FLASHBACK: Republican failures make a renaissance necessary

Let’s go back to March 2008 — though it’d be easy to go back even farther into the archives of this website. Some of us were shooting off warning flares regarding the failure of the Republican Party to effectively reach people.

Jim Oberweis had just lost a special election to fill the seat vacated by the inept and disastrous Dennis Hastert. Here’s the opening of what I wrote:

Republican failures make a renaissance necessary

March 24, 2008 — By John Biver

Hapless Jim Oberweis and his hired hacks have served the purpose of bringing the failures of the Republican Party to the attention of more political observers. Losing another congressional district in Illinois is just a symptom of a larger illness.

The poll numbers are against us on issue after issue — from whether the war in Iraq was worthwhile — to how we should reform the health care system. If the poll numbers said we should jump off a cliff, most Republican politicians would still not work to change public opinion but would instead line up to lead the leap, thinking that was leadership.

Turning public sentiment in the right direction will require an enormous effort by a lot of people, so any Republican official who is not building towards that end is not leading. We will continue to lose ground if our political and party leaders don’t start doing things differently. They must:

• Use their office to persuade their fellow citizens that the Republican Party platform principles are a guide to the kind of solutions we need.

• Recruit people into the political process, and encourage talented individuals to run for office or to get involved in a myriad of ways, including in their local party organizations.

• Work to build a state and local party that once again can become the kind of force that can help change what is “politically possible.”

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