Republicans are salivating with news of Rezko’s conviction. According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Republicans opened their state convention vowing to link Governor Blagojevich to all Democrats across the state, including the presumptive Democratic nominee, U.S. Senator Barack Obama. They’re pulling out all the stops, but saying nothing new.
For example, they’re going to run around screaming, “Hussein!” Obama’s middle name, very common in the Arabic world, simply means “good” or “handsome.” According to a wonderful analysis of the name at Salon.com:
Barack Obama’s middle name is in honor of his grandfather, Hussein, a secular resident of Nairobi, Kenya. Americans may think of Saddam Hussein when they hear the name, but that is like thinking of Stalin when you hear the name Joseph. There have been lots of Husseins in history, from the grandson of the prophet Mohammed, a hero who touched the historian Gibbon, to King Hussein of Jordan, one of America’s most steadfast allies in the 20th century. The author of the beloved American novel “The Kite Runner” is Khaled Hosseini.
But in Obama’s case, it is just a reference to his grandfather.
Yes, attacking Barack’s middle name sounds like a great game plan.
Republicans plan to play up Rezko’s conviction and attempt to link Rezko to every Democrat running for office in Illinois. According to Rick Pearson at the Chicago Tribune, however, Rezko did business across party lines:
Still struggling to recover the relevance it lost amid the corruption investigation and conviction of former GOP Gov. George Ryan, the state GOP also finds itself beset by longtime internal strife. A cadre of conservatives trying to advance their agenda under a reform mantle has clashed repeatedly with old-guard moderates seeking to maintain their control.
Another convention panel recommended former prosecutor Patrick Brady of St. Charles to succeed the embattled Robert Kjellander as the state’s Republican national committeeman, a critical post for fundraising and to serve as an Illinois liaison with the national campaign of presumptive GOP presidential contender U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
Kjellander, who is retiring at the end of his term this year, has been a source of controversy over his consulting activities with the state during the Blagojevich years and his own relationship with Rezko.
Illinois Republicans are a shrewd lot. Mess with them, and they’ll import Alan Keyes again to save the day. Just pray Keyes wasn’t caught in a photo-op with Rezko during his brief stay in the Land of Lincoln a few years ago.