Sunday, September 18, 2005

Brady wins Conservative Summit with Catholic, 12,000 watt smile

State Sen. Bill Brady won the Conservative Summit’s support for the Republican gubernatorial primary nomination, but what has he won. [See here] for rumored soon to be Chicago Tribune columnist Tom Roeser’s blog report of Saturday’s Summit activities].

Those attending did not appear to represent a very large sample or broad based cross section of the conservative movement. Caprio, one of the co-hosts had told me there would be about 50 attendees but only 36 voted, according to Roeser. Other than Board of Review Commissioner Maureen Murphy, I don’t think there was an office holder in the crowd, except there might have been a village official, local school board member or precinct captain to be found, if we looked hard enough. Nor were there many significant conservative movement leaders in the room.

State GOP Chairman McKenna and Cook County GOP Chairman Skoien did not attend and apparently they were not invited. By way of explanation as to the failure to invite McKenna, it was reported that no statewide GOP officials were invited. However, State Central Committee member Maureen Murphy [Also a member of the Cook County Board of Review and also a chum and ally of Paul Caprio] was there. This is a crowd who likes some rules, but exceptions even more so.

Caprio told me no media would be allowed in the room, as that would inhibit the give and take. But Bruno Behrend, who has a brokered radio program on WIND, was there—and some in attendance thought he was recording it—which would seem to be an inhibitor, of sorts. Dave Diersen, who identifies himself as a media member and Illinois Editor for GOPUSA was there. And, of course, WLS AM Radio media personality, mainstream print columnist and now blogger Tom Roeser was there. So, what was Caprio thinking when he said “no media.” I couldn’t begin to tell you.

And, 3 % of the cross section of conservative Republicans are apparently Democratic candidates for office, with 2004 Democrat Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Candidate Frank Avila, Jr., in attendance.

In short, a run down of the list of attendees doesn’t seem to show a lot of people with a lot of votes behind them, not unless you count all of those Democratic primary votes that Frank Avila, Jr. got or perhaps, those of his dad, who actually is a commissioner for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

And, then there is Tom Roeser’s primary explanation of Brady’s winning tally: Irish Catholicism, physical attractiveness, devastating charisma and 12,000 watt smile. Devastating charisma? Well, Ok, if you say so, Tom.

And, Tom reports that Rauschenberger’s downfall was his insufficient explanation of his vote regarding what Tom Roeser calls “abortifacients.” And the group was “suspicious,” of Rauschenberger’s explanation for support he once received from a Gay Rights group—support that apparently makes Sen. Rauschenberger almost Un-American in the eyes of this crowd.

And yet, this is a group that invited Jim Edgar. That is to say-- they might be at home with Edgar’s social moderation but not Rauschenberger’s conservatism? What were they thinking? Hard to know. Mr. Caprio was unavailable for comment at the time we went online.

One of the co-hosts of the meeting is reported to have called the meeting counterfeit.

So, you have to ask, just why did Brady win? Why did Rauschenberger, Birkett and Oberweis lose? Hard to say.

Irish Catholicism? A 12,000 watt smile? This is what the conservative movement in Illinois is looking for?

Well, maybe you had to be there. I tried, but media were excluded. Or, at least some media.

What did Brady win? Why the Conservative Summit support, of course.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at