Tax reductionist Grover Norquist spoke the other day at Jack Roesers (no relation) luncheon in behalf of Renew Illinois, the group that seeks to bring reform to state government. First, Jack spoke at some length about corruption and, as is his habit, attacked Bob Kjellander (and here for the benefit of new readers of this blog who are out-of-state, Kjellander is the Republican National Committeeman who got a hefty retainer for arranging a bond sale for the Blagojevich administration, which Jack and Republican gubernatorial candidates Jim Oberweis and State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger believes is a conflict of interest. On the surface theres nothing wrong with the fee Kjellander received if, in fact, he did serious work to get it. Norquist is, as you know, one of the prime godfathers of the right with enormous influence in the Bush administration on economic policy (not social policy). Oberweis asked Norquist to comment on Kjellander. Believe it or not, Washington-bound Norquist said, who? When reminded that Kjellander is the national committeeman, Norquist said, oh. When further reminded that Kjellander, a close friend of Karl Rove, recently was promoted to treasurer of the national party, Norquist said: Huh? Hes not national treasurer, is he? Isnt er, ah I cant think of who I mean but isnt someone else treasurer? When assured someone else was not treasurer but Kjellander was, Norquist smiled and said this (in paraphrase):
When you have someone whom you cant work with the favored route is to work around him. Thats what I would do. Everybody has somebody in politics who they at times have difficulty working with. The task is to work around him, thats all.
No big deal.
It was sort of a put-down for those who are chasing Kjellander with all the fury of Captain Ahab and the white whale. I have felt for a long time that this furor about Kjellander is much sound and fury signifying nothing, or at least very little. If hes done wrong, a very good gentleman known to all of us, Patrick Fitzgerald, will uncover it. The idea that Kjellander cant be trusted because he is a secret operative of Rod Blagojevich is paranoid. If Kjellander were secretly working for Blago he would not have been busting his buttons trying to get Jim Edgar into the race since it is common currency that Edgar would give Blago a tough race.
For saying these heretical things I imagine Ill be scourged by those to whom the Kjellander issue tops everything. My suggestion: take a Valium and calm down.