What If The Republicans Held A Straw Poll And Nobody Showed Up?
by Jeff Dinelli
Picked up what happens to be my local paper this morning, the Republi-con shill rag Chicago Tribune, which incredulously screamed the headline "Padilla guilty in terror case; U.S. wins key conviction of Chicago man tied to Al Qaeda" above the fold, and read a little item in section 2 regarding a Republican straw poll held at the state fair in the capitol of Springpatch, IL. This is not gonna make the kind of news the Iowa poll did last Saturday, mainly because less than a thousand people voted. The Republican Party in Illinois has been on life-support for years, one of the reasons Barack Obama cruised into his Senate position after his formidable Republican opponent ran into a wife-swapping controversy and Obama was left to wail on carpet-bagger Alan Keyes, whose only connection with Illinois may have been he'd been to a couple of Cubs games.
Anyway, on a rainy Thursday afternoon, 992 "voters" cast ballots for their favorite Republican candidate. The turnout and lack of interest meant Mitt Romney didn't have to bus in massive amounts of supporters like he did in Iowa, he simply sent his son Craig, one of four sons he has unleashed on the campaign trail, and bussed in some voters from the Chicago suburbs to insure victory. Mitt won with 40.4%, or 373 votes. In a bit of a suprise, if you take away non-candidate Fred Thompson's second place finish, Ron Paul was the next favorite in line, with 18.9%, or 174 votes. The libertarian, whose campaign is based on strict Constitutional interpretation, drew a gathering of sign-carrying supporters who often interrupted TV reports of the event. At one point, Romney's Illinois chairman, state Sen. Dan Rutherford, ripped a sign out of one of Paul's supporters' hands and angrily threw it on the ground. Ron Paul love across the country is a story rarely told, though I hear and see him on a lot of talk shows.
One good thing about living in Illinois; the Republican Party is always good for a couple of laughs.