By DOUG IBENDAHL • December 2, 2012
The next quarterly meeting of the Illinois Republican Party is this Saturday, December 8th. The members of the State Central Committee will convene at the Bolingbrook Country Club, 2001 Rodeo Drive in Bolingbrook at noon.
These meetings are open to the public and the press, with the caveat that our State GOP has been conducting much of its substantive business in closed executive session. But you can at least sit in on the public portions.
The Chairman of the State Central Committee is of course Pat Brady, and if he ever cared anything about our Republican Party, he’ll do the right thing and announce his resignation on Saturday. And if Brady won’t do the right thing on his own, the State Central Committee should do its job and demand his resignation.
Do I think it will happen? Honestly, no. Brady and the committee he chairs are locked together in a dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship. And it’s clear no one there is serious about doing what’s best for our Party.
So it’s up to rank-and-file Republicans to keep up the pressure. Nearly every Republican I’ve talked to from every part of the state has had the same response about Brady’s future. It’s been the same response, something like, “well of course he needs to go.”
Pat Brady had his chance. He became Republican National Committeeman in 2008. The following year, in August of 2009, Brady was also given the State Chairman title after Andy McKenna resigned. In an unprecedented move, Brady was allowed to hold two of the three top positions in the Illinois GOP at the same time. He finally gave up the National Committeeman title in April of 2010 when Rich Williamson took over that spot.
Brady has proven he can’t lead and has no clue how to build a party organization. Further, he’s lost the trust of the Republican faithful. You simply can’t rig conventions, tell your own constituents they can’t vote within their own organization, treat Republicans with disrespect, and then honestly expect anyone to follow you come election time. This November proved that yet again. Only a few chumps remain who are willing to volunteer, and only a tiny handful of wealthy suckers are still contributing money to the State GOP.
Think about it. Do you ever see yourself taking marching orders from a guy who just a month ago was selling “Fire Madigan” outfits for dogs? I can’t imagine.
Pat Brady’s silliness and divisiveness have reduced our once proud Illinois Republican Party to nothing. I’ve never seen our Party as dead in Illinois as it was this year. And it simply can’t be revived by Pat Brady. The trust is gone. It’s going to take fresh leaders to fix all the damage – and soon – if the GOP honestly expects to have any hope in Illinois come 2014.
No official can get away with floating empty promises of the next secret plan after the biggest election shellacking in our lifetime. Question one: where was this so-called plan a year ago? Question two: do they think we’re all gullible saps?
When Brady resigns and a vacancy is created, replacement candidates will emerge. At that point there needs to be an open process where all Republicans can hear from the candidates. Let’s actually hear from the people who want the job. Let’s hear what their visions are for the GOP and what they bring to the table. At the end of the day, an unaccountable State Central Committee still has sole authority to choose the Chairman. But the rank-and-file should at least have the opportunity to weigh in.
But step one is for Pat Brady to step aside and give someone else a chance. The Illinois Republican Party will remain dead in the water until he does the right thing.
Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.