Bill Brady Takes Tea, My Dear

“I don’t drink coffee, I take tea, my dear.”

Those are the opening lines of Sting’s “An Englishman in New York,” which was inspired by British author Quentin Crisp. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t quote a song about a gay raconteur to describe Bill Brady.

But Brady is alienated from the big city where, as a candidate for governor, he’s forced to spend a lot of his time. He prefers the Tea Parties of rural Illinois to the coffee shops of Chicago.

Brady attended a Tea Party in Oglesby on Tuesday night. Like most of the right-wing bloodfeasts he holds south of I-80, it wasn’t reported on in the Chicago media. One of Brady’s biggest challenges as a candidate is to balance his native conservatism with a message that will sell across the entire state. For every LaSalle voter who jumps to his feet as Brady rails against illegal immigration, Brady is in danger of losing three or four voters in Cook County. As the Ottawa Daily Times put it:

Since his narrow primary victory, Brady has been campaigning hard to escape concerns, even from socially moderate Republicans, about his long conservative legacy built on 17 years as a Springfield legislator.

Brady arrived at the rally in his campaign bus, the “Clean Break Express” and “passionately pounded the podium” as he condemned Gov. Pat Quinn and his ex-running mate, Rod Blagojevich. Brady also had a simple answer to Illinois’ $13 billion deficit and its 700,000 lost jobs:

“We can only bring jobs back to the state by sustained revenue growth through deregulation and lower taxes, not by additional burdens on our citizens and businesses,” he said.

Brady also promised to replaced welfare spending in poor neighborhoods with “business training.” And he got a standing ovation from the 400-strong crowd when he condemned the Obama Administration for suing to stop Arizona’s anti-immigration law.

“Brady received loud applause and even whoops when he said he would not grant ‘amnesty or sanctuary’ to illegal aliens, adding that ‘laws and order need to be enforced,’” reported the News-Tribune of LaSalle.

As for the company Brady keeps Downstate, he shared the bill with Beverly Perlson, organizer of Band of Mothers , a soliders’ support group. Fine. But Perlson once carried an “Al Qaeda Loves Nancy Pelosi” sign at a Washington, D.C., protest, and she told the News-Tribune that Obama is “going around the country and telling everyone we are not a Christian nation.”

The event’s coordinator gave Brady a copy of The Five-Thousand Year Leap , a book by the late anti-communist W. Cleon Skousen, asserting that the United States is a Christian nation founded on Biblical principles. Conservative commentator Glenn Beck has cited the book as one of the biggest influences on his own philosophy. Publishers of The Conservative Magazine of Illinois 

circulated through the crowd, signing up subscribers with an offer of two tickets to hear Beck in Chicago.

That’s an appealing offer for any conservative. But will Brady’s followers come all the way to Chicago? Brady won the primary by exploiting Downstate’s resentment of Chicago’s influence over Illinois. And those resentments re-surface when he holds a Tea Party rally.

“He’s a homegrown man with realistic values,” one Brady voter said of her candidate. “He’s not from Chicago playing thug politics.”

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