Friday, April 11, 2008

All within the Family: Governor Thompson on reviving the Illinois GOP; Sen. Radogno on Thompson and the Combine

Links to Kass and the Illinois Combine added on Friday at 12:30 pm
Jeff Berkowitz: Is there an Illinois Combine. Is John Kass right? [See here for a discussion of the Combine by Pundit Paul Green with show host Berkowitz and links to relevant John Kass Chicago Tribune columns about the Illinois Combine].

Sen. Christine Radogno [Deputy Republican Senate Leader]: Yes, I believe he is.

Jeff Berkowitz: What is the Illinois Combine?

Sen. Christine Radogno: Well, Jim Thompson’s part of it. This whole ...
Former Governor Jim Thompson, below, suggests the key to turning the State GOP around is to go Back to the Future with moderate Republican candidates, citing to the twenty-six year gubernatorial reign of Republicans from 1977 to 2002. That would be fourteen years of Thompson followed by eight years of Jim Edgar followed by four years of Thompson’s good friend and law client, George Ryan.

Of course, Jim Thompson skipped over the fact that George Ryan is now doing six years, or so, of prison time for his public corruption conviction. Moreover it was Thompson’s law firm, Winston & Strawn, that provided a twenty million dollar defense to George, pro bono. And, it was Jim Thompson who provided moral support to George in the courtroom and the know-how re how to navigate past the media and out of the courtroom in certain crucial circumstances.

Further, former U. S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald won an Illinois U. S. Senate seat in 1998 after running and winning as a conservative in the Primary, over moderate and Party establishment favorite, Loleta Didrickson. And, moderate Republican Judy Baar Topinka lost the general election for Governor in 2006, big time.

Also, Republican Party Leader Thompson was nowhere to be found during the 2006 Topinka campaign. [See here]. Perhaps that was due to his co-chairing the transition team for Governor Blagojevich in 2002-03 and his law firm’s retention by Blagojevich and his Campaign up to and including the present.

Not surprisingly, Thompson didn’t raise the issue of the Daley-Ryan Combine and it’s impact on the State GOP recovery. [For addtional recent comments by Thompson, go here]

On the other hand, moderate Republican Senator and Deputy Republican Senate Leader Christine Radogno seems to think Thompson is a part of the Combine and she doesn’t seem to think the Combine is good for the State GOP. Take a listen to Chris, below.

Indeed, you could say Berkowitz pulled a WTTW and missed a few questions that should have been asked to Thompson. It is a bit lame, but In his defense, standing in the hall at the Hilton in hopes of grabbing Senator McCain for a few questions before McCain goes into a funder and finding instead you have Jim Thompson standing at your side for an interview of undetermined length means you may miss a few questions. Next time, in the studio, we’ll try to make up for it. Meanwhile, take a listen to Radogno [Watch here] and then Thompson.
Jeff Berkowitz: Is there an Illinois Combine. Is John Kass right? [See here for a discussion of the Combine by Pundit Paul Green with show host Berkowitz and links to relevant John Kass Chicago Tribune columns].

Sen. Christine Radogno [R-Lemont]: Yes, I believe he is.

Jeff Berkowitz: What is the Illinois Combine?

Sen. Christine Radogno: Well, Jim Thompson’s part of it. This whole sale of Wrigley Field, I think, is—

Jeff Berkowitz: Democrats and Republicans working together for the benefit of others [and themselves], not for the people, is that what you would say?

Sen. Christine Radogno: Yeah.

Jeff Berkowitz: Is that the Illinois Combine?

Sen. Christine Radogno: Yeah. I mean I think they just like the art of the deal, and so I see that raising its head again with the Wrigley Field issue.

Jeff Berkowitz: All right, so you could not support the Wrigley Field deal [Purchase of Wrigley Field by the State of Illinois from Sam Zell, new owner of the Tribune Company. [and the Chicago Cubs].

Sen. Christine Radogno: I would not support the Wrigley Field deal.

Jeff Berkowitz: Tom Cross [Illinois State House Republican Leader] said he is open to it.

Sen. Christine Radogno: I know, good for him.

Jeff Berkowitz: You differ with Tom?

Sen. Christine Radogno: Yeah, obviously.
From this week’s suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” with Senator Radogno. Watch here and go here to read more about the show’s topics and discussion.
Jeff Berkowitz: Closer to home, everybody talks about the Illinois GOP as if it can’t ever turn itself around. It seems to hit a new bottom in every election. Do you agree? And, if so, what would you do to turn around the State GOP?

Governor Jim Thompson: Well, we have to have strong statewide candidates who will appeal to not only Republicans but also independents and Democrats. That was successful for twenty-six years in this state, so there is no reason why if the Republican Party nominates moderate candidates who can appeal all across the spectrum of voters that they can’t be successful again. You cannot nominate conservative candidates in the primary and then expect general election success in a state like Illinois.

Jeff Berkowitz: Is that why you think the Republicans lost the 14th [Illinois Cong. Dist]. [For a competing view, see here].

Jim Thompson: You know there is a lot of different factors for why the Republican Party may have lost this office or that office, but as a general rule, that’s the kind of candidate we need in the State of Illinois and of course if the Democratic legislature doesn’t produce results in the next couple of years and if we still have this sort of dysfunctional Springfield, maybe they are the ones in jeopardy.

Jeff Berkowitz: Who do you think will emerge as the leading Republican candidate for Governor in 2010?

Jim Thompson: Oh, there are a lot of them. Tom Cross [moderate Illinois State House Republican leader], Mark Kirk [moderate eight year incumbent Republican Congressman representing the North Shore’s 10th Cong. Dist.], for starters.

Jeff Berkowitz: You think Mark might be the guy. He’s being challenged in his own district. He only won 53 % to 47 % last time around.

Jim Thompson: Yeah, I understand that. But, he would be a dynamic candidate for Governor, I think. So would Tom Cross. And, there undoubtedly will be others by the time that election comes up.

Jeff Berkowitz: All right, thank you so much, Governor Thompson
Jim Thompson (R), Illinois Governor, 1977-1991, interviewed on March 14, 2008, before attending a fundraiser for Senator John McCain at the Chicago Hilton, 720 So. Michigan, Chicago, IL.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search,
can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Obama and McCain, former Presidential candidate Richardson-- and many other pols, including this week's show with Senator Radogno, last week's show with Rep. Lang, and and prior shows in the City of Chicago and Aurora with WGN Political Pundit and Roosevelt University Professor Paul Green at
Recently posted shows on the Public Affairs Youtube page include this week's show in the Chicago North and Northwest Chicago metro suburbs with Senator Radogno, last week's show with Rep. Lang [Watch Lang, Part 2], the prior week's show with Rep. Lang [Lang, Part 1] , our prior show in Chicago and Aurora with WGN Radio political pundit Paul Green, a prior show with Senator and likely 2010 Illinois Gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady,our show with former Sen. Rauschenberger, assessing Barack Obama, our prior show with Republican U.S. Senate Republican nominee Dr. Steve Sauerberg, discussing his Democratic opponent--Senator Durbin-- and domestic, cultural and foreign policy issues, our prior show featuring State Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston,IL), discussing Barack Obama, as well as various Illinois Budget issues (spending, mass transit, capital budget, education, gaming and taxes) and possible 2010 Illinois gubernatorial candidates and 2010 U. S. Senate candidates (assuming Obama moves up to President in 2008) , a discussion with State's Attorney for Cook County Republican nominee Tony Peraica; and Anita Alvarez, Chief Deputy to current State's Attorney for Cook County Dick Devine and now the Democratic nominee for State's Attorney of Cook County.