GOP 101: Taking it to the streets – the left gets it, the right doesn’t

The above headline isn’t absolute, of course. There are many good conservatives in the trenches doing real political work. I know a number of them. They’re not waiting for someone else to do their grassroots work for them – they’ve stepped up.

But I also know a good number of pretenders. “Bloggers,” fake “journalists,” people whose names appear on letterhead as the ‘executive director’ of this or the ‘president’ of that. For twenty-five years the political right has excelled at forming independent organizations and the end result of all that self important printed stationary is that the Democrats run things in most of the country.

To change this sad reality, conservatives must do what it takes to change what’s politically possible. Like it or not that’s going to mean more good people engaging in the messy work of democracy called party politics.

Too many folks read about their government or their political leaders as they would about the beginning of spring training for a professional football team. This quarterback looks good, that receiver has an injury, there’s a talk about a trade to bring someone in to take this or that position.

Unless you make your living in professional sports, then that info is just entertainment. We must have fewer Americans treating politics like a spectator sport. The liberals and the Democrats are right now dominating the playing field in greater numbers. There’s no option – Republicans must start fielding a better team.

I understand if people are limited in their time – or their experience, skills, or knowledge. But everyone can play a role. And one of the greatest needs right now is for more rank and file Republican voters in Illinois to get involved with their local GOP organization.

The fact that most of us would be prefer to be a spectator is no longer a good excuse for avoiding the arena. The governmental messes – high taxes, high spending, crazy policies – will never be cleaned up without the application of force. The old adage is dead right on: in politics, nothing moves unless it is pushed.

If you’re not willing to do this messy work, then stop griping. No amount of “tea parties” will fix what’s broken. You don’t know what to do? Learn!

It’s time for political conservatives to enter political adulthood. No more mommy & daddy outside organization is going to take care of you. You’re responsible for your government – you’re a citizen, not a fan.

One of my favorite writers in the National Review magazine is Maggie Gallagher. A friend sent me one of her recent posts from NR’s “the corner” blog where she critiqued the political aptitude of social conservatives. In it, she wrote:

“Social conservatives have had bad models for political action. We’ve depended on two basic strategies, and neither of them work very well…

Social conservatives simply have not been in politics. We lack institutions that can defeat our enemies and directly assist our friends.”

If you happen to know Maggie Gallagher, please send her to our archives. God bless the folks at NR but there are some things that can’t be seen at 30,000 feet.

One recent news article pondered whether the current state of affairs is due to the fact that too many on the political right have forfeited. I don’t think that’s the case. We’ve just had too many first-stringers on the sidelines while too many third-string Republicans have gotten elected to important offices. Now we are suffering the consequences.

More of us merely need to get off the bench – take our party back – and elect some competent people. All the while we must continue doing all the things that are required to reach more voters, win them over, and continue to get more of the right men and women in office who will then follow through by implementing policies that work.

What follows are two links that outline the importance – and a practical work – of precinct level volunteer activities. As an elected Precinct Committeeman myself, let me say, I see both of these articles as an example of the ideal. Fortunately, we don’t have to be perfect to make a difference.

The Most Powerful Office in the World is NOT the President of the United States!

The Duties of the Republican Committeeman

Both documents push the envelope a bit, but they’re worth your time.

Up next: Endorsements, and the role of the party & legislative campaign committees.

©2009 John Francis Biver