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GOP hands Illinois to Democrats

Illinois Republican Chairman PBrady

Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady

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Updated: April 4, 2013 6:23AM

Please, Illinois GOP, don’t shoot yourself in the foot — again.

This state has a crying need for a formidable Republican Party. Without one, there’s no counterbalance to the unfettered power of Democratic leadership. No countervailing wind to trim the sails of Emperor of the House Mike Madigan.

But, sigh, if certain members of the Republican State Central Committee doggedly insist on proceeding with a lame-brained March 9 meeting to oust their current party chairman, Pat Brady — well — then Katy bar the door. The joke won’t just be on Illinois’ toothless GOP but on beleaguered citizens who suffer from a one-party General Assembly.

If you’ve been following this Republican soap opera, you know that Brady, in the view of his party’s “conservatives,” committed the unpardonable sin of saying that he was, like a growing majority of Americans, personally supportive of legalizing same-sex marriage.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis (who lost his ’02, ’04, ’06 and ’08 attempts to be a U.S. senator, governor or congressman) is leading the oust-Brady effort while insisting it’s not really about same-sex marriage.

“It never has been,” contended Oberweis by phone Thursday. “It’s been about a CEO who has not considered the objectives of the organization.”

Like Brady raising $3.2 million last year, more than ever before? Like identifying more Republican voters than any other state GOP?

“I have no comment on fund-raising or identifying voters,” he said.

No, Oberweis’ beef with Brady is for taking sides in some contested Republican primaries.

“There is no rule that you can’t get involved in a primary,” said Brady by phone. “Our goal is to get our party elected.”

And Oberweis faults Brady for deviating from the Republican Party platform. Which sounds a lot like the same-sex marriage issue to me, though Oberweis argues we in the press keep getting that wrong.

Then again, didn’t Oberweis deviate from his party’s platform back in 2001 as he was preparing to run for U.S. Senate? Didn’t he get into a heap of trouble for comparing pro-life conservatives to the Taliban back when he was pro-choice? Before he became, like another losing Republican named Mitt Romney, pro-life?

Still, I give Oberweis credit for actually picking up the phone to talk to a reporter he doesn’t particularly admire when some of his other dump-Brady colleagues won’t even return calls. Like national GOP committeeman Rich Williamson, for instance. Or 15th District state central committeeman Jerry Clarke.

It’s not as though Pat Brady is without fault. The “Dump Madigan” campaign he and the state party launched in 2012 not only fizzled but more Democrats got elected. And he should have, but didn’t, alert his party’s leaders before taking a stand on same-sex marriage.

Then again, Vice President Joe Biden should have done the same with his boss, Barack Obama. But it turns out that Biden effectively forced Obama to stop dithering on the issue. And it turned out to be a big plus for the president. Obama owes Biden a debt of gratitude.

And the Illinois GOP owes Brady.

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