Breaking News Bar
updated: 2/4/2013 11:54 AM

How state GOP furthered Obama's ascent

Success - Article sent! close

Kerry Lester's recent article reminded me how screwed up the Illinois GOP continues to be and made me recall how their past actions eventually resulted in Barack Obama becoming president. That's right folks, the last four years have been all the Illinois Republican Party's fault.

During the 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, the Illinois GOP turned its back on incumbent Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald because he was not conservative enough and was too much of a maverick for GOP sensibilities. These "geniuses" shifted state support to their conservative knight in shining armor, Jack Ryan, who campaigned aggressively against Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

Order Reprint Print Article
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Their plans completely fell apart when sordid details about Ryan's divorce from his actress wife were published. Ryan was forced to withdraw and the Illinois GOP found itself scrambling, in mid-campaign, for a replacement candidate. They became a national joke when Mike Ditka's name surfaced and actually made things worse by importing ultraconservative Alan Keyes, who was not even from Illinois.

Keyes campaigned on his own agenda and constantly declared that repealing the 17th Amendment was one of his priorities. Soon Illinois Republican Party campaign literature was not even including Keyes' name. Obama easily defeated Keyes and, after a few mediocre years in the Senate, ran for and was elected president.

The Illinois Republican Party should have been less focused on "purity" issues and ignored Fitzgerald's quirks. Had they supported him for re-election, I believe that he would have defeated Obama, Obama would not have become a national figure, and Obama would have returned to Springfield and would still be there today.

Why am I recounting all this? Because the Illinois GOP does not seemed to have changed at all in the past nine years. One would think that they would have learned from their past mistakes.

Bill Pohnan Jr.


Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.