In one night Jim Edgar’s, Judy Baar Topinka’s, Joe Birkett’s, and Dennis Hastert’s leadership were all rejected at the polls, and Karl Rove was shown not to be the wizard so many kept saying he is.
A year ago we began warning the IL GOP that Topinka couldn’t win and that if they wanted reform, they’d have to nominate a different candidate. We’ve told the story often. In the primary well over half of Republican voters, 62%, supported someone other than Topinka but the conservative vote was split because state Senator Bill Brady stayed in the race for Edgar and Topinka so she could squeak through.
A year ago we wrote “Karl Rove, King Hack.” In it, we outlined our concerns over a national GOP establishment that wasn’t using the resources at its disposal and was failing to communicate effectively with Americans on both foreign and domestic policy issues.
A year later the real divide in the Republican Party isn’t between “moderates” (who actually are quite fond of big government) and conservatives (who actually support the platform principles). The real divide is between those who believe we can sell the right policy and better ideas and those who don’t.
Two and a half years ago we stated that Republicans nationally and in Illinois had stopped looking to Dennis Hastert for leadership. Using a baseball analogy we wrote that if the players couldn’t hit a big league curve ball it was time for them to leave the field.
There is absolutely no excuse for not making the case for the Iraq war. There is absolutely no excuse for having failed to control spending. There is no excuse for not even trying to sell tax simplification or the many other reforms our federal government needs to see.
There is no excuse for failing to get the job done. You cannot sell the Republican “brand” by ignoring Republican Party platform principles.
The good news is that now Republicans both in Illinois and around the country now can help get a better team on the field. These are serious times, and we need people leading us that are up to the task. We will do our part and welcome the help of all those who’ve been calling for change but have been ignored. There’s a lot of work to be done.