Monday, June 28, 2004

A self-funded blog.

My brother Jay writes, regarding my light brush with the defunct Ryan for Senate campaign last Friday:

“I just got around to reading yesterday's Ryanblog. That afternoon, I heard an Illinois GOP fonctionnaire on the radio discussing what they would be looking for in a replacement candidate. As well a number of unexceptionable characteristics -- ‘loyal, trustworthy, brave, etc.’ -- he added that it wouldn't hurt if the candidate was ‘self-funded’ too. I don't believe I had heard the term before. I assume he meant that it would be good to have a candidate capable of paying all or most of his own campaign expenses, thus allowing the party to use its money elsewhere.

“I have the impression that Mr. Ryan was, to a considerable degree, self-funded. Party officials are especially annoyed, of course, because they say that Mr. Ryan had, ah, understated to them the nature of the allegations made during his divorce proceedings. The affair fits nicely, if in an American context, into the accepted wisdom of British politics that holds that Labour scandals are always about money, and Tory scandals always about sex.

“Wasn't there a Sikh running for the Republican nomination for Senate in Illinois? Or was he running for governor? I have the idea that you reported seeing him campaigning once, perhaps outside of the train station downtown. I don't know if he would be self-funded, but it would make for a more interesting race if they brought him back in.”

I did meet the only Sikh candidate for Senate outside Union Station (see the March 15, 2004, entry). The GOP running Dr. Kathuria as a replacement had occurred to me, too. Then the race for U.S. Senate in Illinois would be Chirinjeev Kathuria vs. Barack Obama, surely the most novel paring of names in a Senate contest, ever.

Unfortunately, according to a few reports that I’ve read, the Republican Party elders who will make the decision about Jack Ryan’s replacement aren’t seriously considering Dr. Kathuria, though they might as well be. They want their candidate to be “self-funded” because the race has been written off. The party, which has had a bad few years lately in Illinois, wants to spend its money hanging on to some contested U.S. House seats, I think, rather than on a long-shot Senate race.


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