Thursday, October 18, 2007

ABO, Part 2?

Months ago I explained to readers that Barack Obama got his start on the national scene in part because of the GOPs secret position of ABO – or Anyone But Oberweis. The party just simply could not allow a new senator with strong views against illegal aliens.

Now we need to keep an eye on what Dennis Hastert does. The former Speaker of the House announced months ago that he is not going to run again. That announcement has brought to the surface several candidates for his job, including Jim Oberweis.

The next question is whether or not Hastert finishes out his term, which ends in January of 2009. He has said he didn’t plan to interfere with the primary next February, which is clearly the fairest thing to do for the candidates.

You see, if he resigns in the next few weeks, as recent rumors suggest, then Gov. Blagojevich will have to call a special election within 120 days to replace him. The primary is February 5th, so he could piggyback on that date.

But Obama will be on the ballot that same day and you have to draw a party ballot here in Illinois. I’m not sure how many folks will be torn between Obama and the pack of Hastert’s potential replacements, but if Blago thinks it will discourage crossover voters, he’s likely to spend the money for a separate election. There's plenty of confusion around here as to whether this special election would be a primary or the final.

With Oberweis in the pack of GOP candidates, Hastert might just throw his replacement primary away to the Democrats. I’ve heard a state rep (also a contender for Hastert’s seat) say, “Oberweis has set the Republican Party back 20 years.”

I think what that means is that most GOP office holders abide by the Bush-Rove philosophy that you go after the brown vote, even if it means giving up the platform people support. The grassroots groundswell of opposition to comprehensive immigration reform has apparently taught them nothing.

Personally, I’d like to see Denny ride out his term, but that seems very doubtful at this point. Rest assured that if the Illinois GOP can foul something up, they will.

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