But Jeff! If, per your last post, if you truly believe we need the kind of Republican leadership that’s willing to cracks some skulls, then why are you so high on new Kane County Republican Chairman Tom Hartwell? Because if there’s anyone nicer than Tim Schneider, it’s Tom.
That is true! It would be very difficult to argue with that logic if not for the fact that county party organizations are entirely different from their statewide counterparts. The lone exception, of course, is Cook County which is even more populous than some states.
You see, when you’re talking about entities the size of Illinois and the Second City, the job is so massive there isn’t a lot of time for finesse. And even it there were, the subtle path isn’t nearly as effective when the players are rarely in the same room, the feuds are diluted by sheer weight of numbers, and the cast of characters is constantly shifting.
Conversely, even in a county the size of Kane, the players are constantly at the same events, nothing is ever forgotten because the news cycle is somewhat static, and the roles may shift somewhat, but the players never do.
And political familiarity almost always breeds contempt.
We also can’t forget that, though it’s becoming far more expensive to run a collar countywide campaign, especially for board chairman, those paltry sums pale in comparison to what you might have to spend on a Treasurer effort, Chicago Mayoral race, or even a simple State Senate seat.
So while a state GOP chairman has to lead from in front and cannot be effective unless they come from a position of power, a county party chairman has to sit in the back of that figurative smoke filled room and do his best to keep his charges from falling prey to their base urges and subsequently doing their best to kill each other.
Basically, if he can keep the whole thing from imploding then the rest tends to take care of itself.
But in order to accomplish that, the party chairman has to be smart, perceptive, humble, and somehow manage to become everyone’s best friend all at the same time while not getting one thin dime for a thankless job that rarely leads to anything bigger.
In fact, by the job’s inherent tendency of consistently putting you in the position of aggravating at least half of your “team,” it can generally detrimental to your political career. When was the last time you heard of a state or county chairman successfully running for a major office after their tenure?
This is why Tim Schneider would do far better off at the county level and Tom Hartwell is about as perfect a possibility as I’ve ever seen. Then, when you add East Dundee Trustee Allen Skillicorn into the mix as the more determined and energetic Kane County GOP vice chair, you suddenly have some real synergy.
The early reports on the dynamic duo is they are off to a promising start. The old factional lines are beginning to fade, there’s a general sense of inclusion, and a new willingness to work together for the party as a whole.
And this news couldn’t have come at a better time when you consider the vast inroads the Democrats are making into Kane County. I’ll say it again, a Democratic County Chair candidate who refused to campaign still managed to get 44 percent of that 2012 vote.
Of course, my fear is that were only in the midst of a short honeymoon phase that will come crashing down under the weight of the various egos, but if anyone call pull of this kind of cooperation on a more permanent basis, it’s Mr. Hartwell.
So here’s hoping!