Small talk ends when GOP boss' name comes up

Then Rauschenberger declared: "Well, then I hope you don't say any more about party building, either of you, if you don't have an opinion on the national committeeman and what's going on in the party. Welcome to the Republican Party, but don't talk about party building in front of public audiences."

"You talking to me?" McKenna said, upset.

"Both of you," Rauschenberger said.

McKenna said he wasn't going to spend his time criticizing other Republicans, which most likely includes Kjellander.

That's when McKenna brought up the ostentatious nose-raising bit.

"If you're going to stand up and put your nose above me because you think that's wrong," McKenna said, "I think that's arrogant and what got this party in trouble."

Then Oberweis chimed in, accusing McKenna of duplicity for supporting party unity when convenient, while also working against Fitzgerald, including planning a campaign against the incumbent.

"Yes," McKenna said, quietly, "I did consider running against Peter Fitzgerald."

Nobody was paying much attention to another candidate, Jack Ryan, who was still probably thinking about his pithy Treaty of Westphalia reference and whether we understood it.

Ryan said he did not know exactly what the other candidates were talking about but said he'd have an opinion, once "I find out what he did."

It was explained to him, and he said he'd reserve judgment until he had more facts.

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. John Borling of Rockford said Republicans shouldn't criticize each other.

And there it is.

Rauschenberger didn't raise his nose.

But he's the only one of them willing to stand up and oppose the combine.