Don’t be so sure
Friday, Nov 9, 2012
* Over 100 people responded to yesterday’s question about state Sen. Kirk Dillard’s upcoming gubernatorial campaign. Large numbers described him as a “moderate” who would save the Republican Party.
I’ve known Sen. Dillard for a very long time. He’s a good guy and a good legislator. He’s well-known for working across the aisle, and his moderate bonafides were boosted when he cut that TV ad for Barack Obama’s 2008 primary campaign.
* But on abortion, guns and gay rights he’s no moderate. And those three issues play heavily in the suburbs.
Dillard was rated as “Fully Pro-Life” this year by Illinois Citizens for Life and was endorsed by the Illinois Federation for Right to Life PAC. Judy Baar Topinka was a moderate on abortion issues, supporting most abortion rights but also supporting things like parental notification. That moderate stance got her labeled as a pro-life fanatic by groups like Personal PAC, which raises and spends big bucks in this state.
Chicago and suburban Cook County are not exactly amenable to gun rights arguments, yet Dillard was endorsed by the Illinois State Rifle Association when he ran for governor.
And while gay rights has become a far more acceptable issue in Illinois, Dillard attempted to intervene in a lawsuit this year on the anti-gay rights side. He also voted against civil unions.
* All campaigns are cartoons. We are subjected to black and white arguments. Nuance and moderation don’t always come through very well. Topinka was slammed in a cartoonish way for her moderation on abortion. But Dillard’s position is the same as Bill Brady’s on that issue, so he’ll be subjected to a similar assault if he wins the primary. The same goes for guns and gays.
I am not saying here that Dillard cannot win a general election. I’m also not saying that Dillard doesn’t have a moderate persona. What I am saying, however, is that he will be portrayed in TV ads as a hardline right-winger if he makes it to the general election.
Bet on it.