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Question of the day

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009

* The Republicans do not currently allow voters to elect state central committeepersons. The Democrats do, and quite a few Republicans, particularly the “insurgent conservatives,” want the same democratic rights. The GOP powers that be fret that the elections could open up all sorts of nasty wounds and further divide the party.

A bill to mandate open elections can be found here.

* The Question: Should the General Assembly pass that bill? Explain why or why not.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - reformer - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:36 am:

    The party that insists “the people should decide” when it comes to the U.S. Senate seat opposes letting voters decide when it comes to its SCC. Consequently, there’s a credibility gap that can only be closed by passing SB600.

  2. - Anon - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:41 am:

    How a political party decides their leadership should be up to the party, not mandated by the State. Don’t like how it’s set up, work within the party to change it or form your own party.

    Most people don’t even know who their county board member is, you think they’d know or care who they were voting for in SCC races? Hardly.

  3. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:43 am:


    We depend upon these parties from which to make our choices. I know they are private organizations, but they have a public commitment. What both parties have been giving us have been the best candidates, based on whether they can win - not whether they are good, honorable, experienced, and worthy people. In this atmosphere, voters have been forced to choose between two corrupted candidates. Unsurprisingly, Illinois’ political leadership has become corrupted as well.

    We have to demand reform from these parties. They have failed Illinoians. It is in their best interest to bring voters into their processes. The cliques are killing them, and as a result, we have had poorer choices on Election Day.

    Enough. Shed some daylight here. Go with democracy and let the cards fall based on how voters choose.

  4. - clearly - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:44 am:

    How a party conducts its internal elections is its own business. Frankly I’m shocked that the General Assembly (dominated by Democrats btw) would meddle this way in internal party affairs.

  5. - Adam Smith - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:46 am:

    The nuts who pushed this are motivated by their desire to take over the party apparatus and purge impure Republicans and firmly capture Whig status. However, they are not really thinking it through, as usual. When party positions are directly elected, existing office holders who have high name ID tend to win. Look at the Dems. The same applies every four years to delegate selection. That’s why candidates seek delegates with high name ID. (Hastert won a delegate slot this year although Romney got trounced).

    Elected officials tend to be more moderate than the pure activists who dream of their social agenda putsch. If you are a legislator or county official you may be very conservative, but you also want the party to be bigger and more inclusive to help your own electoral prospects.

    Also, the primary may bring out many right wingers, but it also brings out moderates in the ‘burbs. The wing nuts could see some of their stalwarts defeated by well-funded moderates in heavily GOP areas. Righties may win in less GOP areas but they will have very little clout on the central committee.

    And frankly, the only thing of consequence that the GOP state central committee has done in the past decade is make Alan Keyes a senate candidate, so how much worse could it get?

  6. - John Bambenek - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:47 am:

    The bill was sponsored by Republican Sen. Chris Lauzen and being thrust ahead by mostly Republicans… Dems already elect central committee by popular election and the rules are already on the book… In this case, its a wing of a party trying to reform their own elections, not the Dems imposing.

  7. - R_K - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:48 am:

    No. Personally I would rather the party is run by dedicated party members, not whoever has the most money or name ID

  8. - ConservativeVeteran - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:48 am:

    Yes, the legislature should pass that bill. All Illinois primary voters should have an equal vote, in choosing their party leaders.

  9. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:48 am:

    Adam Smith, I’m not sure if you actually answered the question.

  10. - Ghost - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:50 am:

    This is internal party administration. It is interesting to see the party of less government and less governemnt interferance demanding more government in their internal operations.

    its also interesting that the repubs can not make the change internally, so they want government to step in and protect them. I guess the republicans support nannyism and government interference in private companies/organizations operations.

  11. - Easy - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:50 am:

    I don’t think Democrats should play any role in determining how Republicans operate their committee.

  12. - John Bambenek - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:52 am:

    I don’t think Adam was trying to answer the question, just besmirch all those who support direct elections. Its the same “pay up and shut up” top-down attitude that really motivates people to want reform in the ILGOP. I dunno, maybe listening to the votes and rank-and-file might be a good start if we want to win more races… Just saying.

  13. - Heartless Libertarian - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:53 am:

    Pass it… individuals deciding is always better than party bosses. But, reform the primary system as well. Make people register for one party or another so Republicans can’t pick up Democrat ballots and vice-versa. That way, people that are truly registered in one party are making decisions only for that party.

  14. - Southern Illinois Voter - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:54 am:

    No. A political party should be able to decide their own leadership - not have it dictated to them by the legislature which includes members of the opposition party. This bill would would take the decision making away from the grassroots members of the party. Very bad news.

  15. - Huh? - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:55 am:


    Illinois republicans overwhelmingly defeated this proposal at one of the most highly attended state convention in decades last June.

    Now Illinois democrats want to bring the vote to the democratically controlled legislature…

    Please tell me where’s the sense in that?

  16. - no way - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:56 am:

    God lord no. It’s an election for internal party officers, it should be kept in the party. Besides, does anyone want Jack Roeser on the State Central Committee? I don’t.

  17. - Wow - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:56 am:

    No. Republicans spoke on this issue at their convention in Decatur in June - in front of God and everyone they voted this thing down by 3 to 1. That should speak for itself - if the grassroots leaders of the party don’t want it by that large of a margin then the legislature shouldn’t meddle.

  18. - Heartless Libertarian - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:57 am:

    So, “Huh?”, the insiders had an insiders convention to keep things exactly the same…. Maybe if they were in control of anything it would actually matter….

  19. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 11:57 am:

    …purge impure Republicans and firmly capture Whig status.

    For Illinois Republicans, that would be an improvement.

  20. - One to the Dome - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:00 pm:

    well they should try anything different…if the state was any bluer…it would be purple.

  21. - anti-Lauzen - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:01 pm:

    I looked at this bill and, surprise surprise, its sponsor is Chris Lauzen. That’s enough right there to make me oppose it. Chris Lauzen and all the other Jack Roeser disciples have done enough to damage the Illinois Republican party. They are the ones who create the infamous Illinois Republican circular firing squad in every primary. Give those people more power? No way!

  22. - GOPvotecounter - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:01 pm:

    This movement started because the GOP SSC didn’t listen to their voters when they demanded Kejellander be removed or not be reelected National Committeeman. The majority of the party wanted KJ gone but the old guard (Cellini) didn’t. You might say the KJ reelection cost the party 2 campaign cycles. Kj and his sponsor are gone the old guard is falling by the wayside. Direct election is a way for grassroots to at least have a say.
    It was Thompson who changed the rules because he was in power so long. I’ll admitt it is not some magic solution but it shows that the fighting is almost over.

  23. - Pause and think - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:01 pm:

    If they can change it within the party structure and without going to legislature, then that is how it should be handled as the party is a private political entity. And if they choose not to do it internally, then they should live with the consequences that come with the credibility gap created by their position on the issue.

    If you’re going to say you’re for democracy all of the time, then you should be.

  24. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:01 pm:

    No, government should stay out of party dynamics as much as possible.

    Isn’t it odd that a group of full-moon GOPers is asking for relief from a Dem GA and governor?

  25. - SweetLou - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:02 pm:

    Political Parties are private organizations and can set up whatever rules they want. When governments (state or federal) begin funding political parties then they become public entities and you can argue that they are open to structural regulation from the legislatures. I know that I, as a Democrat, wouldn’t want a Republican controlled legislature telling us how our party should operate. Plus, the state legislature didn’t force the Democrats to hold elections for those positions, so what’s to stop future legislatures from saying those elections are too expensive, so committeemen need to be appointed now?

    It’s up to the local Republican ward and township organizations to call on this reform and force it through the state central committee. That’s where this belongs, not in front of a bunch of Democrats.

  26. - crazy - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:02 pm:

    Heartless Libertarian - that vote was done by the precinct committeemen and county chairman who make up the backbone of the party - hardly “insiders”…

  27. - Super Dog - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:03 pm:

    No. Republicans had the chance at the convention to vote on this legilsation and it was vehemently opposed. Why let the Democrats decide our leadership?

  28. - scoot - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:04 pm:

    Do not let the crazies get any traction on this issue. It’s the GOP’s decision on how to run the state central committee, and it should remain that way. The committee isn’t setting the agenda for any candidate, so just let it be.

    The right wing loves to tout the “big tent party” but they are against all moderate & liberal Republican candidates. They really need to understand the statewide politics in Illinois, and that moderates are the ones that appeal to independent voters & the soccer moms in the burbs. The right-wing Obermilk just couldn’t get it done.

    I get tired of this argument.

  29. - No Thanks! - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:04 pm:

    Isn’t there enough money spent on campaigning already?? Leave the vote to those who volunteer, they’ve earned their voice.

  30. - Pause and think - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:04 pm:

    Also, people keep talking about “grassroots leaders” and such. Does it get any more grass roots than the rank-and-file voter? Or, are you simply interested in your preferred grass roots?

  31. - John Bambenek - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:06 pm:

    I think some are unclear on the concept now. The selection/election process of state central committeeman is ALREADY on the books and in our laws. This bill doesn’t add law, it strikes paragraphs of already existing law…

    I agree, parties should be purely private entities. Ideally, parties should pay for primaries/caucuses, slating should be banned and there should be no 10x disadvantage for not being an “established political party”…

    This is a minor reform to already existing law… A step in the right direction because showing contempt for the voters is never a winning strategy.

  32. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:08 pm:

    FWIW, my inclination is to let the parties determine their own rules when governing themselves.

    I can see an argument for the gov’t making the rules for how the parties pick candidates for gov’t offices.

    But a political party should be able to set its own rules for picking the party’s leadership. It’s a First Amendment issue.

    Republican activists who don’t like the rules of the Illinois Republican Party are free to start their own party with their own rules.

  33. - Republican - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:10 pm:

    No. I want my party leadership working on behalf of republican candidates and issues, not on their own elections.

  34. - train111 - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:16 pm:

    The GOP can decide for itself how it chooses its SCC. The legislature shouldn’t mandate it. If the party wants this, then so be it. If not, then don’t do it.

    That being said, I see it as just another cluttering of the ballot. I have pretty consistently voted in the Dem primaries year after year and I’ll be darned if I know who the SCC members are from my Congressional District. Heck I do not even know the names on the ballot when I see them. I never know most of the people running for delegate spots in the national convention as well. As someone said above it is at best a popularity contest and at worst people simply making random guesses at who to vote for or skipping it altogether like I tend to do.
    If we’re going to clutter up the ballot, why not bring back Trustee of the University of Illinois as an elected office, or maybe add on another hundred or so juducial retentions!!
    I consider myself pretty informed when it comes to Illinois politics, but it just adds on more names to the ballot that most people have never heard of, (99% of the electorate, not the party activists) nor really care about.

    It’s an internal GOP issue–let them decide it!!


  35. - OneMan - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:21 pm:

    Not really,
    In large part because you would end up with a bunch of elected officials in those roles because they would have the name recognition. Also I think they would generally be more interested in what the party can do for them.

    Finally to those who are tossing the Alan Keys thing around, if one single legitimate elected official (State Rep, State Senator) had stepped up and offered to run we wouldn’t have had Alan Keys.

  36. - anon III - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:26 pm:

    “The GOP powers that be fret that the elections could open up all sorts of nasty wounds and further divide the party.”

    Well, you can’t argue with success.

  37. - the truth is out there - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:28 pm:

    Here a few things to consider when it comes to this bill. First, if central committeemen are elected - then these candidates are going to have to spend some resources to get the kind of exposure they need to get elected. Last time I checked - the Republicans could not even get enough coin together to run a competitive gubernatorial race. So, while the GOP spends money beating each other up in mundane central committee elections - will there be enough resources left over to run against the Dems in 2010?

    Second - This is a solution in need of a problem. How have the problems facing the Blagojevich Democrats all of a sudden been transferred to the Republicans? Haven’t the most notable controversial committeemen already left their posts in the Republican Party and wasn’t this done in the light of day? So where is the problem????

    Third - The bill is based on false premises. The so-called open representation in the Democrat party did nothing to stop the corruption associated with the Blagojevich administration. In fact, the Democrat Party chairman also chaired Blagojevich’s reelection. So much for an “open” system.

    Finally, if Senator Lauzen is so concerned about the future of the Republican party - why did he stand pat and let a Democrat win the special election in the 14th Congressional District? His support could have put Oberweiss over the top - a man Lauzen once supported for US Senate against one of his one own colleagues in the State Senate. I am just waiting to see if Senator Lauzen (AKA Lauzen CPA) decides to change his name to Chris Lauzen SB 600.

  38. - Adam Smith - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:29 pm:

    Sorry, Rich.

    Sure, pass it. Don’t pass it. I won’t matter much.

    My point was that it will probably not have the result that the wing nuts want. Even with their volunteer base it will be hard to prevent established party leaders who are holding elective office from winning the SSC seats. They are very motivated to keep the party apparatus out of the hands of those who would continue to make the party less popular with actual voters. Again, look at the Dems.

    The delusion is that there is some sort of purely ideological silent majority out there thristing for a MORE conservative GOP. It ain’t there. Even most people who consider themselves conservatives, pro-life, pro-gun, etc. (like me) are strongly opposed to the purists who go out of their way to offend others and thus make the party smaller.

  39. - Batman - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:31 pm:

    Illinois is one of 46 states that do NOT have direct elections of their SCC. There is no compelling reason to join the other four.

  40. - reformer - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:35 pm:

    For those worried about “nuts” pushing an agenda, Radogno is the chief co-sponsor of SB600. Other co-sponsors are Hultgren, Dillard and Murphy.

  41. - Disappointed - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:39 pm:

    The Republican Senators that support this bill are punishing those who help them get re-elected year after year. Are they looking to replace their grassroots leaders with themselves? Stripping the party of any breadth or balance! Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

  42. - Disappointed - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:41 pm:

    The same Dillard that endorsed Obama? That’s just great!

  43. - colt 45 - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 12:49 pm:

    the vote already occurred at the gop state convention last year. end of story.

  44. - Captain America - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:01 pm:

    I think it should be left to the Republican Party to decide internally how they want to run their party rather than a legislative mandate.

    However, I don’t think the Democratic system of electing party committeman changes the fact that everything in Illinois Democratic politics is dictated from the top. down. At least the Republicans have a legitimate convention attended by party activists, where issues can be debated and voted on. The periodic Democratic convention is a complete farce where literally nothing of substance occurs.

  45. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:04 pm:


    I am an elected precinct committeeman in Lake County and my fellow committeemen elected me Township Chairman. I cast votes for my State Central Committeeman in my capacity as as precinct committeeman. The result is claims by our extremist groups that such elections are “rigged” by those who primarily don’t bother participating.

    At the last State GOP Convention in Decatur, the matter was brought up and defeated by delegates by an over 3-1 margin. That too was “rigged” according to those same folks.

    Those who demand “direct election” they will be sorely disappointed. A bunch of wealthy GOP moderates will be elected. Then they will be infuriated and will claim that the process is “rigged.”

    Either way the party loses with that bunch. Trying to satisfy a small group that can never be satisfied is like trying to talk sense to the Iran Government. Ain’t ever going to happen. Their beliefs supercede logic and common sense.

    They claim they are “grass roots” types but they attack the grass roots (elected precinct committeemen) to demand direct elections to positions that few party members understand or care about.

    They claim they are speaking for the “rank and file” yet when I go door to door speaking to the “rank and file” in the GOP, I have yet to hear any one of them bring this up as an issue.

    Direct elections to the State Central Committee of the GOP will not fix a thing. The party has far more serious issues to worry about.

  46. - get real - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:08 pm:

    why should the GOP try to reform itself to be just like Illinois Dems…? Party activists already had a voice and it was NO

  47. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:12 pm:

    if the Ds are smart, they will pass this; it enhances their chances of running against more marginal candidates. For Rs, the Party spoke pretty clearly at the Convention, so I’m interested in what the sponsors are up to.

  48. - Levois - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:26 pm:

    Not trying to answer a question with a question, but I understand that the GOP did allow voters to decided who was the national committee person. Why did they change it in the first place?

  49. - archpundit - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:28 pm:

    Yes, it would provide endless material.

  50. - ConservativeVeteran - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:35 pm:

    Louis, I attended the convention, on June 7, and I disagree that the direct election resolution failed, 3-1. I think that about 45% of the delegates voted in favor of direct elections. The vote was by a voice vote, so we don’t know the exact percentages. If we used written ballots, the yes vote might have won.

  51. - Bubs - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:39 pm:

    A few points.

    1. The same 2008 GOP State Convention in Decatur that handily rejected this concept in an open vote also installed a very conservative platform, so it is difficult to understand how that convention was “rigged” by “Moderate Party Bosses”.

    2. Many who push this concept simply do not understand the structure of the GOP in Illinois. Many think that getting a Arch-Conservative majority on the SCC is in effect storming the Control Room of the whole statewide party - and that directives of the SCC are mandatory orders to other GOP central committees across the state. This is simply not true, as power in the Illinois GOP is quite decentralized. In Chicago, for example, the Central Committee of the Chicago Republican Party is completely independent of the Central Committee of the Cook County Republican Party, which in turn is completely independent of the Republican State Central Committee. They don’t have to follow the directives of the SCC, or for that matter each other, at all. The SCC is therefore far less powerful than many coup d’etat plotters might think.

    3. While mostly unknown across the State, GOP SCC members are often stand-ins for powerful party officials. I therefore question whether elections would create the revolutionary change its proponents predict. The supporters apparently theorize that a Great Conservative Grassroots Army will magically appear at the polls and elect a heavily Conservative SCC, but those same type have been spouting such stuff for over ten years, and no army has ever shown up. (Over time, I have come to suspect that the fantasy of a monolithic Conservative “rank and file” stems directly from dreams of personal power by the proponents of it - after all, if it is not a monolith, how could one or two blowhards control and direct it from a few websites?)

    While I am ambivalent on this proposal, and see both pros and cons, until a GOP State Convention approves it, the Legislature has no business interfering to make a change at the mere insistence of a few loud voices.

  52. - Chad - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:39 pm:

    As a long-time follower of the Illinois Republican Party and its governance, I can share that the most effective members have not been elected office-holders — who would surely dominate a body elected by the public. The best Members have almost always been the volunteers selected under the current system — by the county Republican chairmen whose counties comprise a part of the relevant congressional district. These people know who will do the work, and who would show up to preen, complain, or act out destructive personal agendas. For these reasons alone, the Bill should not pass.

    Service on the IRSCC is an gritty volunteer service obligation. There is no patronage, expense reimbursement or other visible advantage. An election system will turn the party over to elected office holders or wealthy individuals, who will delegate their participation to paid aides, or worse, not even bother to participate.

    As for process, last year the State Convention openly debated this proposal during a packed, 2-hour convention committee meeting attended by all relevant activists. The next day it was called on the convention floor for an open and contested vote — the first such vote in over 20 years. The proposers worked the issue very hard throughout the entire event. The proposers did not face much of an organized opposition.
    Every delegate had a chance to vote, and only a few abstained. The concept was simply and overwhelmingly crushed.

    Passage of this bill would directly flout the unambiguous decision of the Illinois Republican Party as expressed by its elected representatives — the local precinct officers sitting in a statewide convention.

    Hardened conservatives in the State GOP know that they will unlikely amount to more than 20-25% of the party vote, and are therefore unlikely to take over the IRSCC under the current configuration. This is a great play for them — surely the only way they can ever attempt to play for statewide “power”, given the fundamental refusal of Illinois citizens to even seriously consider hard-right candidates.

    Alas, the GOP will probably be saved from this attempt to override the State Party volunteers by an unlikely savior. Speaker Madigan has long respected the role of each State Party to write their own rules without interference.

  53. - Chad - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:44 pm:

    To Conservative Veteran: You are incorrect on the voting procedure. There was a “standing vote” conducted, whereby every delegate stood to cast his/her vote. The resulting numbers were announced immediately thereafter. The resolution was overwhelmingly crushed. You might be referring to the voice vote that was first taken. Immediately after that inconclusive voice vote, the numerically-precise “standing” vote was taken and announced. There is no question of the outcome.

  54. - Illinois Republican - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 1:51 pm:

    I love it, the hissy fits being thrown by the State GOP staff just helps prove the case for direct elections.

    If we had a State Central Committee that was truly accountable to Republicans, punk staffers wouldn’t be allowed to run around destroying the State GOP in an effort to protect their own jobs, which they do incompetently. Direct elections means a serious chance to get adult supervision.

    The state convention last June was more proof of the need for direct elections. There was no real vote. McKenna promised a full and open debate, but he went back on that promise. Many reformers were disallowed from becoming delegates in the first place. The good Republicans who did get there found a horrible, disgracefull, rigged mess. If you complained, some big guys in white shirts would just throw you out.

    The punks under McKenna are really showing their desperation. Direct elections means we get a real leader as chairman, not just some stooge like McKenna.

    And once McKenna goes, the destructive staff that uses McKenna as their meal ticket gets washed away too.

    Passage of SB600 can’t happen soon enough.

  55. - Bubs - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 2:03 pm:

    Illinois Republican-

    Your venom not only demonstrates that the SB600 proposal is fueled in part by vengeance and paranoia, which apparently are the only concepts you have left to sell, it is evidence of one of the biggest problems in the Illinois GOP today - a small group of power-hungry bomb throwers who have no following, but they do have websites and very wealthy “Steak Daddies”. Your approach isn’t going to win any votes.

    P.S. I don’t work for the State Party, or Andy McKenna, so jam that and any other conspiracy theory that may extrude from your fervered brain.

  56. - Incredible - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 2:03 pm:

    One also wonders how state gop chairman Andy McKenna keeps his hypocrisy and dishonesty straight.

    How does it work, in the morning he preaches FOR real elections for the U.S. Senate seat and attacks those who dare to oppose real democracy?

    And then in the afternoon he preaches AGAINST real elections for his own organization and attacks those who try to champion real democracy?

    WHAT A CLOWN!!! Step down Andy McKenna! Republicans might have a chance to win something in 2010 if you would get your circus off the stage.

  57. - Amuzing Myself - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 2:20 pm:

    This was shot down by the delegates at the state convention and not just by a little bit. It should be done….over.

    If the party votes overwhelmingly at its own convention not to change it, there’s no reason for the Legislature to interfere in this kind of issue.

  58. - leigh - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 2:41 pm:

    Living in Kendall County I view this as a Chris Lauzen attack on Tom Cross. Who are the democratic party central committee members. If you look at the list the names will look very familiar. I prefer not have such well known politicians directly running the parties politics and I don’t think the democrats should have any say in the matter what so ever.

  59. - Adam Smith - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 3:00 pm:

    This thread is proving the point. The star-bellied sneetches are angry with the sneetches without stars on their bellies (to borrow from Dr. Seuss) Political hacks with jobs vs. political hacks who want their jobs. And it all amounts to the kind of sensless crap that keeps the GOP on the ropes.

    But it is important to note again that the “reformers” had plenty of opportunity to change the rules through the existing process and failed miserably. It was a legal and democratic process at the convention and they lost.

    They sound like the whinny Dems who couldn’t get over the 2000 presidential election. If we don’t win it must be fixed. Do they ever think about being less strident, vindictive, malicious and just plain nuts?

  60. - aMi - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 3:02 pm:

    If this question were posed regarding private businesses, I would be opposed…that should be left to the discretion of those businesses. However, we are dealing with a question regarding our government employees. Our government works for US, making each of us the boss who is entitled to know what we are spending on these salaries. I think they should be posted, but possibly under an employee ID so that there is some privacy for the individual. We should be entitled to know what our government employees are being paid.

  61. - Chad - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 3:08 pm:

    Rich: Any news from the Senate hearing going on today on this issue?

  62. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 3:15 pm:

    - - - Political hacks with jobs vs. political hacks who want their jobs. - - -

    Ouch! You mean I’m supposed to be getting a paycheck for all this aggravation? After all this time, no one bothered to tell me! : -)

    To paraphrase the late, great Rodney Dangerfield: “Take my ‘job’ PLEASE!”

  63. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 3:15 pm:

    The legislature has time to worry about something so insignificant?

    I’m glad the budget, loopy politicians and health care are taken care of.

  64. - At Decatur - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 3:18 pm:

    I was in Decatur at the State GOP Convention in June.

    First, anyone who publicly supported direct elections (SB600) was kept from being a delegate in the first place.

    Second, there were 2 resolutions about direct elections. One in favor, one against. Only one resolution was voted on, but many of the delegates didn’t know which resolution there were voting on.

    And as it turns out, the resolution that did get a vote was wrutten in the negative so if you SUPPORTED direct elections you had to vote NO.

    People were yelling, “what are we voting for” as the vote was being taken. Others were yelling “point of order” in order for clarification as to what resolution they were voting for.

    NO ONE was allowed to speak in favor of direct elections. Senator Syverson got into a heated exchange with McKenna because he promised before the vote was taken one person would be allowed to speak in favor and another in opposition.

    That never happened.

    The only person allowed to speak about direct elections was McKenna. He spoke in opposition of direct elections at the Platform Committee that day before the floor vote.

    Republicans left the convention frustrated and angry and you saw the results at the polls in November.

  65. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 3:21 pm:

    Plutocrat03, that’s a complete red herring and not very original, at that. The GA can do more than one thing at once.

  66. - Adam Smith - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 3:34 pm:

    At Decatur, if you couldn’t figure out what you were voting for that hardly recommends your faction for leadership. You got outsmarted by parliamentary procedure. Poor baby. Should the other side make it EASIER for you to win? If you want to win a contest against those who have a different opinion, you are going to have to do better than just crying that it wasn’t fair.

    Maybe if you guys take over the party then Mike Madigan and John Cullerton will start being “fair” in the General Assembly because you are such pure and virtuous people.

  67. - EmptySuitParade - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 3:44 pm:

    Pretty funny stuff.
    GOPs (as in MOPE) want to elect some senators, but not others.
    They want to appoint, not elect, central committee members
    And then they have the nerve to point to the state convention, which opposed the gamblers only to see StateWideTom and VandaliaFrank sell the party out to do their deal with Blagoof.
    And some still wonder why anyone is attracted to this collection of losers.
    Democrats should show mercy and vote this collections of sad sacks out of business.

  68. - Ashamed to be an Illinois Republican - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 3:53 pm:

    Andy McKenna isn’t even trying to win elections. He’s just being propped-up by staff who want to stay on a political payroll so they can keep playing games.

    The current bad system for picking the State Central Committee helps them do that. It’s much easier to get compliant hacks on that oversight board who are happy just going along with the losing status quo. If they get some free event tickets they’re happy and they stay quiet.

    Andy McKenna is a real life scene from the movie Weekend at Bernie’s.

    The IL GOP is going nowhere as long as a few get to put their own interests first. SB600 is about changing that bad incentive structure.

    Every corporation lets every shareholder directly elect the board of directors. The IL GOP needs to allow the same thing, just like they used to when this was a Red State.

    It’s all about accountability.

  69. - Suburbanite - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 4:06 pm:


    Why would anyone want to turn it over to the likes of Jack Roeser…..the GOP will be hurt even more!

  70. - Chad - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 4:07 pm:

    To “At Decatur”:

    Let’s keep the record straight and to the facts.

    By law, convention delegates are selected by the county GOP parties in advance of the convention. A small number of people just showed up at the convention demanding to be delegates, and their county delegations were already full. There is no right to be a delegate or claim the floor to participate unless you are an official delegate in accord with the legal practice. That said, all who were interested were allowed to circulate in other areas of the convention as guests, although not on the convention floor.

    Senator Lauzen was given a tremendous amount of time at the convention committee held the day before the floor vote to expound on his resolution, and he did a very good job. Every person in that room, packed with at least 500 people, quietly and respectfully listened to him and all activists on both sides of the question that wanted to speak to the issue. To say the Seantor was not allowed to speak or to imply that the proposers were somehow limited in the ability to present their case is just contrary to the facts.

    The Senator failed to get simple majority support for his resolution at that committee meeting. In fact, the committee recommended against direct elections, and that was the only resolution that went to the convention floor. Only the most careless person would not have known what they were voting on. There was never an attempt to file any other resolution to be put to a floor vote.

    The Convention floor is not the place for sophisticated debate. That took place in the convention committee. That said, no person ever attempted to file any written request for a floor debate, and they were expressly informed of this opportunity.

  71. - Squideshi - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 4:27 pm:

    The state has no business dictating how a political party–a private, voluntary membership organization–chooses its leadership. Parties are free to make that process democratic; and if they don’t, and people don’t like that, they’re free to switch parties or start new political parties.

  72. - Chad - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 4:48 pm:

    This is my closing thought today on this matter, and Rich, I hope you will forgive me from straying from your direct question.

    It is really amazing just how entirely unprepared the conservatives have been for the last several state conventions on strategy or even basic event registration compliance to forward their agenda. There was a time when conservatives registered in large numbers and arrived armed with a detailed understanding of how to master and harness the party rules and procedures. Recall the kind of activities volunteers associated with leaders of the Eagle Forum were able to make nationally, and you know what I am talking about.

    What we have seen these last few state conventions are conservative activists just showing up (sometimes without even having undertaken the simple task of becoming part of a county delegation), insisting on getting into meetings, and bluntly trying to “have their way”. Even those who are registered as delegates don’t seem to have the most fundamental understanding of how to get their issue placed before official party bodies, or even how to call for votes. Finally, basic advocacy across the broad spectrum of delegates does not seem to take place. Conservatives stick with each other and do not really engage the delegations generally. This last convention, some conservative activits actually circulated around the event simply yelling their opinions at people. Some of these folks have arrived to run for party positions without even arranged for a person to second their nomination.

    This is really political advocacy negligence. What I observe is that the conservative agenda is not being affirmatively derailed. Rather, people have not prepared to understand or accomplish the hard work of political organization and advocacy. This is not difficult to figure out or do. Arguing that the system is somehow unfair — when there is a failure to understand and work basic tasks –just falls flat.

    I don’t blame the activists for trying the legislative route, even though I think it is inappropriate. It is apparently the only route the current proponents can figure out.

  73. - What a laugh - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 5:18 pm:

    Yeah, some victory Andy McKenna and his stooges had at the state convention in Decatur last year.

    They proved themselves to be a bunch of clowns who alienated the entire base. McKenna and his stooges destroyed what was left of their already bad reputations.

    If idiot leaders who hold the gavel are intent on destroying their reputations, there really isn’t much attendees can do.

    Five months after Decatur, the “winners” went on to deliver one of the most embarrassing showings at the polls in GOP history. There’s no end in sight.

    Most Republicans won’t follow clowns who lie to them, and they certainly won’t “unite” with convention rigging goons.

    The IL GOP needs a complete power wash.

  74. - Bubs - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 6:07 pm:

    What a Laugh-

    Do you really think you are helping your cause with ranting diatribes like that?

    If you do, think again.

  75. - What a laugh - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 6:30 pm:

    Don’t you have elections to lose Bubs?

    Keep the laughs coming.

  76. - Smitty Irving - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 6:44 pm:

    This stance is why Andy McKenna comes across as a hypocrite. The State GOP does not have direct elections. When an elected official resigns, (s)he is replaced by the county party chairman / chairmen - no election. But we have to have an election for Obama’s seat? Please - try to be consistent!

  77. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 6:56 pm:

    I think part of this is about the constant need for a devil if you want to keep your religion thriving. The hard right conservatives told us for years we needed to get rid of the unholy KJ in order to save our state party. KJ gone, party certainly not noticeably better off. New devil needed (although an old new devil). Those guys just can’t accept the fact that they are at most a minority (high tide 35%?) within Republican voters, and barely a whiff in the wind to the rest of the voters. Its their right to not accept that and try to change it, but boy, they do so in a very non-friendly way, forgetting the rule about addition.

  78. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 6:58 pm:

    Smitty et al–so the founding fathers were hypocrites because they had direct elections for Representatives and not for Senators. That’s just silly on its face, doesn’t need a lot of analysis.

  79. - Amuzing Myself - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 7:36 pm:

    “Andy McKenna isn’t even trying to win elections. He’s just being propped-up by staff who want to stay on a political payroll so they can keep playing games.”

    Clueless. Absolutely clueless. Anyone who believes this either has no idea or interest in the what the party is actually doing or is intentionally lying.

    I’m not part of the party structure at any level, but I have been around politics close enough the last decade or two to see that McKenna has done more the last several years in that job in very difficult times than anyone in quite a while. Some on the right will clearly not be happy until they have the entire party apparatus at their disposal to pull a “Jim Oberweis” on and kill the party for ever.

  80. - Truth - Wednesday, Feb 25, 09 @ 8:54 pm:

    The party is a good organization, but they handled this thing poorly. Keep your eye on the enemy. Straighten out that circular firing squad.

  81. - Smitty Irving - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 6:38 am:

    Steve Schnorf -

    Didn’t say Andy McKenna was a hypocrite, said he came across as one. Right now in Illinois the only special elections are for Congressional vacancies. Both parties seem VERY happy with the current system of appointing all other replacements (and VERY VERY happy with state vacancies being restricted to the party of the previous incumbent). Suddenly Blago / Burris erupt, and NOW Andy McKenna wants a special election? To quote the Church Lady, “How convenient” …

  82. - reformer - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 9:06 am:

    The GOP leadership has lead us to slaughter. We will not win in 2010 state wide because there is no Party. Only the COMBINE that just loves the pay-to-play. The GOP must clean our own house before we can expect to start cleaning up the mess in IL.

  83. - Valerie - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 10:48 am:

    As one of those conservatives who applied early to be a delegate, I can attest that the selection process was closed and private. The state party didn’t even attempt to let rank-and-file members know that a person could apply, what the deadline was, what the selection process was, etc. I found out in a roundabout way and made a timely (even early) application. But in spite of repeated phone calls to my township chairman and the county chairman, and in spite of assurances that my name had been submitted as a delegate, when I got to Decatur, my name was not on THE LIST. I inquired and applied on site to get included and the most I got was to be an alternate, ALTHOUGH NOT ALL THE DELEGATE SLOTS FOR MY COUNTY WERE FILLED. I was not alone in this. I heard similar accounts from many others. This was how the state party was able to control the direct elections issue, along with not allowing anyone to speak in favor of the matter, and also conducting a very confusing and unreliable standing count. During the count, people were streaming in and out of the delegate section. The was NO WAY the count could have been accurate. You had to have been there to know without a doubt that the whole thing was set-up for the state central committee’s desired end.

    Direct elections are needed in order for all members of the party to have a voice.

    It’s also interesting how much effort the party is expending on this matter. Makes the point that they really fear this reform because it is a threat to their white-knuckled control.

  84. - Chad - Thursday, Feb 26, 09 @ 2:54 pm:

    Valerie: As a fact witness to this entire event, I can say with knowledge that your are wrong about people streaming in and out. The count was accurate. People cooperated by staying near their seats. The proposers of the measure did not prepare — at all — for what they needed to do, including simply getting their people appointed to county delegations (not a function of the state party). When a convention takes a vote, it first does so by voice, next standing (often called a “rising” vote), and only if a proper petition is filed with the chair and approved by the convention delegates, a roll-call or secret ballot vote. In this case the proponents did not file a petition. It would not have mattered anyway, as the vote was overwhelming. All of this procedure was plainly posted on the state party web site.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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