There were several inaccuracies in yesterday’s article [by Ed McClelland of NBC Chicago]. The statement that “Oberweis was such an abysmal candidate that the party wouldn’t even give him the 2004 U.S. Senate nomination after Jack Ryan withdrew over a sex scandal, despite the fact that Oberweis finished second” is incomplete at best.
The facts are that I finished second out of eight Republican candidates, ahead of several strong Republican leaders. The reason Republican insiders did not want me to be the nominee was their concern that I just might win and then upset the insiders cozy applecart.
I was not popular among party insiders because during the primary campaign, at Republican Day at the state fair, in front of the press and other Republican leaders (including Bob Kjellander, our National Committeeman at the time), I publicly asked Bob Kjellander and Bill Cellini to resign to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Mr. Kjellander had just received a $10 million “commission” for introducing our state pension plans to the Carlisle Group (yes, the same state pension plans that are now underfunded by approximately $100 billion). Mr. Kjellander, I believe, was later named as “individual K” in the Blagojevich indictment. Mr. Cellini was indicted and convicted last year. Those Republican insiders clearly did not like my willingness to speak out.
I agree that some insiders (and the press) also did not like my willingness to speak out about the growing problem of illegal immigration. My issue has never been about immigration. It has been about those breaking our laws to enter this country. I agree that our commercial with the helicopter did not present the issue well but the statement that I claimed that Soldier Field could be filled by “the number of illegal immigrants who sneaked across the border in a week” is also inaccurate. In fact, our claim was about the number of people entering our country illegally THROUGH LEGAL POINTS OF ENTRY and was based on a study done for our federal government by a professor at the University of Michigan. It didn’t even take into consideration people crossing our borders at night in remote locations.
Most importantly, my objections to Pat Brady’s actions have nothing to do with gay “marriage”. It has to do with insubordination of a CEO of an organization. In such a case, in my opinion, the board of directors (in this case the State Central Committee) is duty bound to deal with such an issue.
I have suggested a special meeting at which Pat can present his reasons and his reasoning. Then the committee can act to support his actions or he can adjust his activities to comply with the direction of the board, or the board can decide to choose a new leader. For the board to fail to act under current circumstances, in my opinion, would be a failure to meet our obligations. We must face this issue, resolve it, and then get back to the IMPORTANT needs of our state. Those needs start with solving our tremendous financial problems including our unfunded pension liabilities, our budget deficit, and the waste and fraud that takes place at the governmental level.
I believe voters want us to deal with these financial issues, not spend our time on peripheral issues. To do that, we must solve our current problem and move on quickly.