I entered the United States Congress in 2011 as its poorest member, and I left Congress this past January still its poorest member. But if I had a dollar for every time during these past two years that someone told me that there, “really is no Republican Party in Illinois,” I would have left Congress a much wealthier man.
For too long, the Republican Party in Illinois has been missing in action — afraid to stand for our core principles of freedom, limited government, and individual responsibility. It’s been unwilling to find and develop a farm team of quality candidates. It’s been unable to invest the time and resources into taking its message into every community in the state. It’s been incapable of getting its hands dirty in the messy game of politics that the Democrats play so well, and most tragically, it’s scared to death to ever challenge Michael Madigan and the Chicago Democrat Machine.
It has been written about before, but it’s almost as if there has been a tacit agreement all these years between the Republican bosses in this state to let the Democrats control Illinois, as long as those same Republican bosses hang on to enough power to hang around. Some have called this arrangement the “combine”: Democrats rule Illinois, and in exchange, the Republican Party “leaders” over the years acquire power but agree never to make waves and never, ever to stand for policies of freedom and limited government.
What has this combine brought us? A demoralized Republican base. No functioning party organization. A fat and corrupt Democratic Party. The most broke, most corrupt state in the union, with taxpayers and companies fleeing permanently every day.
The Republican Party in Illinois must start over immediately, or this will remain a one-party state forever. I think Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady is a good guy, but I’ve said repeatedly since mid-January that he has to step down immediately as party chairman. We can have Republicans who support traditional marriage, we can have Republicans who support same sex marriage. However, we cannot have a party chairman who publicly gives his backhand to the party platform and supports same sex marriage.
We must start there, Republicans. We must have a party chairman who supports the party platform. We must have party leadership which proudly and enthusiastically stands for our principles of a free and limited government society. We must excite our base and not be afraid to do so. We are a conservative party and must not be afraid to say so. There are more Republican leaning and conservative voters in this state than we realize, but for years we have not given them a reason to get involved, get excited, and vote.
If not now — with the almost criminal mess Democrats have gotten this great State into — then when? Come on Illinois Republican Party — end your cowardly arrangement to cede control of this state to the Democrats. Fight to be a real principled political party, and fight like hell to save this state.
If we refuse, than say goodbye to Illinois forever.