Stalwart Republicans who have been frustrated at the lack of philosophical coherence from the Republican gubernatorial nomineewondering whether she has any conservative instincts at allwill likely find their answer later today: none. She is ready to join the ASCME protest today to demand that Gov. Blagojevich re-hire some 1,800 fired state Corrections Department employees. The ASCME union that has endorsed her has won her approval to join them in lock-step to make the demand.
So not only is Topinka at odds with her own partys national platform on abortion, gay rights and most recently on the concept of marriage as a contract between one man and one woman, she is enlisted in this state in a blatantly extreme liberal proposition: to forestall the shrinkage of government. If she goes through with her earlier stated support of the re-hiring today, she makes Rod Blagojevich the conservative in the race. Topinkas leftward lunge is the last step toward total renunciation of conservative and Republican principles that began with her many years ago. Already she is speeding by the milestones on the left set by Jim Thompson, Jim Edgar and George Ryan.
Now let us look at the impact of the position Topinka is taking on the re-hiring. Ive talked to Republican budget experts who say that conservatively, if she and ASCME would get their way and add 1,800 or so employees to the department, the cost to taxpayers would be $110 million annually. Let us assume that these re-hires serve the state for twenty years, which is the average. It would cost the taxpayers $2.8 billion. The only way the state of Illinois could afford this mammoth expenditure is to pass an income tax increase. Thus Topinka, who has never overruled the possibility of an increase, now supports an effort that would guarantee onethe rehiring of Corrections department people despite the fact that the department has cut in half the number of staff assaults despite the cut in personnel.
For months I have been mystified by the support of a number of so-called regular Democrats who, undercover, hope for the election of Judy Baar Topinka for two reasons: she will provide a tax hike that some feel is essential for the continued expansion of state governmentand is certifying her liberal views by endorsing the public employees demand that the governor re-hire.
The time is not fast comingit has already arrivedwhen not only conservatives but Republicans of all philosophical shades must decide how they can support one who stands in flagrant opposition to every Republican and conservative tenet. One may refuse to support the partys social policies, may refuse to endorse for reelection a gallant Republican United States Senator, may make fun of an embattled Republican president in an on-the-record interview with a nationally syndicated columnist. Now the last vestige of conservatismfiscal integrity and prudent state spendingis being stripped away showing that Ms. Topinka is most decidedly the liberal candidate in this election.
I have criticized the governor many timesbut it is an anomaly that by merely holding the line releasing unneeded state employees, he has become the conservative in this contest. Topinkas outrageous support of flagrant spending and a certain tax hike with this action makes it no contest.
Before the President comes to Illinois, conservatives should reject her candidacy and demonstrate to him that her candidacy is not worth the candle.