Guest Column: A republic, if you think you can keep it

Guest Column: A republic, if you think you can keep it

By Tim Huwe

The most important question involving the Illinois governor’s race this year doesn’t involve improving education, the sagging economy, or job creation. Apparently, it is “Have you used pot?”

When faced with the most politically vexing and insightful question since “Boxers or briefs?,” Democrat Rod Blagojevich went numb for 10 to 12 seconds, depending upon the stopwatch.

His answer of “Yes” gave Republican Jim Ryan his first “edge” in the race since the primary. His “No” provided him with the same sense of glee and accomplishment as the manager who recently walked Barry Bonds with two outs and none on. Obviously, this is big stuff.

I think we can come up with better, more probing questions for people seeking top elected office in our state. Candidate Blagojevich speaks of his willingness to take “a fine-toothed comb” to the Illinois budget.

How many years has he been in the House of Representatives? I haven’t heard him rooting out much corruption in D.C. Missing too many votes on the Hill, maybe? Maybe Rod is unable to locate any fraud, negligence, or malfeasance in the nation’s Capital. Maybe his “fine-toothed comb is stuck in the Potomac. “Candidate Blagojevich, what in your past would indicate to us that you would root out any waste in Springfield?”

Candidate Ryan hasn’t said a whole lot that is different from what the current governor said as a candidate. The primary slogan seems to have been “I’m not related to him.” My question will not involve his period as attorney general, because he has answered questions about not prosecuting George Ryan.

Some people have accepted his answer. My question will delve further into his past, when he was district attorney in DuPage County. It was under his watch that the Rolando Cruz and Alex Hernandez trials began.

Recently noted by Chicago Tribune writer Eric Zorn as “landmark miscarriages of capital justice,” the story takes far more room to properly summarize than I have today. The short of it is, Jim Ryan disregarded police evidence that Brian Dugan, not Cruz and Hernandez, was guilty with 100 percent certainty of killing 10-year old Jeanine Nacarico. For those interested, check out Zorn’s September 19, 2002 column or online at for further details. “Candidate Ryan, based on the Rolando Cruz case, why can we expect your administration to be any better than the current one?”

Since I saw Libertarian candidate Cal Skinner this weekend, he said an improved economy when I asked him, “What would be the highlights of a Skinner tenure in Springfield, and why, from your past record, should we believe that any more than any other politician?” Skinner replied, “I’ve voted against the budget more times than they have.” Ask a better question, get better representation.

C.J. from Rockford recommended Tom Daschle for Political Hypocrite of the Month, due to his flip-flop on Iraq from “last time around” due to poll numbers. Point noted, but I’ll stick with Jeb. Which reminds me, thanks to Todd, my friend from elementary school days, for pointing out Jeb ought to consider the Florida courts for his daughter, not the Texas ones I stated. I apologize for the error.

Tim Huwe is the secretary of the Rockford Libertarians.

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