Pat Brady, captain of the Illinois Republican Party's burning ship, jumped/was pushed overboard Tuesday, ending one controversy but beginning another. With Brady now gone, the GOP's problem is finding a replacement. No one should underestimate the problem.
If you're a glutton for punishment, there's an opening at the top of the Illinois Republican Party.
Pat Brady, captain of the Illinois Republican Party's burning ship, jumped/was pushed overboard Tuesday, ending one controversy but beginning another.
Brady irritated party leaders a few months ago when he suddenly announced his support for same-sex marriage in Illinois and urged Republican House and Senate members to vote for legislation approving it.
Brady's announcement, which was not in sync with the state party's platform, prompted push-back from other party leaders, some of whom suggested Brady should be ousted from his position as the state's party leader. He survived the coup attempt, but this week opted to leave on his own.
Brady attributed part of his decision to leave after four years to a wife who is suffering from cancer as well as the need to be at home with four children. But he conceded that "the last four or five months were not super-pleasant" and acknowledged that the same-sex marriage controversy contributed to his resignation.
With Brady now gone, the GOP's problem is finding a replacement. There is, no doubt, some eager beaver waiting backstage who wants to be called. But no one should underestimate the problem. Besides, there is only so much a party chairman can do.
Illinois is a solid Democratic state. Even if it wasn't, the state's legislative maps have been gerrymandered to guarantee Democratic majorities in the Illinois House and Senate through 2022. Democrats hold the governor's mansion and control the supreme Court.
The GOP holds two minor state offices — comptroller and treasurer — but its only hope for returning to relevance is winning the governor's mansion in 2014, a possibility but not a strong one at this point.
Brady announced his support for same-sex marriage because he said it was necessary to expand the GOP and attract younger voters.
"(Politics) is about addition, not subtraction," he said.
That's true enough. But it's also about fidelity to principle, and it's a lot to ask people to embrace same-sex marriage, abortion or any other controversial position for the sake of political expediency.
We don't begrudge Brady his position on same-sex marriage any more than we would begrudge anyone else a position on the issue — either for or against. This is America, where people are free and should be encouraged to think for themselves.
But controversial social issues aren't the only issues that drive election results, and it would be a mistake to think otherwise. Illinois is effectively bankrupt, deeply in debt, politically corrupt and ineptly run. Surely, there are issues somewhere in that sickening morass that even the moribund GOP can address.