A point worth repeating: 700 years is a lot of time

Not long ago we did a little math – and the numbers we added up are worth revisiting since the total hasn’t changed.

The cumulative years of service of the Republican members of the Illinois General Assembly adds up to over seven centuries. On the House side, there are 53 Republicans whose combined service totals over 450 years. On the Senate side, the 27 Republicans have over 250 years of combined service. ”

“A lot can be learned in over seven hundred years of serving in the General Assembly. That kind of accumulated knowledge has the potential to make for quite an effective force.

Just think, for example, if all those Republican legislators believed a big part of their job was to move public opinion toward supporting needed reforms. With all that combined wisdom – imagine what could be done.

Unfortunately, no one considers the Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly an effective force.”

Two months later we’re hoping for some signs of life going into the fall. While we noted in the article that, “The people we elect get to define their own job…” – we’ve decided to write our own definition and see if the public likes our job description better than the one legislators have set for themselves. In the coming months we’ll begin to outline a standard and we’ll submit it to hard working taxpayers who are reaching the end of their patience with the political class.

Chief among those losing patience are Republicans who think Republican principles as outlined in the national platform should guide policy. (The Republicans who seek solutions based on Democrat Party principles are very happy with the prospect of a Governor Topinka.)

Our bottom line is that we can’t figure out what’s the point of all those years of service when things in Illinois don’t get better but get worse.

In the piece a couple months back we quoted Lincoln once:

“Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much.”

But there are a few other apt lines that have been attributed to old Abe:

“With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”

“Public opinion in this country is everything.”

“He who molds the public sentiment… makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to make.”

This state’s fiscal condition is a national joke and Illinois voters have no idea what Republican-principle-supporting Republicans would do differently if they were in charge. We do know that the “Republican” candidate for governor will not rule out the option of taking yet more money from taxpayers to bail out the mess. The mess, by the way, was caused entirely by politicians who have failed in their responsibility to move public opinion in support of a better solution.

In the article we said:

“We need a few legislators to break from the pack. We need some of them to be motivated by more than their General Assembly paycheck, per diem, pension, and all those really nice warm feelings they get from their lobbyist friends and the smarmy socialist types who are regular visitors to the state capitol and legislative offices around the state.”

Those are tough words, but someone has to say them, we’re not all that concerned about causing hurt feelings. We are concerned with people doing the job they were elected to do.

A good first step would be to have a few courageous legislators stand up on their own two feet, repent of Republican complicity, ask the President to declare the ILGOP a disaster area, and admit that Topinka is exactly the wrong person to represent Republicans since she doesn’t support solutions based on the Republican Party’s principles.

Then they could move on to the second step of developing a plan, and the third step of using the bully pulpit power of 80 legislative offices to sell it to the voters of Illinois.