It would seem that many elected Republicans don’t understand something very simple: the ballot line they use on Election Day belongs to rank and file Republicans. So what’s expected of them once they’re elected is their participation in both the work of Party-building and advancing Republican Party principles.
Most elected Republicans who have been involved with the Party have been doing so not to build the Party but to protect themselves from challenge from within the Party. If they were Party-building, the Party would be building. Anyone who thinks it is isn’t paying attention.
Party-building requires motivating people who aren’t on the public payroll (or in some other way the recipient of tax dollars), and that won’t happen without a serious agenda for implementing solutions based on Republican principles.
It’s an unpleasant fact of life that most of those currently motivated to participate in Republican politics do so because that’s how they make their living. The Party will never reach a solid governing majority until the principles are the fuel that motivates volunteers and would-be candidates.
Platform-supporting Republicans won’t invest their time or their money if the entire enterprise is going to be looking for ways to raise their taxes, or for that matter, subvert their values. The only way to really grow and strengthen the party is through leadership that isn’t looking to make a buck.
What most legislators currently do is spend thousands of man hours figuring out a way to take more from working families to hand over to those who write PAC checks.
One attitude that exists amongst elected Republicans is that they’re doing us a favor by running for and holding a political office. Since they’re such wonderful, accomplished people, and are doing us this great service, we owe them.
After you stop laughing at this silliness it’s easy to realize why the Republican Party here in Illinois and nationally suffers as it does. After all, it’s not for a lack of governmental and policy problems. And it’s not for a lack of solutions. What’s missing – and has been for a long time – is the proper understanding of what it means to hold political office as a Republican.
As a society and as nation we’ve learned some things about economics since the 1970s. Back then, monetary and fiscal policy makers were a lot less informed about what worked. We saw interest rates hit 20%, inflation in the double digits, an unacceptably high unemployment rate and an unacceptably low growth rate.
Thanks to thinking people and courageous leadership, American economic policies have changed and now the American economy provides more examples to follow than not. Our current political experience has a parallel in our nation’s 1970s economic experience. No matter how many well-intentioned Republicans we have in office today, too few of them seem to understand the changing times.
These Republican elected officials might carry cell phones and surf the Internet on fast computers, but they are clueless about what leadership means in this new century.
Lately, Newt Gingrich has been referring to the over 500,000 elected officials in this country. By my math we can assume about half are Republicans. That’s a lot of would-be salesmen and women for better policy.
What we get instead is a lot of small-minded and useless activity on the part of this would-be army.
Again it’s important to note an important basic fact: enough Americans will never look to the Heritage Foundation or the Heartland Institute or the myriad advocacy groups for information about their government or public policy proposals. They look primarily to the people they elect. State and local party apparatuses can and must provide a large assist.
We have to get practical. On the IL GOP side we’re calling for a special state convention this year because there is the need for important reforms right now and there’s the need to tap the energy of the rank and file before it’s too late.
If there are Republicans who don’t think it’s possible to check the growth of government it’s time for them to go back to Republican school. They need to enroll at the Heartland Institute in Chicago for summer school classes ASAP. If they don’t pass the test, they should switch parties. There is no need for two parties if both parties are going to advance the same policy.
©2007 John Francis Biver