Pat Brady’s dishonesty is exactly why Republicans need direct elections

By DOUG IBENDAHL • March 15, 2011


You might assume that with hunger for real democracy surging even across the Middle East these days that it would be difficult to find anyone clueless enough in America to publicly badmouth the right to vote.


But you would be wrong.


The direct election reform bill – formerly SB600 now called SB35 – is moving forward again in Springfield in the new General Assembly session. So once again the same old hacks are out parroting the same old lies.


It’s all about them keeping their titles so they can keep doing a lousy job – while Republicans like you are denied the means to do anything about it.


Yesterday the guy with possibly the biggest stake in the broken, easily rigged system we now use to pick the State Central Committee was on the radio in Bloomington. Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady repeated the same old lies that were discredited years ago.


Just one reason the State Central Committee – and the way we choose them – is so important is the fact that only those individuals get to pick the State Chairman. Much of the destructive energy that goes in to rigging the State Central Committeeman spots – is all about controlling who will be State Chairman – because that position is especially valuable for promoting chosen candidates and issues.


Currently, the same people send Pat Brady out with the identical lies they used to send out with Andy McKenna. Before that it was Judy Baar Topinka. When the insiders who really run the show use a figurehead up, they just get another.


During his radio interview Brady focused mostly on the ridiculous notion that SB35 is a “Democrat bill.”  Right, the Democrats are going to punish Republicans by giving Republicans the right to vote.


And of course Brady failed to mention that the two sponsors of SB35 in the Senate right now are Kirk Dillard and Chris Lauzen, both conservative Republicans.


Brady also didn’t mention that an earlier version of SB35 passed unanimously in the Senate in 2005, and the current version (then known as SB600) also passed the Senate overwhelmingly in October of 2009. That was also with the votes of both Republicans and Democrats. The fact that some GOP weaklings bowed to insider pressure and voted against the right to vote doesn’t change the reality that SB35 is 100% a Republican bill.


Brady also disrespects the hundreds of Republican leaders who have joined the list of SB35 supporters. (View that list here – and email me at if you would like to add your name and stand with other honest Republicans like former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald.)


The problem with clueless guys like Pat Brady is that they assume everyone else is just as clueless.


The simple fact is no bill can pass in Springfield without the votes of Democrats. That’s just simple math given the big Democratic majorities in both chambers. Brady’s answer to that is to go on the radio and lie to the residents of his old home town for the purpose of trying to preserve a corrupted system that’s guaranteed to keep the GOP in the minority forever.


Also don’t forget – Republicans had direct elections in Illinois for over 70 years. It took a law – passed with the help of Democrats – to take the right away from us in the late 1980’s. SB35 simply reverses that selfish power grab that has been such a disaster for Illinois Republicans.


Brady also repeated the lie yesterday that direct elections will somehow put Democrats on our State Central Committee, when in fact it’s our current system that’s doing exactly that today. State Central Committeeman Skip Saviano is the most obvious example – but there are plenty of others (see for example here and here). And just a couple of weeks ago we told you about all of Brady’s allies funding an ultra-liberal Chicago Democrat in last month’s election.


Of course there’s never been a peep from Brady about these real problems. He would rather just make stuff up.


It should be clear to all by now that Pat Brady has no idea what he’s doing. You can understand why we lost the Governor’s Mansion again last year – this time to a guy who promised to raise taxes and who was the former running mate of a now convicted felon. Oh yeah, and this happened during the most favorable national environment for the GOP in our lifetime.


We need competent, honest leaders who will work on getting Republican votes – instead of selfish hacks who spend all of their time repeating old lies and trying to prevent Republicans from voting. (Yes I know – that’s a crazy idea.)


More Republicans need to step up. If you tolerate officials like Pat Brady who lie to you on a regular basis and who don’t think you’re smart enough to choose your own leaders, then you’ve got no one to blame but yourself when the Democrats keep running Illinois.


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


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