Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Proft to Illinois College Republicans: Tom Cross is Speaker Madigan’s Whip; Illinois GOP needs leaders with backbone. Know any?

Dan Proft participated last Saturday in a panel discussion of the “Future of the Republican Party,” at the annual convention of the Illinois College Republican Federation at the Hilton in Chicago. The number of college Republicans attending the morning panel discussion was about thirty.

Proft is currently with Urquhart Media, with the Town of Cicero and a political commentator at WLS-AM Radio in Chicago. He has worked on a number of political campaigns for a diverse set of candidates, including moderate Illinois Republican State Rep. Beth Coulson (Glenview); Senator Patrick O'Malley (mainstream conservative), candidate for Governor in the 2002 Republican Primary; the Tag Team, 2004, Republican U. S. Senate candidacies of Jack Ryan (mainstream conservative) and Alan Keyes (mainstream Pentecostal Revival) and Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica’s (Reformer) efforts to become the first Republican President of the Cook County Board in about four decades. Go here to watch Proft spar with his former journalistic mentor, Chicago Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn, and to make an assessment of the Proft-Zorn 2006 political predictions.

Part of last Saturday’s panel discussion dealt with the peculiar collection of Republican worker bees, interested partisans, candidates, office holders and leaders that calls itself the Illinois Republican Party. In Proft’s discussion of same, Dan identified what many, if not all, would call the heart or core of the problem with the State GOP. That is, during the last decade, the Illinois GOP, just when it thinks it has hit rock bottom, finds a new bottom. Notwithstanding that decade long tailspin, many of the Illinois GOP leaders (an oxymoron?) still seem to be in denial as to the Party’s problems, e.g. lack of a Party brand, i.e., a coherent philosophy that guides its party's office holders, candidates and leaders in key votes and actions, let alone come up with thoughtful, intelligent solutions to those problems, i.e., a brand that is distinctively Republican and attractive to a large majority of voters.

Dan Proft, folks, take a listen:

Dan Proft: I gotta tell you. I went back to my alma mater last week. There was a legislative forum for the four tops that was moderated by Henry Bienen, the President of Northwestern [University]: [Speaker Mike] Madigan, [Senate President Emil] Jones, [Republican Senate Leader Frank] Watson and [Republican House Leader Tom] Cross were there and I now know if I am subject to eternal damnation what it’s going to look like. It’s going to be me chained to a seat having to listen to those four for the rest of eternity.

Dan Proft (cont): Because it was—outside of Frank Watson’s attempts…I think Frank Watson would be the first to admit he is not necessarily the greatest, most philosophical spokesman for the Party, but at least he ….attempted to make the point about the need for contrasts—like here is what the Republican Party is supposed to be about. Here is what the Democrats are doing. He made a conscientious effort. I think he has made a conscientious effort as [Republican] Leader of the Senate. The other three guys—the debate was essentially about—was ninety minutes about which taxes should be raised and how much—including [Leader] Tom Cross, who essentially, in my opinion, has acted and acted on stage as Mike Madigan’s whip.

Dan Proft (cont.): And, it gets a little frustrating, it gets a little annoying—I mean it gets really quite unnerving actually to listen to the same pablum, the same bilge over and over again as our minority status continues to decline into smaller minority status in this state with people giving us nothing but happy talk: “Oh boy, renewal, reform is right around the corner. We just gotta keep doing what we are doing, taking scraps, selling our souls a little bit at a time.” How is that working out for us? It’s not working well.

Dan Proft (cont.): So, I think we need a shift in strategy, a shift in the level of phosphates in the backbones of people with leadership titles in this State, in this party… we need to get serious about saying if this is the castle, then we are going to go build our own castle and we’ll reestablish the Republican brand around, over and above people with leadership titles who have shown no propensity to lead except as it is to advance the interests of the opposite party.

For a tamer view of the situation from Proft- perhaps because it was put out for the masses- go here. For an effort, and it is quite a stretch, to take something positive from the College Republican event, read here.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search
can be reached at You may currently watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Richardson, Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox and many other pols, as well as this week's suburban edition of Public Affairs with Republican State's Attorney of Cook County candidate Tony Peraica at
Go here to watch recent Public Affairs shows on our YouTube page, including this week's suburban edition of Public Affairs with Tony Peraica, last week's show with the 10th CD players: Seals, Footlik and Kirk (this show is the one with the picture of the person (Seals) clasping his hands in front of him), as well as prior "Public Affairs," shows including those featuring Democratic Primary State's Attorney candidates Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Ald. Howard Brookins, Jr.; Ald. Tom Allen; Bob Milan, First Ass't. to State's Attorney Devine; and Anita Alvarez, Chief Deputy to State's Attorney Devine-- and many other shows .

Recently posted shows on the Public Affairs Youtube page include a discussion with Cook County State's Attorney Democratic Primary Candidates Ald. Howard Brookins, Jr. and First Ass't Bob Milan and on p. 2, discussions with Cook County Board Member and State's Attorney Republican candidate Tony Peraica; Illinois 8th CD Republican Primary candidate Kirk Morris; and a combo show with (a) Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn and WLS 890 AM Radio political commentator Dan Proft and (b)Hardball's Chris Matthews on the Clintons and much more [The Matthews-Zorn-Proft show is identified by a picture of show host Jeff Berkowitz].