The GOP suffered an embarassing kick to the head this weekend when Democrat Bill Foster, a physicist and first-time candidate, beat dairy magnate and four-time candidate Jim Oberweis to take the seat of retired House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
[Rep. Tom] Cole and the House Republican leadership are blaming the loss directly on GOP candidate Jim Oberweis. A dairy owner who lost three consecutive statewide elections before Saturday, Oberweis has a long history of political baggage. He won the recent nomination without receiving the support of his Republican primary rival, state Sen. Chris Lauzen.
"By itself, this would not be that big of a deal, but coupled with everything else it will just deflate the [House Republican] Conference," said an aide to one top GOP lawmaker. "And symbolically, losing Hastert's seat is like the toppling of the Saddam statue in Baghdad for Republicans."
But why was Oberweis damaged goods? No one seems to be saying it, but the answer was in some 2004 ads he ran in his second campaign for U.S. Senate. Grasping for traction in a seven-way race, Oberweis attacked the Bush administration for not sealing the border and preventing Mexicans from coming in.
In the first TV ad, "10,000 reasons," Oberweis is seen standing in front of a time-lapse video of the Capitol in Washington.
"Think about this: From dawn till dusk, 10,000 more illegal aliens will come to America. And no one in Washington seems to notice, but 10,000 more American jobs will be risked," Oberweis says.
In the second ad, "This Big," the one featuring Soldier Field, Oberweis appears in a helicopter flying over downtown Chicago. As the helicopter nears the lakefront stadium, the label "Jim Oberweis, Conservative" appears at the top of the screen, and "Illegal Aliens: Taking Jobs" flashes at the bottom, followed by "Illegal Aliens: 10,000 per day."
The ads stirred such a backlash (read down and read Mark Krikorian debunking Oberweis's b.s.) that even though Oberweis came second in the Senate primary, and first-place finisher Jack Ryan dropped out because of a sex scandal, the state party nominated Maryland native Alan Keyes rather than risk it on Oberweis. The candidate has obviously never recovered. Something to ponder when the Dobbses of the world inform you that real Americans want to "get tough" on immigration.