Saturday, March 18, 2006
The Channel 11 Gubernatorial Debate: Topinka Wasnt Missed
The WTTW-TV City Club of Chicago debate Thursday night featured a lively exchange between Jim Oberweis, Bill Brady and Ron Gidwitz. What struck me was two things: having watched governors of two states for over 50 years, it was clear that any one of the three could make a powerful impression as governor. My choice is Jim Oberweis who I believe won the debate with the rejoinder to a carping Bill Brady. Brady for some unaccountable reason feels he can get conservative votes by blistering fellow conservativd Oberweis. He tried to recycle the old bogus game played by some Hispanic activists who tried to set up Oberweis as an employer of illegals by shuffling a person onto a temporary clean-up consultant business and insist that Oberweis hired him.
Brady quoted the case again which was answered completely by Oberweis. Brady then responded that all he knows is what he reads in the newspapers whereupon Oberweis slugged the answer out of the park by saying that if his knowledge is limited to newspaper reading, he doesnt belong running for governor. A very effective response which elicited a laugh and applause by the studio audience which wasnt particularly pro-Oberweis.
It is significant that with the exception of the Sun-Times most newspapers decided not to report the statement, concentrating instead on defending Bradys voting record that was slammed by Oberweis. There is no doubt that the Oberweis animus is due to his strong pro-life stand and his support of traditional family values. Mainstream media prefer Topinka overwhelmingly for the GOP nomination, after which they will bargain between Blagojevich and her, hoping to ratchet up the increasingly liberal bargaining, holding their endorsements as bait. But failing Topinka, they prefer Brady, spurred by his attacks on Oberweis. Normally they would prefer Gidwitz but he hasnt been as vocal in assailing Oberweis as Brady.
Why Brady thinks he will get conservative votes by blistering Oberweis and going easy on Topinka is a real mystery but he does.
As of today, the race is still wide open, I believe. Polls dont tell the whole story in primariesthe ground game does. I believe Oberweis has the ground game, the people engaged round-the-clock in getting voters to the polls. Political organization doesnt show up in polls but on election day. If Oberweis wins the nomination, look for a wholesale media assault on him reminiscent of the attacks on Barry Goldwater in 1964. Remember, the stakes involve something in addition to the governorship: the leadership of the Illinois Republican party. Im usually not an all-for-nothing guy, but the nomination of Topinka will spell the continuance of the Jim Thompson organization and no choice whatsoever for conservatives. Ideally, Jim Oberweis will get the nomination and the governorship. Second to that is that even if he fails to win the governorship through the attacks by the mainstream media, he controls the party for the future.
I can think of nothing worse for conservatives than a state where the two-party system is closed to them. Topinkas famous derogatory name-calling of conservatives and her rejection of her opponents as morons (before she came to her senses) underscores this elections importance.