I got my chuckle for the day from the Illinois Republican Party, and not because the GOP did something stupid.
The party managed to come up with a humorous dig at the almighty Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, Michael J. Madigan, by reminding potential voters that there will be an alternative to cast a ballot for come the November 2010 general elections.
AS THE BALLOT now stands, Madigan is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for the Illinois House 22nd district seat, which represents a chunk of the Southwest Side of Chicago. But come the general election, the Republicans have a candidate.
Patrick John Ryan, whose greatest electoral advantage is his name – it reeks of Ireland and clearly falls within the old political cliché of how voters prefer the sound of the Irish to any other type of ethnic-sounding monicker.
The Republican Party on Monday put out a statement proclaiming Ryan to be a “missing person” of sorts.
Under the headline, “Has anyone seen Patrick John Ryan?,” the party informs us that Ryan is “willing to fight Madigan Machine,” while also telling us he is a former Democrat-turned Republican who, “believes in less government, lower taxes, true ethics reform and the need to end business as usual style of Illinois politics.”
OF COURSE, HOW they’d know that for sure unless they knew his whereabouts (he gave the Illinois State Board of Elections a home address in Chicago near 78th Street and Pulaski Road) is a bigger issue.
But their statement asking Ryan to call the party headquarters to inquire about what support they could give him was one of the cuter political digs I have ever seen, while also being quite possibly the most attention Ryan has ever got during his political campaigns.
Yes, Ryan is one of those perpetual candidates who takes up ballot spots only to get barely any votes come Election Day. His issue is Madigan. He has always challenged Madigan for his seat in the Legislature, being among the people of this state who somehow want to believe that Michael J. is somehow responsible for all that is evil in Illinois.
“The Illinois Republican Party is pleased to have an individual willing to step up to the plate by challenging the Illinois Democratic Party chairman and House speaker Mike Madigan,” said state GOP Chairman Pat Brady.
“THIS WILL NOT be an easy task for Mr. Ryan, and we look forward to providing him the necessary support to win this election.”
Not that they’re going to give him all THAT much support. After all, every dollar spent to help prop up a fringe candidate is one dollar less available to help a GOP candidate in a legislative district where they might have a chance to win – thereby reducing the size of the Democratic majorities in the Ilinois House and state Senate that are the true reasons why the Republican Party has become ineffectual in Illinois.
So what should we think of Patrick John Ryan, the Illinois House candidate who hasn’t done much publicly since he stood out in the cold of the Illinois State Board of Elections offices on Oct. 26 to file his nominating petitions?
Yes, he was one of those people out there at 8 a.m. when the office opened in hopes of gaining the all-precious Top Spot on the ballot – which in his case became a moot point when he became the only candidate to file for his particular primary.
I REALLY BELIEVE the GOP’s whimsical dig at Mike Madigan will be the highlight of this particular campaign season, on account of the fact that the man doesn’t leave much of a paper trail – at least not one that I could dig up in a single day.
Relying on Google to search for “Patrick John Ryan,” I learned that a man by that name was Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Philadelphia back at the beginning of the 20th Century. I also was reminded of Pat Ryan, who was involved in the efforts to get the International Olympic Committee to pick Chicago to host the summer games for 2016.
But probably the most amusing find was a mention of the Wikipedia entry for “Jack Ryan,” the fictional character from several Tom Clancy novels (Patriot Games among them) that have since been made into films.
That Jack Ryan has been portrayed by, among others, Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin.
WHICH MAKES ME wonder, if the latter were to ever decide that he has political aspirations, how strong would the GOP come out in opposition to him.
Somehow, I think the idea of Alec Baldwin as a politico scares Republican ideologues even more than Mike Madigan.