GOP 101: A Working Political Party

Before cell phones — wires had to be laid throughout the country so people could hear that familiar dial tone and connect with others. Today, phone companies are still building cell towers to cover the globe so mobile phone users will hear a “yes” when asked “can you hear me now?”

Likewise, the existence of a political infrastructure makes all the difference for political leaders who seek support not just on election day — but for enacting policy reforms once they’re elected. Without political infrastructure, the odds of reaching enough people and winning their support are greatly diminished.

Too many Republicans still hope the media will carry their message of reform. A good number of folks genuinely believe that all the communications work — can you hear me now? — can occur through individual campaigns.

A recent example of this is the talk of running a Republican for Cook County Board president. Yes, miracles happen. But even if a Republican got elected to that important spot, that person would have little institutional support inside or outside of government. The chances that lasting change resulting are practically nil.

If you doubt that — I’d point you to the history of the President Bush/Speaker Hastert years in Washington, D.C. Both men claimed to be conservatives. Neither governed that way because they had no back-up. Neither man had the vision — or high quality staff — to help them realize what was missing.

What was missing was an effective political party, as we noted here.

If there were hundreds, thousands, and millions of rank and file Republican Party supporters ready to help spread the word through all modern available means, it’s doubtful there would be a President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, or Senate Majority Leader Reid today.

If Republicans don’t build a genuine local, state, and national party network, there will be no check on the behemoth that is local, state, and the federal government. There will be no counter force to the multitude of well funded liberal special interest groups that use tax dollars to advance their cause.

Too many GOP voters ignore the personal responsibility tenets of their platform by expecting someone else to do their work for them. I’ve got some bad news. You can’t delegate the work of citizenship. And voting on election day is only one small part of that work.

If you’re upset with your town — or your local library or school district – no outside organization is going to ride in to rescue you. It’s not somebody else’s problem, it’s yours. You need to get off your butt and participate in the process of building the GOP.

Yes – there’s an enormous amount of work to be done. There are those who would say it’s naïve and unrealistic to think that more Americans will step up and get involved in politics and government. I disagree.

I realize people are busy living their lives. Most Americans and the vast majority of Republican leaning voters prefer to steer clear of politics. Unfortunately, their lack of participation has left the field to men and women who can’t even add and subtract.

How else can governments at all levels have such debt loads?

In 2009 America there is little oversight being exercised over government at any level. That oversight isn’t going to be provided by those profiting from tax dollars.

It’s sheer fantasy to think that it’s only a matter of electing a new crop of people. There is plenty of turnover in legislative bodies, and there are plenty of self-professed “conservatives” in office right now who should be making a difference.

Why don’t they? Because they’re not forced to by the hundreds and thousands of Republicans who voted them into office. There is no check and balance on how they spend their time or how they do the job they were elected to perform.

There’s fantasy — and there’s reality. It’s my view that the best path to providing that check and balance isn’t independent organizations but the building of a grassroots GOP — first at the local level.

No outside group has a ballot line. Third parties exist only to provide a venue for protest votes. The best way to make sure that those who run with that “R” next to their name follow through on their commitment to the party and the platform is to have a party organization with a hammer ready to fall on those who fail.

Up next: Township, ward and county organizations.