The responsibility for where we are today lies at the feet of those who’ve held positions of power in the years leading up to now. This isn’t about affixing blame – it’s about making the necessary changes so tomorrow will look different. As was written here,
“If you don’t control the governorship, any of the General Assembly caucuses, or either of the state parties, you don’t have in your hands what it takes to bring about real change.”
Where we’ll be in the years ahead will be determined by the quality of leadership we have now and new would-be leaders we elect in the next few years. Again, efforts to bring about reform must focus on getting right action from the places where the power exists.
One of the most important first steps to getting that “right action” is to raise the standard for what we expect from those who get elected as Republicans.
While it’s natural and right for a lot of focus to be on future elections, it’s important to note that there are already 74 members in the Illinois General Assembly elected and calling themselves Republicans. Seventy-four! That’s not a small number. Progress can be made moving public opinion when you have 74 elected officials and hundreds of staff already on the payroll.
Fact is, the chances of increasing the ranks of the Republican G.A. membership would be aided greatly if there was a concerted effort by those already on the field to make an impact on the mind of the Illinois electorate. Simply put – they need to show voters how Republicans want to do things differently.
Reformers are floating the perfect issue. While many like to pretend the great divide between Republicans is on the social issues, a bigger one actually exists here in Illinois.
Too many who call themselves Republicans are actually ideological Democrats when it comes to taxing and spending. Like the Democrats, big state government Republicans aren’t satisfied even after many years of greatly increasing taxes, fees, and debt levels.
A Taxpayers Bill of Rights
is exactly what Illinois needs. Calling for a limit to the growth in government might have once been “radical.” Today, in light of government’s already enormous size, limiting government growth rates is the very definition of “moderate.”
Some of those currently occupying legislative posts as Republicans no doubt hope to some day ride off into the sunset and be praised as statesmen and stateswomen and take with them the eternal admiration of the citizenry.
Unfortunately things aren’t getting better – so how exactly all those laurels and plaudits would be deserved isn’t clear.
The bill that state legislators are running up to be paid for by future generations will have an impact on the reputation of anyone who failed to aggressively speak out and work against the reckless spending. There is no escaping accountability.
Sure, in a larger sense we’re all responsible – all 12 million residents of the state. But the names of those 74 Illinois Republican legislators will live in infamy unless they develop and sell an alternative approach.
The good news is that someone in a leadership role will eventually figure it out.
They’ll realize that all attempts to create a third party will fail. The third party we’re referring to here is the effort to make the IL GOP into a watered-down Democrat Party.
- They’ll realize that those who live off of tax dollars never seem to have enough – and that millions of over-burdened taxpayers await a better plan.
That a real Republican Party based on the platform principles of truly limited government, personal responsibility, and traditional values can be built here in Illinois.
Until then, we will continue to work alongside other rank and file Republicans to hold current and future Republican officials to the right standard.