Santorum nails it about Illinois GOP

By DOUG IBENDAHL • March 19, 2012


At one of his Illinois rallies a couple of days ago, Rick Santorum exhibited better insight about Illinois politics and showed more courage than 99% of conservatives who have lived here all of their lives.


As POLITICO reported, Santorum said this to a large crowd of supporters:


“Conservatives don’t have much of an opportunity in Illinois to speak; don’t have much of an opportunity to get statewide folks nominated and elected who are conservatives. But you do. You can make up for all of that frustration. You can make up for all of the slights by the leaders of this party here in Illinois. You can go out and win us this race!”


Santorum gets it. He nailed the exact theme I had been urging Newt Gingrich’s team to run with in Illinois for months, to no avail.


Gingrich instead wasted part of his short time in the state last week at the company owned by one of the biggest sellouts of the conservative movement and one of the biggest funders of Team Romney (anyone funding Pat Brady and the Illinois Republican Party these days is in fact funding Team Romney). While Santorum was waging a serious fight, Gingrich spoke about algae. (I wish I was making this up.)


I like Gingrich. I’ve said for a long time he was my candidate. I meant it. But it’s futile to waste our votes on a candidate who is clearly not serious about his own campaign in Illinois.


Santorum is a bit too “churchy” at times for my personal taste, but he’s right on the big issues. More importantly, he’s a fighter. Santorum’s staying in the battle in Illinois, long after Gingrich flew the coop.


I’ll be voting for Santorum. Romney will likely win Illinois handily thanks to a huge war chest and the misuse of the State Party franchise by Romney backers like State GOP Chairman Pat Brady (good going SB 35 sellouts).


I live in the 7th U.S. Congressional District which is one of the four where Santorum didn’t get delegates on the ballot. That’s okay. I’ll just vote for Santorum in the “beauty contest” portion.


I’m certainly not rewarding Romney for his over-the-top nasty attacks on good Republicans. And sorry Newt, I can’t reward you for your refusal to hold ranks and fight back in the face of Romney’s vicious carpet-bombing of Illinois.


Rick Santorum is the only candidate left with the courage to speak truth to power when it comes to Pat Brady and the rest of the Illinois GOP’s selfish, corrupted Old Guard. Santorum’s earned my vote.


Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.


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