The big news in Illinois right now is a prominent Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives, Paul Froelich of Schaumburg is leaving the Republican party and joining the Democrats. I commented in a Capitol Fax post yesterday about the first inklings of this story that was reported and I said that the Democrats "don't seem to be doing that well right now with the budget stalemate and all why is he joining them now".
It's funny how these thinks work out. I remember when the Republican won control of the US House and Senate in 1994. Magically several Democrats became Republicans in both houses. One of the new members of the Republican caucus in Congress was Colorado Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (if you don't know he was actually an American Indian or Native American if you prefere, but that has no bearing on this story). People sure could have questioned their motivations for switching.
In the case of Rep. Froelich, since he's a public official and a leader in his township Republican organization this is more problematic. Know one thing for sure though, citizen change their political affiliation all the time. No one ever stays a Democrat nor do they stay a Republican. Ever person has their reasons for changing their affiliation and it's not always, as it could be in the case of a public official such as Froelich, about self-preservation.
People and their ideas (or more accurately, what the believe in) change all the time. One can be a socialist one day, but the next day more of a capitalist. Or pro-abortion one day, then against abortion on another day. Ideas do seem to be very fluid at times.
Still I want to look at the political ramifications of this story. Froelich will certainly have to answer for his change to the voters in Schaumberg. Will his new Democratic friends come through for him to keep his seat? Will Republicans get their act together to be able to take Froelich's seat away from him?
Who knows, but I'd say this is one race to look at as we look forward to the 2008 election. Then we'll be looking for a new President since the one we do have must retire on January 20th, 2009.
Links from The Capitol Fax Blog
More on yesterday’s Republican meltdown *** Updated x3 ***
Weird day for Illinois Republicans - Froehlich flips, Dillard does Obama TV ad *** Updated x3 ***