WBEZ | pat brady http://www.wbez.org/tags/pat-brady Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady to resign http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/illinois-gop-chairman-pat-brady-resign-107043 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Pat Brady_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois State Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady resigned Tuesday morning, following months of GOP infighting sparked by his public support for same-sex marriage.</p><p>Brady planned to email his resignation letter to party officials early Tuesday.</p><p>In an interview with WBEZ Monday afternoon, Brady said he&rsquo;s stepping down from the unpaid post he has held since August 2009 to spend more time with his family as his wife battles ovarian cancer.</p><p>&ldquo;I need to be home with her,&rdquo; Brady said. &ldquo;But you know, it&rsquo;s a combination of things, but I&rsquo;ve been doing it for four years so it&rsquo;s time for &ndash; for new blood.&rdquo;</p><p>Brady <a href="http://www.wbez.org/facing-rebellion-state-gop-chair-rejects-calls-resign-over-gay-marriage-support-104807">rankled </a>his more conservative rivals on the GOP&rsquo;s State Central Committee in early January, when he unexpectedly released a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-gop-chairman-backing-gay-marriage-104674">statement </a>announcing his &ldquo;full support&rdquo; for a pending same-sex marriage bill in Springfield, a stance that contradicts the Republican Party platform. But he also ostracized some more moderate party bosses who complained that Brady didn&rsquo;t even notify them before he made his bombshell announcement.</p><p>On Monday, Brady sought to downplay the significance of the controversy, which he said has hurt donations to the state party leading into the 2014 election cycle.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, it certainly was a factor in my decision, but not an overriding factor,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The gay marriage issue was just something that certainly angered some people on the Central Committee and they wanted a different direction.&rdquo;</p><p>Brady&rsquo;s detractors have been organizing behind the scenes to vote him out since January, though they&rsquo;ve <a href="http://www.wbez.org/gop-cancels-meeting-oust-chairman-over-same-sex-marriage-kirk-lobbies-106004">repeatedly </a>failed to muster enough votes. Those efforts, spearheaded by committeemen Jerry Clarke, of Urbana, and Jim Oberweis, a west suburban state senator, came to a head at a rowdy party <a href="http://www.wbez.org/despite-gay-marriage-flap-illinois-gop-boss-keeps-his-job-106633">meeting </a>in April.</p><p>After a three-hour closed-door session, Brady emerged with his job intact. But party bosses agreed to begin quietly searching for Brady&rsquo;s replacement, with the understanding that he would resign on his own terms in a few weeks, according to several people in the meeting.</p><p>The party has heard from lots of interested candidates, Oberweis said Monday night, but wouldn&rsquo;t give a timeline for choosing a final replacement. According to party bylaws, GOP Vice Chairman Carol Smith Donovan will fill Brady&rsquo;s spot until party leaders pick a successor. Illinois State Sen. Matt Murphy, of Palatine, was a possible candidate before he withdrew his name last week. Other possibilities include Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider and State Central Committeeman Mark Shaw.</p><p>Brady&rsquo;s original announcement last winter drew quick fire from national conservative groups, and quick support from some prominent Illinois Republicans, such as U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/former-illinois-governors-warn-against-firing-gop-chair-over-gay-marriage-flap-105963">former Gov</a>s Jim Edgar and Jim Thompson.</p><p>It also laid bare many long-simmering squabbles within the state GOP. Brady&rsquo;s opponents are quick to say his support for same-sex marriage, an increasingly popular issue among key potential voting groups such as suburban women and young people, is not the only reason they wanted him gone. They also point to Illinois Republicans&rsquo; poor showing in November&rsquo;s elections. For some, personal rivalries and vendettas seem to have played a role.</p><p>On Monday, Brady conceded the party should have won more seats in the last election cycle, though he also pointed to the success of 2010, when Republicans gained a majority in the state&rsquo;s congressional delegation.</p><p>Now, Brady said he believes he&rsquo;s leaving the party in better shape than when he took the helm four years ago.</p><p>&ldquo;I wanna see the party grow,&rdquo; Brady said. &ldquo;I think I wanna see the party be more open and more diverse and adapt to the times.&rdquo;</p><p>Alex Keefe is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/akeefe">@akeefe</a>.</p></p> Mon, 06 May 2013 19:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/illinois-gop-chairman-pat-brady-resign-107043 Illinois GOP chair cancels fundraiser amid gay marriage flap http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-gop-chair-cancels-fundraiser-amid-gay-marriage-flap-105729 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP091105058191_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The controversial leader of the Illinois Republican Party has now cancelled a major fundraiser as he waits to find out whether party bosses will fire him following his public support of same-sex marriage.</p><p>Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady had organized the March 19 event, which was scheduled to feature Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. But Brady pulled the plug on the event over the weekend, after seven party bosses called a March 9 special meeting that could end with his ouster.</p><p>Brady said he called off the event to spare the head of the RNC from wading into a nasty internal party fight triggered by Brady&rsquo;s public support of same-sex marriage, a stance contrary to the party&rsquo;s platform.</p><p>&ldquo;It hurts party operations,&rdquo; Brady said, referring to the timing of the special meeting, ten days before the fundraiser. &ldquo;It hurts our brand. But this is the world that I am dealing with. They can do whatever they wanna do with me. But all this they&rsquo;re doing right now is doing nothing but&hellip;hurting the Republican Party and our chances of winning in 2014.&rdquo;</p><p>Last week seven members of the Republican State Central Committee &ndash; a panel of top party leaders &ndash; signed a letter calling for a special meeting to discuss party finances and &ldquo;the leadership, image and appeal&rdquo; of the state GOP.</p><p>A handful of party leaders have been calling for Brady&rsquo;s resignation since early January, after he released a statement announcing his &ldquo;full support&rdquo; for a same-sex marriage bill pending in the Illinois General Assembly. Committeemen bristled not only because Brady bucked the party line, but because he gave party bosses no forewarning.</p><p>Since then, two committeemen &ndash; State Sen. Jim Oberweis, of Sugar Grove, and Jerry Clarke, of downstate Urbana &ndash; have been working behind the scenes to organize a special meeting to vote Brady out.</p><p>In an interview with WBEZ Monday, Oberweis said the meeting isn&rsquo;t just about the same-sex marriage flap, but about broader concerns over the chairman&rsquo;s fundraising, his lack of communication with party leadership, and other issues.</p><p>&ldquo;It has nothing to do with gay marriage,&rdquo; Oberweis said. &ldquo;It has something to do with a CEO of an organization lobbying on behalf of something the organization opposes.&rdquo;</p><p>Oberweis accused Brady of setting up the March 19 fundraiser only after he learned some party bosses were trying to oust him.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s purely a subterfuge to discourage people from taking him to task,&rdquo; Oberweis said.</p><p>Jerry Clarke has not responded to numerous interview requests.</p><p>It&rsquo;s still unclear whether Brady&rsquo;s rivals have the votes to get rid of him. State GOP bylaws say removing a party chairman requires three-fifths of the weighted votes on the State Central Committee. Each committeeman&rsquo;s vote is weighted differently, based on voter turnout in their congressional district in the March 2012 primary.</p><p>Some committeemen who called for the special meeting said they want Brady to explain himself on March 9, but haven&rsquo;t decided whether they&rsquo;d vote to fire him.</p><p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s just put it this way: The evidence is not balancing in his favor at this point, with the exception [being] that if he were to be able to discuss with us why he did what he did,&rdquo; said Committeeman Eugene Dawson, of Barrington. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not gonna condemn the man before he has an opportunity to explain himself thoroughly.&rdquo;</p><p>Next months&rsquo; fundraiser was projected to bring in $250,000 for the party. In addition to Priebus, the RNC chair, the event was to honor former Excelon CEO John Rowe, a party backer who has publicly supported same-sex marriage.</p><p>Rowe said Monday the cancellation may be embarrassing for the state party, but he doesn&rsquo;t feel snubbed.</p><p>&ldquo;The party needs to work its way through this because it&rsquo;s pretty clear that you can&rsquo;t be too conservative on the so-called social issues and win in Illinois,&rdquo; Rowe said.</p></p> Mon, 25 Feb 2013 13:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-gop-chair-cancels-fundraiser-amid-gay-marriage-flap-105729 Illinois GOP primary seen as increasingly relevant in presidential race http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-gop-primary-seen-increasingly-relevant-presidential-race-97063 <p><p>A top Illinois Republican says the state's primary could play a significant role in the GOP presidential race after Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich all claimed victories in the Super Tuesday primaries.</p><p>Speaking before the results trickled in Tuesday night, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said the continuing close race for the presidential nomination could make Illinois' upcoming primary more nationally relevant.</p><p>With the state's Republican primary scheduled for March 20, common thought was the race would be all but over by mid-March.</p><p>Brady said that's not the case any longer.</p><p>"They [the candidates] want to win our primary," Brady said. "There are 69 delegates out there, so I think it's important they come here and win in Illinois."</p><p>Illinois has 54 delegate votes up for grabs, plus another 15 awarded by state party officials, including Brady.</p><p>Romney currently leads all candidates with 415 delegates, more than double Santorum, who trails Romney with 176.</p><p>Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas and Hawaii are scheduled to hold primaries prior to Illinois'.</p><p>Romney, Santorum and Gingrich are all scheduled to visit Illinois before the state's March 20 primary.</p><p>Ron Paul is also on the Republican ballot.</p></p> Wed, 07 Mar 2012 22:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-gop-primary-seen-increasingly-relevant-presidential-race-97063 Politicians respond to Blagojevich verdict http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-12-07/politicians-respond-blagojevich-verdict-94689 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-07/AP10110314346.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois politicians rushed to release prepared statements following <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-apologizes-pleads-mercy-94682">former Governor Rod Blagojevich's sentencing</a> to 14 years in prison on corruption charges.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-07/AP10110314346.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 182px; " title="Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn with Simon after winning the gubernatorial race in 2010. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Lieutenant Governor Shelia Simon:</strong></span></p><p>"We cannot rely on a prison sentence to deter corruption. Illinois needs stronger ethics laws to kill pay-to-play politics. It's time we expose conflicts of interest before they cost taxpayers, and clear the way for true public servants to rebuild trust with the public. Increased transparency, coupled with the threat of serious prison time, can end these shameful courtroom battles. Together we can put this chapter behind us, restore integrity to government and live up to our legacy as the Land of Lincoln."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady:</strong></span></p><p>"Today's sentence ends the Rod Blagojevich saga, but unfortunatley [sic] his enablers continue to burden the people of Illinois with financial mismanagement and higher taxes that have caused the downward spiral of the Illinois economy, and also widespread distrust of our public officials.</p><p>Moving forward, Republicans in Illinois provide the only hope for reform and a return to fiscal sanity."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Senator (R-IL) Mark Kirk:</strong></span></p><p>"Judge Zagel's sentence is a clear warning to all elected officials that public corruption of any form will not be tolerated. &nbsp;Illinois families have long suffered from an estimated $500 million hidden corruption tax. &nbsp;U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has done a great service to Illinois by bringing two criminal governors to justice."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>State Representative (D-Woodstock) Jack D. Franks:</strong></span></p><p>“Today, justice has been done. The deliberate acts of bribery, extortion and fraud that ultimately led to this day warrant a punishment tantamount to the serious nature of Blagojevich’s crimes. Let this day be a firm warning to those in public service – we will not rest until integrity and accountability serve as the rule, not the exception, in state government.”</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-07/AP090126017962.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 211px; " title="Cullerton speaks to the Senate during Blagojevich's impeachment trial in 2009. (AP/Seth Perlman)">“With this verdict we all must reaffirm our commitment to ridding Illinois of leaders that allow personal ambition to trump the public good. I remain devoted to eliminating pay-to-play politics and a culture of corruption that has permeated Illinois politics.”</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Senate President (D-Chicago) John Cullerton:</strong></span></p><p>“Today’s sentencing closes a tragic chapter in Illinois politics. I hope our state will never again face such an unfortunate and untenable situation. I feel sorry for the Blagojevich family during this difficult time.</p><p>"My role in this process began and ended with the impeachment and removal of Rod Blagojevich. While I take no joy in Blagojevich's sentence, I trust that the criminal justice system administered justice fairly.”&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan:</strong></span></p><p>"Based on his convictions - for numerous crimes he was caught on tape committing during just one six-week period -&nbsp; Blagojevich deserves a lengthy prison sentence. Unfortunately, though, it cannot fix the damage he inflicted on our state over his six years as governor. Blagojevich became governor by promising ethical reform, but from the start, he relentlessly used his position to pursue illegal and morally bankrupt schemes motivated by power and greed. His conduct was disgraceful, and the cost to the state has been devastating. Blagojevich refused to govern responsibly and, instead, put Illinois up for sale. He tarnished the state’s reputation nationally and internationally, and he destroyed the public’s trust in government. May today’s sentence put an end to corruption in the Illinois’ governor’s office."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka</strong></span></p><p><em>Speaking with WBEZ:</em> "I think the sentence is fair. I think Judge Zagel did what he had to do within the confines of sentencing....I'm sad for [Blagojevich's] family, for the kids, but at the same time, anyone who breaks the law, their families are put at risk too. And he obviously didn't worry about it going into all this, so now it's a sadness.</p><p>"He's the type of person that believes their own publicity and thinks they're a celebrity and can get away with anything they want, and that they're smarter than the system and that the laws don't apply to them.</p><p>"I think there are some in Springfield that might be in the business of politics for the wrong reasons, in that they want to be celebrities in that they like the title and maybe don't want to do some work and just get some perks -- and hey! It's a service job. And if they can get that through their head, really service has it's own rewards, and you don't need the spotlight, you don't need a reality show.</p><p>"I'm hoping some of this is absorbed, that you cannot live above the law. And hey, I'm glad I ran against him, I would do it again in a heartbeat, even though I lost my office over it, because someone had to try and take him out. And at least I was able to slow him down, if nothing else, and I suppose that's worth something to me.</p><p>"He's kind of like one of these Shakespearean-type guys in the tragedies who are full of pride and arrogance and hubris and thinks that he can write their own ticket and step all over everybody and everything, and it all comes crashing down around them, and frankly around everybody. And we're going to be paying for this guy. We're going to be paying for him for at least a generation.</p><p>"Everybody has suffered by this guy, even the bad guys."</p><p><o:p></o:p></p></p> Wed, 07 Dec 2011 18:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-12-07/politicians-respond-blagojevich-verdict-94689 Rep. Costello announces retirement from Congress http://www.wbez.org/story/rep-costello-announces-retirement-congress-92820 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-04/4796868402_f2d7119ca6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello announced today he won't be seeking re-election next year after 23 years in office.</p><p>In a press conference on Tuesday, the 62-year-old downstate Democrat insisted he never intended to be<br> a career congressman and said he's retiring to pursue other interests.</p><p>“You have to make a decision,” Costello said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Do you want to continue to do what you're doing just to do it, or do you want to move on and do other things and be productive in other ways.”</p><p>Costello’s retirement sets up a potential fight for the soon-to-be vacant southwest seat in next year’s election, one Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady thinks the GOP can win. He says Costello’s district has been trending red in recent elections, pointing to Republicans Rep. Mark Kirk and gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady’s victories there in the 2010 election.</p><p>“We think that is now a Republican district,” said Brady. “And with Congressman Costello's sudden resignation, I think we're in a pretty good position to take that back and will take it back.”</p><p>Costello currently serves the southwest part of Illinois, which includes the East St. Louis area.</p><p>Upon announcing his retirement on Tuesday he said he’s most proud of securing a future for Scott Air Force Base, and seeing construction start on the new Mississippi River Bridge.</p></p> Tue, 04 Oct 2011 20:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/rep-costello-announces-retirement-congress-92820 Unless map changes, U.S. Reps. Joe Walsh and Randy Hultgren will face each other in GOP primary http://www.wbez.org/story/tea-partys-rep-joe-walsh-run-14th-district-forcing-gop-primary-battle-92276 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-21/RS3390_AP110727072578.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Two Republican congressmen from Illinois are likely to face each other in a primary election next year. U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh said he will run in the 14th District, against a fellow freshman, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren.</p><p>Democratic leaders in Illinois drew new congressional boundaries they knew would pit some incumbent Republicans against one another. That has now started to happen.</p><p>Walsh represents the northwest suburban 8th District, but the new boundaries make the 8th much more Democratic. In a letter on Wednesday to supporters, Walsh said that unless a lawsuit against the map prevails, he will instead run in the new 14th - a more solidly Republican area.</p><p>Trouble is, that means he's up against that district's current representative, Hultgren.</p><p>Walsh called the situation "unfortunate," but noted his home was drawn into the 14th District.</p><p>"In many ways Randy and I are both good conservatives who share many of the same values but there are also healthy differences between the two of us," Walsh said. "We've both had a very different initial tenure in Washington, and the voters in the new district will decide which one of us will best be their voice in D.C."</p><p>In a statement, Hultgren said he's disappointed by his fellow Republican's decision. He accused Walsh of "playing into the hands of" Democrats, who he said drew the map "specifically to encourage" a contested GOP primary.</p><p>But the chair of the Illinois Republican Party, Pat Brady, had nothing but positive things to say about Walsh's decision.</p><p>"Well, you know we encourage primaries, and it should be a spirited debate, and we'll see who comes out of it," Brady said. "Either way in the 14th congressional we'll have a conservative Republican back in Washington, which is what we look for."</p><p>The primary is likely to include a debate over who's more conservative, the soft-spoken Hultgren or Walsh, the cable TV star.</p><p>Brady acknowledged issues other than ideology will "surely" enter the race, including allegations, which Walsh denies, that the congressman owes his ex-wife many thousands in child support.</p><p>Brady said the party won't be making an endorsement in the primary.</p><p>"Rarely do we do them, and certainly not in this race," Brady said. "We'll just wait and see what happens, and do whatever we can to get the infrastructure ready for the general election."</p></p> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 17:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/tea-partys-rep-joe-walsh-run-14th-district-forcing-gop-primary-battle-92276 Boehner visits Chicagoland fundraiser to challenge congressional map http://www.wbez.org/story/boehner-visits-chicagoland-fundraiser-challenge-congressional-map-90551 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/boehner1_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>US Speaker of the House John Boehner is visiting the Chicago area to help raise money for a Republican legal challenge to the new Democrat-drawn congressional districts. The fundraiser will take place at a home in Hinsdale, organized by a group called the Committee for a Fair and Balanced Map.</p><p>Pat Brady, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, says Boehner's presence is sure to draw a large audience--and a lot of money--for the cause.<br> <br> "Speaker Boehner is really good at these events, and I think that a lot of people are really irritated with the way that Mike Madigan and John Cullerton shoved this map down the throats of the people--basically trying to undo the election where we picked up five congressional seats," Brady said.</p><p>Republican members of the U.S. House banded together this summer to sue the Illinois State Board of Elections. Though not involved directly with the lawsuit, Brady said the new legislative districts were unfairly drawn, especially for Hispanic voters.</p><p>Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has said the map represents the state well and protects the voting rights of minorities.</p></p> Fri, 12 Aug 2011 19:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/boehner-visits-chicagoland-fundraiser-challenge-congressional-map-90551 Illinois GOP criticizes Obama for birthday fundraiser http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-gop-criticizes-obama-birthday-fundraiser-90082 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-03/AP110803032827.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Republican National Committee is criticizing President Barack Obama for attending a fundraiser in Chicago Wednesday night.</p><p>Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady says the President should instead focus on job creation.<br> <br> "They've concentrated so much on fundraising," Brady said. "I don't think they've concentrated so much on issues that are really important and that's the issue of job creation. I think it's been 15 mentions that they were going to pivot and focus on job creation since he took office and we've yet to see that full pivot."<br> <br> Brady and RNC head Reince Priebus also criticized President Obama for what they call a lack of leadership in handling the nation's debt crisis. But they defended Republicans who are fundraising during the August congressional recess.<br> <br> Meanwhile, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is defending the president's visit. The governor told reporters Wednesday that he'd be attending the event to show support for the president.<br> <br> "President Obama did a heroic job here in keeping our country on the right path," Quinn said.&nbsp; "He had to deal with a lot of extremists who I think were hell-bent on hurting the American economy, and President Obama stood against them and kept us going in the right direction. So we're gonna wish him a Happy Birthday."<br> <br> The fundraisers are in celebration of the president's 50th birthday. One event includes a concert at the Aragon Ballroom with Chicago natives Herbie Hancock and Jennifer Hudson, as well as Chicago band OK Go.&nbsp; President Obama turns 50 tomorrow.<br> <br> He'll return to the Capitol later tonight.</p></p> Wed, 03 Aug 2011 19:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-gop-criticizes-obama-birthday-fundraiser-90082 Debt debate puts GOP freshmen on strikingly different paths http://www.wbez.org/story/debt-debate-puts-gop-freshmen-strikingly-different-paths-89680 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-27/Dold-2_WBEZ_file.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A group of conservative Republicans in the U.S. House has come out against a debt limit plan proposed by the party's leader, Speaker John Boehner. They include an outspoken freshman from Illinois, Rep. Joe Walsh. Walsh has been all over cable TV, and his spitfire style differs strongly from a fellow freshman Republican in a neighboring district.</p><p>Joe Walsh won his ticket to Congress by just 290 votes. The 15-hundredths of a percentage point upset over Democrat Melissa Bean was credited to the Tea Party movement. He's shown zero interest in playing it safe, and a lot of interest in getting attention.</p><p>"President Obama, quit lying," Walsh said recently. He taped a video and posted it on YouTube, accusing the president of manufacturing the debt ceiling deadline, and claiming the country will have enough cash to cover its immediate needs. "I know you have a willing media that protects everything you say or do, but have you no shame, sir?"</p><p>Walsh is a prolific user of Twitter, and an eager guest on cable news, where he's accused the president of "acting like a ten year old." He's staked out a far right position over the country's rising debt and the debt limit, dismissing a fail-safe plan from Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell as "cut, run and hide", and rejecting the most recent proposal from Speaker Boehner.</p><p>"The crisis is so severe that it demands...a game-changing solution," Walsh said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. "And with all due respect to my speaker, this is not a game changing solution."</p><p>Walsh is insisting that any debt ceiling increase be tied to congressional passage of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And he has no patience for a proposed bipartisan commission to craft future budget cuts.</p><p>"We're past that kind of stuff," Walsh said. "We're losing this great country of ours."</p><p>"I appreciate Joe Walsh's honesty and his frankness," said Bob Cook, who's been watching the debt ceiling debate from Lake County, Illinois. He's Republican Party chair in the county, which spans both the 8th District, represented by Walsh, and the 10th, represented by another freshman Republican, Rep. Bob Dold.</p><p>When I asked Cook which congressman has done more to inspire party activists, he took pains to say good things about both. But his words contained a telling enthusiasm gap.</p><p>"Joe Walsh is going to get in their face and confront them and go after it. He's an open book. 100-percent, let's go after it," Cook said.</p><p>Contrast that to Cook's cautious description of Bob Dold:</p><p>"The thing about Bob is he is so competent," Cook said. "And he's just...you know, he's not...he's going to think everything through and make sure what he's doing is exactly the right thing to do."</p><p>Dold represents the same North Shore swing district that now-U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk did. And his style is much like Kirk's - balanced, moderate and sometimes nuanced to the point of cagey.</p><p>"I'm looking to try to see if I can't work with anybody that will sit down and work with me to try to solve the problems that we face," Dold said Tuesday.</p><p>Dold, like Walsh, talks of the problems facing the country if the budget isn't cut. But he's called for a bipartisan deal, left himself wiggle room on taxes and taken a strikingly softer tone than Walsh. He's also refused to comment on his fellow freshman's rhetoric.</p><p>"Joe is going to do what Joe wants to do, as are the other freshmen," Dold said. "What I need to do is be able to get out there and try to communicate with my constituents - the people that I represent."</p><p>Who he represents will change over the next year because of the once-a-decade redistricting process. It's led to a more Democratic-friendly map, which could pit Republican incumbents against each other.</p><p>The chair of the Illinois Republican Party, Pat Brady, recognizes the tough elections ahead, and has nothing but praise for his party's freshmen congressmen - however different their individual styles.</p><p>"Everybody represents their district, but all of them have been consistent on the principles on which the Republican Party is founded," Brady said.</p><p>But, I press him, which style is most effective?</p><p>"That's up to them to determine," Brady said with a laugh. "It's a dangerous thing a state party chairman to tell someone what their style should be. It's up to them. I mean, they're from different places. Different styles work effectively."</p><p>Brady adds that they all won last time, so they must have done something right.</p></p> Tue, 26 Jul 2011 21:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/debt-debate-puts-gop-freshmen-strikingly-different-paths-89680 Illinois' top Republican says Blagojevich still a political issue http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-top-republican-says-blagojevich-still-political-issue-85482 <p><p>The head of the Republican Party in Illinois says Rod Blagojevich could still be a political issue in the next statewide elections in 2014.</p><p>Jury selection is underway in the former governor's corruption trial.</p><p>Pat Brady runs the Illinois Republican Party. He said the same people who initially supported Blagojevich for governor are still in power, so it's still a political issue.</p><p>"Hopefully, when we put our candidate up to run for governor, we can remind them that Pat Quinn served as his lieutenant governor and, more importantly, the policies that Pat Quinn has pursued in his first year in office," Brady said.</p><p>Quinn became governor after Blagojevich was impeached in 2009. Quinn was elected to that office this past fall.</p></p> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-top-republican-says-blagojevich-still-political-issue-85482