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Pate’s DuPage is becoming unrecognizable

Friday, Apr 26, 2013

* My Sun-Times column

Not all that long ago, DuPage County was about as reliably Republican and rock-ribbed conservative as they came.

Things are changing

For one, it’s not nearly as Republican. Back in the 1998 governor’s race, Republican George Ryan defeated Democrat Glenn Poshard by 104,000 votes in DuPage.

But in 2010, during the greatest Republican landslide since 1946, Republican Bill Brady managed to beat Gov. Pat Quinn by less than half Ryan’s total: 45,000 votes. Barack Obama carried the county in both of his presidential bids.

DuPage used to be dominated by Pate Philip, the no-nonsense conservative former state Senate president. Pate wasn’t much for women’s rights, or civil rights, or gay rights or whatever. Back in those days, whenever you thought of DuPage County, you automatically thought of Pate Philip. He seemed to embody an area built on white and corporate flight out of Chicago.

I tried reaching Pate on Thursday because I wanted to ask him about some new polling I’d seen of his beloved county. No luck. That’s too bad, because I genuinely enjoy talking to him. You always know where you stand with that man, and he always tells you what he thinks.

The We Ask America poll I wanted to talk to Pate about found that a plurality of DuPage County’s likely voters support gay marriage.

According to the poll, 49 percent of DuPagers say lawmakers should pass legislation to allow gay marriage while 45 percent oppose it. The poll of 1,052 likely voters taken April 22nd had a margin of error of plus/minus 3 percent.

The poll found that 62 percent of people aged 18-24 support gay marriage. In fact, every age group backed gay marriage except for senior citizens, who opposed it 55-40.

If you had told me a year ago that a poll could turn up these sorts of results in DuPage, I would’ve thought you were dipping into your medical marijuana stash.

But here we are.

There are those in the Republican Party who say that their setbacks in Illinois are just temporary. The party, they say, needs to stick to its core principles, including its very clear party platform plank opposing gay marriage.

To compromise, they say, is to just become “Democrat Lite.” So, only one Republican state senator voted for gay marriage in February. Just three of 47 Republican state representatives say they’re in favor ahead of a House vote.

Famed political prognosticator Nate Silver projects that national support for gay marriage will continue increasing by 1.5 percentage points per year. If he’s right, it’ll just be a few more months before there’s actual majority support for the issue in DuPage.

Conservatives are, by nature, slow to change. That’s totally understandable. It’s who and what they are. But there’s slow and then there’s political suicide. Eventually, they’re going to have to come to grips with this issue. Their all too often harsh rhetoric is alienating the people they need to get their party members elected.

Pate Philip has been out of power for 10 years, now. I truly miss his straight talk, but his brand of politics was on the way out here even before he retired. These days, it seems as though he lived in another world. The trouble is, too many Republican politicians still live in that world.

But now that more people in Pate’s DuPage County favor gay marriage than oppose it, if the GOP still can’t see the writing on the wall, then they probably deserve whatever’s coming to them

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

75 Comments
  1. - Downstater - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:11 am:

    What a difference in the financial condition of the State of Illinois in 10 years.


  2. - ??? - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:19 am:

    Who is the 3rd House Republican to favor gay marriage? Sandack, Sullivan, and…?

    Agree with everything you said here, Rich. I disassociated from the Republican party about 10 years ago, after it became clear that the party as a whole was refusing to change with the times. A number of my (formerly) Republican friends have, too. It is unbelievable to me that the conservative wing of the party continues to believe that the path to victory is to yell their message of intolerance louder and to more people.


  3. - Bigtwich - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:23 am:

    “What a difference in the financial condition of the State of Illinois in 10 years.”

    That is what you got out of this?


  4. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:23 am:

    Pate Philip was part of a different generation. Those voters are aging and passing on.

    Undoubtedly, the continued efforts to indoctrinate school children has helped advance the gay activist cause. Earlier generations found homosexuality morally objectionable on account of religious instruction and a genuine repugnance for the sexual activities that some gay individuals engaged in, some of which involved high risk behaviors. The terms of the debate have changed. No one discusses perversity or sexually transmitted diseases associated with promiscuity.

    Changing the subject helped promote gay rights. The arguments are now about “freedom” and who could be opposed to extending freedom?

    It is hardly surprising that a generation raised on such books as “Daddy’s Room Mate” and “Heather Has Two Mommies” has no qualms about accepting alternative lifestyles.


  5. - Darienite - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:24 am:

    Great article, Rich. Two additional items I would love to hear Pate comment on:
    1. His former senatorial district is now Democratic.
    2. Would he have more to court the growing Hispanic population in DuPage?


  6. - RNUG - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:26 am:

    Like OW, I’ve been frustrated by both the local and national GOP for years.

    While I believe a stable family environment is best for raising kids, I’m not all that concerned about the exact makeup of that stable environment, just so long as it is stable. A two parent family is generally more stable and almost always more financially successful, which will help the kids. You can still push family values in non-traditional family structures.

    Maybe I’m a bit more naive than I should be on the actual politics, but both parties have been moving steadily to the left for the last 50 years. Admittedly, the GOP has been mostly drug kicking and screaming, but they’ve moved also.

    I really wish the GOP would concentrate on the fiscal issues and either drop or back burner the intrusive social issues.


  7. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:26 am:

    If the gay marriage issues is disposed of in this GA, as it seems it is trending today, will the issue really have much of a political impact in 2014 and beyond?


  8. - Darienite - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:28 am:

    Oh, one more.
    3. Before the 2010 Primary, would he have gathered Dillard, Jim Ryan, and Shillerstrom together, reminded them they are splitting the DuPage vote and “suggest” 2 of them drop out and support the other?


  9. - reformer - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:32 am:

    No current GOP legislators voted for civil unions. I suspect if that bill came up again, it would attract support from some of those who voted NO in 2010. That’s the way it is with conservatives; they always support the previous wave of reform, while opposing the current one.

    Not only is Pate gone from the legislature, but so is his ex-son-in-law.

    If the GOP nominates a social liberal for governor, will the Religious Right simply pull a Roeser and go along?


  10. - glaber - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:38 am:

    “Undoubtedly, the continued efforts to indoctrinate school children has helped advance the gay activist cause.”

    I have been working in schools for 18 years and I
    have seen no evidence of such indoctrination.

    “It is hardly surprising that a generation raised on such books as “Daddy’s Room Mate” and “Heather Has Two Mommies” has no qualms about accepting alternative lifestyles.”

    I really do not think the existence of such books equals “a generation raised on” the same.

    I think most people do see this as an issue of equality, and I agree.


  11. - Abandon Ship - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:41 am:

    Money talks and gay campaign contributors have spent lavish sums of money on behalf of candidates from Obama on down the list. Check out some campaign disclosure reports. Wealthy gays have successfully bought themselves immediate access into the Democratic Party at both the national and state levels.

    Political Action Committees on the right (like those headed by Ralph Rivera and Paul Caprio) cannot match their opponents dollar for dollar.
    Such groups have pennies to lobby against gay dollars.

    Money talks.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:42 am:

    Rich, great article, and one that really hits home for me.

    What those who are “Right” fail to realize is that we are a Political Party and as we continue to alienate the electorate, and the “purity” is how we measure My Party, what Party are we going to have left?

    Look at these GA Caucuses. Do they even look remotely diverse? The days of “Litmus Testing” are over, if we hope to get to 30, 60, AND the Mansion back … someday.

    There are SEATS in DuPage that have Dems sitting in them, and still the alarm is ignored.

    As a Reagan Rule GOP Member, thank you for writing an article that focuses on what we should be seeing in the Mirror. It is quite the Shame of the Slytherin Housers who keep asking that same Mirror, “Who is the most ‘Republican’ …of them all?” Think they are “helping” with their pitchforks and torches outside … GOP Members district offices! “Purity” will lead to a minority in a minorty party, and that just isn’t good enough for me.

    I want to win, I want the GOP Agenda moving, and I want Caucuses to understand the “Cookie-Cutter” days of Pate, and the Purity of who is more Republican is is killing the ILGOP. Don’t believe me? Look at the Caucuses and then show me where there is the “growth” of Party…because that Mirror is Rich’s Mirror, and not the Mirror by which is asked, “Who is the ‘Most Republican’ of them all”.


  13. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:42 am:

    ===Undoubtedly, the continued efforts to indoctrinate school children===

    Yes, of course you’re right. Illinois might as well be North Korea.

    C’mon. Get over yourself and wake the heck up.


  14. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:42 am:

    –It is hardly surprising that a generation raised on such books as “Daddy’s Room Mate” and “Heather Has Two Mommies” has no qualms about accepting alternative lifestyles. –

    Is that what happened? I was taught by my folks — born in the 20s — to mind my own business and not to peek into bedroom windows. And my church taught me The Golden Rule and to love my neighbor (not how you’re probably interpreting that, given the tenor of your post).

    But even though I was taught those things, I made my own decisions, as do all adults. People aren’t robots; they’re not brainwashed by what they’re taught. They have free will and the capacity of critical thinking (if they care to use them).


  15. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:43 am:

    ===Undoubtedly, the continued efforts to indoctrinate school children===

    That doesn’t explain why DuPage likely voters aged 55-64 support gay marriage 57.5 to 36.7, however.

    Again, wake the heck up.


  16. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:44 am:

    ===Political Action Committees on the right (like those headed by Ralph Rivera and Paul Caprio) cannot match their opponents dollar for dollar.===

    And why do you suppose that is?


  17. - lakecountydemocrat - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:46 am:

    You did a real disservice to your readers by sugar-coating Pate Philip. The late Steve Neal quoted Philip in the same Sun-Times as calling African-Americans “n******s”, Jews as “hooknoses,” and IIRC Catholics as “papists.” The quote on African-Americans was in the context of keeping them out of DuPage County. That’s not some Rand Paulish “not big on civil rights” that’s a modern day Klansman.


  18. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:51 am:

    @Darienite:

    The fall out from the 2000 presidential election recount spurred election authorities in many Illinois jurisdictions to scrap punch style ballot cards in favor of electronic voting machines and this had an impact on the primary too.

    Schillerstrom received a few thousand votes for governor despite the fact that he dropped out of the race. It was impossible (or so we were told) to reprogram the voting machines to remove his name from the screens. With the old system of punch cards, Schillerstrom’s name would have been simply pasted over in the ballot books.
    Brady edged Dillard by less than 150 votes statewide.

    Having three candidates from Du Page did not help, but I cannot avoid the thought that under the former punch card ballot system, Dillard might have been the GOP nominee and Quinn may have been retired as a result of the 2010 general election.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    Why o Why do those in My Party think… think… that being “Right” is the only way to build a Party? Why are they consumed with making it quite clear that you MUST be one way, or you can not be a Republican? Rich is pointing out that if we continue to require Litmus Tests and Blood Oaths, we in the ILGOP are going to have more things to worry about than Pate’s DuPage being just a memory!

    But, if Jim Oberweis keeps feeding those holding signs and chanting … “political”… ice cream, not “governmental” ice cream … all will turn out “Right”.

    It’s not, and it won’t, and it will get far worse beore it gets better with the pitchforks and torches… and ice cream.


  20. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    Thanks, Rich, for another great read. The GOP may be able to take a little solace in that support for gay marriage among younger party affiliates is in the slight majority. It’s better in my opinion for the GOP to try to get on board with SSM now, to avert political damage later.

    As some of you probably already know, country music legend George Jones passed away. He stopped loving her today.


  21. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:56 am:

    Is it fair to make connections between the decline of the DuPage GOP as a powerhouse;

    –the rise of more self-identifying Independents at the expense of Republicans;

    –the national GOPs continued drift to the right?


  22. - How Ironic - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:57 am:

    @Anon
    “No one discusses perversity or sexually transmitted diseases associated with promiscuity.”

    Well, for starters who exactly is fighting tooth and nail to keep sex-ed OUT of public schools? The very same knuckleheads who are fighting to continue to discriminate against homosexuals.

    You can’t have it both ways. If you want to discuss the downsides (STD’s, teen pregnancy etc) you actually need to have a conversation with students. And it needs to be far more instructive than ‘Keep it in your pants until you marry’.

    There is really nothing more to comment on your post than that. Everything else is a mindless barfing of old tired party lines, and not even good at that.


  23. - train111 - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:58 am:

    Sad Truth #1 Illinois desperately needs some sort of ‘opposition’ to its current 1 party status.

    Sadder Truth #2 The Illinois GOP with its current infighting and ‘litmus test’ nonsense isn’t it.

    Saddest Truth #3 I will keep voting Dem (sometimes holding my nose) because what the GOP is currently offering me is even worse.

    BTW, I live in a DuPage County precint that voted for Obama twice and for PJQ in 2010.


  24. - just sayin' - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:00 am:

    Rich, I usually agree with your usually solid analysis.

    But the IL GOP hasn’t been losing miserably because it’s too pro-traditional marriage. Problems are much deeper. Gullible media types propping up awful management like Pat Brady doesn’t help.


  25. - Stones - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:01 am:

    I believe that the voting public wants their vote to count and be relevant. In areas that are solid D or R, the average Joe usually votes for that party becuase they figure the other guy has no chance. MJM has dominated this state politically for years. His political infrastructure work, in combination with GOP disfunction at the State and National levels have eroded the GOP into secondary status in this State.

    Having said that, politics ebbs and flows and the GOP will reinvent themselves eventially and rise again. There was a time not too long ago that a Democrat could not win a gubernatorial election in this state.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:07 am:

    - wordslinger -,

    It is more than fair to equate. Illinois is not Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, any Republican stronghold state, and yet there are some in My Party that are trying to make the National Talking Points the “Litmus Test” for an Illinois Republican and the voters who were Edgar voters, were Thompson voters, Reagan, Topinka, Kirk … voters … are now “Indie” voters at an alarming rate. We can not in the ILGOP think that the National Agenda, 100%, “no surrender” is going to move the “Indies” back to the GOP fold with tlak of “Daddy’s Room Mate” and “Heather Has Two Mommies” and expect “Indies” to feel comfortable… even if they agree with My Party … 80% of the time.

    You are On Point - wordslinger -, it’s just thst your “point” keeps getting missed.

    Also - RNUG -, the more we talk about the frustration, the better chance we have to change it.


  27. - Diogenes in DuPage - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    If my Republican friends insist on being socially conservative (read intolerant), or worse, fiscally moderate here in Illinois and socially conservative/intolerant, then the Republican Party is doomed to go the way of the Whig Party. I am convinced that Illinois would welcome and elect charismatic, fiscally conservative Republican leadership which was socially moderate and tolerant.


  28. - Darienite - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:11 am:

    ==Why o Why do those in My Party think… think… that being “Right” is the only way to build a Party? Why are they consumed with making it quite clear that you MUST be one way, or you can not be a Republican?== Remember, many (perhaps not all but many) of the far right are devout in their Faith, where there is no room for compromise. And they are told to take their faith out of church and put it into practice.


  29. - lake county democrat - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:13 am:

    train111 - Agreed, it’s the worst kind of blackmail: the Democrats effectively say “put up with our entrenched legalized corruption or else the needy are going to take it on the chin.” And the Thompson-to-Ryan/Daniels/Pate era showed that divided government just produced worst-of-both-worlds “Combine” policies, not best-of-both-worlds compromises.


  30. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    ===But the IL GOP hasn’t been losing miserably because it’s too pro-traditional marriage.===

    It’s obviously not the sole reason. Never said it was. But that DuPage poll is the canary in the coal mine.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:18 am:

    ===Remember, many (perhaps not all but many) of the far right are devout in their Faith, where there is no room for compromise. And they are told to take their faith out of church and put it into practice.===

    Great. Point.

    Although I do not remember getting “baptized” or making my “confirmation”, I am sure some in My Party would love to “Excommunicate” the Un-Faithful, and what is not understood, is that a political party is not set up that way.

    Great point, - Darienite -.


  32. - iThink - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    I want to vote R, I so very much do. I believe in a tighter, more efficient government. I worry about the limited opportunities for those on the bottom and want to believe in a meritocracy. But it doesn’t exist, and we have crony-capitalists on both sides that I swear conspire to stick it to the middle class working folks.

    I am not my parents who voted for Pate. I value science and evidence over religion when making policy decisions. I don’t hate the unions, and think they need to be a balancing in the employee-employer relationship.


  33. - Sir Reel - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    The changes in Dupage are not surprising given the natural maturation of its communities. They are becoming like the older suburbs in Cook. With younger more diverse residents SSM is not such a big deal.

    Kendall is now like Dupage used to be.


  34. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:46 am:

    I wish people would stop referring to gay people and gay marriage as an alternative lifestyle, as if people sit around at the dinner table or somewhere and decide to be gay, like buying new clothes or changing one’s look. “Gee, honey, I’m bored and am thinking about becoming gay.”

    Human sexuality is complex, but many people can’t help to whom they are attracted. They are born that way. There are no teachings in schools or in the media that make people gay. People are not becoming gay because of tolerant attitudes. More and more Americans know this, so support for gay marriage keeps growing.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    ===Kendall is now like Dupage used to be.===

    Rep. Kifowit, Senator Holmes, both Democrats, and both have parts of Kendall. We are more like Dupage was 2 cycles ago, then we are like Pate’s DuPage, way back when…

    Do not tell me the Map put both of them there. Look who ran against Holmes and Kifowit and then tell me with a straight face a Ground Game was in Full Force, and the Caucuses made wise decisions in running the campaigns against Kifowit and Holmes.

    BTW, Bill Foster opened an Ofiice in Aurora’s Kendall County portion.

    I do not kid myself how terrible the plight of My Party is, especially outside my window in Kendall County.


  36. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:48 am:

    - will the issue really have much of a political impact in 2014 and beyond? -

    Yeah, because the Civil Rights Act didn’t have any impact beyond ‘64…


  37. - reformer - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:58 am:

    It’s instructive that the British conservative party supports marriage equality. They see extending the stability of marriage as a conservative policy.

    The key difference between the British conservatives and the GOP is the absence of a Religious Right in Britain.


  38. - Served - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    - will the issue really have much of a political impact in 2014 and beyond? -

    “Yeah, because the Civil Rights Act didn’t have any impact beyond ‘64…”

    Exactly. For some reason, people tend to not immediately forget decades of demonization and discrimination against them. I know that I won’t.


  39. - ??? - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:10 am:

    The Washington Post has a similarly-themed article today, talking about the GOP’s reluctance to adapt to a changing world and changing attitudes:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/tear-down-this-man-to-survive-the-gop-must-get-over-ronald-reagan/2013/04/25/cc828f5e-ab88-11e2-a198-99893f10d6dd_story.html?hpid=z1


  40. - langhorne - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:13 am:

    re pate. advice to new members of the GA from aldo de angelis: “his name is pate philip. one “L”. no “S”. put an S on his name and you are dead.”


  41. - Deep South - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:17 am:

    As the right wing continues to destroy the GOP brand, I would like to see the day when Republicans simply jettison their “base” and begin a return to political viability. A pragmatic Republican Party may well attract a number of fence-sitters and disaffected Democrats who may like the message of fiscal responsibility but just can’t begin to stomach the over-the-top lunacy that seems to be defining the Republicans these days. From guns to immigration to trampling on voters rights, the poor and women, the rhetoric coming from the right wing is more than distasteful to so many. It would seem that the Republicans, in Illinois and elsewhere, will remain in the political wilderness for several more election cycles unless they can solve their “Party of Stupid” problem.


  42. - DuPage Moderate - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:18 am:

    I’ve been telling everyone who would listen this for 10 years. Unfortunately, they haven’t been listening.


  43. - Conservative Republican - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:19 am:

    Random comments:

    1. Pate Phillips was not the “mirror-image” of DuPage County when he was in leadership. He himself was a throwback to the 50’s (when a lot of DuPage was still rural) as a protege of the late DuPage Party boss Hoffman. When Pate came into prominence in the late 1970s as County GOP Chairman and a prominent State Senator, Du Page was already overwhelmingly suburban, highly educated, and more diverse. (Huge influx of former Chicago Democrats moved into DuPage in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s and they readily embraced the DuPage GOP.) Pate was the political czar of DuPage, not its reflection.

    2. Its only Pate’s crudeness that earns him your (Miller’s) designation of him as the state’s premier conservative. Yes, Pate was an instinctual, reactionary conservative. But the GOP has had many, many other more philosophically-grounded and intelligent GOP leaders during Pate’s time, including but not limited to Don Totten, Rauschenberger, Peter Fitzgerald, and Tom McCracken. And there are many others. Liberals just get more pleasure out of promoting a Neanderthal like Pate as the poster-child of conservatism, while ignoring the ones they can’t win an argument against.

    3. Pate was a party and legislative leader before he was a conservative. Many moderate Republicans in Du Page thrived under his leadership. He had really only one rule in politics– are you a winner at the polls? Thus he could embrace Henry Hyde, Judy Biggert (very pro gay rights), Bob Schillerstrom with equal verve. Legislatively, he never let conservatism get in the way of his dealings and the votes of his chamber when dealing with every governor from Thompson through Ryan. Pate was a politician first, a conservative second.

    4. Vis a vis point no 1 above, Miller really shows himself as an observer of Du Page County from a distance. Quite a distance. The fact that Du Page has voted more Democratic as compared to the 50s or 60s is no news. Carol Moseley Braun did well there almost 20 years ago and Jesse White habitually draws a good vote. Miller’s point is old news and really reads more like a breathless Democratic Party staffer’s rah rah assessment in a pitch to donors. And why would DuPage’s suburban trend toward acceptance (read “acceptance”) of gay marriage differ from any other suburban demographic? A very real fact ignored in the piece is that on the local level, DuPage remains solidly (indeed almost exclusively) Republican, which is one legacy Pate can be proud of. (And the occasional Democratic legislator due to gerrymandered districts doesn’t stand as a genuine counter-indication.)

    5. The trend in favor of acceptance of gay marriage in DuPage does not mean the county is getting any less Republican. (See 4 above). I note that even though the Democrats have a veto proof General Assembly, they can’t pass the gay marriage bill because too many of their Hispanic, African American, and downstate Democrats are feeling heat on the issue from their constituents. Support for gay marriage is a problem for both Democrats and Republicans. Further, one should not get so excited over a “plurality” (i.e., not a majority) of Du Page Co support for gay marriage.


  44. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    =because that Mirror is Rich’s Mirror, and not the Mirror by which is asked, “Who is the ‘Most Republican’ of them all”.=

    Is “Rich’s Mirror,” referencing Rich Miller. And if so, what does this even mean?


  45. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:21 am:

    - ??? -,

    Great read …Took this passage from it. Thought it was interesting to the discussion;

    Washinton Post, 4/25/13, Opinions

    ===The fate of the party will be decided in the fight between those few who are determined to revive and rejuvenate conservatism and those who see such efforts as “selling out,” between those who would drag the party into the 21st century and those who would pull it back into the older, white, conservative enclaves that don’t care much for modernity. The new vanguard’s effort to redefine their party is the real story of the post-2012 GOP, and its only hope for survival.===

    Food for thought.


  46. - ZC - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    It’s less Heather Has Two Mommies , and more Will and Grace, and today shows like Modern Family. Lots of Republicans and conservative leaning independents in DuPage watching Modern Family , and that gay adoptive couple just doesn’t look very perverse or scary.


  47. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    ===The trend in favor of acceptance of gay marriage in DuPage does not mean the county is getting any less Republican. ===

    Never said that. The trend is indicative of a shift in attitude that the GOP finds itself on the wrong side of.


  48. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:38 am:

    I think Rubin misreads Reagan’s tenure.

    He gave the far right red-meat rhetoric at times, some of it intemperate, but in office he largely ignored them and governed closer to the center. He let others, like Baker and Deaver, take the heat for his alleged apostasy on tax increases and deficits, which is what smart executives do.

    He took a whole loaf when he could get it, but did not think compromise or bipartisanship were signs of character deficiencies.

    He had a mixed record when it came to black America, but was a strong supporter of the Earned Income Tax Credit as a way of encouraging work.

    He was much more attuned to Hispanic voters, who he knew before most, as a former governor of California, were a rising force. He was a strong supporter of Simpson and Mazzoli that took millions of undocumented workers out of the shadows.

    He didn’t demonize half the country, was welcome in every state and won just about every one of them — twice.

    I’d suggest today’s GOP largely misrepresents Reagan’s record in their rhetoric, and would be wiser to move closer to the way he governed. But then they’d be RINOs.


  49. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:38 am:

    Yeah, well, another GOP thread that landed on its head. So much for “civilized and smart,” I guess.


  50. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    ==because that Mirror is Rich’s Mirror, and not the Mirror by which is asked, “Who is the ‘Most Republican’ of them all”.=

    Is “Rich’s Mirror,” referencing Rich Miller. And if so, what does this even mean?=

    And, BTW, if this is referencing Rich Miller, some might think it’s just a…little creepy.


  51. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    ===The trend is indicative a ahift in attitude that the GOP finds itself on the wrong side of.===

    The problem with that in My Party is not that some are keeping the “wrong side” as a staple, it is, literally, unaccepting to Republicans who do not agree 100% on all these issues.

    You can’t trend against something, and then seem inclusive to those you are alienating within your party that ARE trendy with society, in the name of Purity.

    It’s doesn’t work in winning elections within a society when you reduce the number of voters who MUST agree with you 100% of the time. You lose, every time.


  52. - Darienite - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:48 am:

    ==The trend in favor of acceptance of gay marriage in DuPage does not mean the county is getting any less Republican.==
    Then explain how Bill Foster beat Judy Biggert in DuPage County. Or for that matter how Obama beat Romney in DuPage.


  53. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:50 am:

    ===I’d suggest today’s GOP largely misrepresents Reagan’s record in their rhetoric, and would be wiser to move closer to the way he governed. But then they’d be RINOs.===

    The refusal of My Party to recognize HOW Reagan governed, and what they want the legacy of Reagan to be is another “warning sign” that winning elections and understanding how to connect to voters, is lost on those who “Claim” Reagan, and not claim the Reagan Rule of 80%.

    “Tough ask”, especially if you need Purity…


  54. - Come on man! - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 12:03 pm:

    After working this county last cycle, you are welcome.


  55. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 12:28 pm:

    Oh, and it’s a good thing, of course, that Anonymous 9:23 so conveniently dropped in. Otherwise, what else would most of you talk about without spewing the same “Purity” insults over and over again?

    Will and Grace?

    “Gee, honey, I’m bored and am thinking about becoming gay.”

    Really? Is the goal of these threads to tee everyone off through stereotyping and similar tactics?


  56. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 1:01 pm:

    - Undoubtedly, the continued efforts to indoctrinate school children has helped advance the gay activist cause. -

    Where do people come up with this? I’m 29, and when I was growing up I was taught homosexuality was wrong, by my parents, church, and peers.

    Thankfully, I grew up thinking for myself and realized those people were all wrong. My parents and most of my peers have come around, their church hasn’t.

    People can try to indoctrinate kids on both sides all they want, but as long as they’re exposed to the real world, they’ll figure out what’s what.


  57. - Amuzing Myself - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 1:08 pm:

    Republicans in Illinois and across the country are in an extraordinarily difficult position on this issue. Conservatives tend to be religious individuals, and principled ones at that. Forced to decide between abandoning their core religious beliefs and abandoning a political party or candidate, that decision is very easy.

    That puts the Republican Party in a really bad spot, as conservatives have been a core constituency and base of the party for generations. The party can’t afford to lose them - clearly shown in elections lost by Topinka in 2006 in Illinois, McCain in 2008 and others nationally. But everyone knows the party can’t limit itself to conservatism either and expect to win in Illinois. That would require the ability to frame election year messages on fiscal policy and not get drawn into arguing over social issues. Neither the party nor any conservative candidate has been able to do that effectively since Peter Fitzgeral fifteen years ago.

    Anyone can take the simpleton view that Republicans should just change the platform to conform with the electorate they’re trying to win, but it’s clearly not that simple. Most voters have no idea what a party’s platform is, and even if they do, they don’t generally care. They vote for individual candidates. Otherwise, Mark Kirk couldn’t have won in 2010.

    The Republican Party’s problem in Illinois and usually nationally is they’re not as good at targeting and messaging as their opponents. When they are, they win. When they’re not, they lose. It’s less about conservative vs. liberal than it is about running good campaigns. That said, there’s no easy path for the Republican Party in Illinois when their base will walk if they feel they’re forced to choose between principle and politics. Debating gay marriage is a no-win proposition - especially in areas like DuPage where the numbers on the issue in a primary are likely the exact reverse of the views of the general electorate. As long as it’s being debated, Democrats in Illinois can smile all the way to Inauguration Day.


  58. - MrJM - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    A very real fact ignored in the piece is that on the local level, DuPage remains solidly (indeed almost exclusively) Republican, which is one legacy Pate can be proud of.

    In 2008, DuPage had exactly one Democrat representing any portion of the county: Dan Harmon. His district contained a teeny, tiny sliver of DuPage County.

    Since then, that number has grown to more than a dozen. It’s still a long, long way from a majority, but the trend is clearly going in the direction that Mr. Miller noted.

    Pate’s real legacy is that he put the DuPage GOP’s eggs all in one demographic basket. That basket is shrinking while his opposition’s grows with each election cycle.

    – MrJM


  59. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 1:20 pm:

    –The party can’t afford to lose them - clearly shown in elections lost by Topinka in 2006 in Illinois, McCain in 2008 and others nationally.–

    “Conservatives” couldn’t vote for Topinka or McCain? Can you see how that’s a big problem if the goal is to win elections?

    General elections are generally between the 40 yard lines, and the one who picks up the most Independents wins.


  60. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 1:24 pm:

    ===Neither the party nor any conservative candidate has been able to do that effectively since Peter Fitzgeral fifteen years ago.===

    That very SPECIFIC race was MORE about defeating Carol Mosely Brown than the ideology or conservativism, in the General Election, of Peter Fitzgerald.

    Fitzgerald never got the chance to run on his own conservativism or beliefs, deciding to retire after his term … which led to a race for an Open Senate seat…

    …and the rest, is history.


  61. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 1:48 pm:

    Sorry, “Braun” Yikes!

    To the Post,

    - MrJM - makes a good point about the “baskets”, and my question is always the same to the Blood Oathers and Litmus Testers, “How do you prepose the growth of the ILGOP while requiring 100% Purity, be it from the State Chairman, to the Elected Officials voting against the ‘Right’ thing to do, and in the same breath, look inclusive?”

    Once all Republicans see that the “math” doesn’t work, maybe the Reagan Rule of 80% might have a chance in the ILGOP. Until then, pitchforks, torches, picketing our own Republicans… and “political” ice cream will rule the day.

    Can nor grow, and be rigid. Can’t.


  62. - John Galt - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    Wow. Lots of great comments in this thread, especially OW, wordslinger & Amuzing Myself, and Conservative Republican. A few of my own thoughts:

    1) Ditto on the conundrum of modernizing with the times versus protecting the base social issues that stem from religious belief. The GOP is really in tight jam on that one. For people who hold legitimate religious beliefs on the SSM marriage issue, it’s not a matter of simply changing one’s mind. That said, I think the GOP–especially the Illinois brand–needs to give up the ghost on SSM per se. Where the real battle is protections for religious liberty. It’s a legitimate 1st Amendment issue that people shouldn’t have to check their faith at the door before they leave each morning and enter civil society. Conservative grassroots ought to loosen the litmus tests on legislators and allow them to vote for SSM itself, but insist on robust protections so that groups like Catholic Charities, or religious business owners aren’t forced between participating in civil society versus violating their 1st Amendment guaranteed freedom of religion. There is a difference between political WANTS and political NEEDS. The conservative grassroot wing of the ILGOP has to figure this out and prioritize their needs.

    2) When the Left frames being against SSM as “intolerance” and “hate” it really creates a dangerous frame. Yes, it’s expedient politically–who wants to be “hateful”? But equating it to the civil rights era I think is not correct. Every single major western religion has prohibitions against gay sexual relationships for millennia. Religious freedom ought not to be limited to worship on the sabbath. It should extend to owning businesses, private charities, non-profits, etc. Tolerance is a two way street. And lack of approval or endorsement does not mean you “hate” somebody. Parents love their kids but don’t approve of every choice they make. Spouses love each other but don’t approve of 100% of their better half’s behaviors. It’s an improper rhetorical frame, and the GOP has done a crummy job of pushing back on that. It lays the groundwork for a lot of erosion on those legitimate 1st Amendment religious freedoms I spoke of in point #1.

    3) It would be great if the ILGOP could just stick to the embarrassing and frankly criminal nature of our state’s fiscal woes. But that won’t happen because: A) the conservative grassroots won’t let it happen, and B) Mike Madigan won’t let it happen either. The Illinois Democratic Party doesn’t have a leg to stand on if the debate becomes about jobs, the pension problem, budgetary fiascos, corruption problems, etc. So they MUST lead with the social issues because that’s all that’s really viable for them in the polls. When the GOP votes the other way, MJM uses those votes for campaign material in the next cycles. The ILGOP is constantly on their heels in a defensive crouch on the social issues & it’s pathetic.

    4) We can’t abandon social issues entirely, but they need to be recalibrated and reframed. It’s a political cliche, but moral deficits happen before financial deficits can happen. The key thing is not to frame this in a religious or in a mean spirited “schoolmarm scold” type of way. Nobody likes a buzzkill. But on some level, the profligate spending of the legislature and the rampant neediness of our citizenry comes down to an inability to delay instant gratification and an inability to maintain sometimes difficult relationships. Much of the breakdown of the family unit and the private civic organizations that typically SHOULD be the primary safety nets for individuals is because of this. We have become an atomized society where there is very little standing between the individual and the State. We don’t want to deal with difficult spouses, or difficult kids, or difficult neighbors, or difficult co-workers, or difficult bosses, so we just cut them loose. Then we have nobody to turn to when we fall down (certainly not those knuckle-draggers in the churches), so instead we seek out aide directly from the State, or perhaps some ostensibly private non-profit neighborhood organization, that is actually reliant on the State for it’s annual budget. Long-story-short is we actually SHOULD be talking about some social issues, as they play a large party as to why our communities are so dysfunctional and therefore in such need of public monies. But in talking about these issues, we need to take out some of the loaded rhetoric that is overtly religious so as not to freak out the non-religious independent voters.

    5) Although it’d be great to simply just “moderate” because “elections are won in the middle”, I don’t know if it’s as simple as that. Your base can easily stay home or worse yet, expatriate from the state. This is admittedly a lot harder to do at the federal level (because of the logistical and psychological difficulty of “abandoning the American ship”). But moving from Illinois to Indiana or Texas? Not so much.


  63. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    – In 2008, DuPage had exactly one Democrat representing any portion of the county: Dan Harmon. –

    That Dan Harmon was one helluva lawmaker. Oh how we could use some more Dan Harmons these days.


  64. - MrJM - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    ^ Bravo! That typo completely refutes my point, you [redacted in the interests of being civilized and smart].

    – MrJM


  65. - Pick2 - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 3:08 pm:

    I don’t really get the point being made by OW. is it that the 2 pro-choice, moderate caucus leaders have a litmus test for their candidates that they must be ultra conservatives? 1. that doesn’t make any intuitive sense. 2. it’s just not true when you look at the candidates that have run in the last few cycles.

    I don’t mean to let truth get in the way of a good hate rant, but…


  66. - Just Me - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 3:20 pm:

    I’m going to say that DuPage has the opposite problem: it’s GOP leaders are too recognizable. I know the same guys have been their Precinct Committeemen for 20-30 years! The party events are the same people every time talking about the same issues.


  67. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 3:26 pm:

    - Pick2 -,

    “Two Putt” and Commander Galloway are Veto-Proofed. Running the Political Aparatus of a Caucus means understanding how to get a Majority, and I guess they don’t know how to win(?)

    I don’t mean to let YOUR truth to get in the way of the Truth. lol


  68. - LincolnLounger - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 3:41 pm:

    –But everyone knows the party can’t limit itself to conservatism either and expect to win in Illinois. That would require the ability to frame election year messages on fiscal policy and not get drawn into arguing over social issues. Neither the party nor any conservative candidate has been able to do that effectively since Peter Fitzgeral fifteen years ago.

    All true, though I would dispute “everyone knows” portion. Get a good look at Illinois Review, and you will quickly discover that, indeed, is NOT the case.

    Peter Fitzgerald was the only hard-line conservative to gain election statewide in my lifetime. He was able to do so because 1) he was a self-funder, 2) avoided the Chicago media like the plage, and 3) ran against scandal-ridden Carol Moseley-Braun.

    When will the hard-line conservatives get the demographics that this is Illinois — not Kansas? When will they learn that suburban women are the key to statewide election wins? When will they learn that politics is about addition, and not subtraction or exclusivity? How many times must they get out-worked, out-spent, and out-classed by the Dems, Personal PAC, and unions before they say, “Hey, I’d rather have 70% of the loaf instead of none. I’d rather somebody be with me most of the time on fiscal issues than get blitzed in the General Assembly with veto-proof majorities.”

    I will never understand it. I am called a RINO, unprincipled traitor, and told “I’d rather be right than win.” It’s no wonder so many have left the building, and it makes me wonder how much longer and why I bother.


  69. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 3:56 pm:

    ===I will never understand it. I am called a RINO, unprincipled traitor, and told “I’d rather be right than win.” It’s no wonder so many have left the building, and it makes me wonder how much longer and why I bother.===

    - LL -,

    All is not lost.

    The State Central Committee stopped those outside the meeting with the “signs and Ice Cream Scoops” from dictating the removal of Pat Brady, and that is a great sign. I will be watching with great interest how the GOP statewide candidates run, then pivot, after the Priamry is past.

    Remember, we could be talking about Governor Brady and LG Plummer, and we could be talking about a “comprimsed Map”, signed by a Governor Brady.

    Four votes a Precinct in Cook denied all us Reagan Rulers that opportunity.

    But, the saving of Pat Brady gives me hope. It should give you hope too. My Party needs a Field Operation, the Caucus Leaders need to recruit canidates that can win, let’s hope we can build a Party that will do what needs to be done on the Streets to be successful, and not whine about a Map, or a Test, or Election Day Operations.

    - LL -, the more we takk about it, the more they can’t ignore … the elephant in the room.


  70. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 3:58 pm:

    MJM, I completely agree with your analysis and appreciate how concisely you offered it. Just couldn’t resist.


  71. - reformer - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 4:03 pm:

    Conservative Republican

    DuPage reminds me of Northwest Cook less than a decade ago, when all the legislators were Republican, and when Republicans dominated other local offices.

    Today, the GOP organizations (except Barrington) have trouble carrying their townships for any contested Republicans in even-year general elections. Political change came fast as Democrats picked up legislative districts, such as Rauschenberger’s, that had been Republican since the Civil War.


  72. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 4:46 pm:

    Anyway, it’s very encouraging to see the majority of DuPage County voters support gay marriage. Those of us who support gay marriage don’t see homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle and don’t see anything wrong with people being gay. We believe that gay people have the same rights as the rest of us in whom they choose to marry.

    We’re moving on without gay marriage opponents who marginalize gay people and think that their love is immoral.


  73. - Rod - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 4:53 pm:

    Re: reformer’s comment. Yes even the northwest side of the city of Chicago once had Republican aldermen. Ald. Brian Doherty was the last to go in ward 41.


  74. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 4:56 pm:

    Things change. People change. Du Page will always be counted on to be reliably Republican in the bulk of important races for a long time to come, but there are exceptions to every rule in this world and nothing lasts forever…!


  75. - Marty McFly on the Wall - Saturday, Apr 27, 13 @ 7:29 am:

    === What a difference in the financial condition of the State of Illinois in 10 years. ===

    ===The trend in favor of acceptance of gay marriage in DuPage does not mean the county is getting any less Republican. ===

    I’ll take the bait.

    1. There is no question that the financial outlook of Illinois is better than it was a decade ago. Reduction in the # of state employees. Reduced pension obligations for new hires. Medicaid reform. Budgeting for Results. Shifting away from nursing homes and institutions for the disabled to less-costly and more appropriate care.

    There’s more, but you get the point. If we’d simply continued on the path that had been laid out by previous leaders in 2002, we’d be much worse off.

    2. The trend in support for marriage equality in Illinois is a symptom of the GOP’s problems. The Election Results definitely mean the county is getting less-and-less Republican. Or looking at it another way, The Illinois Republican Party is getting less-and-less Illinoisan. As Illinois moves forward, the GOP is more-or-less standing still.

    As Rich points out, this is an inherent challenge for the GOP. Time marches forward unstoppably, as do society’s values, views and priorities. There is a strong human nature to value — in many cases overvalue — the past. Most of us have fond childhood memories. I do. I am just old enough to remember when most people didn’t lock their doors, when kids could run around my hometown unsupervised, and as long as we were back by sundown, no one really worried. As a parent now, I am tempted by anyone who promises that idyllic past.

    The problem for conservatives is that when intelligent voters really put those promises to the test, they prove false, unrealistic, wishful thinking. Because no one can “turn back time.” That’s not to say we can’t make our neighborhoods safer, but we can only do it by moving forward and addressing issues like substance abuse treatment, mental health, and so on. Wishing ourselves back to 1954 or applying the gun policies that might (emphasis on ‘might’) have worked in 1883 isn’t gonna work. This isn’t 1883 or 1954.

    And conservatives don’t just promise to turn back time on one issue here or there, they apply it as a general principle to every issue, which clashes with all of the changes we appreciate.

    Until someone comes up with a magic Delorean, the GOP will always have this problem.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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