I have never met her, but I continue to be impressed by Kerry Lester's reporting on the political beat at the Daily Herald. In her latest piece, she sits down with the new Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, and talks about the impact of the Tea Party on the GOP, and other issues. Priebus mentioned new Senator Mark Kirk and new Congressman Bob Dold as proof that moderate Republicans can thrive and survive in Illinois:
Q. We're seeing tremendous tea party growth in the Northwest suburbs. How do you see the tea party affecting the Republican Party both in the state and across the country?
A. I think the tea party movement's great for the Republican Party. I would call it the conservative movement in this country. I've often said the Republican Party is not in competition with the conservative movement in this country. We're part of the conservative movement. I think the tea party's done a good job of focusing in on issues, like for example our out of control debt. ... I think the tea party has brought to the forefront those issues in a very effective way.
Q. But is that tea party growth isolating moderate Republicanss?
A. I don't think so. How could it be? (Senator Mark) Kirk, a moderate, just won in Illinois. And (10th District Rep. Robert) Dold won. I think this issue of where we are fiscally in this country transcends party lines. It doesn't matter if you're Republican or Democrat. I think Republicans and Democrats agree that this president has not followed through on his promises. ... I think Republicans conservatives, they agree with this message. I think that's where they're going to throw Barack Obama out.
Go read the whole thing.