal served on non-profit groups such as Russell Sage Foundation, and now with Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund.
After receiving his bachelors degree in engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1958, MacDougal spent three years as a U.S. Navy officer. He then received a MBA degree at Harvard Business School.
MacDougal has been married to Charlene Gehm for ten years. Gehm is a former leading ballerina who danced for 13 years with the Joffrey Ballet.
After selling his business in 1988, MacDougal worked on George Bush, Sr.s Presidential bid. MacDougal wanted President Bush to appoint him Secretary of Health and Human Services, but was told by campaign aide George W. Bush that MacDougal had a pigmentation problem meaning they needed a more diverse cabinet. Then McDougal bowed out when Lynn Martin decided she would challenge Carol Moseley-Braun in 1992. Moseley Braun became U.S. Senator that year.
When Jim Edgar became Governor, MacDougal challenged the Governor to revamp the human services infrastructure in his state. In 1993, MacDougal was appointed chairman of the Governors Task Force on Human Services Reform. He held that position for four years.
After his experience, MacDougal authored the book, Make a Difference: How One Man Helped Solve Americas Poverty Problem.
MacDougal was instrumental in the reconstruction of the welfare system in Illinois. He pushed Illinois politicians to adopt a one-stop shopping consolidation of state human-services programs, so that clients would have easier access to the various government services available.
The February 2, 2001 Capital Research.org publication stated, This approach [of one-stop shopping] has been credited with helping Illinois reduce welfare rolls by nearly 60 percent in the past four years, exceeding federal requirements under the new welfare-to-work policy.
MacDougal addressed conservatives last year at the 2001 Conservative Conference. While addressing the conference attendees, MacDougal proposed a contract similar to the Gingrich Contract with America, voiced his support of George W. Bushs faith-based initiatives and spoke against extending special rights to special groups.
The MacDougal name is receiving positive response from conservatives. Jack Roeser and Joe Wiegand wrote in the Family Taxpayer Networks March 2001 newsletter, The Champion, these words of acclamation, Without his knowledge or involvement, we picked Gary MacDougal as an example of the kind of leader we think we need [in Illinois].
Joe Wiegand told the Illinois Leader, "We believe that Gary McDougal would be a tremendous choice for the Illinois Republican State Committee Chair."
Fitzgerald is a Rino in the mould of the NE pubies.
The current crop of pubbies in Illinois remind me of the Whigs in the 1850's.
With the BJ set to womp ryans butt, citizens of illinois better hunker down get ready to shell out 500 for and foid and have their tax rate go up to what maine's is, without the benifit of Maine's winters and summers.
If Farm groups, Business, gun groups and Right to Life all unite, it's usually a win. Name recognition is the problem though.
Oh, silly me. Yeah, just look at how simular their voting records are:
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Lifetime Conservative rating 51%
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lifetime Conservative rating 56%
Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT), Lifetime Conservative rating 27%
Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) Lifetime Conservative rating 44%
Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) Lifetime Conservative rating 44%
Rep. Robert Simmons (R-CT) Lifetime Conservative rating, 44%
Sen. Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI) Lifetime Conservative rating, 28%
Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) Lifetime Conservative rating 88%
Enjoying your silly fantasy? Maybe you could explain to me why all the pro-abortion, tax-loving, gay-marriage adovocating Republicans were ranting and raving when Fitzgerald beat their annointed one in the primary. Hmmm.
Thanks for the great post! I wouldn't have expected anything less.
Heads up Chicagoland!
Fitz supported the Bush position on CFR, Farm Bill, etc. Fitz has worked against many government handouts that Trent Lott pushed thru and Bush signed. Fitz is tight with money. He is pro-life.
In Illinois the issue is corruption in both parties. In both Springfield and Washington Fitz fights the pork that finances corruption. He leads the fight against a shady deal between the crooked Democrat mayor and the crooked ex-Republican governor. (I refuse to recognize him as even a RINO.)
Despite being hated by the establishment who benefit from corruption and pork, Fitz has leverage because in their private polling he is the most popular Republican in Illinois. Second most popular is Judy Barr-Topinka, State Treasurer. The only thing they have in common is honesty and fighting corruption in the party (eg Bill Cellini).
The Republican candidate for governor trails badly. He is not a bad man...just "shy". If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare for battle?
Beating Al Salvi was the only time Jack Roeser was the kiss of death to a Republican in November. And many pro-life and 2d amendment groups and individuals will claim that it was them and not Jack who beat Salvi. In my opinion Salvi beat himself.
That is enough for me, I mean anybody that helped get those two pieces of important legislation, thru, can't be able bad. //sarcasm off.
That the establishment backed incumbent Ford in '76 is no big deal. Thompson was running to recover the governorship that Ogilvie lost by giving us the income tax and needed "unity". 1980 is a better case. All Party officials supported Conally because Conally spent millions hiring their whiz kids as campaign staff. Except John Anderson supported himself. And Schaumburg Township Committeeman Don Totten ran Reagan's campaign on volunteers and no money which again proves money does not buy elections. Even though Totten was the closest Illinois man to Reagan in the 80's, Totten was never accepted by the establishment. They wanted his ability to organize volunteers, but not his advice to cut patronage, spending and taxes.
In '92 Bob Michel, Peoria's Republican House minority leader (who told Newt pubs couldn't win the House) was close friend of Democrat Senator Al the Pal Dixon. They cooperated on pork and corruption for each other. Bob Michel convinced the Republican establishment that they should purposely take a dive for US Senate and let Al the Pal win. For that reason, the establishment scared off both honest RINO Lynn Martin and Conservative McDougal and ran Larry Williamson, who didn't have a clue what to do in politics and proved it by getting the consolation prize of State Chairman which he totally botched. Of course the March 92 primary occurred at the point when Ross Perot and term limits were at their peak. Talk radio and the term limits people were outraged that the Republicans would take a dive for Al the Pal. Republicans and Independents voted en masse in the Democrat primary to term limit Al the Pal. The left clueless Williamson facing Braun in November. (Hey Dan, Illinois has its own term limits, sometimes.)
Crook county Township committeemen are not appointed , but elected (in the primary by anyone who claims to be Republican). Reappointment is the wrong implication. In 4 adjacent townships it was throw the corrupt party officials out. The split was not so much a 3 way ideological split as a split over corruption. RINO Corrine Wood felt the rich country club set were superior and more ethical than us mere mortals. Conservative Pat O'Malley thought reform lay with the ideological base who were not in the party for the money. By default, Jim Ryan won with a coalition of the establishment who wanted to protect their pork, and cautious conservatives who were told to not change horses in this time of crisis for the party.
A good example of this is Gary Skoien, a moderate who ran and won for Palatine Committeeman with the support of the Pat O'Malley conservatives because he opposed corruption.
The County and State Chairs are not appointed. They are elected by party officials elected by the people, similar to the electoral college system. For Crook County Chair, there were 4 candidates: the George Ryan corrupt one; the country club set is superior one; Pro-life, low-tax Conservative Maureen Murphy and Paul Froehlich on her right. (It was the Froehlich influence that caused the turnover of 4 townships adjacent to his Schaumburg township.)
State Chair was similar. Trial balloons were sent up. Conservatives on the State Central Committee, especially experienced Steve McGlynn and new ones like Marilyn Froehlich, shot down a lot of trial balloons. Candidates gave excuses for not taking the job when the truth was, they didn't have the votes. (Edgar was the exception. Everyone agreed he was the best for November. But he was not the best to build the party for the future.)
When Larry Williamson resigned his consolation prize as State Chair last year, McDougal was suggested as a person who could pull the party factions together and knew how to build the party. He was strongly opposed by the crooks and cronies who put in Lee Daniels. The same incumbent State Central Committeemen who went for Daniels last year admitted that the McDougal people were right about Daniels. His corruption is not some new revelation. It has been known among Republicans for years. And for years they have been saying "Someday it's going to catch up with him."
BTW Conservative McDougal is a good friend of Jim Ryan, Jack Roeser and Jim Edgar and many from all ideological factions, but not a friend of the pork and corruption wing. The Republicans in it for the money want Departments like Public Aid to be the source of money for consultant contracts that are a form of welfare themselves. McDougal took Welfare to Work seriously and really believed that work is better for a persons dignity than welfare. That was an insult to the Republican consultants who wanted their own form of welfare.
ps Pork comes from the HOG.