The best thing that happened to dairy mogul Jim Oberweis since the invention of butter brickle may well be the entry of Jim Edgar, the pro-abort, pro-gay rights liberal into the Republican governorship race, some Oberweis strategists say. Some competing Republicans may drop out in deference to Edgar, but Oberweis makes it plain that he will stay in and give the party a choice between the Old Guard Thompson-Edgar-Ryan hybrid which enabled the state to bypass the Reagan revolution. As the Oberweis people see it, far from being a slam-dunk for the Old Guard, the electorate would have a clean-cut choice between an ex-Governor who made permanent a tax hike and a new-style supply side conservative who believes in cutting taxes and spending.
Theres little doubt that a few of the other so-called conservatives would melt away if Edgar got into the race. None are saying this flat out but indications may well be that State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger may drop along with Joe Birkett. Rauchenberger has been mentioned, albeit without his concurrence, as a possible running-mate for Edgar. Birketts people seem to believe that their fund-raising has been on hold while the Hamlet of Charleston, Ill. dawdles in making up his mind. Lets say that Edgar is not exactly a decisive type. Hes been teasing the GOP for months about his indications although now it seems more likely than not that he will run. He is said to be entranced with the fact that key Democrats have approached him with funding offers to go against Blagojevich.
Illinois powerful mainstream press which has canonized every liberal since John Peter Altgeld (the same group that has praised Dick Ogilvie, magnetic as a lead nail for giving the state the income tax, and who certified the late Paul Simon as an intellectual when as a non-lawyer member of the Senate Judiciary committee he advised Supreme Court nominee David Souter to visit an Indian reservation in order to prepare himself for the High Court) believes early polls which show Edgar leading Gov. Blagojevich. The mainstreamers have a fall-back position if Edgar declines: State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka who plays her accordion at gay rights rallies. But this two-pack a day girl could be out of breath early and her flirtation with Bill Cellini would be a drawback. Oberweis strategists reason that once Edgar gets in the field, it will show the disparity between his aspiration and equipment and he will be lagging badly in the primary.
Now the Oberweis people could be wrongbut something tells me that they have it pegged right. At any rate, theyre praying for a Jim Edgar return to the lists as the mainstream media-sponsored savior. What do you think?