Supporting Obama for Senate is starting to feel like supporting Daley for Mayor. Everybody's doing it. It's not even a debate. Mayor Daley is probably the only elected official that *every* other candidate running for a lower office endorses and puts on campaign literature. I mean, every one. In the 2003 aldermanic races, both candidates would make Daley / Stone (or whatever) signs. Both of them!
Can you imagine?
What other city or state has every legislator running on the same self-identified ticket at the mayor or governor?
Every candidate wanted to be associated with Daley. It wasn't even a contest. It was just the consensus.
And the Obama for Senate 'campaign' is starting to feel that way. Still no Republican candidate. Jack Ryan still refuses to withdraw (what game is he playing?). Pity poor Jerry Kohn, Libertarian candidate for the Senate who is insulted every time people say Obama has no opponent. And now it is starting to feel like there is a consensus that Obama not only will be the next U.S. Senator, but that he ought to be. There's a feeling that Illinois is doing the right thing by electing one of the nation's brightest legislators to the Senate. And that's why Republicans are having a hard time finding someone to run. Because suburban women are going to *flock* to the Obama camp. Culturally conservative Downstaters are going to vote for Obama because the Bush/GOP economy with free trade and wealthy-people tax cuts are bringing down their wages, and Obama doesn't scare them. He could get 60% of the vote.
So what should Illinois Republicans do? The State Central Committee is the body that will fill the vacancy, whenever Jack Ryan gets around to officially withdrawing. (Never mind that they don't really have specific statutory authority . . . that will be tactfully ignored). How should these 19 people decide who to pick?
They should sponsor an old-fashioned election where the party pays for it, not the state.
They should pick a day in August (maybe on Republican Day at the State Fair) where anyone who actually voted in the March 2004 primary can show up and write down the name of whoever they want to be the Senate candidate. (This will be like the pre-Australian ballot days circa 1910 or so).
People will have to trek to the county office or the township office to vote. And then whoever gets the most votes wins. (Or better yet they can use instant runoff voting, so the winner earns a majority of the vote, but whatever. My group actually did a project on instant runoff voting in party primaries here at www.primarypoll.com, if you're interested).
I think it would be a blast. Lots of people could run. They could do something positive. It could be one fun thing to come out of the Senate disaster for the Republicans. I'd even be a little jealous.
It sure seems a little more legitimate that 19 people picking somebody behind closed doors.