The Fundamentals in the Battle for the Republican Party
As we approach election day and as 2014 winds down, it is possible to find good debate (interspersed with the garbage) in the “comments” section of websites. A popular political website in Illinois recently has been the focus of a lot of helpful interaction between Republicans regarding what is at stake in tomorrow’s election. In a series of posts, I highlighted the work of BarbWire contributor Laurie Higgins — those articles can be read starting here.BarbWire.com has posted a number of articles about the Illinois governor’s race because three of BarbWire’s contributors hail from Illinois. The fact is, though, what’s at stake in Illinois has national ramifications for the Republican Party.
In the past day or so I’ve engaged in a dialog with other posters over at the Illinois Review website. After my first salvo supporting Laurie Higgins’ argument, one commenter had this to say:
I’m disappointed in John Biver’s reasoning. In fact. it is beyond my comprehension.
Given the nature of IL, how can Biver and others ever expect conservatives to be respected and honored. After all, this is IL. If conservative want respect, then they must move to another state. IL is too far gone, and it will only get worse in this state if Quinn is reelected, as Democratic control and power will become even more entrenched here in Illinois than it already is.
As a Christian, social conservative, I do try to make a difference on moral issues by working to elect good candidates here in Lake County and trying to educate through what I write. I’m weary of conservatives who complain about bad candidate when they have done nothing to try to help elect better candidates.
Get to work now and see that we have a better Republican candidate in the future and stop complaining. Nothing worthwhile is easy to obtain in this life. Electing [Democrat Pat] Quinn will not teach the Republican Party a lesson, especially while [former governor] Jim Edgar remains a spokesman for the party, a RINO indeed!
This in-fighting is destroying the conservative movement we have here in IL, and it’s not large enough to be fractured.
Here was my response:
Hi [name deleted]. Don’t feel bad. Politics is incomprehensible to many people. Why that is, well, I have to admit that is what is incomprehensible to me.
In sports everyone knows you have to have good players and a good coach that actually want your team to win, not the other team. In business you need competent and honest personnel that are working for the interests of your company, not the other guy’s. It’s only in politics where common sense departs.
Some of us who have worked in the trenches and have met several generations of politicians and “activists” understand that human nature doesn’t change once you step into the arena of politics and government. On top of that, here coalitions are needed. The definition of a coalition is people working together for a common purpose. If social conservatives were aggressively arguing for larger government the Republican Party coalition couldn’t work. Fiscal conservatives would understandably have a problem with that.
This idea that “infighting” is the fault of social conservatives is actually pretty funny. I’ve yet to see a Republican social conservative candidate running ads telling Democrats and Independents that they’re with them on that whole big fat wasteful unconstitutional government thing. (And speaking of the Constitution, single-issue fiscal conservatives need to go back to school and learn about what the Constitution says about our “First Freedom,” as well as what the Founders had to say about “virtue.”)
There’s a lot more that can be said…but just a few more things. First, high quality people attract high quality people. A guy that has a history of settling lawsuits for tens of millions of dollars, breaks the law regarding a life saving drug for children, obfuscates on what his plans are if elected, talks about spending more money for a failed education system, bullies a newspaper to get a reporter suspended, has his organization meddle at the grassroots level in party politics around the state, and campaigns on behalf of the cultural Marxist social left — well, some of us are betting that he won’t be able to build a winning coalition that turns Illinois red.
Second, you talk about being respected and honored. I have to confess that I’m having trouble respecting those who are choosing to be tolerant of behavior from a Republican they would never tolerate from a Democrat. If the IL GOP is to ever regain credibility (especially in this state), it has to clean house. The concept of electing someone with Bruce Rauner’s track record is the biggest act of willful ignorance that I’ve ever seen in politics.
Third, Illinois is not too far gone. With the right leadership we can course correct rather quickly. We don’t even have to wait four years. New General Assembly GOP caucus leaders with a vision could do wonders. On the other hand, empowering the wrong leadership (like Rauner and [former state house minority leader Tom] Cross and [former GOP candidate for governor Judy Baar] Topinka and [former state party chairman] Pat Brady etc., etc.) yet again only delays the cure.
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