The Republican party is relevant (at least temporarily) in Illinois for the first time in a long time. On the back of moderates like Mark Kirk and idiots like Rod Blagojevich, the party label has crawled out of the wilderness. Being labeled a Republican is no longer toxic to a candidate’s chances. In fact, Mark Kirk might actually win President Obama’s old Senate seat.
A recent decision by the party bigwigs though, suggests that while Kirk might be uniquely talented and Blago uniquely outrageous, the Republican party’s new found vigor isn’t the result of the state party leadership evolving into a modern, forward looking bunch. The new Illinois party chair, Pat Brady, is a pretty thoughtful guy, but there is no acceptable explanation for Jack Roeser’s promotion.
For those of you who don’t know, Jack Roeser is a particularly ignorant 86-year-old who was the source of the “Mark Kirk is gay” rumors that Andy Martin repeated in a radio spot which said “Illinois Republican leader Jack Roeser says there is a solid rumor that Kirk is a homosexual. Roeser suggests that (Kirk) is part of a homosexual club.” I suppose as a reward for that wonderful tidbit, the Illinois Republican Party has made good old Jack finance co-chair of the Illinois Republican party. That means that he is one of five individuals responsible for raising cheddar for the Republicans trying to win both stateside and at the national level. In other words, the sourtce of the “Mark Kirk is gay” rumors is now responsible for helping Kirk become the next senator from Illinois.
Furthermore, the Chicago Business Journal reports that Roeser is one of the main sponsors of an event being headlined by Kirk. The article also notes that Roeser is “apparently lobbying pretty hard to become the GOP national committeeman, the Illinois Republican Party’s second highest ranking position.” As Greg Hinz points out, Roeser has a history of intolerance. But the bottom line is that Roeser does bring in the dollars at a pretty good clip, and in politics that matters.
But there have to be limits. The Kirk rumors are unforgivable. Beyond the shamefulness of the rumor and the intolerance it reveals, there is the fact that the man is perfectly willing to play fast and loose with the truth to bring down a candidate he doesn’t happen to like, even without any meaningful evidence to substantiate his absurd attacks. He should lose his job, not only for being intolerant, ignorant, but for doing his party a disservice by embodying all of the faults that self-righteous liberals charge the party with advocating. We don’t condone hatred or dishonesty. We never have. We never will. It’s time to say so. Mr. Roeser needs to go.