Illinois GOP legislators: resting in peace

A resident of Springfield, Illinois recently suggested that the reason Republicans in the General Assembly show no signs of life is simply due to the fact that they actually like being in the minority, where there are –

“…enough of the perks with none of the responsibility.”

That theory is certainly hard to argue with.

The only recent news emanating from the Republican state senate caucus has to do with regional budget meetings being held to give angry taxeaters a chance to complain about the fact that the governor cut their line item.

No doubt the goal of these hearings was at least in part an attempt to drive down the Governor’s poll numbers. Why would Republicans participate in these?  If they think these hearings benefit the cause of reform in any way they’re spending much too much time breathing the air inside government buildings.

Instead, Republicans should be laying out their priorities and bringing their case aggressively to Illinois taxpayers. Sure, that’s more work. But all reform – especially budget reform – will require more work on their part. Co-hosting complaint sessions for those who live off tax dollars isn’t time well spent.

It’s easy to understand why the tax-eaters are on the mind of our Republican state senators.  Tax-eaters are the only people who make repeated calls to their legislators. Taxpayers are too busy creating the wealth that then gets taxed. It’s okay for Democrats to spend an inordinate amount of time listening to the whimperings of those whose line items were cut.  Republicans have more important work to do.

Republicans are elected to help limit government, and it’s time they realize that their constituency isn’t those looking to preserve their slice of the tax dollar pie.

On the state house side, Republican leader Tom Cross has shown that on one point at least he agrees with us:

“It is probably as worse or as bad as it has ever been in Illinois government,” Cross said.

It’s important to note that we are nearly five full years into his tenure as House Minority Leader.

Cross is also quoted as saying this:

“There is a clear distinction right now in this state between Democrats and Republicans unlike there has been in a long, long time.”

We honestly have no idea what he’s referring to there, unless, of course, he’s talking about an inner-caucus consensus that exists amongst Illinois Republican legislators. We’ve long suspected that much of those private caucus meetings included discussions about how they believe they can better fulfill the mission of the Democrat Party than their elected Democrat counterparts can.

Cross says the Democrats “can’t work together, nor can they do their business.”

The reporter also quotes Cross saying that Republicans “…fight too much. We fight among ourselves too much.”

The article includes this paragraph:

Cross encouraged Republicans to seize the chance to work together as a party among all the squabbling. He said the keys to success will be repairing the GOP image, team building and encouraging the involvement of young people in government to lead the future.

Let’s be frank. Squabbling isn’t our problem. The problem is that our elected Republicans have missed a historic opportunity during this long summer overtime session to bring attention to an alternate agenda because they have no alternate agenda!

Too many of those elected “Republicans” in the house and senate caucuses would feel right at home within the Democrat caucuses.

Those who claim to be Ronald Reagan Republicans, on the other hand, lack the motivation or ability to advance the ball.  One man or woman here or there isn’t enough.

Obviously squabbling is the inevitable result when one side is attempting to open up and professionalize Illinois Republican politics and get it back to its principles, and the other side is doing just the opposite.  This talk of ending the squabbling is almost always just an attempt to shut up those calling for real reforms.

The only way we’ll ever “repair” the image of the Illinois GOP is if there is a Renaissance. All the rest is just empty talk aimed at fooling Republican audiences into thinking that the person speaking genuinely shares their goals.

The governmental mess we’re looking at right now in Illinois is the product of many years of bipartisan cooperation. The Republican political mess we’re looking at is the result of the quality of leadership we’ve been subjected to.

When is the last time you heard anything from our Republican leaders in the General Assembly that didn’t sound as if it could’ve been spoken by a Democrat?

On the one hand our Republican leaders have succeeded. They’ve held onto their seats, grown their pensions, and retained their perks. Is it any doubt they lack the proper incentives to ever win back majority status?

©2007 John Francis Biver