By Rick Newton
There was a report posted here this week that offered an eye-opening commentary entitled “State GOP officials working to push Hispanics out of Party.” It described how immaturity and power politics dampened the biennial convention of the Illinois Republican National Hispanic Assembly in Dixon this past weekend. Keith Liscio also penned a commentary today at Examiner.com, “Split in Hispanic Republican organization reflects rift in larger Illinois GOP,” which further describes a rift that goes deeper into the Illinois GOP.
The good news, however, is that a team of conservative members led by Rafael Rivadeneira were elected to two-year terms. The bad news – a group of power-thirsty attendees planned for (they had booked their own room previously at a separate location – Loveland Community House) and disrupted the event for the purpose of making their own power grab. Leading the disruptive shouting from the floor in an attempt to drown out the parliamentarian was Robert Enriquez, RINO candidate in 2010 for Secretary of State.
Also vocal in the disruption were Chris Hage, Mark Aguilera, Angel Garcia (GOP state central committeeman), and Steve Orlando. Unsuccessful in overriding the parliamentarian and hijacking the convention, the would-be hijackers were escorted out of the convention by the Dixon police and then proceeded to hold their own meeting at the aforementioned location.
What I find interesting about this account of this convention is the continuing theme and the unconfirmed culprit who is driving a campaign against Rafael. The implication from the article is that Dan Cronin, DuPage County Board Chairman and DuPage County GOP Chairman, may be the figure lurking behind the uprising at the convention as well as the recent dismissal of Rafael from the DuPage RNHA chapter. It is common knowledge in DuPage County that Cronin has been incensed with Rivadeneira ever since the release of the campaign mailer that Rafael used in his own primary campaign a year ago, identifying Cronin for his support of an RTA tax increase.
Subsequent to the general election in which Cronin won his bid for the County Board Chairman and had to relinquish his state senatorial position, Rafael submitted his own name as a candidate to replace Senator Cronin. Cronin, who had the primary vote in that decision process, never gave Rafael the courtesy of an interview or even a response. Cronin did not contact Rafael until he made the phone call to him to let him know that another candidate would replace Cronin.
Looking back at the thorn’ in Cronin’s behind that prompted his scorn for Rivadeneira, all Cronin would have had to do is confront the fact rather than attack. Yes, Cronin did, in fact, vote for a sales tax to bail out the RTA. Could there have been extenuating circumstances that led to the supportive vote? It’s a possibility. If so, most reasonable people will listen to a rational explanation – they may not agree with the vote, but they will move on. If, however, he simply felt the tax was the right thing to do, then he should be prepared to accept the feedback – pro and con. Cronin made the vote and needs to own his decision. Carrying out a personal attack with people who oppose your vote is not a flattering political trait.
The process with which Cronin handled the ultimate decision was obviously his to manage. That said, it is quite apparent that seeking the most qualified candidate was not his number one priority. That is not a slam against his ultimate choice, Ron Sandack, but rather an observation that Cronin’s ‘thin skin’ got in the way of even considering Rafael’s qualifications.
So exactly who was the driving force behind the IRNHA convention uprising as well as the DuPage IRNHA chapter dismissal of a member? Time will tell. But in the meanwhile, it is not surprising that the word around DuPage and much of Illinois is that someone in DuPage has their eyes on the Governor’s mansion. Obviously, their political aspirations are theirs to have.
But if those aspirations are going to be built upon degrading their opposition instead of standing on conservative principles, they would do well to declare themselves as a Democrat and save the GOP another Mark Kirk embarrassment. Illinois’ GOP is burgeoning with politicians who prefer to imitate Democrat-lights, allowing power and control to drive their ambitions rather than principle. They need to find a new political home.
Rick Newton is a businessman, tea party activist, and the publisher of Right Bites, an excellent newsletter “Highlighting News & Opinions the Mainstream Media Ignores, Fears, or Distorts.”