Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Why Illinois Republicans Don't Need to Court the Hard Right

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Republicans are already getting uncomfortable questions about the Right Nation rally coming to the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates on Sept. 18 -- just six weeks before the election.

    The "largest political event in the Midwest," which will be headlined by Fox News commentator Glenn Beck and right-wing provocateur Andrew Breitbart, features several big names from the Illinois GOP. House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady and U.S Rep. Aaron Schock are all on the bill.

    During a conference call about President Obama’s trip to Chicago, Schock was grilled about his participation by Bernard Schoenburg of the Springfield State Journal-Register.

    “Beck has said that President Obama has a deep-seated hatred of white people and that he’s a racist,” Schoenburg said. “Do you believe that, and if not, why are you appearing at this event?”

    Schock chuckled before responding evasively, “I don’t agree with Mr. Beck’s comments, and I’m not sure I’m familiar with the event you’re speaking about.”

    “It’s at the Sears Centre,” Schoenburg pressed. “You’re listed on their website. Andrew Breitbart is going to be there, who released that Agriculture Department official video, and so is Dick Armey. It’s basically a very conservative event. I thought you had kind of a moderate … Do you fit into this super hard right kind of event with these folks?”

    “Well, Bernie, I would say I’m my own person, and I stand by my own comments, and I would leave it at that,” Schock concluded.

    The GOP’s top candidates, Mark Kirk and Bill Brady, won’t be appearing, but with the party leadership on the podium, Democrats will no doubt try to link the entire Illinois Republican Party to Beck and Breitbart. At a LaSalle County Tea Party event Brady attended, the publishers of the Illinois Conservative were offering Right Nation tickets to new subscribers. (Brady is reportedly scheduled to speak at another Tea Party event on Aug. 14, in Bartlett.)

    The liberal Huffington Post thinks the Republican's decision to align themselves with such hard-line conservatives as Breitbart, Beck and Armey mirrors the Republican Party's strategy in the upcoming November elections. Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady …. is not shying away from his far-right positions on such social issues as abortion, gay rights or the minimum wage.

    Is Aaron Schock calling his scheduler right now? The Republicans don’t need to be seen with Beck and Breitbart any more than the Democrats need an endorsement from Rachel Maddow and Michael Moore.