A review of the Illinois GOP Platform – Our Party’s Philosophy

Continuing with our review of our state GOP platform – the next section is titled “Our Party’s Philosophy”:

“The cornerstone of our democracy and of the Republican Party is found in the Declaration of Independence:

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’

From these principles flow our commitment to Equality, Freedom, and The Right to Life, Opportunity, Less Government, Low Taxes and Strong National Security. The Republican Party is unwavering in its commitment to these principles.”

A lot of Tea Party supporters will probably take issue with the part about the GOP’s “unwavering” commitment to less government. The next section is “A Call To Ethics & Reform of Government”:

“Trust, pride and respect: we pledge to restore these qualities to the way Illinoisans view their government and their leaders.

The Republican Party recognizes that without integrity, promises and solutions have no value. Therefore, our Party will not stand for the slightest compromise in the ethics of our political leaders, regardless of party affiliation. We recognize that a compromise in the ethics of our Party officials can and will cause damage to the overall Party and to the citizens of Illinois. Ours will be a Party of ethics and integrity, regardless of the cost.

At the same time, we condemn the pay-to-play politics endemic to the Blagojevich Administration and the culture of corruption which the Democrats have established at all levels of government in Illinois. We sense the concern and growing outrage of the people of Illinois in having their trust so egregiously violated, and we join them and call on them to join us in seeking reform of Illinois government.”

Reading sections like that it’s easy to see why many old politicos say that party platforms are written to be ignored. There are still too many high level party and elected officials in the GOP that owe their financial well being to their position. Until that changes, the above paragraphy will continue to be empty rhetoric for too many political players.

Getting specific about what kind of reforms the GOP supports, the platform lists seven bullet points. Among them are citizen led recall and a requirement for a valid photo i.d. in order to vote.

The writers of the platform made a huge mistake by including this bullet point:

  • “The Republican Party of Illinois calls on the Governor and the General Assembly to meet the contractual obligations of our state by properly funding the various state pension systems and ending the practice of diverting pension fund contributions to other purposes.”

The state needs to get out of the pension business – and the sooner the better. All the legal wrangling is hot air – the systems haven’t been properly funded so they’re a bust. The faster reality is dealt with, the faster state employees can start taking personal responsibility for their own pensions.

This bullet point is interesting:

  • “We call on the Governor and the General Assembly to balance the state budget and provide for a responsible capital development program without resorting to the expansion of gambling, which harms Illinois’ families and our state’s business climate and presents costly challenges for both law enforcement and social service agencies.”

In May 2009 many Republican General Assembly members voted to expand gambling to fund a capital program. This kind of hypocrisy is what keeps tea party supporters from joining the Republican Party.

Under the follow bullet point – “In the critical task of restoring ethics to our political and governmental systems, we call on all political and public officials of all parties to adhere to the following principles” – are sub-points. Second is this:

  • “Party officials must place public service ahead of personal gain.”

Personal gain comes in many forms. If you want to know – as the late Paul Harvey would say – “the rest of the story” – you only need investigate each individual case to learn why so many of leaders fail to advance reforms. Their “gain” isn’t always in line with the platform principles.

©2010 John Francis Biver