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Political Savvy Has Got Us Nowhere: New Directions from Andrzejewski

Bruno Behrend 29 May 2009 10 Comments

While few would disagree with Tom Roeser’s view that the GOP is bereft of leadership, he has completely missed the boat in his commentary on Adam Andrzejewski.

Tom’s primary issue seems to be his “lack of experience” in governance.  Adam makes the point (which I agree with) that all this experience has gotten us exactly nowhere.  Ryan and Blagojevich had long resumes in governance.  Mike Madigan is perhaps the most savvy politician in Illinois.  Together, these folks have driven the state into a ditch.

Adam’s campaign stands for the proposition that experience without leadership is next to worthless.  Illinois’ financial condition, as well as the condition of the ILL GOP, proves his point.

There are many people in our party that have experience.  Experience in:

·         Cutting deals with Democrats

·         Raising taxes

·         Acquiescing to tax and spending interests

·         Driving back to their districts to whine about how little power they have.

Few of them seem to have much interest in leading on policy or bold ideas.

Adam, on the other hand, is out there running on well-thought out bold ideas (just check the “Issues Tab at www.adamforillinois.com), free of the baggage weighing down his “more experienced” GOP wannabes.   Furthermore, Adam’s success as an entrepreneur counts as important experience that will help bring needed entrepreneurial leadership to politics.  He also went on to found an organization that brought over $1 billion dollars of transparency to local government.  He has accomplished a great deal of good even before holding office.

This is a good time to specifically address the “citizen pilot” and “surgeon” metaphors in Tom’s article.  These analogies sound cute, but completely ignore the most important aspect of politics – leadership. If I stay with your metaphor for the moment, the obvious argument is that, other than Adam, every potential “pilot” or “surgeon” on the ILL GOP horizon has experience “crashing the plane” and “killing the patient.”

But it is leadership, not experience, that is the most important point factor.  Experienced surgeons operate on people, they don’t set policy for the Hospital Network.  Pilots fly planes, they don’t run airlines.  To compare this basket of learned skills to the rare quality of political leadership borders on nonsense.  If Illinois was in moderately good condition, your “competent manager” ideology might make a modicum of sense.  In its current condition, something newer and bolder is in order.

This is not to say that experience has no value.  Leaders lead.  The “experienced” follow.  When Adam wins the Governor’s Race, plenty of talented and experienced people will gladly help execute the ideas and policies that he is running on.

I could go about the task of dismantling the argument for any one of the other potential contenders, but I would rather that these potential candidates proceed to make their own case, and see how they do….as soon as they stop reading entrails, consulting the stars, checking polls, or try to get an appointment to “genuflect” in front of Andy McKenna. (see the latest Bernie Schoenberg article for details).

I find it ironic that Tom laments the lack of leadership in this party, but falls back on the thin gruel of “lack of experience” when someone like Adam steps up and leads.   I think it is the height of arrogance to argue that the only people qualified to run Illinois are the same people who ran Illinois into a ditch.  This critique extends to the chattering class and editorial boards that complain about the condition of the state while they continue to endorse the same “experienced” incumbents who created its condition.

Lastly, Illinois Republicans should be smart enough to know that for a Republican to win the governor’s race, they will need to win independents and so-called “Reagan Democrats” while simultaneously holding down the GOP base.  Adam Andrzejewski is the ONLY candidate who can draw the votes from across Illinois’ broad political spectrum necessary to win the Governor’s race.

We can sit and wait for the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, but we do so at the risk of missing the opportunity to back a leader like Adam Andrzejewski.


Bruno Behrend is the co-author of Illinois Deserves Better.
He is also a Policy Advisor and Database Consultant for Adam Andrzejewski’s gubernatorial campaign.


  • J. Thommes said:

    I have found it difficult to get excited about candidates for office these days, but I am excited about Adam Andrzejewski. Illinois needs someone with new ideas and a fresh face to reinvigorate not only republicans, but Illinoisans. Adam’s ideas for Illinois are good and open the door for all people to embrace good government. Unlike many politicians, Adam has told us his intentions for how to deal with our issues. The first thing Adam will do is find out where all our tax dollars are going. If you have been following this issue, you know that the current politicians aren’t quite sure how many programs the state has; is that the kind of experience we want to promote through the ranks. Adam understands business and education. We need a leader who can communicate new ideas about education and who will lay it out for the people of our state honestly.

    Do we want someone who will negotiate principles? NO
    Do we want someone with smoke and mirrors? NO
    Do we want someone with a past that has worked against open government? NO

    I don’t know what the readers here really want, but I know I trust Adam Andrzejewski to do right by the people of this state. I want a politician that has the experience of being a citizen, who will bring that to Springfield….he owes nothing to a particular county or special interest. He has a conscience and will not compromise that.

  • Novote4u said:

    So, Bruno Behrend is policy advisor. Does that mean that he tries to convince Adam to be in favor of illegal criminal aliens? I’ve been up and down Bruno’s website and discovered this.

    No one can call himself a true conservative and spend tax dollars supporting lazy, welfare, never want to get job illegal aliens.

  • HGP said:

    I have talked with Adam at a couple of events. I would vote for him over any of the other potential candidates. His stand on government expenses, every dime on line in real time, and his positions on the family, marriage and that he follows our Declaration of Independence on life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness makes him a good candidate to get rid of the criminals and corruption that is endemic in both parties today in Illinois.

  • J. Thommes said:


    When so called conservatives take hard lines on illegal immigration and refuse to see the issue as more than a policy, it makes me think of the hard core liberals who throw the incest and rape cases of abortion in our faces; that somehow how by being pro-life we want to make someone endure what that person sees as unthinkable. When I think of life and my place in this world, I tend to lean more toward God’s law than man’s law. When I was driving a school bus, I had a route that was 90% Hispanic and I would never treat those children with any less concern or care than I would a non-Hispanic child…if that child got hurt I wouldn’t ask to see their citizenship paper before getting them treatment. Tell us an idea you have for dealing with our illegal immigration problem humanely and I will listen. I think we should increase our allowance numbers from Mexico for legal immigration, but at the same time we need to keep opportunity for all equal and based on merit; whether in education or the job market.

    We need to know who is in this country and we also need to change our welfare system to encourage productivity, but it’s not just illegal aliens who take advantage of that system. I think legal aliens can not apply for aide for a certain number of years…

    If the Republican party adopts an attitude like yours, people will leave the Republican party. If the party doesn’t want limited government, free-market capitalist with views that differ here and there, show me the platform policy from the RNC, and I will go. I will take my two feet that get petitions signed and my voice that defends Republican ideas with me.

    We need big ideas not narrow points of view that attempt to label and discredit conservatives of good will and productive ideas.
    I’m not sure how Adam would deal with this issue, but I am sure he would be thoughtful and come up with good ideas that would then have to go through the general assembly.

  • BrunoBehrend said:


    Your somewhat silly post is another example of why the Republican party is eating itself alive. Politics is about addition, and you talk subtraction. Further, you certainly are NOT the last word on who is and who isn’t a conservative.

    Personally, and quite seperate from Adam’s campaign, anytime you want to come out from behind your anonymous hiding place and schedule a debate or a townhall and debate ME on MY position on immigration, I’d be happy to oblige. You can pick the time, place and audience. I’m comfortable with my position to defend it in front of any audience.

    As for Adam’s campaign, you will probably find his positions on ALL the issues closer to yours and mine than any of the candidates dipping their toes in water.

    Why not contact the campaign as see what Adam’s policies on immigration are? That is what he is running on, and that is how he will govern.

    Of course, if you want to continue down the silly road of making campaign advisors an issue, I wish you well in finding the candidate and campaign that meets all your narrowing, shrinking, and self-defeating litmus tests.

  • Jim Leahy said:

    I could not post this On Tom Roesers blog so I will do it here
    JIm Leahy


    I hesitate to post this because you did not mention Ron Gidwitz by name but it now appears right after Tom’s endorsement on this blog so I feel I should. Up front I will state that I have worked for Ron Gidwitz for the last year, and in that time I have discovered how lucky the state of Illinois would be to have someone of his character as Governor. Tom did not support any of the individuals you mentioned in your article, and he has now supported Ron Gidwitz I feel that it is important that Ron’s record is clear to the readers.

    You say “There are many people in our party that have experience…Few of them seem to have much interest in leading on policy or bold ideas.” Here are some of the issues Ron has led on.
    The huge budget mess in the state of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich’s illegal and impeachable starting of “Kid Care” without the approval of the General Assembly.

    Ron is not only leading in Illinois but working nationally on the defeat of the Card Check legislation. These are policy issues that are now in the news and all but card check are issues that Ron has been leading on for the last two and a half years at least.

    The fact that Ron has taken on these issues proves to me there is a lack of leadership in the Illinois Republican Party, and I would say its announced candidates. I do agree with Bruno that “it is leadership not electoral experience” that is important in this race. And here Tom is correct; Ron Gidwitz is the best leader for the job of Governor. Since Ron is potential “Pilot or Surgeon” on the horizon lets look at the above issues and let us see who has led without “crashing” or “killing the patient”.

    On Spending Ron Gidwitz is the Illinois Chairman of Americans for Prosperity. A group that has taken the lead nationally and in Illinois, exposing and calling for an end to, waste and fraud, in state and federal government. Adam himself quotes numbers and ideas for cutting the Illinois budget from the work Americans for Prosperity has done in Illinois. (Check out the Berkowitz interview May 2009).

    As for the tens of millions spent on the illegal universal health care system called “Kid Care”, Ron Gidwitz had to sue Governor Blagojevich personally along with two other private citizens, to get the case heard and they won. Stopping the spread of this illegal and unauthorized expenditure, saving the taxpayers of Illinois countless millions of dollars the state does not have. It became one of the charges in Blagojevich’s impeachment.

    Ron has also led by starting groups like the Illinois Jobs Coalition who have for the past years been the lone voice in opposition demanding a stop to the huge regulatory and monetary burden our Illinois corporations have been hit with since the Democrats took over the whole state. Ron also started the Economic Freedom Alliance that has been fighting nationwide warning people of the horrific costs of the Employee Free Choice Act. The EFCA will strip away a workers right to a private vote in the workplace.
    But don’t think that Ron only did these things preparing for a run for Governor, look at his history and you will see a leader.

    You say Adam is free of the baggage of the other “GOP wannabes”. Here is some more of the baggage Ron carries as a “more experienced” wannabe. Ron is a leader in education, business and Philanthropy. Ron helped start the Big Shoulders fund, raising funds for the Chicago Arch Dioceses schools he is also a former Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education. Ron has been Governor of the Boys and Girls clubs of America, and a trustee for the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry. He is a member of the Board of Trustees/Directors for Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center. Additionally, he has served as Chairman of the Economic Development Commission of the City of Chicago, the Board of Trustees of the City Colleges of Chicago, and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Ron has worked behind the scenes for this state and this party as among other things a fundraiser for the late great Henry Hyde, and countless candidates. I could go on but I think you see that to paint with such a broad brush was a mistake.

    You wrote that “Only Adam can draw from across the political spectrum” I have to say you are wrong in your assessment. In the last Primary for Governor Ron was endorsed by the middle of the road, I would even say liberal, Chicago Tribune. Ron and I have spent the last year introducing him to the base of the Republican Party and has drawn the support of conservatives like Tom Rouser. Ron will do what he thinks is best for him and his family as well as the state of Illinois. He would not and will not “Genuflect” to anyone in the party; he doesn’t want to have to fight the party and the Democrats at the same time like all of the other conservative candidates of the past decade. Ron can and will bring all the factions of the GOP together and has shown he can raise the money to compete and win. Ron is the only candidate who can take on even the best funded Democratic candidate and win. Illinois and the Illinois Republican party can only hope that Ron Gidwitz decides to run for Governor.

    Jim Leahy

  • Henryk A. Kowalczyk said:

    Response to Jim Leahy,

    Ron Gidwitz has good credentials, has money, and he still could not win. Did he find out why? Does he want to try again?

    Endorsement and encouragement from Mr. Roeser are very valuable. However, do they suffice? Does Mr. Roeser know why Ron Gidwitz did not win at the first try?

  • Jim Leahy said:


    1st. Yes
    2nd I hope so
    3rd they help to bring all sides together and take another look
    4th Everyone thought Ron was a part of the combine, when they pushed JBT on everyone it showed Ron was independant but that was December of 2005 it was too late in the campaign.

  • Tom Aquinas said:

    I know why Ron Gidwitz did not win in 2006. He did not have Leahy working with him the first time around.

    Adam and Ron are both great guys, and will be great leaders for Illinois. Wish them both well.


  • Chicago Tribune said:

    “I think as governor we have to know who’s here, where they’re at, and be able to say when they’re going home,” Andrzejewski said. “One of the security issues that we face is our Immigration policy in Illinois. I think we have to be the party of welcome, we have to be the party of play-by-the-rules, but we also have to be the party of anti-law-breaking.”


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