Minority status in a legislative body is no excuse for inaction

A very long time ago a group of U.S. House Republicans realized they had to form a caucus within a caucus to bring some life to the House GOP then in the minority and led by Illinois’ own Bob Michel. Those men, including Jack Kemp, Newt Gingrich and Bob Walker, tapped into the typically untapped potential that resides within a minority caucus. Their work led to the first Republican-led Congress in four decades.

Five years ago this month I wrote, “It’s time for an Illinois General Assembly ‘brain wave’ caucus.”

Five years later, a group of state legislators are forming what they’re calling the “Common Sense Caucus.”

Here’s a little of what I wrote in ’07:

The Republican Caucuses’ response at the end of the 2005 session was to vote against the Democrat’s budget. It would’ve been a good start – if it was a start. It wasn’t. Their ‘no’ votes ended it. We’ve seen no action to move public opinion in support of alternative governing plan since those end-of-session 2005 votes.


The Daily Herald [quoted Roosevelt University’s] Paul Green on what the paper called “the balance of power between the parties”: “This state has gone from being one of the most [politically] competitive, going from blue to dark blue.”

Please. There is no balance of power because there is only one power and one idea. It’s all Democrats and it’s all a discussion of which taxes to increase.


In the meantime the Republican Caucuses are silent. We know for a fact that there are individual Republican House members and Senate members who have the ability to put together a counter-proposal to the tax increases being pushed by the tax-eating lobby and their elected serfs.

Of course it wouldn’t get voted on, but that’s not the point. The point is public opinion and the effort to begin moving it in support of the right direction for state government.

It’s time for a “brain wave” caucus to form in the Illinois General Assembly. In fact it’s long over due. It can be made up of members of both the house and the senate – and if the plan put forward is good enough it might even have the potential to be bi-partisan.

The following is from state Sen. Kyle McCarter a few days ago:

Promoting Common Sense Government

State Sen. Kyle McCarter is among a group of lawmakers who announced this week that they are banding together to promote common sense government.

“We are coming together and uniting our efforts to promote a limited, fiscally-responsible and ethically-reformed state government,” said McCarter (R-Lebanon).

The “Common Sense” Caucus will be co-chaired by Senators McCarter (R-51st District) and Dan Duffy (R-26th District). Other members include Sam McCann (R-49th District), Darin LaHood (R-37th District) and Chris Lauzen (R-25th District).

“The management of state government’s finances over the past ten years has been fiscally immoral,” said McCarter. “Our Caucus will band together and persuade other senators to join us in opposing bills that aren’t properly funded. We will say ‘no’ to spending beyond our means, we will oppose irresponsible borrowing and fight to repeal the 67 percent tax increase imposed on Illinois families by the very politicians who ran up billions of dollars in overdue bills and budget deficit.”

McCarter said other policy principles of the Common Sense Caucus includes banning ‘corporate welfare’, reforming the public pension systems and the state’s ethics laws and adopting term limits.

“The goal is fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency,” said McCarter.

Better late than never.