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Like Reagan, Kirk Dillard Has Only 99.44% Party Purity: Is it Enough for Illinois Republicans?

Thomas F. Roeser 21 January 2010 14 Comments

As an old retired officer of a major grocery products company (Quaker Oats), I remember an everlastingly popular slogan from one of our competitors: “Ivory Soap—99 and 44/100ths percent pure. It floats!”

The story behind the slogan is this. In 1878, the company was producing just another kind of hand soap which it called…unoriginally… “White Soap.” Kind of catchy, huh? Well, it wasn’t. There were many kinds of white soap.

One day a factory hand left his big soap kettle bubbling while he attended to a very personal need. Then he got involved in a conversation with some buddies. When he came back, he saw that he had been gone for far too long. The soap bars had changed drastically in constituents and in fact were bobbing up and down on top of the steaming liquid. The slag had melted away which had held the bars settle on the bottom of the kettle. He was about to empty the kettle and toss the mess down the drain when he got another idea.

He salvaged the bars of soap and took them past his immediate foreman supervisor to the office of the plant manager. The plant manager was intrigued. They got hold of John Proctor, the owner. The boiling process had removed almost all of the very normal impurities that affected and afflicted every other bar of soap. Proctor decided intrinsic integrity, which soap manufacturers today continue to call purity, warranted a new name and a slogan. Voila! a major chapter in entrepreneurial history was opened. To signify purity, a new name was given: Ivory. And a new slogan “Ivory Soap—99 and 44/100ths percent pure: It floats!” (The factory worker was immediately promoted upstairs and died 39 years later a rich man—rewarded for his brilliant insight).

What sold John Proctor and what sells Ivory today is its sublime test. Just short of perfection.

“Yeah but Dillard Did This and That!”

Every so often I bump into somebody who says: “You’re for Kirk Dillard but he’s not perfect on…” and he goes on to elucidate one position out of the 24,000 a state legislator must vote on every legislative session…and one of 1,245,000 statements made in the extent of a long political career where fallibility can be perceived.
Dillard not perfect? No he isn’t. Neither is the Dillard critic. But then I was taught by my old theology professor, Father Ernie—with whom I spent 4 years in his rigorously meticulous classes (from age 17 to 21)—a valuable insight.

“Gentlemen,” he said once, “you are very attentive but you are not perfect. That’s because of the nature of the human condition—which is what, Mr. Roeser?”

In my 1st year I was stumped—which proved Ernie’s point. After the 2nd year, I could rattle this off:

“I am not perfect because perfection means nothing is lacking which according to its nature it should possess. That is the definition of infinite perfection which in itself has all possible excellence and excludes all deficiencies. Only God is absolutely perfect. The nature of virtuous humanity is that it has a finite nature and possesses all the advantages corresponding to its nature.”

And he would say: “Right you are, Mr. Roeser—but even with those qualifications, sir, you are not perfect!”
None of us had the guts to say “by that yardstick, neither are you, Father Ernie!” because in those tender years, by God, we thought he was.

So Dillard’s being not perfect suits me just fine. The important thing is that…for me and the things I believe…he is almost phenomenally right-on. First things first: I’m a social conservative. Which means legislatively I’m pro-life…and frankly a lot of sleazy things I’m against.

The Key Voters’ Guide.

So comparing what I am with the excellently annotated Illinois Family Institute Voters Guild 2010 which was handed to me after church at Saint John Cantius last Sunday by a volunteer…here’s his record.

He is (a) pro-life…(b) against civil unions which extends marriage benefits for same-sex partners…(c) against medical marijuana which authorizes people to grow and possess 6 marijuana plants and 2 ounces of marijuana—which is important because what we don’t need in this country now is to send a message to youth that we’re lowering the bars on acceptance of a drug that enables them to run the risk of addiction and which when used in excess direly affects memory, judgment and cognitive ability (besides which the “medical” part is a dodge because pharmacology has many substitutes to relieve pain other than smoking grass).

Continuing: (D) he’s against the archaic notion of an Equal Rights Amendment which would move toward elimination of major gender distinctions and gender-distinctive organizations i.e. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and would propel women to register for Selective Service…(e) is for the Marriage Amendment that would institute a ballot referendum before Illinois voters to enable them to decide whether the state Constitution should be amended top define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Still continuing: and (f) is opposed to “sex education” in schools which requires them to teach so-called “age appropriate” information including (according to SEICUS which stands for “Sexual Education and Information Council of the United States”)– a group that opposes abstinence training as detrimental to youth), including training in condom usage and presentation of homosexuality as a positive alternate life-style.

In addition to which he’s on record as opposing a hike in the state income tax from 3% to 4.5% and is against authorizing Illinois drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens.

Finally…something which wasn’t listed on the flyer…is this. At a time when neighborhoods are threatened with the specter of lawlessness, the goofy idea that if you take away guns from average people, crooks will somehow obey and there will once again be peace in the valley. Not so. Far more important, as Prof. John Lott has written—without refutation—is that there should be encouragement for law abiding citizenry to own weapons and subscribe to the canons of safety…for their own protection and that of their families.

Conceal Carry.

Kirk Dillard early on was the author of the Conceal Carry bill. It didn’t pass because its commonsense flew in the face of conventional and misguided liberal “wisdom.” But he authored it and still stands by it.

Does this mean he’s perfect? Of course not. Every official …even the best of them…differ from what you and I might call de rigeur. I remember 69-year-old Ronald Reagan, then the ex-governor of California, standing before the bar of criticism of right-to-lifers because as governor he mistakenly…and I say it was a huge mistake…signed into law the most liberal abortion bill in the country—rivaling the bill signed by Nelson Rockefeller of New York. Reagan said it was a mistake. Big mistake.

His critics said there was another guy running for president who had a more perfect record…not just on pro-life but on lots of things—not having ever voted for a tax hike (when Reagan had to grudgingly sign a big tax hike to balance the state budget). They were right: Congressman Phil Crane of Illinois was far more perfect on conservative issues than Reagan. In fact of him it could be said that he was 99 and 55/100ths % pure whereas Reagan was in the 44/100ths % category.

The Rap Against Reagan.

Phil Crane whom I knew well then, supported consistently for congressional reelection all through his nine terms in the House, campaigned against Reagan in the New Hampshire primary saying…truthfully…that Reagan signed the biggest tax increase in California history…that he created an entirely new agency in a state that was then in technical deficit, to fight smog…that he had vowed to sign the Brady gun control bill…that as a former union leader he strenuously opposed the Taft-Hartley Act, a landmark in labor-management relations…that he supported a California constitutional amendment that allowed professedly gay teachers in public schools to teach (so long as they were not advocates of their lifestyles).

On all these things, Crane was right. But somehow the people saw in Reagan not just a conservative but a personality with a kind of twinkling civility that could convince people to his side.

Crane got 1.8% of the vote in New Hampshire. A decent man and a patriot he went back to the House and continued to serve honorably and well.

Reagan went on to what historians epitomize as glory.

Yeah, But the Obama Ad…

The biggest rap used by some conservatives against Kirk Dillard is that he did a TV tape that was used in an Obama commercial in 2008. Sure. But when they say he voted for Obama, that’s the dividing point. Wrong. He voted for and campaigned for McCain. Do I think the Obama statement was a mistake? Of course, just like I think…

And this is far-far worse…Reagan’s support of a draconian abortion bill was…just as I think Reagan was wrong to set up another governmental agency to fight smog when the federal was all that was needed…that he did a dumb thing by appointing Sandra Day O’Connor who was never pro-life…or that he did another dumb thing about appointing Anthony Kennedy to the Court…or that he took back his early tax cuts in his first term by yielding to a slight tax increase. Or that he yielded to the temptation that he could bargain with the enemy ala Iran Contra—motivated by the concern he felt for the imprisoned CIA operative Buckley which impelled him to make a series of bad decisions which he owned up to.
I could go on and on. The big things he did, though, cancelled them out (all except, in my mind, his irrevocable abortion bill signing). He won the Cold War. He instilled the confidence that spurred the economy to prosperity. With his twinkling civility he sold the concept of traditional conservatism to the American people. He pushed SDI which caused Gorbachev’s knees to buckle.

A Twinkling Civility.

All of which proves Fr. Ernie’s contention: we are human. We are not perfect. The only Perfect Being is God. All of us are well down the line. But the major thing is not just one’s actions, it’s what one believes. Increasingly, modern liberalism—an respectable belief when I traveled with candidates including some Democratic ones—increasingly modern liberalism has been taken with the creed of secularism.

…That the view of man being affected by divine providence is.;.well…embarrassingly corny…that the trouble with a seriously professed Christianity is that it postulates that God created the world and thus implies that all man’s development depends ultimately on Him (they’re right!)…that production of goods and services and the utilization of the state as ultimate Protector constitutes the real bases of society. And this leads to the ultimate liberal heresy: The material is the only reality—and the material is in man’s power to control. Man does not need to depend on any Deity beyond man’s own genius to transform this world into a paradise on earth.

So I say: enough with the nit-picking. This guy said such-and-so at a church picnic 12 years ago…this guy has freckles. It’s time to understand that what is needed to run state government is experience, sagacity, good will…all these things plus what Reagan had to got him through many a tight spot—and which Kirk Dillard has:

God willing he will be elected and continue as the man he is…not perfect but endowed with a tough inner core…flavored with a twinkling civility.

Tom Roeser is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Chicago Daily Observer.


  • Jack Striker said:

    Dillard’s imperfections are not the problem. We are all imperfect. Dillard self-portrays his reincarnation of Jim Edgar as a good thing. Such is not just an imperfection, it is a fatal deficiency. Casting him as just shy of ideal misses the fundamental point from which the Ivory Soap story misdirects.

    Pointedly speaking, Dillard isn’t merely blemished, he is intrinsically adverse to our State’s and our Party’s ability to self-correct from the very problems imposed upon us by Edgar, Thompson and Hastert. They comprise the Republican side of the Illinois “Combine”, as John Kass so insightfully classifies this self-anointed caste of yesterday’s politicians.

    These guys served their day. Unfortunately, they mostly served their own interests constructing one of the more loathesome political apparatti in the U.S. in Faustian league with Madigan/Daley et al.

    Enough! No Edgar! No Dillard! (or vice versa).

  • Mike R said:

    The last thing we need is another fear-mongering prohibitionist. Earlier this year, Dullard attempted to scare people into believing that there was a new strain of super marijuana that would cause all sorts of harms to our children. He wanted to instate 25yr mandatory minimum sentences for anyone in possession of “potent marijuana”.

    This would significantly RAISE the costs of prosecuting marijuana arrests, as the content of THC in the seized marijuana would need to be accurately assayed to prove or disprove potency “limits”. Exactly what we need right now, isn’t it?

    How out-of-touch must Dullard be to suggest mandatory 25 sentences for non-violent American citizens in the middle of the absolute PEAK of anti-prohibition? Even during the strictest years of the War on Drugs, a 25yr mandatory minimum for marijuana possession (think regular people – maybe your family, friends?) would have been considered by most to be absolutely tyrannical.

  • Sciatica Sucks said:

    We don’t need a conservative cavemen in power. This guy is a joke!! We are in 2010, not 1910. Wake up people!!!!!

  • Prolifer said:

    Dillard voted to use fetal stem cells for research!!! Does he just walk away from that vote? No consequences? Why not just ignore it? HE VOTED TO USE HUMAN BEINGS to EXPERAMENT ON! My God Tom why settle in a primary? In a General maybe but he has to pay for that vote and all of you pro lifers who pretend he didn’t do it just allows others to do the same thing. He has to pay for that vote and that means he cannot be Governor!!!!! What else will he do?

  • Prolifer said:

    On November 18, 2004, just days after State Senator Barack Obama was elected Illinois U.S. Senator, the Illinois Senate debated and voted on HB 3859, Senator Jeff Schoenberg’s effort to authorize and fund experimentation on human embryos in Illinois. During the debate, Schoenberg and Senator Kirk Dillard clarified the legislation through three legislative intent questions and answers, and then Senator Dillard took the Senate floor to explain his vote in support of embryo experimentation.

    In the speech below, Senator Dillard concisely described his view on the beginning of life: “I’m proud to hold the right-to-life philosophy. I believe that actual human life begins in the womb or at certain stages of reproduction, but not in a petri dish at eight or twelve days…”

    Such a definition of life’s beginning would allow for the destruction of embryos before eight or twelve days in any case, especially cases of rape or incest, and it would permit the government funding of morning-after abortifacients. More importantly, it could allow for embryos, already with DNA indicating the embryo’s gender, hair color, eye color, parentage, and a myriad of other human identifiers, to be experimented upon and treated as something other than a living human being.

    Senator Dillard, who was awarded this year’s Illinois Federation for Right to Life’s honor of endorsement in his bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, proudly claims his pro-life positions. However, he’s vague about exactly when life begins, despite indisputable scientific evidence that life begins at conception — be it in the embryo’s mother’s body or in a petri dish.

    HB 3589 failed by one vote the day Senator Dillard explained his vote in favor of embryonic experimentation. Soon after the legislation failed, Governor Rod Blagojevich initiated a program to facilitate the experimentation in Illinois via executive order. The next year, the Democrat-controlled legislature put embyronic stem cell research into state law and the state budget, where it remains today.

    If you’d like to read the whole debate the day this historic debate took place on the Illinois Senate floor, it is available at starting in this file’s page 18 on the Illinois General Assembly’s website. For a dramatic contrast to Senator Dillard’s views, read Senator Peter Roskam’s words immediately following Dillard’s speech. And then the vote was taken. HB 3589’s Senate roll call is HERE.

    Senator Dillard’s speech, in its entirety:

    Senator Dillard: Thank you, Madam President.

    To this very important bill: I think most of you know me, and I kidded the new Senator today about a scientific bill. But I’ve always been a champion for medical, scienfitic, technological and reasearch capabilities in Illinois. Argonne National Laboratory sits sort of in my district’s backyard. Illinois has Fermilab in Batavia. We’ve got the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, Northwestern, Rush University, IIT and other major worldwide research institutions. I would submit that part of the greatness of Illinois, which separates us from many other states, is our biotechnology, our agriculture, our physics and medical research capabilities. The world would be a very different place if it wasn’t for the University of Chicago and Enrico Fermi.

    So, while this bill really doesn’t change a lot, in reality it sends a powerful message to the world’s scientific and medical community that Illinois will remain a world-class research and medical state. It also sends a message that these researchers and doctors should not run to California, Boston, Austin, Ann Arbor, Columbus Ohio or neighboring Madison, Wisconsin. You know, we’re fighting to keep pyshicians in this State and we have a medical malpracrice crisis.

    One of the things that will keep world-class physicians in Illinois, especially in our teaching hospitals, is this particular bill. I’m proud to hold the right-to-life philosophy. I believe that actual human life begins in a womb or at certain statges of reproduction, but not in a petri dish at eight or twelve days. And while I recognize that some do not agree with me on this, many pro-lifers do agree with my views, as Senator Schoenberg has pointed out — Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, a conservative, devoutly Christian pro-life member of the United States Senate, and Mrs. Nancy Reagan.

    Polling indicates that Catholics and conservatives support stem cell research. I think as time goes on, as the public studies this issue, if it’s conducted in a proper ethical manner, support will continue to grow for stem cell research. To prepare for my vote today, I went back and I looked at the debate from when the world was discussing organ trasplants and there were many people who were ethically opposed to organ transplants, and I think public opinion has shown that organ transplants are a very good lifesaving thing.

    I also looked at the debate when we started to research DNA, and I also went back and looked at the debate on in vitro fertilization, which Jeff has mentioned, and the same was true. Public opinion’s already on the side of stem cell research. It will become overwhelmingly, over time, accepted if done in an ethical manner.

    I’ve spent a lot of hours readhing and researching this issue. I have met with doctors, ad nauseam, over the last month and I have studied and read the difference between adult and embryonic stem cell differences, lots of scientific literature. And while adult stem cell research is wonderful, let me tell you, virtually every scientist agrees that there are important differences between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells offer unique, and possibly revolutionary, things that adult stem cells do not offer.

    This process will allow the next generation of medical advancement and make Illinois a player in it. And if we’re a player in it, we can also look over the ethics of this type of treatment. To preclude this research, to me, is to delay lifesaving techniques for cancer, juvenile diabetes and a whole host of other diseases.

    Finally, and I may disagree with the sponsor of this a little bit, this bill to me is not — it is not — about economic development. It is about science. It is about lifesaving techniques to save and improve human life under very difficult tough ethical scrutiny. I mentioned Orin Hatch, and I really agree with one statement of his. And I would urge all of you to look at his research on this topic. Orin Hatch said that, quote, “I believe that a crucial part of being a pro-life legislator is to support measures that help the living.” I could not agree more with that Senator from Utah.

    So just to conclude, you know, people will want to know what changed my mind from the twenty-eight/twenty-eight tie last May when this was up for an amendment. You know, who changes a legislator’s mind? What does it? Well let me tell you, it’s mostly reading, it’s research, it’s meeting with doctors.

    The most important and impressive to me was a physician, not a research physician, from Downers Grove, Illinois, Dr. Michelle Bardack, who, for over an hour on Monday, sat me down and walked me through this, and where she really got me was, I have two young daughters, and she told me of the pain and the possibilities of making juvenile diabetes and other juveniles – and I’ve always been associated with Rush Children’s Hospital – the ability to take pain away from infants and young people with embryonic stem cell research is the future of something that can really, really be wonderful for little kids.

    I learned from my wife, who has Crohn’s disaese, and my father, who’s on a kidney transplant list. I have two Northwestern pediatricians that live across the street. They certainly helped me. You know, does Christopher Reeve impact me? No. With all due respect to him, and I thought he was a great actor, he doesn’t impact me. Ron Santo, my childhood hero, does he impact me? No., He really doesn’t. Nancy Reagan? Probably a little bit, cause she’s an idol of mine, as was her husband.

    Orin Hatch obviously had a tremendous impact on my thinking on this. But what really put me over the top, aside from Dr. Bardak from Downers Grove, Illinois, was a little boy named Danny Karbowski. He plays with my four-year-old daughter. He’s got juvenile diabetes, and to see this young man and know every day what Dr. Bardak told me could be his future, versus what the future is if he has to continue to go through treatements, as does Tom Cross’ children, how can you not be for this?

    And again, with that statement of Orin Hatch that part of being a good prolife legislator is to help the living, I think this is the right thing to do. I put a lot of thought into this bill and I can sleep well at night knowing that perhaps one hundred million Americans some day — might be five years, might be ten years – will be helped by this type of research.

    And I thank the sponsor for listening to me to help me mold this bill so that I felt comfortable voting for it. And I think this is the right thing to do, and I’ll guarantee you, Senator Schoenberg, fifteen years from now public opinion will bear us out. Thank you.

  • Wilson said:

    I am dissipointed with the endorsement of Dillard by the ISRA. Older voters view him with some animosity due to some his past associates & the arm in arm politics they shared. As far as being most electable I question Dillard’s popularity. I fear the ISRA has been swayed by his gun issues which I am very interested in myself. I know downstate Bill Brady is the heavy favorite & his 2nd Amendment belief is equal to Dillard’s on every point as well as concealed carry. I am concerned the Republican vote will be split in too many directions and bad election results may arise due to the continuing Republican bickering which is rearing its head now from the old Chicago school. Have you people up there not had enough of the Daly influence by now?
    Reaching beyond the Windy City frame of mind just one time is the only way to defeat the graft you face. I am stunded & perplexed by my lack of good options on the ballot. I support the ISRA but now I am not sure I can vote for Dillard over Bill Brady.

  • Scott said:

    2nd amendment issues and particularly restoring the right to bear arms in Illinois is my number one issue at the moment and Dillard is who I am supporting full tilt.
    A vote for anyone other than Dillard in the primary will be splitting the vote on him and ensuring a McKenna win.
    Is that what we want a McKenna governor? You know he authored a bill banning certain semi-automatic rifles? You know that he does not support restoring the right to bear arms in Illinois? We are the only state in the country left that is completely denied the right to bear arms and I’m ready to fix that, which is why I will be waiting the McDonald case and supporting Kirk Dillard for governor!

  • Charlie said:

    Great piece! I really enjoyed the approach and the critical notion that we will not find the candidate that we totally agree with.

  • HGP said:

    Dillard has no respect for human beings if he votes to kill the weakest at the beginning of life. He is just another ignorant person who I would not trust with my life. Dillard disqualifies himself from any consideration. He should not be elected to dogcatcher. To vote for Dillard, McKenna, Quinn, or Hynes would be to commit a moral evil. There are four candidates who are pro-life with no exceptions. Adam Andrzejewski, Brady, Proft and Ryan. They are the choice for any orthodox Catholic or person who believes in Christ and His teaching on the Two Greatest Commandments. If you are an atheist but support the Decaration of Independence and especially the second paragraph then they are also the only choice that you have. I believe Adam Andrzejewski is the best choice to bring new blood into the politics of Illinois and get rid of the machine politics that have brought the state to ruin.

  • twocanpete said:

    99.4%, are you kidding me? You must be using new math. Let’s make 2010 a RINO free year. Patrick Hughes is the only real choice in this race. Better to have true enemies then false friends!

  • dave said:

    Dillard is to old and part of Illinois politics. I am not saying he is corrupt but Illinois politics is. We have become the laughing stock state of the United States. Think about it, we gave the world Blago and Obama.

    No, we don’t need someone that’s been in Illinois politics, we don’t need someone old and unenergizing. We need somoene willing to work, and work hard. We need one of us, the person from Illinois that is not part of the network of politics in Illinois.

    Time to start over and elect Adam Andrezjewski. He owes no one, and is owned by no one. He is like you and I wants to see Illinois be a state we can be proud of.

    No more old, career politicans, and yes I am old but I want that youth that can get out and get the job done. Vote for Adam Andrezjewski.

  • chris said:

    I think Kirk Dillard is the right choice for Illinois today. Our state is bankrupt! Lets get someone with experience and has a fiscal/budget plan now…We need someone who can hit the pavement running. Kirk has the majority of qualifications to get the job done right away which is what the state needs. Not more status quo please!

  • Windy City Commentary said:

    I am really getting tired of Tom Roeser. I’m tired of his radio show and I’m tired of this pre-21st century blog, which must have had its template made in 1996. Tom, your endorsement of Dillard, shows that you are not the strong pro-lifer you cast yourself to be, while you bash the Chicago Archdiocese for being too liberal. I used to agree with you on that one; but your posts, your radio guests, etc., shows you’re just a long time political lightweight in Chicagoland, who goes with the flow. You could easily endorse Adam Andrzejewski, who actually is pro-life and could actually bring some energy to the Governors race, but you’re too lazy to look into it, so you back the Republican dinosaur who has probably been on your radio show since the 80’s. Then you base an article on Ivory soap. And we wonder why Illinois has bad politicians; just look at our braindead local media.

    Milt Rosenberg has more spine than you.

  • John Maynard Krebs said:

    The Chicago Daily Observer is probably not the best newspaper to read if you are “tired of Tom Roeser”.

    Milt’s spine aside, your characterization of Roeser being “too lazy to look into it” is absurd as Roeser was having lunch with Lech Walesa and Adam today, and is a good friend of Adam’s who has chosen not to endorse him this time.

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