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More on yesterday’s Republican meltdown *** Updated x3 ***

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2007

* Eric Krol has a full Q&A with Rep. Paul Froehlich (D-Schaumburg) posted online. Here are a few relevant excerpts.

On his treatment by fellow House Republicans…

“[The House Republicans have] killed some of my bills that are totally non-controversial bills. Heck, I had a (Republican state Sen. Randall) Hultgren bill on gang tattoos. When I called it, members of my own caucus started railing against it. I realized it’s not the bill, it’s me. And it’s not the Democrats who are jumping up and down on me, it’s the Republicans.”

On whether he was taking the easy way out and saving his own hide by switching parties…

“I’m doing it the hard way then. My district is still significantly more Republican than (former neighboring state Rep.) Terry Parke’s is. There’s changes happening in mine, there’s no question. But it’s not at the same rate as (Democratic Rep. Fred) Crespo’s (who defeated Parke).” Here, I’m going to be a big target now. How is that the easy way? I’ll be the subject of some pretty uncomplimentary comments. If I wanted the easy way, I would have just run for re-election as a Republican, win or lose.”

On his meeting with House Speaker Michael Madigan…

“I met with him on Saturday. In his political office on Pulaski (Road) by the (Midway) airport there. The meeting went very well. He was very welcoming. I didn’t realize because I’d never talked to him much before, but he’s a personable guy. I was welcomed in with open arms, which was a change for me to feel really welcome in a caucus.”

And this exchange is pretty funny…

Q. So, you’re a Democrat now. I assume you support Gov. Rod Blagojevich then?

A. I don’t anticipate I’m going to suddenly be impressed with the effectiveness of his leadership. But you know, that puts me in the company of a whole lot of Democrats. I think the governor still has a whole lot of improvement to do on leadership.

* The Tribune had a response from Madigan’s spokesman…

“The speaker believes that Paul has always been a responsible and conscientious member of the House and will expect the same moving forward. He will be a very good member of the Democratic caucus.”

* The State Journal-Register’s story quoted Madigan’s spokesman as saying “Our practice has always been to support the incumbent.” and had this analysis…

But Schaumburg - like other parts of suburban Cook County -– is no longer a rock-solid Republican area, as conservative white residents have moved out and many Democratic leaning Latinos have moved in.

In the 2006 elections, Gov. Rod Blagojevich captured 48 percent of the vote in Schaumburg Township, election records show. Just four years before, Blagojevich lost the township by almost 12 percentage points to Jim Ryan, the GOP gubernatorial candidate.

Also last year, longtime GOP Rep. Terry Parke lost his House seat in the adjacent 44th District to Democrat Fred Crespo, who just two years prior was an up-and-coming Republican figure.

Waning Republican power in his district was a likely factor in Froehlich’s decision to switch parties, said Kent Redfield, a political studies professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

* One of my favorite lines to fellow bloggers, “There ain’t no hat tips in the mainstream media for us,” was proved false today in the Sun-Times

Froehlich confirmed the switch to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rich Miller, who publishes the Capitol Fax political newsletter.

* The Sun-Times story has some good quotes. One from Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson, who is close to Froehlich and will play a big role in defending him against his formerly fellow Republicans next year…

“Paul talked to me about this a while back. He indicated his frustration with getting things done and being an effective legislator,” said Schaumburg Village President Al Larson, a longtime Froehlich friend. “Increasingly, he felt as though somehow he wasn’t getting the support he felt he should be getting for some of his initiatives.”

And this one from Sen. Millner…

“I don’t know how good this will be for Paul in the long run,” said state Sen. John Millner (R-Carol Stream), whose Senate district covers the area Froehlich represents. “I think there are a lot of Republicans in the district, and I think they may feel betrayed by this.”

* Suburban Democratic blogger Hiram Wurf tries to make sense of it all…

I am reminded of Ronald Reagan’s famous description of why he left the Democratic Party [the party left him, Reagan said]. We have here… another Reagan moment, this time for why people are leaving the Republican Party

* Illinois Review blogger Bruno Behrend looks at the Froehlich move and the Dillard ad for Obama and calls for a mass exodus from the Illinois Republican Party…

In the 1850s, a ragtag anti-immigrant party destroyed itself, and took the declining Whigs with them. In the ensuing chaos, the Republican Party was born, and held sway over the nation for about 60 years. It’s time for that to happen again. You can’t fix this. Leave it and start anew, keeping faith with the Principles, not the party hacks who have destroyed a good name.

* Speaking of Dillard, the Daily Herald quoted Dillard about his TV ad for Obama (which you can see here)…

“It’s Iowa, and it’s a Democratic primary and I’m for (Arizona Republican) John McCain for president,” Dillard said. “And maybe if my party understood issues of racial reconciliation, less partisanship and hope, they would be the majority party.”

Still, it’s an interesting political change for Dillard from 2004 when he blasted Obama as a big-spending Democrat whose policies would “eat the average family out of house and home.”

Heh.

*** UPDATE *** CBS2 managed to get Obama on the record about Dillard’s ad, and quoted Hillary Clinton’s campaign about it as well. Click the pic to go to the story…

*** UPDATE 2 *** From Rep. Froehlich’s press release, which accompanied his press conference this morning…

I disagree with some of the trends happening at the national level and feel that the party, at the national and state levels, has lost touch with regular rank-and-file Republicans,” Froehlich said. “I want to be clear: my disagreement is not with the average person who considers himself or herself a Republican. Until today, I was just like them. Unfortunately, I’ve seen firsthand that the party has drifted away from people like us and there’s no reason to think it’s coming back anytime soon.

The full release can be downloaded here.

*** UPDATE 3 *** I should have mentioned this yesterday and completely forgot. Illinois Review was the first to report that Froehlich might switch parties back in early May. Froehlich flatly denied the rumors at the time.

Yesterday, IR editor Fran Eaton, who interviewed Froehlich in May, had this to say on the site…

In reviewing the May interview with Rep Froehlich when he denied he was switching parties, I can’t help but believe he intentionally misled me as a journalist and as a fellow Republican. Let’s just say that Benedict Arnold Froehlich will fit well in the dirty Dem-coat he has donned today. Now I understand why he didn’t answer our query. Who would have believed anything he had to say anyway?

* And IlliniPundit is just plain bummed about Froehlich and Dillard…

I love being out in the grassroots, working my tail off, and seing things like this. Very motivating, it is.

It’s going to be even more frustrating watching our state’s “leadership” react impotently and unwisely to these events

Grrrrr.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


20 Comments
  1. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 9:45 am:

    I grew up in Schaumburg. I was thrilled when Paul Simon got 45% of the vote there. I was there when Ron Bobkowski was the Democrat for State Rep. and he would get about 25% of the vote. Times have changed. Two Democratic State Reps and the township went for Kerry.

    I disagree with Rep. Froehlich on a lot of issues. However, I have had some minor interaction with him and always considered him a thoughtful guy and a class act. He’s a guy who genuinely wants to do what is right. He is a welcome addition to the Democratic Party. We need more like him.


  2. - A WISE OLD MAN - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 9:48 am:

    State Representative Paul Froehlich’s bolting the Republican Party for the Democrats resonated with me in many areas, but especially in Froehlich’s disgust over some Republicans’ overzealousness on the issue of immigration. Overzealous protesters outside of his district office in Schaumburg earlier this year probably contributed mightily to Froehlich’s departure.

    One need to look at the disgusting mailers which came out from the National Republican Congressional Committee in the Roskam-Duckworth race last year to know the truth. Republicans using printed pictures of dark-skinned people climbing over a fence in what appears to be the southwestern United States truly disgusted me, and would disgust a man of conviction like Froehlich, too. Another mailer against Duckworth was misktan by me as a mailer from Steak & Shake because it had an Ice Cream soda, with a cherry replaced by a Social Security card, criticizing Duckworth’s support for McCain-Kennedy.

    The immigration stance by some so-called conservatives alone didn’t drive Froehlich out of the Republican Party. Andy McKenna, Jr.’s simpering style of leadership at the state level had to be a contribution for the Republican Township Committeeman of Schaumburg Township to bolt, too.

    Please consider what I have said and listen to the words of A WISE OLD MAN!


  3. - Dieter - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 10:03 am:

    Both parties have their problems, but the reasons Froehlich gives are cover, nothing else.

    In the ‘06 cycle, Paul was never silent about his support for President Bush. Heck, if you go to the STAR website, the first thing you see is Paul shaking hands with the President as he gets off Air Force One!

    So, his colleagues didn’t like some of his bills? So what, it happens!

    Paul is doing this for Paul, no other reason. He’s keeping his eye on his pension and jobs for the fam, just like when the Republicans were able to provide jobs.

    He should do the honorable thing and resign his office and run as a Democrat. That will never happen, as he’s trying to turn over the whole GOP operation, or what’s left of it, to the Dems.

    Thanks, Paul. Great legacy!


  4. - Dieter - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 10:11 am:

    Oh, and by the way, Kirk Dillard is the Chairman of the DuPage Republican Party.

    He needs to resign his position.

    If he’s going to appear in ads for Democrats, he should do the right thing and step down from his party leadership position.

    Then again, maybe he took his cue from Andy McKenna, who doesn’t think there is a conflict with being the Chairman of the Illinois GOP and giving campaign contributions to Democrats.


  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 10:12 am:

    Dieter, Dillard resigned his chairmanship in April. Please, get with the program. Thanks.


  6. - Dieter - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 10:17 am:

    You’re right, Rich.

    My bad. Thanks for pointing it out.


  7. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 10:39 am:

    How can Froehlich claim he’s getting driven out of a socially conservative GOP with Giuliani leading polls and Tom Cross chairing is campaign in Illinois.


  8. - amy - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 11:26 am:

    come into the light, Beth Coulson! come on over,
    you can do it!


  9. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 11:28 am:

    Well, the good news is that even with Benedict Froehlich, the dems are still disfunctional and can’t get anything done.


  10. - ROTFLMAO - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 11:42 am:

    The State Journal-Register’s story quoted Madigan’s spokesman as saying “Our practice has always been to support the incumbent.”

    Too funny! Former Rep. Ronan, Bugielski and Phelan have got to be enjoying that line.


  11. - Shelbyville - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 12:12 pm:

    At least that is a better picture of Dillard. I couldn’t recognize him in that release yesterday.

    How do you just wake up and decide to switch parties? Sure, I am fed up with Bush, but tomorrow is another day. How many times are you allowed to switch? Do we need a score card?


  12. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 12:15 pm:

    If that is how he feels, fine, but are the dems any better? how can you call yorself a conservative and with good faith join up with the party in control of the most crooked gov’ts in the country? I would have had respect if he had gone the indy route, but teaming with the Dems makes this look like a protect my neck move, which it is!


  13. - Dieter - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 12:22 pm:

    It will be interesting. Either he will be defeated in 2008, or will be on the wrong side when the political pendulum swings the other way.

    And it will swing the other way.

    However it turns out, this is a black mark on his record. Instead of taking a leading role as a party leader and state representative and making the party better, he cuts and runs.


  14. - Logical - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 1:02 pm:

    “Until today, I was just like them. Unfortunately, I’ve seen firsthand that the party has drifted away from people like us and there’s no reason to think it’s coming back anytime soon.”
    Correct me if I am wrong, but the politicians are the problem with the drifting. With this reasoning the White Sox players should join the Cub organization (at least for this year).


  15. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 1:16 pm:

    Perhaps this should/will lead us to a QOTD about what are the differences between Rs and Ds in Illinois, and what should be. That would let all the extremists on both sides vent, and comfortably remind moderates why they are what they are.


  16. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 2:00 pm:

    I don’t like President Bush, and my biggest regret when it comes to a single vote I once cast was my vote for him in 2004. I still smart when I think of his win over McCain in 2000. However, regardless of his awful reign and the damage he has done to the party, I remain a Republican. The same goes for many of my Dem pals who can’t stand Blago but are sticking with the party. People shouldn’t just switch parties just because of a bad seed and a couple of bad policy maneuvers. In that regard, I disagree with Mr. Froelich’s decision. But then again, no one asked me (except for Rich).

    To me, the Froehlich move represents a lot of what has transpired in society. People enjoy ripping on politicians for saving their hides and wanting to stay in power for a long time, but perhaps they should put themselves in the politicians’ shoes and think of what it would be like to give up that prestige and recognition. I best most of us would do whatever we could to remain in office and would quickly give up a pledge for term limits or campaign contribution limits. It happens all the time, and how would a middle management honcho feel if he or she could only stay with a job for so many years?


  17. - A WISE OLD MAN - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 3:11 pm:

    After reminding myself that it was a Democrat, then U.S. Senator Zell Miller (D, Ga) who gave an outstanding keynote speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention, one might say that a Republican supporting a Democrat presidential candidate balances itself out. Unfortunately, what Republican Illinois State Senator Kirk Dillard’s appearance in the TV ad demonstrates is the “ga ga” by Illinois Republican officials over Obama continues.

    It does make me wonder why Obama needed an Amber Lee Ettinger (a.k.a. “ObamaGirl”) when you’ve now got “ObamaGOPer” Kirk Dillard, who until April was the Chairman of the Du Page County Republican Party and was also a member of the State Central Committee for the Republican Party, still gushing over Obama. Dillard’s not the only Republican officeholder making “ga ga” in newsprint over Obama’s candidacy — I still remember gagging when State Senator Pam Althoff (R, McHenry) did all but endorse Obama in a newspaper story over the past year.

    Oh well.


  18. - Honest Abe - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 6:23 pm:

    Paul Froelich’s defection to the Democrats is a big loss for the GOP. He was capable and talented. I do not see how the GOP fills the leadership void in Schaumburg Township where Froelich served as committeeman.


  19. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 7:19 pm:

    The Fran Eaton comment is interesting.

    She’s the sort of close-minded right wing bigot (she sure doesn’t like Hispanics) that Paul changed parties to avoid. She needs to take a close look at her policy positions and then decide what sort of “values” she promotes.


  20. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Jun 26, 07 @ 11:02 pm:

    Rep. Froehlich brings a lot to the Democratic House caucus.
    Let’s see there’s …. hmmmm …. well, ….
    OK, what’s the big deal? This kinda seems like converting from a toadstool to a mushroom.
    Maybe Mapes promised him food privileges on the floor. Yeah, like that’d happen.


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