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  David John Diersen, GOPUSA Illinois Editor
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January 17, 2006 News Clips
Posted by Diersen on 15-Mar-2007
QUESTIONS
-- It is obvious that the Illinois Republican Party (IRP) State Central Committee (SCC) vehemently disapproves of some Republicans who say anything critical of other Republicans, but does the IRP SCC disapprove of Republican Party leaders who praise Democrats, who refuse to say they only vote for Republicans in general elections?  Certain influential past and present Milton Township Republican Central Committee (MTRCC) RINO members have been, are, and will continue to be extremely critical of me because the more planks in the Republican platform that the candidate supports, the harder that I work for that candidate -- but if I had ever praised a Democrat, let alone if I had ever even hinted that I might vote for a Democrat, they would have immediately censured me per Article III, Section 5 of MTRCC's by-laws. (See http://www.miltonrepublicans.org/Downloads/MiltonByLaws1-14-04.pdf)
-- When will the IRP SCC reverse its January 13 vote, apologize to the Republican Assembly of Lake County (RALC), and apologize to each and every RALC member?  
-- When will the IRP issue a press release on what happened at the January 13 IRP SCC meeting?  How will IRP Executive Director John Tsarpalas respond to questions about that meeting at the TAPROOT Republicans breakfast meeting this Saturday?
-- Kjellander rejects the IRP SCC call for him to resign, says he has "done absolutely nothing wrong," says his critics are "disgruntled," and says he is being made into a "scapegoat."  If Kjellander continues to refuse to resign, what should the next step be?  If/when Kjellander resigns, who would be the best person to fill the vacancy and why?  
 
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GOPUSA ILLINOIS
-- Republican National Committee acknowledges that "Republican" is a descriptive term that cannot be registered as a trademark - Dave Diersen
In its July 16, 1999 letter to the Lao American National Republican Party of the USA (posted on the Files page of www.gopillinois.com), the Republican National Committee General Counsel's Office acknowledged that "Republican" is a descriptive term that cannot be registered as a trademark.
SUBURBAN CHICAGO NEWS
-- BEYOND OUTRAGEOUS: Dillard "declines to say whether Obama would get his vote for president"
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Democrat Charles Selle insults each and every Republican Assembly of Lake County (RALC) member by saying the RALC is a "rump group"
DAILY HERALD
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Illinois Republican State Senator Pamela Althoff outrageously says she'd consider voting for Obama; Dillard outrageously says "I knew that he was something special and that he would grow to become a rock star in politics, I just never thought he would become the Beatles or the Rolling Stones this quickly...I believe it is good for Illinois to have our elected officials in a positive national spotlight;” Rauschenberger says “I guess I’m interested, as the campaign goes on, to find where Barack is on the big issues at the federal level;” Cronin jokes that he prefers his presidents “to have a little more gray hair;” and Cronin says “So far, Barack Obama has been about image and hype, and that has far outweighed any substance. He’s a charming fellow, but this is important business...“For Pete’s sake, he wants to be president of the United States. What’s his record of accomplishment? What does he believe in? … It’s time we start asking these questions.”
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Daily Herald promotes Obama, again
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Daily Herald promotes Obama, again
-- Republican State Representative, 96th District, Joe Dunn seeking residents’ input - 
-- DuPage County panel wants jail study  Expense questioned with funding in short supply - 
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=270377&cc=d&tc=&t=
-- Wheaton Mayor Carr and City Attorney Walsh clarify Wheaton public comment guidelines - 
-- If Durbin is a far-left liberal, so is Obama - Roy W. Mashek, Downers Grove
(THE LETTER: At the Web site Project Vote Smart, www.vote-smart.org, anyone can see for himself or herself how every U.S. senator and representative voted on every bill that was put up for a vote. With a little checking it is obvious that Sen. Barack Obama’s voting record is practically a carbon-copy of Sen. Richard Durbin’s. Both Illinois senators, both Democrats, vote the same on the social agenda, yet Obama is labeled a “moderate” and a “centrist,” but Durbin is considered a hard-left Democrat. How can this be?)
USA TODAY
-- DIERSEN: Sadly, USA TODAY uses a Dillard quote to promote Obama  Will the IRP SCC vote to prohibit GOP Obama prasiers from saying that they are Republican? 
(FROM THE ARTICLE: Republican Sen. Kirk Dillard, who took office in 1993, says he gravitated to Obama when the rookie arrived in Springfield in 1997.  "Sen. Obama was someone who I thought — and I was right — could tackle extremely complex things like ethics reform, the death penalty or racial profiling by law enforcement," Dillard says. Obama was "a full partner" in drafting and passing the state's first major ethics law in 25 years, Dillard says. Obama also helped pass laws requiring that police interrogations and confessions in capital cases be videotaped and creating a state earned-income tax credit. Such successes are rare, "especially in a rough-and-tumble place driven by seniority like Illinois is," he says.)
WORLD NEWS DAILY
-- When Obama chose his church over his state - Jill Stanek
http://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53795
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
-- Obama takes first step in White House bid - Christi Parsons
CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS
-- Springfield to be site of Obama campaign launch - AP
http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=23490
TOM ROESER
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Tom Roeser asks questions about Obama and Giuliani
NEW YORK TIMES
-- From Relative Obscurity, Obama’s Star Rose Quickly - Marie Horrigan
(FROM THE ARTICLE: March 16, 2004: Won seven-way Democratic primary with an unexpectedly strong 53 percent of the vote, defeating the runner-up candidate by 29 points. The Republicans on the same date nominated wealthy financier Jack Ryan, who won the eight-way Republican primary with 35 percent of the vote. June 25, 2004: Got a huge boost, and Republican hopes of holding the seat crumbled, after the divorced Ryan withdrew from the race amid allegations he coerced his then-wife — actress Jeri Ryan — to go to sex clubs with him. July 27, 2004: Soared to national prominence after delivering a keynote address that almost instantly became the most memorable highlight of the Democratic National Convention in Boston, delivered at the invitation of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Obama subsequently re-issued his autobiography to include the convention address. Aug. 8, 2004: After floundering in search for a candidate to replace Ryan, Illinois Republicans tried to shake up the contest by choosing staunchly conservative Republican Alan Keyes — a radio talk show host and former U.S. diplomat — as their new nominee. The pick set up a campaign between two African-American candidates. But the move was poorly received, in part because Keyes was a resident of Maryland (where he had lost two previous Senate bids) and in part because Keyes was widely seen as too ideological a conservative for a state that has been trending Democratic. Nov. 2, 2004: Obama trounced Keyes by 70 percent to 27 percent. His vote share was the highest ever for a popularly elected senator from Illinois.)
THE BUSINESS LEDGAR
-- A conversation with Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar
www.gopillinois.com (Files page)
(DIERSEN: Roger Claar represents the 13th Congressional District on the Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee (SCC) -- he serves on the SCC Campaign Committee and at 9.49%, his weighted vote is the second highest of the 19 SCC members.  A copy of a lengthy January 8, 2007 Business Ledger article on Mr. Claar is posted in PDF format on the Files page of www.gopillinois.com.)
CAPITOLFAX
ILLINOIS REVIEW
-- State GOP Sets a Tone - Charlie Johnston
REPUBLICANS FOR FAIR MEDIA
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Daniel T. Zanoza blasts January 6 meeting
WASHINGTON TIMES
CBS2
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Liberals love criticism of old white male conservatives, but blast criticism of anyone else
 
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GOPUSA ILLINOIS
Republican National Committee acknowledges that "Republican" is a descriptive term that cannot be registered as a trademark - Dave Diersen
In its July 16, 1999 letter to the Lao American National Republican Party of the USA (posted on the Files page of www.gopillinois.com), the Republican National Committee General Counsel's Office acknowledged that "Republican" is a descriptive term that cannot be registered as a trademark.
 
SUBURBAN CHICAGO NEWS
BEYOND OUTRAGEOUS: Dillard "declines to say whether Obama would get his vote for president"
Local officials welcome Obama's announcement  Senator takes first steps in run for president - Paige Winfield
Long before the political tide swept Barack Obama into the national spotlight, one of Naperville's state legislators knew him during his more anonymous days in the Illinois Senate.

Republican state Sen. Kirk Dillard treasures his memories of working side by side with Obama from the moment the Democrat set foot in Springfield.

Although he declines to say whether Obama would get his vote for president, Dillard welcomed the U.S. senator's announcement Tuesday that he has filed a presidential exploratory committee. The move allows Obama to raise money in advance of a more formal announcement of his candidacy next month.

"I pride myself on knowing (Obama) was very special before Illinois knew him and the U.S. knew him," Dillard said.

Dillard - whose district includes roughly the eastern half of Naperville - and Obama successfully co-sponsored racial profiling legislation and a campaign ethics bill.

"I believe Obama is one of the smartest people ever to sit in the state Senate," Dillard said.

On Tuesday, Obama said the last six years have left the country in a precarious place, and he promoted himself as the standard-bearer for a new kind of politics.

"Our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, commonsense way," Obama said in a video posted on his Web site. "Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions. And that's what we have to change first."

Rick Klau, former chairman of the Naperville Township Democratic Organization, also knows Obama on a personal level from working on his 2004 campaign.

"I'm incredibly excited that he's made his interest in running official," Klau said. "You want to be part of a country where someone like him is possible. I think what he brings to the race for both parties is a bipartisan opportunity, as the country is very divided right now."

Although Obama carries a Senate voting record that is rated more liberal than that of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, Klau said voters should not limit their analysis of Obama to his voting record.

"If you look not only at his votes, but also at the bills he's introduced, you'll see a number of cases where he worked very hard to line up sponsors from the Republican side," Klau said.

While Dillard also applauded Obama's diplomatic acumen, he said there are some instances in which he and Obama could never work together, such as Obama's repeated introduction of a billion-dollar universal health care plan for Illinois. Calling his proposed legislation a "free-for-all," Dillard said it would have bankrupted the Illinois treasury.

Republican state Sen. Randy Hultgren, whose district includes the western half of Naperville, said as the campaign progresses, it will be weighted less toward Obama's likability factor and more toward his voting record.

As a newly elected senator, Hultgren has never worked with Obama, but has met him on several occasions.

"Somehow he's able to get this perception out there that he's very moderate," Hultgren said. "On a few things he's very open to working with Democrats or Republicans, but I do think overall he's very liberal."

DIERSEN HEADLINE: Democrat Charles Selle insults each and every Republican Assembly of Lake County (RALC) member by saying the RALC is a "rump group"
The Illinois GOP plays the name game - Charles Selle
One would think with the drubbing the Republican Party took in November, party regulars and irregulars would be huddling, interviewing focus groups, looking for candidates as the 2008 elections loom.

Or at least figuring out what went wrong last year on the national, state and local levels.

But not in Lake County.

Instead of licking their wounds, GOPsters here are creating new ones as the Republican Assembly of Lake County continues to battle fellow county Republicans and the Illinois Republican State Central Committee.

It's enough to cause a Democrat to do a pre-2008 victory dance even though we're still more than a year away from voting. I understand Lake County Democratic Party Chairman Terry Link of Waukegan is so excited he's even enrolled in a correspondence course on ballroom dancing. Which other Democrats will be far behind?

While you ponder that, some background.

The Republican Assembly of Lake County is a rump group based mainly in the Libertyville area which has been critical of party leaders dating back to its founding in 2001 by retired Air Force Col. Raymond "Bombs Away" True. Assembly members consider themselves the "true" defenders of the GOP faith and the party of Lincoln, Grant, Hoover, Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush, et al.

Along the way, they've violated Reagan's 11th Amendment -- not speaking ill of fellow Republicans -- such as the time they labeled a former GOP chairman "a rotten apple in our Lake County barrel." Or the time they gave out the home number of a state representative they didn't agree with and urged members to call and call and call.

They've also been known to stick their collective noses into various school tax referendums, usually on the side opposing raising taxes for public education.

Late last month the rift widened when they sued Lake County GOP Chairman Daniel Venturi of Lake Villa in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging he broke some obscure election law by casting weighted precinct votes for a state central committeemen.

Now, the ongoing feud has deepened further.

The Illinois Republican State Central Committee voted on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to deny the Assembly the use of the name Republican because of its history of attacking fellow GOPsters.

How serious this exile is depends on one's political perspective. The state party's edict states the group can reapply to be Republicans in name only after a year.

As some wags have offered, the Irish Republican Army or the late Saddam Hussein's Republican Guards certainly didn't ask the Illinois state GOP if they could use the Republican monicker. But then again, those two groups had a somewhat lawless cachet to their use of Republican and certainly don't mirror the image the state GOP would like to project.

Nobody expects True's followers to bend to this ostracism, which leaves the possibility of legal action by the state party, continued wrangling about who are the real Republicans and repeated glee by Democrats.

After all what's in a name. Just ask the Federalists, Whigs, Progressives and Bull Moose regulars, if you can find one. They're extinct.

DAILY HERALD
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Illinois Republican State Senator Pamela Althoff outrageously says she'd consider voting for Obama; Dillard outrageously says "I knew that he was something special and that he would grow to become a rock star in politics, I just never thought he would become the Beatles or the Rolling Stones this quickly...I believe it is good for Illinois to have our elected officials in a positive national spotlight;” Rauschenberger says “I guess I’m interested, as the campaign goes on, to find where Barack is on the big issues at the federal level;” Cronin jokes that he prefers his presidents “to have a little more gray hair;” and Cronin says “So far, Barack Obama has been about image and hype, and that has far outweighed any substance. He’s a charming fellow, but this is important business...“For Pete’s sake, he wants to be president of the United States. What’s his record of accomplishment? What does he believe in? … It’s time we start asking these questions.”
Obama planning to run? What else is new?  Some lawmakers question where the senator stands - 

SPRINGFIELD — Across the suburbs, many Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike weren’t surprised that Barack Obama will run for president, but his speedy ascent up the national political ladder isn’t what they expected from their former colleague.

“I knew that he was something special and that he would grow to become a rock star in politics, I just never thought he would become the Beatles or the Rolling Stones this quickly,” said Hinsdale state Sen. Kirk Dillard, once a potential U.S. Senate rival of Obama’s and the chairman of the DuPage County Republican Party.

“While Barack is left of center, I believe it is good for Illinois to have our elected officials in a positive national spotlight,” Dillard said.

State Rep. Eddie Washington, a Waukegan Democrat, said Obama’s focus on the underprivileged combined with his oratory flair set him apart from other politicians.

“I hope that this country has changed its ways and is definitely ready for a black man to become the chief executive officer,” Washington said. “Barack proves one thing: that together we are better than one of us alone. He’s a man of inclusiveness. He shies away from exclusiveness, and that will be one of his benchmarks – whether he becomes the next president or not.”

State Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, remains impressed from his experience with Obama on the Illinois Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

“It was easy to see in him a degree of greatness,” Harmon said. “He was a phenomenal mentor. He has an incredible legal mind but never lost grounding for a very common sense view.”

State Sen. Pamela Althoff, a McHenry Republican, offered similar sentiments, going so far as to say she’d consider voting for the Chicago Democrat, though stopping short of saying she’d do so in a primary.

Speculation about Obama holding the nation’s top political spot may sit well with most of his former colleagues, but there are some who say the junior senator doesn’t have enough experience to fill presidential shoes.

“I guess I’m interested, as the campaign goes on, to find where Barack is on the big issues at the federal level,” said former Elgin Republican state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger. He, too, ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004 but lost the primary.

State Sen. Dan Cronin, an Elmhurst Republican joked that while Obama was a bright, young senator, Cronin prefers his presidents “to have a little more gray hair.”

“So far, Barack Obama has been about image and hype, and that has far outweighed any substance. He’s a charming fellow, but this is important business,” said Cronin of Obama’s short policy record. “For Pete’s sake, he wants to be president of the United States. What’s his record of accomplishment? What does he believe in? … It’s time we start asking these questions.”

DIERSEN HEADLINE: Daily Herald promotes Obama, again
Why Obama has to run now  In a world of one-and-done in running for president, this may be Obama's best chance - Eric Krol
Several months ago, the debate raged on whether Democratic U.S. Sen. Barack Obama should run for president or wait to get more seasoning.

Now that he's all-but-formally in the race - forming a presidential exploratory committee Tuesday - the question no longer is whether he should run but why he felt he had to go for it now.

The answer: In the post- CNN/Fox News era, in a new era of rapid response with constantly updated newspaper Web sites and insta-pundit blogs, Obama had to strike while the proverbial political iron is hot.

"Definitely the media plays such a highly significant role in politics today that one would not want to overlook the importance of being a hot commodity in the eyes of the media," said Bruce Newman, a marketing professor at DePaul University, editor of the Journal of Political Marketing and a Buffalo Grove resident. "He needs to give the media a reason to stay excited about him."

The move by Obama to create an exploratory committee - which will allow him to immediately start raising money and get a team in place - caps his rocket-like rise from obscure state senator four years ago to national celebrity and presidential contender.

In past eras, an ambitious politician like Obama, 45, could afford to take his time before running for the nation's highest office. But with his national profile so high - and a fickle national media always on the lookout for its next obsession - there apparently was no time like the present.

Running once for experience and then a second time to apply lessons learned used to be relatively common. Fifty years ago, Democratic Illinois Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson II ran twice against Dwight D. Eisenhower, losing both times.

In the pre-cable TV era, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan both lost presidential bids before mounting successful comebacks.

Not anymore, at least on the Democratic side, where one-and-done seems to be the rule.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman was a respected vice presidential candidate in 2000, but by 2004 his presidential campaign flat-lined. After serving two terms as vice president, Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 against President Bush, but didn't even run again in 2004, even though his strong showing made him his party's presumptive nominee. Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo didn't even get that far - he held off running after his well-received 1984 Democratic convention speech and couldn't regain the steam.

Sen. John Kerry may have come within Ohio's electoral votes of defeating Bush in 2004, but he has seen cold water thrown on any hopes he may have had for a rematch. Kerry's running mate, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, is trying to buck the one-and-done trend.

"Democrats seem to be fairly unforgiving. You get your one chance, and that's it," said Kitty Kurth, a Chicago Democratic consultant who worked on Michael Dukakis' 1988 presidential bid. "Republicans give their people more latitude."

To wit: Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole ran seriously in 1988 but lost to George H. Bush, only to get his party's nomination in a losing effort against President Clinton in 1996. And Arizona Sen. John McCain lost to Bush in the 2000 primary but appears primed to be the front-runner in the GOP next year.

Obama acknowledged the role of the media in his video statement, even if he was discounting it as a reason.

"Running for the presidency is a profound decision - a decision no one should make on the basis of media hype or personal ambition alone - and so before I committed myself and my family to this race, I wanted to be sure that this was right for us and, more importantly, right for the country," Obama said.

Democratic consultant Pete Giangreco of Evanston argued Obama decided to take the next presidential step because his message has resonated.

"People are hungry for a unique kind of politics, and that's what's driving it rather than his national profile," said Giangreco, who will handle Obama's direct mail operation.

For a politician whose national profile was almost wholly fueled by the media, best-selling author Obama chose an unorthodox method of announcing his candidacy: He simply issued a video statement on his web site. And his spokesman said Obama would be doing no interviews or public appearances Tuesday.

The move contrasts with the saturation media coverage he's courted in the past. Obama's first steps into the presidential contest were going to be big news anyway, so headlines were guaranteed. And by not holding a news conference, Obama also avoided having to answer questions about his lack of experience.

The campaign announcement also theoretically appeals to younger voters more likely to get their information via the Web. The campaign did not make available statistics on its Web traffic Tuesday following news of the announcement.

Barring a case of cold feet, Obama's formal entry into the race is expected to come Feb. 10 in Springfield, potentially at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, though that venue had not been finalized, aides said.

Obama's video message indicates that his longstanding opposition to the Iraq war and frequent calls for a bipartisan approach in Washington will be his campaign themes.

"The decisions that have been made in Washington these past six years, and the problems that have been ignored, have put our country in a precarious place," Obama said. "But challenging as they are, it's not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most. It's the smallness of our politics. ... Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions."

Now that Obama has given notice, his immediate challenges include raising $75 million or more to be competitive and dealing with the candidacy presumed front-runner and Park Ridge native, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. His entry into the race leaves Democrats with the potential to select either the first woman or first black to serve as a major-party national standard bearer.

DIERSEN HEADLINE: Daily Herald promotes Obama, again

http://www.dailyherald.com/opinion/index.asp

Excitement, caution over Obama’s step - Editorial

Only if you have just emerged from a Rip Van Winkle-length nap would you be surprised that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has gotten very serious about running for president. He’s been testing the water for weeks, with a flood of publicity, culminating in his formation on Tuesday of a presidential exploratory committee.

But while it is not surprising news that Obama has taken the next big step toward a White House bid as a Democrat, it is in some ways good news.

It is testimony to how far we have advanced as a civil society that a black man is being taken seriously as a presidential candidate. He is not on the fringe. He is getting high marks. Can you imagine this happening in 1964? Or 1968?

There still are those who literally hate the idea of a non-white as a candidate for president. But we think that most voters are looking beyond Obama’s race to what he offers as a leader.

And he offers much. Obama has qualities we have not seen in many presidential candidates recently. He is smart without being smug. He is charismatic by nature, not when the moment, politically, calls for it. He’s refreshingly different from the dull or out-of-touch people who often aspire to leadership. In Obama, many Americans see a chance for reform, for unity, for a chance to be viewed as real people with real problems. Even the way in which he made Tuesday’s announcement shows a grasp of a shift toward more personal and democratic means of communication. He opted for a low-key Web video accessible to any computer user instead of a high-profile news conference attended only by reporters.

But one also wonders whether we’re seeing the real thing. Is Obama the moderate most Americans can embrace, or would he govern from further to the left? That’s hard to say, and that’s just one question about an Obama campaign.

Sometimes candidates who appear so promising wind up disappointing voters because some problem from their past that they naïvely believed they could hide becomes public. Will this be the case with Obama, or are we being too cynical?

There already is the revelation that Obama entered into a real estate deal that had ties to the later-indicted developer Antoin “Tony” Rezko. Obama says he made a mistake in that case. People like Obama’s candor. That is what he needs in addressing this issue or any others that call for truth, instead of spin, in assessing his actions.

Is Obama in over his head, with just slightly over two years of experience in the U.S. Senate?

On that point, Obama should remember that he is first and foremost our senator. That is what he insisted he wanted to be when elected in 2004; nothing more. Now that he has changed in mind — and he’s entitled to do that and many people have encouraged him to do just that — he can’t become too busy exploring the presidency to handle his legislative work and constituent services. In fact, it can be said he needs to improve upon that record so far, the distraction of a presidential bid aside. Obama has done some good things for Illinois, but could be doing more.

Still, Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate for president has substantial appeal. At a time when leaders seem to be strangers, no one we’d really care to know, Obama would be welcome at our kitchen table. Now we’ll see what people think of him being in the White House.

Republican State Representative, 96th District, Joe Dunn seeking residents’ input - 
Anticipating a hectic spring session in Springfield, state Rep. Joe Dunn wants to be prepared.

So the Naperville Republican is asking his constituents in the 96th House District to share their opinions on key issues.

As part of a survey appearing this week in the Daily Herald and other area newspapers, Dunn is seeking feedback on topics ranging from education funding and campaign finance reform to road construction.

“The General Assembly is going to really start its work in February,” Dunn said Tuesday. “We’re going to be looking at some controversial issues. I want to hear from my district.”

By appealing to newspaper readers, Dunn said he’s hoping to get a higher percentage of replies than from surveys mailed directly to homes.

“I think people who read newspapers are well informed and have an interest in the issues,” he said.

Among the statewide issues addressed within Dunn’s eight-question survey is whether Illinois should consider public financing of campaigns.

“There is no doubt that there is a big pay-to-play atmosphere here in Illinois,” he said. “Perhaps public financing of campaigns would solve it.”

Dunn also wants to know if there’s public support for increasing income taxes to pay for education.

“Being a representative, I’ve learned the most important thing is to listen to my constituents,” said Dunn, whose district includes portions of Aurora, Naperville and Warrenville.

For example, Dunn has voted in the past against having the state provide financial support for embryonic stem-cell research.

But after hearing from constituents, he’s now leaning toward supporting it.

Dunn also is gauging public opinion on Indian Prairie Unit District 204’s push to acquire land in Aurora to build a third high school.

In November, state lawmakers refused to grant “quick-take” powers to give District 204 immediate access to 55 acres it needs along Route 59 near 75th Street and Commons Drive.

Dunn, who pushed for the quick-take authority, said he plans to reintroduce the legislation.

In the meantime, the state representative’s survey is slated to appear daily in the newspapers until the end of the week.

The plan is to have all of the survey results tallied by the end of the month. Dunn said he’s willing to share the results with anyone who asks.

DuPage County panel wants jail study  Expense questioned with funding in short supply - 
http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=270377&cc=d&tc=&t=

DuPage leaders are pushing for a comprehensive study of the county jail’s inmate population, despite concerns about the report’s $112,000 price tag.

The county board’s judicial and public safety committee on Tuesday gave its blessing for a contract with the consulting firm MGT of America Inc. to undertake the study.

If the deal is approved by the full county board, MGT will review operations at the jail, forecast the inmate population and recommend whether the Wheaton facility should be replaced.

But with a new jail estimated to cost $80 million to $100 million, some critics are questioning whether DuPage should even bother to pursue the study. They point to the county’s ongoing financial problems and its need for new revenue sources.

On Tuesday, board member Patrick O’Shea responded to the criticism by saying the study should have been done years ago.

“Hopefully, we can get more time out of our existing jail,” said O’Shea, who leads the judicial and public safety committee. “If not, we have to build a new jail. I would at least like to have an outside consultant tell me if we don’t have any time.”

Talk of doing the study started last year when officials raised concerns about overcrowding at the jail in Wheaton.

Last fall, Sheriff John Zaruba publicly warned county board members that the jail’s inmate population is soaring.

A sheriff’s department representative on Tuesday said the problem persists.

“The population has gotten to the level where he (Zaruba) is actually bound to tell the county board that we are at a overcrowding level,” said David Biedron, the chief of administration and supportive services.

Biedron said the 720-bed facility was at 90 percent capacity most of last year.

The current facility was opened in 1995.

“Once you reach 80 percent, you start to lose your ability to manage effectively,” he said.

O’Shea stressed that one goal of the six-month study will be to find ways that the county can lower its inmate population. Its findings also might save the county money, he said.

The county is spending more than $1 million on health care for inmates, officials said. The report is expected to offer suggestions for how expenses could be lowered.

If the MGT contract is approved by the county board, the results of the study would be available by July, officials said.

Wheaton Mayor Carr and City Attorney Walsh clarify Wheaton public comment guidelines - 

http://www.dailyherald.com/news/dupagestory.asp?id=270435&cc=d&tc=&t=

Faced with public opinion that Wheaton’s new public comment guidelines obstruct freedom of speech, the city may modify the policy once again.

Mayor Jim Carr instituted conduct guidelines for public comment on Nov. 20 after several months of what he perceived as political attacks against him and the council.

An attorney for the Citizens Advocacy Center in Elmhurst blasted the guidelines a month later, calling them an attempt to legislate decency that only chilled free speech.

Those sentiments arose again at the council meeting Monday night, when Paula McGowen, a Glen Ellyn resident, said she was shocked the guidelines barred political comment.

“Isn’t this what America’s all about?” McGowen asked. “It’s freedom of speech.”

Carr then pointed out the statement he read did not mention political speech. Legal staff had reviewed the guidelines to see if any modifications were needed. As such, Carr’s reading of the guidelines Monday night differed from the printed version. The guidelines on the agenda read, “Comments that are personally condescending, political or do not speak to the issue at hand will not be permitted.”

City attorney Ed Walsh clarified the issue by saying city code limits public comment to agenda items. However, historical practice has allowed general, including political, comments, as well.

Walsh said citizen comments should be “ideally on agenda items and ideally on specific city business and ideally not on personal political positions. The city really is not interested in hearing political campaign speeches from anyone.”

City council candidate Jonathan Myers asked if that meant political comment is discouraged, but not prohibited.

Walsh said public comment is “never discouraged.”

Carr agreed.

“We follow the democratic process to a fault,” Carr said. “Anyone who thinks otherwise is absolutely and badly mistaken.”

If Durbin is a far-left liberal, so is Obama - Roy W. Mashek, Downers Grove

http://www.dailyherald.com/opinion/fencepost.asp

(THE LETTER: At the Web site Project Vote Smart, www.vote-smart.org, anyone can see for himself or herself how every U.S. senator and representative voted on every bill that was put up for a vote. With a little checking it is obvious that Sen. Barack Obama’s voting record is practically a carbon-copy of Sen. Richard Durbin’s. Both Illinois senators, both Democrats, vote the same on the social agenda, yet Obama is labeled a “moderate” and a “centrist,” but Durbin is considered a hard-left Democrat. How can this be?)

USA TODAY

DIERSEN: Sadly, USA TODAY uses a Dillard quote to promote Obama  Will the Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee vote to prohibit GOP Obama praisers from saying that they are Republican? 
(FROM THE ARTICLE: Republican Sen. Kirk Dillard, who took office in 1993, says he gravitated to Obama when the rookie arrived in Springfield in 1997.  "Sen. Obama was someone who I thought — and I was right — could tackle extremely complex things like ethics reform, the death penalty or racial profiling by law enforcement," Dillard says. Obama was "a full partner" in drafting and passing the state's first major ethics law in 25 years, Dillard says. Obama also helped pass laws requiring that police interrogations and confessions in capital cases be videotaped and creating a state earned-income tax credit. Such successes are rare, "especially in a rough-and-tumble place driven by seniority like Illinois is," he says.)
 
WORLD NEWS DAILY
When Obama chose his church over his state - Jill Stanek
http://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53795
The fix may have been in on Barack Obama's opposition as state senator to Illinois' Born Alive Infant Protection Act, aka support of infanticide.

I've always wondered what compelled Obama not to just vote against Born Alive but attempt single-handedly to thwart its passage, not once, not twice, but three times.

In 2001 and 2002, Obama was the lone senator speaking against Born Alive on the Senate floor. In 2003, Obama killed the bill altogether by burying it alive in a committee he chaired.

I asked former state Sen. Patrick O'Malley why he thought Obama went so far. O'Malley introduced Born Alive and served with Obama on the Judiciary Committee both years the bill was argued there.

"I think he was internally struggling with it," said O'Malley. "His dilemma was obvious. On one hand he holds himself out to be a constitutional scholar, and, of course, our Constitution makes clear that persons born are entitled to all the rights and privileges of full citizens. He consistently characterized the issue before us as being about abortion, but the legislation had nothing to do with Roe v. Wade. It focused on persons born alive. It was so easy to be on the right side of the angels here, but he wasn't."

He was on the wrong side of politics, too. By the third time Obama tried to snuff Born Alive, he was running for the U.S. Senate. The federal version had passed the year before unanimously in the Senate and almost unanimously in the House. Even NARAL went neutral. Pro-aborts agreed to let it pass without a fight lest they appear extreme.

Except Obama. He decided to battle alone further left than any other senator – Boxer, Clinton, Kennedy, Kerry, et al. Risky. Odd.

I might have agreed with O'Malley that Obama fought his internal battle externally, realizing to accept preterm live aborted babies as legal persons weakened his private justification of abortion.

But something in this scenario smelled. The first Mayor Daley once said, "There is nothing so wholesome as a fish," which was his way of defending Chicago politicians, who always smell fishy. Obama is one.

So with the new information out about Obama these days, I re-examined the evidence and found some interesting facts:

  • Obama has been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago since 1988;

  • TUCC is a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice;

  • TUCC's pastor is Dr. Jeremiah Wright Jr., whom Obama calls a spiritual adviser and whom Obama thanked in his 2004 U.S. Senate victory speech, along with "fellow Trinitarians," before his wife;

  • From 1986 to 1989, Wright served on the Board of Directors of Evangelical Health Systems;

  • In 1995, EHS merged with another health system to create Advocate Health Care, controlled jointly by the United Church of Christ and Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, both pro-abortion;

  • One Advocate property is Christ Hospital, where in 1999 I discovered babies were being aborted alive;

  • One prominent Advocate board member is the Rev. Dr. Ozzie Smith Jr., a former associate pastor at TUCC under Wright;

  • Another Advocate board member, Melbalenia Evans, is TUCC's former executive minister;

  • TUCC is the United States' largest UCC church. Ebony listed Wright as one of the 15 greatest black preachers. Advocate is the largest nonprofit healthcare provider in Chicago. Talk about crossroads of power and money. Speaking of crossroads, TUCC is located five miles from Christ Hospital.

So, which explanation makes more sense, that the fire rose in Obama's belly to fight for what he nobly but foolishly thought was the sacred right to infanticide, that he decided, by golly, this was why he was elected, and even if he stood alone, looking like a left-wing extremist, he was going to protect that right?

Or that Advocate got to Obama through its UCC contacts?

Am I inferring faith has no place in legislative decision-making? No. To assert laws should be written, passed or failed in a moral vacuum is to assert the impossible, since laws are expressions of morality.

No, the question Obama must answer is whether his church or Advocate influenced him. Obama has a shady history. Was there quid pro quo?

Advocate recently fell from grace with Obama, Wright and TUCC. They believe Advocate is ignoring their community's poor.

I'm surprised they are surprised Advocate might be mistreating the least of these.

I also think they have a lot of nerve.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Obama takes first step in White House bid - Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON -- In an announcement weighted with history and moment, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who less than three years ago was serving in Illinois state senate, declared today his intention to run for president.

Obama's move dramatically punctuates the extraordinary arc of a political career for a man who said he had trouble even renting a car to attend the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in 2000. But his stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004 catapulted him to a hybrid status of politician as celebrity that continued with his election to the Senate and his status now the first African-American candidate considered a leading contender for his party's presidential nomination.

He is expected to face two daunting challenges, one to raise up to $100 million for his campaign and the other, to compete with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, among many others, in what would be the longest and most expensive presidential campaign in history. His announcement today was the filing of a presidential exploratory committee, a step that allows him to immediately start to raise money in advance of a more formal announcement of his candidacy, which is expected some time after the State of the Union address by President Bush on Jan. 23.

In recent weeks, Obama has been reaching out to for financial supporters and key staff as he prepares for a White House run. Though by any conventional measures, the notion of a Obama candidacy would be seen as the ultimate long-shot gamble, his has been a most unconventional rise.

After his convention speech, interest in him soared and his first book, an autobiography, Dreams From My Father, became a national best-seller. That was followed by his second book, The Audacity of Home, which at one point was even outselling author John Grisham on the best seller lists. Obama also was a top draw for Democrats running for Congress in the midterm elections. And, of course, it certainly didn't hurt him when Oprah Winfrey, declared Obama her preferred candidate for the White House on her popular television show.

That popularity coalesced into presidential ambitions. Now comes the part when Obama must develop a set of positions on any number of issues. Perhaps none is so important as the war in Iraq.

Although aides as recently as this weekend were still calling it a "possible" campaign, one close friend to Obama said the only thing that would stop the candidacy would be if the senator "got cold feet."

One major consideration for Obama has been whether he would put his young family through the ordeal of a campaign. Although it will be based in Chicago, his campaign will still put Obama on the road a great deal -- beginning with forays into primary states that are already beginning.
 
CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS
Springfield to be site of Obama campaign launch - AP
http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=23490
Barack Obama plans to launch his campaign for president in Abraham Lincoln's hometown, a move that would reinforce the Democrat's theme of putting aside partisan differences and trying to unite the country.

It also might send a message about Obama's relative inexperience.

Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 after eight years in the Illinois General Assembly. Lincoln became the nation's 16th president and is considered by many to be the greatest one after a single term in Congress and eight years in the Illinois Legislature.

"There's a clear, very significant symbolism there," said Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, an early advocate of Obama running for president.

Obama formed a presidential exploratory committee Tuesday and said he would formally announce his decision about running on Feb. 10. That's two days before Lincoln's birthday.

Several Obama supporters said they've been told he plans to announce his decision in Springfield, the state capital. Obama's exploratory committee did not immediately comment.

"It's a great choice. It's the home of the last Illinois president and I think Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy are part of the heritage of all of us," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Obama lives in Chicago but may want to avoid reminding voters of that city and its long history of corrupt, insider politics.

An announcement in Springfield would emphasize his years of legislative experience there and the connections to Lincoln, who led the nation through the Civil War. Recalling the struggle to end slavery might be another benefit for someone who hopes to become America's first black president.

The city offers several potential backdrops to a presidential announcement: Lincoln's home, his presidential library and the former state capitol where he delivered a famous speech warning that "a house divided against itself cannot stand."

TOM ROESER
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Tom Roeser asks questions about Obama and Giuliani
ADDRESS TO THE WHEELING TOWNSHIP GOP: II  (Continuation of my keynote address to the Wheeling Township GOP last Saturday; Part I ran on this web-site yesterday. In the first installment, I listed the three top Republican candidates for president-John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. Then I turned to the Democratic offerings.)
That makes three top Republican contenders for the presidency to face with the alleged best the Democrats have…beginning with a man I happen to know pretty well, Barack Hussein Obama.

In Hollywood years ago, somebody asked Oscar Levant how long he had known the singer-actress Doris Day. He answered: “A long, long time. Before she was a virgin.” Doris Day started out in Hollywood as a teen-age dancer, then sang with big name bands Les Brown and Tommy Dorsey…and married and divorced three times…acting as a sharp-eyed little fox… before breaking into films with a complete makeover as a freckle-faced, blue-eyed kid from next door-wide-eyed and innocent, singing “Que Serra Serra” whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see, que serra serra.

“The future’s not ours to see” is right because it was only a few years ago when I was getting phone calls from a guy who would say, “Hey, big guy. What are the chances of getting on your WLS show next Sunday?” It was from a guy hungry to get on the radio and far from the distant, reflective seemingly intellectual man-of-the-future. Who would possibly imagine that this eager state senator would become the number one or number two front runner for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States? Needless to say he’s no longer calling me “big guy” to see if he can land a spot on my radio show. He has 6- or 7-figure media savants to do this now.

All the same, he announced his candidacy for Congress on my show-against Bobby Rush. He said he was going to introduce a bill in Springfield that would be a springboard to the Congress. I forgot what it was; he undoubtedly has as well because the next thing we knew he was absent from Springfield and absent from Chicago. Where was he? I asked Bobby Rush, a former Black Panther who had narrowly missed being assassinated by one of the Cook county Democratic party’s finest-States attorney Ed Hanrahan, whose storm troops fired round after round of gun fire into Fred Hampton’s apartment, killing him and who had gone looking for Rush but had just missed him when he left his apartment. I asked Bobby why he was worried as to where his opponent, Barack Obama was. He didn’t answer but I deduced that some may have been worrying that Obama had been rubbed out.

Not likely. It turned out that the incipient Democratic president of the United States, incardinated into destiny’s hall of fame by Lynn Sweet of the “Sun-Times” had felt that being struck in the legislature during a severe Illinois winter was hardship so he took off for the state of his birth-Hawaii. When he came back he had missed several snowstorms but also a chance to go to the House. Bobby Rush beat him like a drum.

Now Barack Hussein Obama is destiny’s tot, posing in deep thought, with a forefinger to his cheek as the possessor of all solutions to our national and international problems. Maybe so-but before he gets a chance to solve our problems, he should answer some questions he has neglected for some time. It involves his religious background. Before there arises a cry that this is unfair, recall that John Kennedy had to answer forthrightly in 1960 as to whether he would obey the call of his nation over that of his church. He answered those questions in his speech to the Houston Ministerial Society, saying that he did not assume a difficulty would come up but if it did and he had to make a choice, he would resign the presidency. That ended the controversy.

Barack Obama can end the controversy as well. His office seems to regard any questions of a possible earlier religious commitment as unfair. Not so. If he can answer the question as completely as Kennedy did, he deserves to move up to the next level.

Question No. 1: When you were a youth, you went to a Muslim school for several years. Did you ever embrace the Muslim faith then and later renounce it?

Question No. 2: Do Muslims have any reason to believe that you were once of their faith and have rejected it?

Question No. 3: Was there ever a time when people would have reason to believe you were a Muslim? The fact that Hussein is your middle name is one reason-the name of Mohammad’s grandson whose date of death is regarded as a high holy day in the Muslim faith.

Question No. 4: Do you realize that the Koran specifies that anyone who was a member of the Muslim faith and rejected should be done away with?

There should be no attempt to wash away the specifics of this question as has been utilized earlier with generalities such as Christians, Muslims and Jews all worship the same God. Yes we do but that obviates the specific.

This does not mean that questions need not be directed to presidential candidates of our own party…and now’s the time to ask them. As I said earlier, by the polls and by the numbers, the most electable ticket for Republicans would be, as Steve Forbes has also said, a ticket of hero John McCain and hero Rudy Giuliani. It would be an ideal ticket if Giuliani could answer the questions about his three wives and survive. If he can do so, he should be equated with Harry Houdini’s feat in 1929 when he escaped from a strait jacket while encased upside down in a padlocked diving capsule 200 feet under water in New York harbor.

Question No. 1: How is it that as a meticulously prepared prosecutor who went to court superbly prepared to respond to any defense argument and a mayor who could recite from memory pertinent statistics about New York that scholars had to look up, you married your first cousin without knowing she was your first cousin?

Question No. 2: How is it that your choice of a second wife was so radically inappropriate that she took the lead in the Broadway show “The Vagina Monologues” so as to embarrass you while you were mayor?

Question No. 3: How is it that your judgment went so far askew as to try to sneak in a mistress-ultimately Wife No. 3-in to Gracie Mansion without your wife’s knowing which prompted Wife No. 2 to get a court order barring you from doing so?

Question No. 4: How can you support your contention that you can supply this nation a strong program of internal security when you failed to keep your own campaign strategy document from being left behind in a restaurant where it was picked up and publicized by opponents?

As to John McCain, there are only two questions-but they are sufficient to cause him some mental torment.

Question No. 1: Is commentator Ken Bode right…he was Dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern and one-time moderator of “Washington Week in Review”…that you formally acknowledged your own adultery was the cause of the breakup of your first marriage which your ex-wife has described as you thinking you were a 20-year-old again?

Question No. 2: Is the rumor correct that one of the reasons you asked for a divorce from your first wife is that while you were in the Hanoi Hilton, she suffered an automobile accident which robbed her of health and, to some degree, looks which led you to decide you did not love her any more?

All these questions are permissible, gentlemen and not to be dismissed as “unfair,” “personal,” “racist” or “intruding on the privacy of religious conviction.” These questions will be asked in the general election campaign so you might as well answer them now.

Now as to Illinois. Are Republicans to be mesmerized by the phenomenal success of the Democratic party here? A Democratic party that has a governor widely despised by most factions of his party…who is under serious probe by the feds for corruption-a probe extended to the governor’s wife for favors she allegedly received from Tony Rezko…and the full story’s not divulged yet.

A Democratic party that has a state treasurer endorsed by Barack Obama who has admitted granting loans to Outfit figures and defending his action by saying the mobsters were good loan prospects. A Democratic party that has as its Cook county board president a man who will not even hold a seat on the board he supposedly governs…who appeared on my radio show long after he was nominated and admitted he had yet to crack open the county’s budget book.
 
NEW YORK TIMES
From Relative Obscurity, Obama’s Star Rose Quickly - Marie Horrigan
(FROM THE ARTICLE: March 16, 2004: Won seven-way Democratic primary with an unexpectedly strong 53 percent of the vote, defeating the runner-up candidate by 29 points. The Republicans on the same date nominated wealthy financier Jack Ryan, who won the eight-way Republican primary with 35 percent of the vote. June 25, 2004: Got a huge boost, and Republican hopes of holding the seat crumbled, after the divorced Ryan withdrew from the race amid allegations he coerced his then-wife — actress Jeri Ryan — to go to sex clubs with him. July 27, 2004: Soared to national prominence after delivering a keynote address that almost instantly became the most memorable highlight of the Democratic National Convention in Boston, delivered at the invitation of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Obama subsequently re-issued his autobiography to include the convention address. Aug. 8, 2004: After floundering in search for a candidate to replace Ryan, Illinois Republicans tried to shake up the contest by choosing staunchly conservative Republican Alan Keyes — a radio talk show host and former U.S. diplomat — as their new nominee. The pick set up a campaign between two African-American candidates. But the move was poorly received, in part because Keyes was a resident of Maryland (where he had lost two previous Senate bids) and in part because Keyes was widely seen as too ideological a conservative for a state that has been trending Democratic. Nov. 2, 2004: Obama trounced Keyes by 70 percent to 27 percent. His vote share was the highest ever for a popularly elected senator from Illinois.)
 
THE BUSINESS LEDGAR
A conversation with Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar
www.gopillinois.com (Files page)
(DIERSEN: Roger Claar represents the 13th Congressional District on the Illinois Republican Party State Central Committee (SCC) -- he serves on the SCC Campaign Committee and at 9.49%, his weighted vote is the second highest of the 19 SCC members.  A copy of a lengthy January 8, 2007 Business Ledger article on Mr. Claar is posted in PDF format on the Files page of www.gopillinois.com.)
 
CAPITOLFAX
KJ won't go - Rich Miller
As expected, state GOP leaders urged Republican National Committeeman Bob Kjellander to resign at their Saturday meeting, and, as expected, Kj refused to step down.

Republican National Committeeman Bob Kjellander was asked to resign Saturday by his party’s 19-member state central committee - a request the Springfield lobbyist immediately refused.

The state GOP leaders approved the non-binding resolution during an executive session in their latest regular meeting, held in suburban Bolingbrook. Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna declined to release the vote tally or other details but said the signal that leadership has “lost confidence” in Kjellander follows concerns raised by a group of county GOP chairmen.

“We don’t have the ability to move beyond that,” he said of the measure.

Kjellander said the move was more about the GOP wipeout than anything else.

Kjellander said disgruntled members of the Republican Party were in search of someone to blame after the GOP’s poor performance last fall–though he declined to view himself as a scapegoat.

“They’re entitled to their opinion. I have mine,” Kjellander said, noting that the state central committee had no authority to remove him from his post. “Certainly when a party gets wiped out at every level like we did after the last election, people are going to look for scapegoats.”

But it’s not all about that. And it’s not all about corruption. The right wing has been trying to take over the state GOP for years, and Kjellander is just the latest target. As with the fight over who would replace Lee Daniels, the strategy is to oust Kj and install one of their own. Notice that the self-proclaimed reformers have never gotten behind a squeaky clean compromise candidate that disagreed with them on hot button social issues.

ILLINOIS REVIEW
State GOP Sets a Tone - Charlie Johnston
The Illinois Republican Party's State Central Committee evoked cheers and jeers last Saturday by formally calling on National Committeeman Bob Kjellander to resign and by suspending the ability of two organizations, the Republican Assembly of Lake County (RALC) and the Forum of Independents and Republicans of Schaumburg Township (FIRST), from using the name, 'Republican', in official documents.

Both actions may be largely symbolic. Kjellander insists he will not resign regardless of who calls for it. While FIRST has been quiet, the RALC and its supporters have been screaming about the rebuke. Unless the State Republican Party is prepared to file suit for infractions, there is probably little recourse against either organization continuing to use the word 'Republican' in general usage.

But that is not to say that party's actions are futile. In the course of the meeting, Chairman Andy McKenna announced he will form a Republican Study Group to help chart a course for the future. He plans to appoint members to this group from various existing activist groups and officials from around the state. The idea is to expand the party's outreach and develop a plan that engages all authentically Republican groups, so as to begin healing the fissures that have so damaged the party in recent years. McKenna also indicated he plans to rely much more heavily on the Republican County Chairmans' Assn. than the party has in the past.

This is a very good development. The Republican Party was being hollowed out in the many years the State Central Committee was treated as a mere figurehead body to be manipulated by shadowy power brokers. Astute observers were able to predict the demise of the party a decade ago just based on that fact. A political organization that operates exclusively from the top down is an organization that is headed for a fall, no matter how powerful it seems. A political organization that works effectively from the bottom up is on the road to recovery, no matter how weak it seems. If these become genuine task forces, rather than pr task forces, the party is genuinely on the road to recovery.

Yet if the party is to expand its outreach in a divided time, it is appropriate (perhaps even vital) for the party to establish what is and is not acceptable behavior.

Whether or not he has done anything wrong, Kjellander has become as much the poster boy for Republican profiteering politics as Gov. Rod Blagojevich is for Democrats. His continued presence in a high level role almost certainly damages Republican fortunes in Illinois. In fact, the high level role he is playing in Mitt Romney's campaign for president significantly reduces Romney's chances of winning the Illinois primary.

The penchant of FIRST and RALC to spend their time working the politics of the grudge against fellow Republicans damages Republican chances in general wherever they operate. (Full disclosure - I had been a member of the RALC for the last two years. I allowed my membership to lapse this year. Though I agree with the organization's written principles, its principle officers seem obsessed with accomplishing through various forms of litigation what they can't accomplish at the ballot box - and that usually translates into far more attacks on fellow Republicans than on Democrats).

The fact is if you want to get a demolition crew all you have to do is hang around any street corner and you'll find plenty of qualified people in short order. If you want to find architects and a construction crew you'll have to spend a little more time and be a lot more picky. We already have more than enough people on Republican demolition crews. The State Party did well in establishing that what we want is a committed construction crew.

REPUBLICANS FOR FAIR MEDIA

DIERSEN HEADLINE: Daniel T. Zanoza blasts January 6 meeting

http://www.politicsislocal.com/artman/publish/article_553.shtml

Republican Assembly of IL Fails to Appoint Oberweis State Conservative Spokesman / Meeting Draws Ire of Some Pro-Family Leaders - Daniel T. Zanoza

On Saturday, January 6, 2007, the Lake County chapter of the Republican Assembly of Illinois (RA-IL) held a meeting in Cook County.  The gathering was moderated by Founder Tom Roeser and RA-IL Lake County Chairman Col. Raymond True.

Col. True told RFFM.org the meeting was solely a Lake County chapter event.  However, RFFM.org has learned individuals who are not current or past members of the RA-IL were in attendance.  However, John McNeal and Earl Gough, leaders of RA's west suburban Cook County chapter, did not receive invitations, while some conservative leaders turned down invitations to the RA-IL meeting which the group referred to as a "Conservative Caucus."

One source told RFFM.org the agenda of the meeting for those invited seemed to revolve around appointing Jim Oberweis as the primary conservative spokesman in Illinois with a high office in the RA-IL.  Oberweis, a wealthy businessman and perennially Republican candidate, did not attend the event.  Sources told RFFM.org there was a clear attempt to elect Oberweis as a spokesman for RA-IL.  But some speculate the meeting's goal would have expanded Oberweis' position as more than a spokesman for the group.  It is believed some who attended the meeting were attempting to elect Oberweis as the leading spokesman for all conservatives throughout the state.
 
RA-IL also would like to become the umbrella for all conservative organizations in the state.  However, the group could not reach a consensus and a vote taken at the meeting regarding the Oberweis issue failed to pass by a 7-6 margin.  In fact, one RA-IL member who requested anonymity, told RFFM.org, "Invitations were clearly dependent upon one's opinion regarding Oberweis.  The agenda seemed to backfire because even though those invited were cherry-picked for their political allegiance, the group could still not come to an agreement."
 
"We need leadership in Illinois,"said Col. True.  "The Republican Assembly is looking to appoint someone who will adhere to and advance the GOP's state and national platforms.  That's what we were trying to do.  There was nothing underhanded about it."
 
But an individual told RFFM.org the notion given to those in attendance was one which emphasized secrecy.  "I thought that meeting was supposed to be a secret."  One member who attended, and also refused to go on the record, said he was reluctant to talk about the meeting's agenda and who participated.
 
Past statements made by some leaders of RA-IL concerned the lack of transparency which now exists regarding the Illinois Republican Party.  Yet the nature of the meeting and how it was conducted has drawn criticism for the same reasons.
 
Some of those attending the meeting included Jim Leahy (President, RA-IL), Steven A. Leahy (RA-IL's chief counsel), Kathy Salvi (recently defeated in the Republican primary in the 8th Congressional District), Dave Diersen (GOPUSA Illinois Editor), Craig Simmons (Chairman, Illinois Center Right Coalition), Jon Zahm (Republican activist and political consultant), Joe Morris (a respected conservative and head of the Lincoln Legal Foundation), Lydia Downs (Executive Director, Family Taxpayers Network), Jack Martin (Republican activist), Joe Weigand (conservative activist), Ruth O'Connell (Cook County Suburban Township Republican Committeeman) and radio host Bruno Behrend.
 
For years the Republican Assembly of Illinois has, essentially, been inactive.  It is not known if Jim Oberweis was aware of the vote taken by the group.
 
The group's next meeting is again being referred to as a "Conservative Caucus" and is scheduled for Saturday, February 10, 2007.
 
Below is Col. True's suggested 14 point criteria for a possible future RA-IL spokesman and conservative spokesman for the state.
 
**************
 
The following criteria for a conservative spokesman was sent out via e-mail by Col. True.
 
Criteria for Spokesperson selection
 
1. It must be someone who is willing to support all planks of the state and national Republican Platforms.  Selectee must agree to seriously study the platforms and be readily conversant on all planks and the rationale behind them. 
 
2. It should be someone who has state wide name recognition.
 
3. It should be someone who is already well known to the media and has been frequently contacted in the past and currently for quotes at opportune moments.
 
4. It should be someone who can devote considerable time to the endeavor without having to balance time away from a full time occupation.
 
5. It should be someone who is willing to commit significant personal funds to the effort and have sufficient name recognition to raise additional funds.
 
6. It is desirable, at least initially, that the candidate for spokesman not be on record as currently seeking elective office
 
7. It must be someone totally distant from the "Combine" or current leadership of the Illinois Republican Party.
 
8. It must be someone who cannot be portrayed as a "moderate" or "liberal" Republican.
 
9. It must not be someone who has accepted funding or other support from Unions or pseudo-democrat organizations.
 
10. It must not be a single or narrow issue advocate.
 
11. The Selectee must be approved by a minimum of two-thirds of the conservative caucus.  Voting should be round robin with the bottom candidate dropping out if additional rounds are necessary.
 
12 The spokesman must be prepared to travel to Springfield and Washington at his own expense at least initially.
 
13.  Spokesman will become Chairman of the Republican Assembly of Illinois.
 
14.  Personal life style of spokesman should be above reproach as concerns marital history, infractions with the law and significant ethical or moral questions.
 
WASHINGTON TIMES
    Rebellion is brewing among conservatives on the Republican National Committee over President's Bush's attempt to "impose" Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida as "general chairman" of the party, who favors "amnesty" for illegal aliens.
    "I will be voting against Senator Martinez if he is nominated for any chairmanship of the RNC," Tina Benkiser, Texas Republican Party chairman, told The Washington Times yesterday.
    Bill Crocker, the elected national committeeman from Texas, says that when the RNC convenes here tomorrow, "Absolutely, I will vote against Martinez."
    The conservatives -- one of whom accused the Bush White House of "outsourcing" party leadership -- say the general-chairman post does not exist under RNC rules, which can be changed only at the party's presidential nominating convention.
    Unhappy committee members say that, in the past, Republican presidents and RNC leaders have successfully run roughshod over the rules, because the RNC officer presiding over votes at committee meetings have simply overruled points of order and other objections from the floor, with no accredited professional parliamentarians to exercise a check.
    This time, the organizers of the rebellion say, their strategy will rely in part on having a parliamentarian present. And violations of Robert's Rules of Order and of the RNC's written rules -- adopted at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York -- could result in legal challenges.
    "I have also requested that the RNC employ the services of an independent certified parliamentarian to assure that breaches of the rules are avoided," North Dakota RNC member Curly Haugland said in a letter sent to all RNC members yesterday. "And I trust that my request will be honored due to the potential need for numerous interpretations of the rules."
    Mr. Bush has said he hopes the RNC will elect Mr. Martinez as "honorary chairman" but that title has changed, in Republican Party press releases and conversations with RNC officials, to "general chairman."
    Robert M. "Mike" Duncan, a Kentucky RNC member and RNC treasurer, is expected to be elected as the national chairman, with the responsibility of day-to-day management of the committee.
    "Every president has the prerogative of naming who runs the national committee," Mr. Duncan told The Washington Times. "The choice is determined by the needs of the party at the time the selection is made."
    Arguing precedent, proponents of the arrangement point out that the RNC members went along with President Reagan's desire in 1983 to have his friend, Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt, voted in as general chairman, even though the rules provided for no such office. The RNC members at the same time elected Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr. -- an RNC member and chairman of the Nevada Republican Party at the time -- as chairman.
    But opponents say that 1983 precedent does not justify another violation of the party's rules.
    "I have a hard time understanding the logic," said RNC member Randy Pullen, who is running for Arizona Republican Party chairman in an election at the end of this month. "Just because the RNC did something wrong once before, somehow that justifies doing it again?"
    Mr. Pullen pointed out that Mr. Martinez, who served as Mr. Bush's secretary of Housing and Urban Development before winning a Senate seat, is not an RNC member. RNC rebels say the rules are clear that the person who heads the committee must be a member of the committee.
    "Outsourcing our leadership at this critical time is not an option," Mr. Haugland said.
    Organizers of the rebellion against the White House domination of the RNC -- as well as other members who haven't decided yet to join the planned public showdown at the RNC's annual three-day winter meeting -- say even before Mr. Martinez became an issue, they expected difficulty in fundraising by the national committee for the 2008 election cycle.
    "Martinez aside, the simple fact that the GOP no longer is in the majority in Congress is going to make it more difficult to raise money," said Louisiana RNC member Ross Little.
    National committeemen willing to buck the White House on the RNC chairmanship also cite as fundraising obstacles the president's unpopularity, the conduct of the Iraq war, as well as disillusionment caused by the scandals, big spending and ineptitude of Republican leadership in Washington.
    The rebels say that electing Mr. Martinez as head of the RNC would make raising money even more difficult because of resentment by the party's rank-and-file small donors over Mr. Martinez's co-sponsorship of legislation to allow millions of illegal aliens to become citizens.
    "Martinez's support of [Arizona Sen. John] McCain's immigration bill on amnesty for illegal aliens is causing a lot of concern among our base," said Mr. Pullen. "I happen to know that people -- our $25 and $35 donors -- are writing on the back of our RNC solicitations for donations: 'When you close the border to illegal aliens, we'll open our checkbooks.' "
    The Central Committee of the Republican Party in the president's own state of Texas has passed a resolution strongly urging the Texas Republican Party chairman, Mrs. Benkiser, and the two other Texas RNC members to vote against Mr. Martinez.
 
CBS2
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Liberals love criticism of old white male conservatives, but blast criticism of anyone else
Slavery Remarks Spark Outrage  Black And Jewish Leaders Criticize Va. Lawmaker's Comments - AP
RICHMOND, Virginia A Virginia state legislator is sparking outrage over remarks made arguing against a proposed apology by the state to the descendants of slaves.

Republican delegate Frank D. Hargrove, in comments published Tuesday in The Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Virginia, said slavery ended nearly 140 years ago with the Civil War and added: "I personally think that our black citizens should get over it."

The newspaper also quoted the 79-year-old lawmaker as saying: "Are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?"

Responding to his critics Tuesday, Hargrove, who is 79, told a delegate whose Jewish ancestors immigrated from Nazi-occupied Poland that the delegate's skin is "a little too thin."

Black House of Delegates members swiftly denounced the comments Hargrove made on the holiday commemorating the life and mission of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

"When somebody tells me I should just get over slavery, I can only express my emotion by projecting that I am appalled, absolutely appalled," said Delegate Dwight C. Jones, head of the Legislative Black Caucus.

Delegate David L. Englin, a Democrat, seated next to Hargrove, spoke passionately about his grandparents leaving Poland "where they were driven from their homes by people who believed that as Jews, we killed Christ."

As he held up a wallet-sized photo of his 7-year-old son, Caleb, Englin struggled to keep his composure as he pondered the possibility that his child might have to cope with anti-Semitic comments.

When Englin sat, Hargrove reached over and softly patted Englin on the arm. Then, Hargrove rose to speak and, looking down at his seatmate, said, "I didn't even know you were Jewish, I had no idea of what your religion, (and) I don't care what your religion is. I don't care."

"I think your skin was a little too thin," he said as Republicans and Democrats gasped and groaned in disbelief.

Such comments by any elected official only add to the anti-Jewish animosity, said David Friedman, director of the Washington, D.C., regional office of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League.

"What he has done is inject his own personal bigotry into a very difficult and heated discussion and in no way, by injecting that, does he do anything to illuminate the debate," Friedman said. "He raised the need for an apology in a manner that I'm sure he never intended."

The controversy hits nerves already sore in Virginia, only a few months after another incident involving a racially-charged comment by an elected offical.

At an August campaign rally before a mostly white crowd, then-Senator George Allen pointed into the crowd to a Virginia-born man of Indian descent working as a volunteer for his Democratic opponent and referred to him as "macaca," a slur in some cultures. The GOP incumbent's comfortable lead over Democrat Jim Webb evaporated and he lost by about 9,000 votes.

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