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November 15, 2007

Lauzen should be only pro-family candidate in GOP Primary to seek Hastert's soon to be vacated seat

RFFM.org Commentary by Daniel T. Zanoza, national director

In the late 1990's, social conservatives were on a political roll in the Illinois Republican Party.  This fact certainly did not escape the movers and shakers in the GOP, many of whom were hostile to this political philosophy.  Pro-family conservatives were driven by a higher moral calling and most could not be bought, threatened or enticed into sacrificing their values for political expedience and this irked the political bosses.  Therefore, a strategy was developed to defeat social conservatives and for nearly ten years this plan has worked to perfection.

In today's world of Illinois politics, it's not easy to tell friend from foe.  During the better part of the last decade, there have been obvious attempts by slick-talking political consultants who were delegated an important job--which was to derail the Republican pro-family political movement in Illinois by the use of any means possible.  The idea was simple; make sure supporters of pro-family candidates split their vote in primaries.

But there is another element to this strategy.  Even if one of the two or more social conservatives won in a Republican primary, it was impossible to develop Party unity for the general election.  Heated political primaries often left alienated factions among conservative voters.  Some, who were dedicated to their particular candidate, could not put a wholehearted effort behind the victorious conservative opponent.  A cult of personality sometimes develops in any political race and it is hard to put months of hard work and dedication aside, in order to support an individual who was once the political enemy.

The strategy can work another way.  In the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary, Judy Baar Topinka, a liberal, walked away with the GOP nomination.  Most political observers knew Baar Topinka had no chance of winning without the support of the Party's base.  Although Baar Topinka was soundly defeated in the general election by a weak incumbent Governor, the overall strategy still worked and a social conservative was kept from winning the governor's race.  It is a win-win situation for establishment Republicans who see social conservatives as the true threat to their power.

There is a way to defeat this anti-conservative model and that's by demonstrating political discipline. Individuals must resist those who whisper in their ear things like, "with enough money, and my help, you can do it."  But this is a hard thing to do.  The ego is a formidable element within one's character and it is hard to suppress.  However, if an individual truly believes in the pro-family philosophy--they should put the welfare of their state and nation ahead of their own personal interest.

There are candidates whose credentials as pro-family advocates are impeccable.  Such is the case with state Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora).  The fifteen year veteran of the Illinois General Assembly is expected to announce his candidacy in the 14th U.S. Congressional District.

Dennis Hastert, the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who currently holds the seat, has announced this will be his last term in office.  Lauzen, whose state Senate district covers nearly one-third of Hastert's district, would be a natural choice to fill the position.

Lauzen, who has an MBA from Harvard, is known for his fiscal conservatism.  In fact, Lauzen was the only member of the Illinois legislature to stand up on the floor of the General Assembly in 1999 and criticize then Gov. George Ryan's tax boondoggle known as Illinois FIRST.  Lauzen has also been a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights and he has gone on record in defense of traditional marriage.  But, most important, Lauzen has an impeccable record concerning the issue of life.  He sponsored a bill which would have made partial-birth abortion illegal.  Although the legislation was eventually struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, Lauzen's credentials in the fight to protect unborn life are outstanding.

However, with all these accomplishments behind him, there are individuals considering a challenge to Lauzen from the Right regarding Hastert's seat and the more liberal candidate will probably be endorsed by the Republican establishment.  If this scenario takes place, it will be another disaster for pro-family conservatives.  The model to defeat social conservatives is tried and true.  Yet some are willing to sacrifice principles for personal fame and notoriety.

The Left's motives are understandable.  The Republican establishment in Illinois sees social conservatives as an infestation within the Party which must be excised at all costs.  Therefore, appealing to this group on moral grounds will bear no fruit because they are driven by the allure of power and influence.

On the other hand, social conservatives need to assess the situation and allow Lauzen--who has carried the water for the pro-family movement on many occasions in Illinois--a clear shot at this office.  A run by another social conservative, or one claiming to be such, would obviously force Lauzen to spend money that would be better utilized in a fight against a liberal Democratic foe in the general election.

If social conservatives are willing to cast aside those who have fought for their values in Illinois government, then perhaps we will get what we deserve in the 14th Congressional District of Illinois.


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