Would a “Patriot” oppose the right of Republicans to vote?

By DOUG IBENDAHL • March 29, 2011


Yesterday I was on the receiving end of a very strange email blast. It came from some guy named Tom Weber in Lake County who emails under the name “The 912 Patriots.”


I can’t make heads or tails out of much of it. There’s a lot of gibberish. But basically it’s urging Republican voters to stand up and demand to remain disenfranchised in their own party. Weber urges Republicans to contact all the State Senators to tell them to vote “no” on SB35 (formerly SB600).


In other words, Weber’s advice to Republicans is to do what you can to make certain you don’t get the same right to vote that every Illinois Democrat already enjoys. (The Democrats have always had direct elections for their State Central Committee – just like Illinois Republicans did too for over 70 years until the late 1980’s when the right was taken away from us and we ceased being a Red State.)


I for one have a lot more faith and confidence in Republican voters. I don’t believe that any self-respecting Republican would be so spineless as to voluntarily choose to stay voiceless in their own GOP home.


It’s pretty clear from Weber’s email that he hasn’t done his homework. I don’t think he understands how our current system works, much less the SB35 reform.


I emailed him and suggested he read this piece for starters – about the phony (and actually counterproductive) bylaw change our State GOP adopted a few weeks ago behind closed doors.


It’s also worth mentioning that Weber began his email missive with: “As [The 912 Patriots] do not claim to be Republican or Democrat….”  Also, later on in the message Weber admits that he himself has pulled both Democrat and Republican ballots in the past.


So we’ve got a guy who by his own admission has on at least some occasion identified himself as a Democrat – trying to tell Republicans that we should not have the right to elect our top party leaders. But Weber doesn’t even try to suggest that the Democrats give up their voting rights. Not a peep about his other chosen party. He’s concerned only with Republicans continuing to be treated on an inferior basis under Illinois law.


Maybe Mr. Weber thinks Democrats are smarter and more able to choose their own leaders than we Republicans. But that’s just a guess. I have no idea what he’s thinking.


About the only things in Mr. Weber’s email message that I did understand are the blocks of phone numbers and email addresses for the State Senators. Those look very good and I know why – he simply cut-and-pasted our work product from RepublicanNewsWatch.com. It’s the same resource we assembled to help Republicans urge passage of SB600, now SB35. Weber uses an exact copy of the final work product we have online. He just uses it for the opposite purpose for which it was intended.


Look folks, I don’t like having to write columns like this. But too many people have worked too hard and too long on this reform. So when some newbie stumbles in and recklessly blasts out false and uninformed claims about an excellent bill, someone has to set the record straight.


At a minimum, can we all agree that if you want to badmouth the right to vote – at least have the decency not to call yourself a “Patriot?” Seriously, I don’t ask for much.


And finally, as always, true Patriots are invited to join the ever growing list of SB35 supporters that you’ll find here.


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


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