GOP 101: Personnel – A variety of talents are needed

World Magazine quoted Anthony Demonte, the husband of Illinois Republican National Committeewoman Dementra Demonte, saying this about the recent RNC meeting where a new chairman was elected:

“If you lose your elections, it’s time for new blood.”

Mr. Demonte has the right idea – my guess is that his wife, Dementra, would have preferred that he alter his language as to not beg the question: what about our own failed Republican state party chairman Andy McKenna?

There’s a lot that can be said about the kind of people that should be working in the GOP – but one basic point is that there has to be accountability. If you fail miserably at winning elections and building the party as McKenna has, you should move on or be pushed out.

Sadly, one of the chief reasons many active Republicans prefer not to grow the party is that with fewer people involved, their failure won’t be held against them. With nobody more motivated and talented involved, the party office being held by the failed leader isn’t in danger of being lost.

No better example of that exists than with our State Central Committee. Most of those 19 individuals get returned to office year after year despite the fact that the IL GOP loses election after election. It’s why a growing number of Republicans support direct elections .

The new Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele had the right idea as he took over the helm a couple of weeks ago. He asked for and got resignations within the RNC’s H.Q.

A point I’ve often made when discussing personnel issues is worth noting again: In his best selling book “Good to Great,” author Jim Collins writes that he expected the first step to success in building a successful enterprise was going to be setting –

“…a new direction, a new vision and strategy for the company, and then to get people committed and aligned behind that new direction.

We found something quite the opposite.

The executives who ignited the transformation from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get the people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it.”

There isn’t a problem in Illinois or in the nation that can’t be solved if enough of the right people get engaged in politics. It’s true for every policy challenge. And it’s certainly true for the fundamental task of building a political party – which is the only way to successfully counter the advance of the political left.

Liberals feel – and then they act. Conservatives too often think and think and think and think. They should keep thinking but add some action into the mix. A ready-made army of intelligent, informed, and passionate citizens merely needs a few ideas on how they can pitch in to bring some political victories.

In Illinois, Republicans don’t only need new leadership, but an army of volunteers. The fact is there is so much work to be done that no matter your time availability or skill set is, you can play an important part in the building of a functioning and successful Republican Party.

There are those who can be described as a “people person,” who often make great leaders for groups going door to door. There are marketing people who understand how to reach large numbers of people. There are p.r. and advertising types who know how to use language to connect. There are folks who can do the financial books or file legal papers or put on fantastic events. All of these talents are needed.

The list is almost endless. Anyone who has been around campaigns knows how valuable volunteers are who just want to come by the office to stuff envelopes. The same is true for those willing to build, paint, and post campaign signs throughout the districts.

One of the most important skills lacking in GOP politics these days are those who have a knack for raising money. Americans – and conservatives especially – are a generous lot, and if a township or county organization is able to tap the energy of a few people with a decent rolodex, the dollars can be raised to pay for the mailings and other essentials any local organization needs to spread the word.

It’s no wonder the Obama campaign was successful. Their campaign enlisted the help of tens of thousands of people with a lot of different abilities. At the local GOP level, thousands may not be needed, but dozens are. The more, the merrier.

The old saying in politics is that nothing moves unless it’s pushed. Big government must be downsized, and it is going to require new leadership and a sizable force of committed volunteers to get that job accomplished.

Up next: A housecleaning is in order.

©2009 John Francis Biver