that a person’s right to hold a job shouldrndepend on performance and qualifications,rnnot “employer bias,” meaning personalrnabhorrence of what biblical patriarchsrnand Christian leaders have calledrnper’ersity. (There would be exemptions,rnhowever, for religious organizations andrnapartment buildings of fewer than fourrnunits.)rnOn this issue, both candidates havernbeen evasive, but Poshard has been morernoutspoken in his opposition. He beginsrnby stating unequivocally that he will notrnsign such legislation but then adds that itrndepends, of course, on what form the legislationrntakes. One thing is certain: Gayrightsrnadvocates do not like him butrnendorse—some even enthusiastically—rnGeorge Ryan. A staff member at the secretaryrnof state’s office wrote — on staterntime—a strategy paper for the Ryan campaignrnon winning the homosexual vote,rnand unwisely sent it out on a state fax machine.rnWhen this was made public,rnRyan reimbursed the taxpayers. Butrnwhat is his firm position on the homosexualrnrights statute?rnHe’s either for it or is deliberately ambiguous,rnin the eyes of many social conservatives.rnThey cite heated attacks onrnPoshard by homosexual rights spokesmen,rnwho in fact walked out of a meetingrnwith Poshard. Their withering blastsrnat the Democratic candidate and Ryan’srnanrbiguous stand have led some prominentrnsocial conservatives to reconsiderrntheir support for Ryan. Further complicatingrnmatters, a national organizationrncalled Project VoteSmart asked bothrncandidates how they would stand on thernissue. Poshard didn’t answer; Ryan’s officernresponded that he would support therngay-rights statute.rnBut does he really? Some Ryan supportersrnsay that the questionnaire wasrnfilled out by a campaign aide. Ryan himselfrnwon’t retract the questionnaire, butrnhe does say that his support for such a billrnwill depend on what it says. His messagernto social conservatives is mixed: Howrndare you criticize me after all I’ve donernfor you; and let me make the bargains Irnmust in order to get elected, and you willrnbe satisfied with the residts from a GovernorrnRyan.rnNow Henry Hyde comes into the picture.rnThe venerable, silver-maned congressmanrnand chairman of the House JudiciaryrnCommittee worries that arnDemocratic governor could skew redistrictingrnin the year 2000. Illinois will losernone U.S. House seat that vear, and Hvdernfears a Democratic-tinged redrawing ofrnthe map may put him in competitionrnwith Representative Phil Crane. The 74-rnyear-old Hyde, the main congressionalrnspokesman against term limits, is notrncontemplating retirement. As the leadingrnsocial conservative in Illinois, he hasrnurged his friends to support his goodrnfriend Ryan.rnThere is another (seldom reported) aspectrnto social conservatives’ threat to boltrnRyan. Some are willing to campaign forrnPoshard not because Poshard is all thatrngood on homosexuality (he recently supportedrnsome homosexual rights legislationrnin Congress) but to rebuke Ryanrnand the state GOP organization. ThernIllinois GOP has long benefited fromrnconservative support, but under the governorshipsrnof fer’ent pro-choicers JamesrnThompson and Jim Edgar, conservativesrnhave been given very little. The mostrnprominent party leader has long beenrnHarold Byron Smith, Jr., the currentrnstate chairman and a former nationalrncommitteeman and finance chairman.rnDespite being scion of a billionaire bluechiprnbanking and manufacturing company.rnSmith, conservatives say, is eager torndispense governmental balm to ease thernslightest liberal itch of politically correctrngroups. According to one conservativernstate senator. Smith has declared that arntenth of the party’s electorate is homosexualrnand that Republican policies shouldrnreflect this “fact.”rnAs we go to press, all odds-makers sayrnRyan will win handily unless a scandalrnarises in the secretary of state’s huge domainrn— certainly not an impossibility,rnconsidering an earlier scandal in whichrntruckers’ licenses were awarded in exchangernfor bribes. Six children werernkilled in an accident involving a truckrndriven by an immigrant with little knowledgernof English, who purportedly couldrnnot pass his driver’s test but obtained a licensernthrough bribery. A state proberncalled by Ryair found no other instancesrnof bribery, but a subsequent FBI proberndid, embarrassing Ryan. Still, there hasrnbeen no political fallout for the secretaryrnof state. Any further disclosures, however,rnwould seriously harm his campaign.rnIf Ryan wins, it will be because the dynamicsrnof politics have changed, due tornhis ability to build a whopping majorit)’rnamong Democratic constituencies.rnRyan is endorsed by key unions (iircludingrnthe powerful Illinois Education Association)rnand by gun-control advocatesrn(including Jim Brady, who had supportedrnDick Durbin for the U.S. Senate andrnwhose followers identify with DemocraticrnSenator Moseley-Braim). Homosexualrnrights advocates and their allies onrnprestigious newspaper editorial boardsrnidentify with Ryan, and Ryan has morernthan 3,000 patronage workers. In addition,rnAfrican-Americans who listen to thernhvo Jesse Jacksons may snub Poshard becausernof his conservative social policiesrnand his failure to support a pet project ofrnthe minister and his politician son.rnThroughout the campaign, Ryan hasrnreceived the money and endorsementsrnbut Poshard has stood alone, as socialrnconservatives fancy themselves to do,rnseemingly a figure of integrity who willrnnot bend—the distinction conservativesrnhave had in Illinois for decades. IfrnPoshard heroically overcomes the oddsrnand wins the election, his stature as arnconservative Democrat will take on nationalrnproportions.rnBut one thing is clear: Politics in Illinoisrnhave changed. No matter how thernelection turns out, political analysts canrnno longer take for granted the “fact” thatrnRepublican candidates are distrusted byrnunions and are disdained by advocates ofrnhomosexual rights, by blacks, and byrnfeminists. Nor is it safe to say that Democraticrncandidates cannot be endorsedrnby right-to-lifers, homeschoolers, andrnevangelical opponents to the gay agenda.rnFor the foreseeable future, social conservatismrnin Illinois has become enthusiasticallyrnbipartisan.rnThomas Roeser, a member of the board ofrndirectors of The Rockford Institute, is arnnewspaper columnist and radio talk showrnhost in Chicago.rnw hen in Rockford,rnEat atrnLee’s Chinese Restaurantrn3443 N. Main StreetrnDECEMBER 1998/35rnrnrn