Paul was part of a brave band of rebels
in the Illinois legislature: Abner Mikva, Anthony Scariano, Leland
Rayson, Bob Mann and others fought the good fight. In 1965, they had
a new champion, Adlai Stevenson III, who has been elected in the
1964 "bed sheet ballot." Paul and the others had the street smarts;
Adlai had the name, and visibility.
It was a close-knit band of rebels, and
I was a very junior, and student, member, doing research, going to
Springfield, working in campaigns. I almost left law school and went
to work for Adlai during the 1966 campaign; I suppose life would
have been different if I had.
I became good friends with Paul; he was
an occasional visitor in my home. I worked for his election as
lieutenant governor in 1968, although I think we were surprised when
he won and a Republican was elected governor.
When the Illinois Supreme Court
attacked me, Paul Simon came to my defense.
I recently ran into former congressman
Paul Findley and we discussed some of the old lions of the '60s and
'70s. We both spoke fondly of Paul, who had settled back in southern
It's hard to believe Paul is gone.
Jeanne Simon died several years ago, and that was hard to accept as
[to top of second column in
As I look across the political
landscape, courage and independence have almost completely
disappeared from politics. Conformity is "in." There are no more
lions in the Illinois legislature, no more Paul Simons unafraid to
stand up to organized crime in Madison County, no more Paul Simons
willing to throw monkey wrenches at the machinations of the Daley
Where did all those years go? Where did
all those leaders go? Like "Puff the Magic Dragon," they have
disappeared from the political stage. Tony Scariano is retired,
Abner Mikva is active, but no young lions followed in the ranks.
Illinois is poorer for it. I tried my best, but I did not see myself
as a worthy successor to the great men of Illinois politics. I'm
Paul will be
missed. And I will miss him dearly.
Copyright Andy Martin, Dec. 9, 2003.
Andy Martin has filed to seek ballot
access for the Republican Party nomination for U.S. senator from
Illinois. He is an international broadcaster, talk show host and
columnist. His views can be seen at
Out2.com ("Govt. & Politics"). He has served as Baghdad bureau
chief and chief foreign correspondent for Out2.com. Martin is also
executive director of the Revolutionary War Research Center, a
Washington, D.C., organization that studies guerilla war and
unconventional military and political tactics in foreign affairs.