The Republican Party’s Chicken and the Egg Problem

An old saying in politics is that nothing moves unless it’s pushed. Among other things, big government must be downsized, and that alone is going to require new leadership and a sizable force of committed volunteers to win public support so it can get accomplished.

What comes first, new leadership or a sizable force of committed volunteers? For the record, I believe God created the chicken first, not the egg. First, we need leaders — yes, even at the local level.

If you’re wondering why more good people aren’t stepping up to run for office as Republicans you need not investigate any further. The reason is that talented individuals typically won’t join a dysfunctional organization. That won’t change without better leadership.

So where will that leadership come from?

If you don’t see a leader when you look in the mirror, you probably know some people with that kind of potential. Yes, leaders are often recruited by those who are better able to serve as lieutenants.

Here’s some bad news for you: no one is going to ride in on a white horse to save the Republican Party. Here’s the good news: this kind of recruiting can start with you and your friends.

The discussion about personnel isn’t a secondary issue — bad players have plagued the GOP for a very long time. The Republican Party isn’t in bad shape in Illinois, for example, because Democrats here are so smart or are offering such great policies. Dems dominate because Republicans are mostly unmotivated, or they’re motivated by the wrong reasons.

The unfortunate reality is that too many who are involved with the Republican Party have thrived financially — either in their careers or by simply holding onto whatever power they happen to have. Let’s face it, not enough of those people care a lot about implementing policies based on their party’s platform principles.

Those who would step up to call for reform within local Republicans organizations are often accused of “disunity” or “divisiveness.” The wailing critics often willfully ignore the fact that political reform must precede policy reform.

The last thing most of the old guard wants to hear is a call to arms — a call for volunteers — or any talk about cleaning house. But a house cleaning is what’s needed at the state party level and all too often within local parties.

We need better people stepping up to serve – people who are in it for the right reasons and willing to submit to a metric. If the party doesn’t accomplish its goals then it should revamp and try anew. If it fails to try, or then tries anew and still fails, ineffective leaders should step aside.

In Illinois, the problem even extends to the grassroots level, where local or state government employees get involved with the party not to help build a strong, vital organization, but to preserve their job. The result is that more often than not the bad players (activists and leaders) are enabled.

Since the rise of the Tea Party the ranks of Republican activists has grown and the party’s “bench” has improved. Despite this, I’d venture to guess that most of the talented future candidates our party will field are probably not yet involved in politics. The only way such a bench will be built is if the GOP becomes the kind of resource and support system that it needs to be.

And that won’t be done without your help.

Let’s talk about the party’s platform next time.