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Illinois GOP members of congress and the health care debate

Are you hearing from your Illinois GOP members of congress about health care reform?

Today Townhall.com columnist David Limbaugh nicely summarized the status of the current health care debate:

“Liberals say Republicans have no health care solutions. So their answer is to give us more of what caused most of the problems we have today: government intervention and control.

Perhaps it is true that Republicans haven’t been aggressive enough in pursuing free market solutions because they are so intimidated by Democratic demagoguery at every step and so conditioned to believing that liberal lite (such as a new prescription drug entitlement) is the only product that will fly in the Beltway.”

He’s almost right – Republican politicians haven’t been aggressive at all and they certainly have been intimidated into retreat at the sound of any opposition. How else do you explain how so little domestic policy reforms were advanced during all those years Republicans held the White House and/or the congress?

David Limbaugh also writes:

“Before we have a prayer at achieving sweeping market reforms, however, we must do a better job of making the case that government meddling in the health care industry to date — e.g., mandates, laws and regulations — has been the major source of our problems with both overall medical costs and insurance coverage.”

He’s exactly right there. And his point applies to every issue. It would be helpful if the seven men and women we send to the U.S. House from Illinois would do their job to move voters here. As of now, none of them can be mistaken for being a “public opinion leader.” Just like when the War in Iraq was going badly, they didn’t make any serious attempt to help people in their home district or state understand that war is hell but sometimes is necessary.

Maybe if they had communicated effectively on more issues—we would still be sending ten GOP reps to Congress instead the current seven.

You can forget the 12 Democrats that Illinoisans send to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the 2 Democrats that represent us in the U.S. Senate. As You’re never going to see them do anything against the special interest groups—like the unions—which are looking for a free health care lunch.

Commentator Hugh Hewitt predicts that the “concern and anger that has been on display the past two weeks” is “likely to continue to grow…” Fox News, talk radio, and the Internet have more to do with this public outpouring regarding health care than anything Republican members of the U.S. House or Senate are doing.

When a Republican represents a congressional district, that political leader should, on a constant basis, be doing the following:

  • Moving public opinion in support of good policy is job one. What’s wrong and why. What’s the wrong solution and why. What’s the right solution and why.
  • Enlist the help of surrogates, business and community leaders, local parties, issue groups, and every other willing individual or organization to help disseminate the facts about every policy – whether it’s on the front burner (like health care is now) or not.
  • Get citizens and taxpayers involved in spreading the word. Their word of mouth is the ultimate goal of any effort to shape public opinion.
  • Use all the venues of communicating available. The list is obvious. Personal appearances and public forums. Door to door. TV and radio, earned and paid. Op eds and letters to newspapers. Press conferences and press releases. Editorial board meetings. Direct mail, phone banks, websites, blogs, and emails.
  • Creative minds will come up with ways to get the information out effectively to enough people to get us to where we need to be. Of course not everyone will care year round, but when it comes time for them to cast a vote, they’ll know where to look to help them make their decision on which fork in the road they should take.

If that’s all seen as too much work, don’t expect to see much in the way of leadership from that individual. When candidates and legislators don’t make regular use of the above methods, we get what we have now – a whole lot of failed policy.

Seriously, the failures of our Republican leaders earlier in this decade gave us Pelosi and Reid—and now Obama. As we predicted, the Democrats are making things even worse.

I was talking with a friend today who is, like most people, negatively impacted by today’s economy. She joked, “how’s that hope and change working out for you?”

©2009 John Francis Biver

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