Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Peter Fitzgerald Could Head Up McCain for President Drive Here
Former U. S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald may very well head up the Illinois McCain for President drive for 2008. He is privately recruiting key staff help for the state campaign.
If so, bagging Fitzgerald is a big coup for McCain. Fitzgerald has achieved rock-star status with conservatives because he stood firm against what John Kass calls the Combine when he was in the Senate. He filibustered George Ryans attempt to pack the Illinois Lincoln museum with patronage hires he was denied reelection endorsement by state chairman Judy Baar Topinka he had to brush aside Speaker Dennis Hastert who wanted to intrude on the U.S. attorney naming process he had to face some inner-party anger at naming the outsider Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation) to the post he was ridiculed year-in and year-out in a thousand petty ways by the late Steve Neal of the Sun-Times in columns for refusing to play the old congressional back-scratching, bring-home-the-goodies game: columns which havent stood up well given for Neal in light of Fitzgeralds prescient role vis-à-vis the GOP establishment.
All these things have endeared Fitzgerald to the conservative-movement side of the state GOP and even heightened his appeal to the establishment. But there are some downsides in Fitzs attempted sale of McCain to Illinois conservatives which make the sale difficult. McCain is the author of the hugely controversial McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill which has been accused of snuffing out free speech Fitzgerald voted for the bill which is now law which is regarded as a disaster by conservatives In 2000 McCain, who has a blow-torch temper, assailed leaders of the Christian evangelical movement who backed George W. Bush McCain has been all over the map on ideology, often serving as the ideological lefts poster boy on a variety of issues .He was offered the vice presidential nomination by John Kerry and toyed with the idea for weeks, regarded as akin to betrayal of the GOP McCains pro-life credentials are almost invisible despite his votes because of his warm romance of the left For those weary of Iraq there is little public evidence that McCain would change the direction: if anything he is tougher on preemption than Bush.
Nor has Fitzgeralds political insights been as golden as his undefiled character of rock-firm integrity. He touted Steve Rauschenberger for governor, insisting he was an excellent candidate despite Rauschenbergers steady low polls and failure to raise money.
Butwith Peter Fitzgerald pushing McCain, there is no doubt that the McCain campaign would get a gigantic push here and be attractive to a legion of conservatives who like Fitzgerald better than McCain: their hope being that if electedand McCain is high in the pollsFitz could well become U. S. Attorney General and spark an even more energetic clean-up of politics than he has heretofore.