Here’s what happened at the last State GOP Convention

By DOUG IBENDAHL • May 6, 2012


As the old saying goes, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.


State law requires the established political parties to each have a state convention once every four years. We Republicans wouldn’t be having one this year in Illinois if the law didn’t require it. When State GOP Chairman Pat Brady and his handlers drag their feet on releasing the rules and other basic information about the event, that’s all about doing as little as they think they can get away with.


It was the same four years ago at the last convention in Decatur. It was the same four years before that when the convention was held in Collinsville. Pat Brady is told what to do by the same little group that told Andy McKenna what to do – and Judy Baar Topinka before that. If anything it’s likely to be worse this year. With McKenna one at least sensed the guy felt some guilt when he was wrecking the party. I don’t think Pat Brady has any shame whatsoever.


I didn’t write about the Collinsville convention in 2004, back when Judy Baar Topinka was State Party Chairman. But one disgraceful episode I remember that year involved a proud Republican in his 70’s having his shoulder injured as he was forcibly removed from the convention floor. That elderly man’s offense? He had the nerve to hold up a sign saying, “Kjellander Must Go!” (If you aren’t familiar with the controversial former National Committeeman Bob Kjellander, you’ll find some history here.)


As rigged and destructive as the 2004 convention was, it was a Sunday School class compared to Decatur in 2008. I wrote several articles about that convention. Below are a few of my reports from back then. If you want to know why the Democrats keep running everything in Illinois, you’ll find the answer below.


As I wrote in 2008, the only serious remedy is a return to direct elections for the members of the State Central Committee – the governing board that’s supposed to be overseeing our State GOP. Absent the accountability that only real elections can provide, bad officials will keep hurting our party and destroying any chance the GOP might have to defeat the Democrats.


And it’s time we started calling any remaining defenders of our current failed system exactly what they are – irresponsible.


State GOP Convention in Decatur: Obama and the Democrats emerge the big winners from McKenna’s trainwreck (June 12, 2008)


The real story behind McKenna vs. Schillerstrom (Part 1) (June 18, 2008)


The real story behind McKenna vs. Schillerstrom (Part 2) (June 19, 2008)


State GOP Convention in Decatur: Just more proof that Republicans need the power to directly elect (Part 1) (June 27, 2008)


State GOP Convention in Decatur: Just more proof that Republicans need the power to directly elect (Part 2) (July 1, 2008)


Iowa GOP holds a real Republican convention, puts Illinois GOP to shame (July 15, 2008)


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



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