Concerns from a new Illinois Republican Precinct Committeeman (Part 1)

Last June this column posted a few exchanges with a smart young lady from Austin, Texas who raised some very good points about what is often the difficulty and undesirability of getting involved in a local Republican organization.

This past Monday I received a note from a brand new Republican Precinct Committeeman and his comments are worth highlighting. He has agreed to let me post what he wrote. Because of the nature of his comments, he requested anonymity. Not everyone takes constructive criticism well, especially when it’s posted on an oft-visited website.

He had attended his local township meeting earlier this month and here is how he began:

“Township GOP Meetings are a great example of why the GOP is broken in Illinois. As an elected Precinct Committeeman I recently attended my Township’s monthly meeting. As I was driving home I was digesting the 90 minute long meeting and came to the realization that meetings like those are why our party is broken. Good people who are looking at what is going on and are deciding to get into politics will be driven away by these meetings.

They lack content, substance, purpose and a plan. The meeting was filled with discussions about parades and the planned fundraisers that occur twice a year. There was also time spent discussing a politically unrelated program that our county chairman instituted recently in his role leading a trade group. I guess that is a good program and I will give him credit, but as a former business owner I need more.”

He then asked:

“Where was the discussion of how to fill our empty precincts with good, conservative people? Where is the discussion about how to reach out to the people within our township and bring them into the party? Where was the discussion about how to best get information to the people in our township? We learned in November of 2008 that the greatest danger to our way of life is an uneducated electorate. Where was the talk about how to improve our fundraising to better assist the good conservative candidates that we supposedly want to support?”

His answer:

“The answer to all of these questions is that we simply ignored these topics. After all, if we focused on these topics, we might accomplish things and dilute the current power structure of the Illinois Republican Party and its County affiliates.  Instead, we were given a talk about party unity and supporting the winners, because at least they have an ‘R’ by their names. I have said it many times, a bad ‘R’ is worse than a bad D. A bad Republican continues the decline and ruin of our party and lends credibility to the liberals’ arguments.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve received feedback like the above. Too often, they’re not impressed with what they’re finding.

That needs to change, or the Illinois Republican Party will never successfully attract – and then hold onto – those TEA party type activists that are new to politics.

Up next: Part 2.

©2010 John Francis Biver