Concerns from a new Illinois Republican Precinct Committeeman (Part 2)

Yesterday I began excerpting sections from a note sent to me by a newly elected Republican Precinct Committeeman. He’s like so many new activists, worried about the direction of their government, and now in motion because they fear for what kind of country their children will inherit.

Local party politics varies, of course, from region to region, state to state. But in much of the Chicago metro area many of the same tales are told by individuals who are attempting to bring some life into the once Grand Old Party. Patience – and every other attribute you can muster – is necessary.

The most frustrated folks are those who have volunteered in other, effective organizations or have experienced first hand professionally run businesses. What they encounter all too often in party politics might be summed up this way:

  • If it were a charity, it would fold because of its failure to accomplish its mission.
  • If it were a business, it would go bankrupt due to a damaged brand name and a lack of customers.

In the letter this new Committeeman sent me, he wrote:

“If the Illinois Republican Party is going to fix itself, and it needs to, we need to develop focus and a plan. The party needs to be about informing the people in each village, city, township and county about our platform and the candidates that best represent that platform. We need to be informing people about the issues and where all parties stand on the issues.

I was utterly appalled at how little our party did to get people informed about health care. Now, I know that every news outlet was discussing this and people had ready access to info, but with over 2,000 pages to the bill it is possible that bad info was disseminated.”

I had noted a similar theme regarding the health care bill here last week. Remember, the vast majority of the energy exerted to prevent the passage of that bill came not from the GOP but from TEA party or other independent groups.

The new Committeeman continued:

“My Township, County and the State Party better get serious soon about politics.  If we don’t, we will continue to elect Democrats and bad Republicans to office. Politics is a business; it is, plain and simple. Anyone who has ever held a private sector job knows that in business you need a few things…

A good product,

Marketing/sales,

Customer service.

We have a great product to “sell” (see our party platform of lower taxes, smaller government, pro-life, strong national defense, protection of the family, etc). What we lack is marketing of that product. Nobody will buy your product if nobody knows it exists. I wonder what Microsoft would look like today if Bill Gates had built windows, then sat back and waited for the masses to come and buy it?”

I can assure our readers that many of those local GOP organizations as well as the state party have had plans cycle after cycle. Clearly they haven’t amounted to much. Otherwise Republicans would’ve made more progress in Illinois.

Too often the “plans” are outdated, and just a rehash of the last campaign plan that once worked years ago. Or they involve too many “meetings of the choir,” and don’t actually involve enough outreach to real would-be voters. If you think what I just wrote is a crazy statement, let me assure you I write from experience. Voter contact might seem simple to you and me, but too many of the operations in place today involve more inside baseball wrangling and busy work than actual reaching people where they live.

Up next: Part 3.

©2010 John Francis Biver