Direct Elections: A reform to regain political confidence

What Barack Obama has been to the nation’s economic confidence, state Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna and the 19 member Republican Party State Central Committee has been to the IL GOP grassroots. Confidence is at an all time low.

The State Central Committee — the party’s governing board – has been tolerating McKenna’s failed leadership for four full years now. The 2006 and 2008 general election disasters in Illinois are their legacy.

In the meantime, as I continue to highlight, Republican primary voters are prevented from choosing their party’s leadership. It’s time for that to change.

Why would anyone oppose giving Republicans a vote? As a veteran of politics I can assure you that it’s not any more complicated than any other political issue.

The reason: some political insiders truly think they know better than the rest of us Republicans. How these insiders can ignore the plight of the party or the stark failure of the past several years is anyone’s guess.

Those of us who have been around Congressmen, state legislators, and party leaders are quite familiar with their often arrogant attitude. They accuse us of dealing in theory while they deal in reality. The fact is, these guys are leaders in theory only — and we’re dealing with the reality of their failures.

Everyone familiar with the last several election cycles in Illinois — or the record of Republican elected officials during the past decade or so – already knows that such an immature dodge is actually just one more reason we need aRepublican renaissance.

Why Congressman Peter Roskam would side with the failed old guard is truly beyond the grasp of many who were expecting him to show some leadership here in his home state. Increasing numbers of people even in his district are expecting less and less from him on a daily basis.

A few more points. First — some of the reasons being put forward by guys like Congressman Peter Roskam and newly elected state Senator Dan Duffy are silly.

Here’s how one state legislator explained a call he got from Peter:

“I got a call from Cong Roskam who said that the Democrats are a laughing stock right now and we should not do anything that would change the focus off of them and on to Republicans.”

We’ve seen similar language from Dan Duffy, who is evidently accepting McKenna’s talking points without giving them much thought.

This issue is only in the news because there has been a delay in its passage. The reason it is news is because the Illinois Republican Party’s dysfunction continues to be great fodder for the press. The direct elections issue isn’t knocking the Democrats out of the headlines. Anyone saying this must really think GOP voters aren’t paying attention to the news.

There is also the suggestion that Democrats in the General Assembly are attempting to force a Republican Party reform against the wishes of Republicans. If you think Andy McKenna, Tom Cross and guys like Bill Brady speak for all rank and file GOP voters when it comes to this issue — let me tell you you’re quite wrong.

The Republican Party’s chances for the 2010 cycle in Illinois rest on the passing of this reform. Our current state party chairman is incompetent and most of the party’s State Central Committee is right there with him. Illinois GOP voters must face the facts that a reformed party isn’t an option if our platform principles are ever to gain ground.

I’ve worked at the Republican National Committee, worked as a congressional staffer, worked on campaigns of all sizes, and have seen the inside of both state government and state politics — so I speak from experience: most of the the so-called “insiders” and “leaders” shouldn’t be regarded as authorities on everything. My experience is that they often don’t know what they’re doing.

Ignore those big names that are standing against this much needed reform.