Sunday, January 31, 2010
The big debate in the battle between Jeffrey Junkas and Molly McAvoy Flynn, especially in the news media, hasn't been so much about the issues but rather about which one is a "Democratic plant." The debate reflects the divisions that exist in the Republican Party between moderates and hardline extremists who are trying to silence the divergent voices.
The Regional's Meg Sullivan does the best job in describing this battle in her report this week in the Palos Reporter Newspaper, which also covers Orland Park. Click HERE to read the story.
Flynn is backed by Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman, the Cook County Commissioner from the 17th District and Republican Committeeman in Orland Township. Junkas is backed by a rebel faction led by some of Gorman's critics.
The truth is that the Republicans can't afford this name calling and should instead focus on preparing to come together to challenge State Rep. Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy has been a muted member of the legislature. I don't know him and have never met him, though ironically his office is the equivalent of two houses north of my home. Amazing, isn't it, that I ran for the district rep spot in 1991 (in my bid to learn firsthand the experiences of a public candidate in launching my then political consulting firm) and McCarthy never says hi. That's because he does what he is told to do.
I don't blame McCarthy for doing what House Speaker Michael J. Madigan orders him to do. Madigan is powerful and smart, probably one of the smartest politicians in Illinois and maybe the MidWest. It always amazed me that Madigan would not have run for higher office like the U.S. Senate. But his power in Illinois is formidable and he is essentially Illinois' de facto Governor.
But I do wonder about the harsh attacks against Gorman and what motivates them. Gorman has really strengthened her leadership during the past two years. As a longtime Democrat myself, many years ago, I was one of her critics (and admirers, too). But Gorman has clearly redefined what voters need, someone who has an allegiance to a political party but who is also smart enough to reach across the partisan lines to work for the best interests of the voters.
The attacks against Gorman -- and some extremists in the Republican party have tried to blame her for this dispute between Flynn and Junkas -- are unjustified. She, more than anyone, has brought the best in the Republican Party together while being mindful of the needs of the 17th Cook County District. She's a dedicated Republican and if I were a member of the Republican Party, I'd take her advice on what needs to be done in Orland Township and the 17th District.
Gorman backs Flynn and that is a powerful endorsement that Junkas can't take for granted. His focus on the phony issue of who is or isn't a Republican is ridiculous. Every candidate in every election is always blasted as a "ringer" or a "plant" from the other side. A good candidate for public office pushes that aside and instead focuses on the issues and tells voters what needs to be done, rather than making excuses.
Whether either candidate is a plant is irrelevant. What's relevant is who is best to represent the party in making McCarthy accountable to the voters instead of to the State Machine.