We’ve heard the stories from other school districts – no Musical Chairs, no Duck Duck Goose, no Tag, etc. Why? Because these games are inherently unfair or somebody might feel left out.
I live in one of the most conservative areas in Illinois – Effingham County. Fox News once said that Effingham County is the “base of the base of the Illinois Republican Party”. So you can imagine my surprise when I heard what took place at Effingham Junior High School this past week.
My girlfriend’s granddaughter was running for 8th Grade class President at EJHS & therefore, there would be an election by her peers. My future granddaughter was ready to campaign & was excited at the prospect of winning class President. She even spent her own time after school designing homemade campaign fliers.
Then she went to school.
When she went to the EJHS Office to get her fliers approved so she could hang them in the hallways, she was informed by the secretary that her campaign fliers were not going to be approved. Of course, she was upset by this because she had spent so much time making her posters.
When she got home, her mother called the school to find out why her daughter’s homemade campaign fliers were not approved. The answer? “Because it would make it unfair for the other candidates”. She was also informed that all campaign posters are supposed to be done using computers to make it fair.
First, isn’t making students do the work on computers inherently unfair? Not every student has a computer at home & if they do the work at school not every student has the same computer & creative skills to make a campaign poster that would look like everyone else.
Second, what is more inherently unfair than elections, whether in life or in school? Somebody has to lose & somebody has to win. In life, some candidates have a bunch of money, others do not. Some candidates have a grassroots effort in place & others do not. So why make elections fair in school? What possible lesson can you teach a kid if you level the playing field for a school election?!
Life is unfair & life’s outcomes are unfair. Yet our schools are teaching our kids that life IS fair & outcomes should be as fair as possible. That’s not how society works. That’s not how our economy works. That’s not how the workplace works. And it sure isn’t how elections work.
I’m ecstatic that my future granddaughter won her election but the ends don’t justify the means. She should have been able to campaign as she saw fit within normal school rules. The same goes for the other kids who ran for school office.
Why get bent out of shape over such a trivial thing when she won? Because “rules” like this are wussifying our kids to the reality of life & cuts down on any creativity or imagination they might have – the later an important skill to have in the workplace. This time it’ll be making school elections fair. Next time it’ll be getting rid of games that produce a clear winner & loser. Then it’ll be nobody gets an F on anything. Slippery slope my friends. Always, always be mindful of the future.
Every debate has a winner & a loser. One side prevails as another does not. This concept also applies to the gay marriage bill in front of the Illinois General Assembly. Greg Hinz at Crain’s Chicago Business points out that lawmakers are just a few votes shy of passage of gay marriage in the Illinois House. Hinz puts the number between 55 -57 votes in favor, just short of the 60 needed. A few months ago, I was informed that the Illinois House was at least 12 votes short of passage – so the opposition in the Illinois House is starting to falter. So who will be a winner & who will be a loser if gay marriage passes the Illinois House & is eventually passed on to Gov. Quinn to sign?
Winner – Dan Rutherford – Rutherford, if you recall, was the lone Republican Illinois Senator to vote in favor of civil unions during the lame duck session of the General Assembly in 2010 before taking office as Illinois Treasurer. If gay marriage is approved, then Rutherford is provided some cover for his vote & any opposition he faces in the primary will have lost a campaign issue against Rutherford.
Loser – Bruce Rauner – As a social liberal, Rauner was counting on pulling in the moderate & liberal votes in the Republican Primary for Governor. If gay marriage passes, then that issue is largely off the table which allows any of Rauner’s opponents to focus on his other social liberal stances be it gun control or Rauner’s pro-choice beliefs – both important issues to Republican Primary voters who generally trend conservative.
Winner – Pat Brady – The Captain always goes down with the ship. Brady put his reputation on the line by openly advocating for gay marriage passage earning him the ire of conservatives, including myself. Brady’s support of gay marriage, which violates the Illinois Republican Party platform, has paved the way for his resignation sometime in the future but Brady will find comfort with the other social liberal Republicans in the Loop & Beltway circles. Even after Brady decides to resign, I’m not sure we have heard the last of him (see Andy McKenna).
Winner – Gov. Pat Quinn – As a very unpopular incumbent Governor, Pat Quinn needs all the “good” press he can get going into what seems to be a very difficult potential Democrat Primary. Quinn will be able to show his liberal colors & appease some, but definitely not all, his critics on social issues. Quinn’s victory lap will be short lived however as SB1 will once again pit Quinn against the unions he double –crossed after he was reelected.
Loser – Lisa Madigan – The current Illinois Attorney General, wannabe Democrat Governor candidate, will have lost a campaign issue just as Bruce Rauner will have lost one against his nearest opponent. Quinn will be able to say that he actually did something about gay marriage whereas Lisa Madigan merely sat on the sidelines cheering him on. She also loses a campaign issue in the General Election if Rutherford (assuming it’s basically a Rutherford/Rauner two way battle) wins the Republican Primary. But she still carries the Madigan last name…which is & always shall be a loser in my book.
Winner – Trial Lawyers – Once again, trial lawyers win. How? Because of all the discrimination lawsuits that will follow after passage of gay marriage in Illinois. Florists, wedding reception halls & other businesses have been sued by gay “couples” because those businesses refused to offer their services to them as we have seen in other states that passed gay marriage. It’s only a matter of time before a lawsuit against churches denying services to gay “couples” also happens, despite assurances by gay marriage supporters/sponsors in the General Assembly that houses of worship are exempt from the gay marriage law.
Loser – Illinois residents – Once again, the Democrats in the General Assembly have decided to focus on the real issues like medicinal marijuana & gay marriage versus handling the soft, unimportant issues like pension reform, budget deficits, faltering state credit ratings, high unemployment, anti-business regulations/policies & taxes. Priorities, priorities.
Loser – Conservatism in Illinois – Conservatives will have failed to pressure a handful of Republicans actually left in office in the Illinois House from breaking the ranks & joining the Democrats in voting for gay marriage. Conservatives were thwarted from getting the required votes to oust Pat Brady as Illinois Republican Party Chair – surprisingly with help from other conservatives either tacitly or openly. Even medicinal marijuana passed with barely a whimper. Not only does the Illinois Republican Party need to do some soul searching over this summer but conservatives must also do the same.
Winner – Senator Mark Kirk – Kirk has successfully thrown away any semblance of conservatism that he barely showed when he ran in 2010. Putting Mark Kirk’s recent anti-gun, pro-immigration reform posturing aside, Kirk has openly supported Pat Brady & passage of gay marriage in Illinois. Kirk has shown himself, as the highest office holding Republican in Illinois, to be a force within the Illinois Republican Party. Kirk will enjoy many of the same campaign benefits in 2016 that Rutherford will enjoy in 2014.
Push – State Sen. Jason Barrickman & other Republican pro-gay marriage votes – I’m calling it push for right now for Barrickman, et. al. Time will only tell if there will be backlash against the Republicans that vote or voted for gay marriage. Barrickman is already doing damage control & others will be watching closely for any fallout from his decision. Some Republicans that vote for gay marriage might even find themselves with primary challengers. 2014 is a long time way still but in the world of politics 2014 might as well be tomorrow.
Losers – Dillard, Brady & Co. – Running to the right of anyone in the Republican Primary for Governor to win conservatives will be that much harder. Gay marriage isn’t like the abortion issue where laws can be passed to rollback or restrict abortions. Once gay marriage is passed, the other candidates that might jump in can certain say they are opposed to gay marriage but any hopes of overturning it or restricting will be solely in the wheelhouse of the Illinois Supreme Court – which leans liberal. Anti-gay marriage will be a rallying cry, but it’ll be as effective as Bruce Rauner calling for Illinois to be Right to Work state.
Winner – The Slippery Slope – Pandora’s Box will be opened if you will. It is only a matter of time before polygamy is approved, which support for such action has already begun. It’s also only a matter of time before religious organizations lose their non-profit, tax-exempt status because they will be openly “discriminating” against gay “couples” by refusing to engage in marrying gay “couples”. In a state as broke financially as Illinois, removing the tax-exempt status would fill the Illinois coffers, not unlike how Henry VIII figured out when he broke from the Catholic Church & founded the Church of England.
I’m not sure how any self-respecting conservative can support Bruce Rauner to win the Republican nomination for Illinois Governor.
Given Rauner’s past, as detailed in Sam Pierce’s article at Illinois Review where Pierce outlines Bruce Rauner and/or his wife’s contributions to Democrats & pro-choice PACs before seeing the light & becoming Republican, it’s already a stretch as to why any Republican would back Rauner. But then I remember this is the Illinois Republican Party we are talking about here.
With same sex-marriage being debated in the Illinois General Assembly & being heard in front of the US Supreme Court AND being a supposed candidate for office, you would think Bruce Rauner would have an opinion on the subject. But here, instead of taking a stand, he punts while on WLS:
Cohn: This has been an important topic that’s being discussed all around the country right now – gay marriage. Where do you stand on gay marriage?
Rauner: Gay marriage is, it’s an important issue. I think it’s best decided by the voters. Frankly either voter referendum or whatever format voters think makes sense. I think the voters should decide that issue.
Cohn: You don’t have a personal feeling about gay marriage?
Rauner: I really don’t. I think it’s best done by the voters. By society should accept it when the time is right for them. […]
I believe the voters should decide on gay marriage. That’s not lacking leadership, that’s saying voters decide. If, for example, the legislature passes gay marriage, I’m not gonna fight to reverse it. If they don’t pass it, I’m not gonna advocate for it. At the right time, the voters will make their views known. I think that’s a good outcome.
Rich Miller at Capitolfax.com, where the above insert was taken from, correctly points out a huge error in Rauner’s thinking:
* This whole idea that gay marriage ought to be decided via referendum, when Illinois has no binding referendum provisions, is basically just a dodge.
In addition to everything so far, & given Rauner’s extensive history with Mayor Rahm – they’re BFFs if you didn’t already know – how can any conservative trust or support Rauner?
That was a question on my mind since digging a little into who Bruce Rauner is when I first heard his name tossed around. Honestly, I hadn’t heard of him before this year. After what I have seen, I’m left scratching my head about a few things.
Speaking locally, I can’t fathom why a businessman from a local staunch pro-life, pro-traditional marriage conservative Republican family like Jim Schultz would back Rauner, let alone be on Rauner’s exploratory committee.
Speaking personally, I can’t fathom why For the Good of Illinois employees & supporters - stalwart conservatives - would be ushering Bruce Rauner around at our Lincoln Day Dinner. Whether these ushers were doing so by order or by their own free will, only they know. Let me tell you from experience when I met him, Rauner knows he’s above you on the socio-economic scale & he makes you feel it.
I’m not sure why the Illinois Republican Party would think someone with liberal leanings/friends/donations would make the idea GOP Governor candidate?
I’m not sure why conservatives or the Illinois Republican Party thinks Illinois needs its own version of Mayor Bloomberg in our Governor’s mansion.
Furthermore, I’m not sure why the Illinois Republican Party would think that a very rich guy would appeal to voters because as we all know, that worked out so well for Romney in this state.
Of course those last three were sarcasm.
The whole Bruce Rauner candidacy support structure smells like the mechanization from The Machine that foisted Sen. Mark Kirk upon us.
In my last post, I discussed how I believe Illinois is a petri dish, or a test case, for the liberalization of the Republican Party as a whole. The liberal Bruce Rauner’s ascendancy in the eyes of some of Illinois’ largest Republican power brokers is just more evidence of conservatives being shunned like some kind of bastard child in favor of liberalizing the Illinois GOP.
Given everything I have detailed above & previously, I cannot for the life of me understand how any conservative could back Bruce Rauner or why any Republican should either for that matter. And of course, if Bruce Rauner wins the nomination & loses in the general election, it will be the fault of us backwards, stubborn conservatives who didn’t support Rauner enough. C’est la vie.
For further reading on the subject of Bruce Rauner, check out William Kelly’s post about Rauner’s billionaire collection.
Shortly after the Romney/Ryan defeat in November, Republicans & pundits started the public & private autopsy of what went wrong. The insider conclusion? Republicans aren’t liberal enough.
Then Karl Rove started his anti-conservative PAC to make sure conservatives don’t find their way onto the ballot, especially in high-profile races.
To complicate matters, the Supreme Court is debating whether the Defense of Marriage Act is Constitutional.
Adding fuel to that fire is Sen. Mark Kirk stating he supports gay marriage. This is the same Mark Kirk that has been campaigning behind the scenes to help keep Pat Brady’s job as IL Republican Party Chair.
Is the Republican party in the fits of an intraparty civil war? The quick answer is no. The long answer is below.
I don’t believe there is a civil war within the Republican Party…yet. It’s coming though. We are seeing the first signs of a rift within the party & I believe the first sign of this rift is the gay marriage issue.
The national Republican Party I believe wants to go a different direction than the rank & file Republicans, especially conservative Republicans. I believe that Illinois is the petri dish for the test case of a “new” Republican Party. The RNC will then use the results of their test case here in Illinois, learn from the mistakes, adjust & then import the program for liberalizing the Republican Party into the other states. What does mean for deep red states? It means the RNC will get to you eventually.
The evidence is right in front of us. Who sits is a committeeman on the RNC? Illinois Republican Chair Pat Brady – who has opening advocated for gay marriage.
We then filter down further & see the highest Republican elected official in Illinois – Mark Kirk – also support gay marriage. The case for liberalizing the Republican Party in Illinois gets bigger.
The final piece of the petri dish puzzle is our supposed “conservative” Illinois Republican Representatives in the US House – Shimkus, Davis, Schock & Kinzinger – staying absolutely silent on Pat Brady & now Mark Kirk. Where are these supposed champions of conservatism? Nowhere. When will they fight for the party as a whole? Probably never. So it’s up to us.
Conservatives in Illinois had better make their presence known & they had better be loud about it. Conservatives must confront their Republican office holders & press them on why they are not fighting against the liberalization of the Republican Party in Illinois, let alone nationally. Most importantly, conservatives had better make their voices heard by voting – especially in the primaries.
If conservatives don’t stand up and fight, then you will see a serious split in the Republican Party. I believe the state & national leaders of the Republican Party are playing with fire. In their eyes, they think they are appealing to more voters. In reality, they are alienating many within the Republican Party at the expense of political expediency.
What happens when Republican voters feel alienated? They don’t contribute to candidates or the party. They don’t show up to vote. They are more open to third parties.
When it’s all said & done, there is one thing you must keep in mind. Many of the pundits & consultants hail from the pre-Reagan Revolution days or the “compassionate conservatism” George W Bush days. To these insiders, Reagan represented a speed bump in the liberalization of the Republican Party. Why else are we to be reminded more & more these days that “Reagan is dead”? Why else would this Republican intelligentsia want to purge conservatives from policy making? If these same people think the Democratic Party has gone so far to the left & the “new” Republican Party will fill the void by disheartened Democratic Party voters, they are seriously mistaken.
It’s really is sad that we conservatives must waste so much time & energy fighting the liberal agenda within the Republican Party when that same effort could be used to defeat the far-left liberal agenda of the Democratic Party. We lose so many good conservatives because of this fight. They tire of the endless two-front battle. They tire of a seeming deaf leadership. They tire of living in a state that punishes success while rewarding failure. Who can blame them?
Budgets are tight everywhere. Your family or yourself have tightened belts as gas prices continue to climb, grocery prices rise & the overall cost of living increases. While you and yours’ costs have gone up, income has stayed the same or hasn’t kept up with the increases. As a result, you trim a bit here, trim a bit there to make sure the money stretches out.
Government doesn’t work or operate in the same manner you or your family does, especially regarding their budgets – not that they shouldn’t try though. The costs of government are going up just like your costs of living have. The largest difference between government & you is where you have had to cut your household budget to keep up with incoming revenue; government for the most part has not done the same.
But then again, governments can always raise taxes for more revenues whereas you cannot. This is a huge problem…especially at the local level & this does not get enough attention.
School districts have been hit hard by the state of Illinois’ budget problems. Many school districts are facing deficits in their budgets because the state has not paid districts or has cut funding to districts outright. School districts have done some cuts but many of the cuts districts have made are merely surface cuts & have not fixed the problem at large.
However, further cuts that school districts have proposed fall along President Obama’s sequestration mantra of “make them feel the pain”.
School districts must get creative in their budgeting. School boards & the teacher unions toss around scary phrases like “increasing class size” to indicate that they will have to lay off teachers meaning a higher student to teacher ratio. This kind of talk gets parents riled up who then demand their school board to “do something” despite mixed studies about whether increasing class size effects education achievement.
School districts have enormous taxing power & receive money from a multitude of sources from federal grants, state funding, local property taxes, etc. Look at your property tax bill & see what the breakdown of what your property taxes go towards. Much of your property taxes I would bet go to education whether it’s your local school district or whether it’s your local colleges or universities. Think about all the ways you are taxed or provide money for schools. Federal taxes fund federal grants. State income tax. Property tax. Individual school “fees” for athletics, band, etc. Fundraisers and more.
The newest argument gaining momentum for revenues to fund school districts involves increasing a county’s sales tax to help offset the state’s cuts to public education. Even if this additional tax were to be put into place, what happens when the state pushes teacher pensions onto the local communities resulting in even further budgeting problems? The issues with a county sales tax increase don’t start or end there.
First, as a close friend of mine stated, “raising taxes is a fix for a symptom, not a fix the actual cause”. Raising the sales tax doesn’t address the issue that many school district budgets are still bloated despite the cries & moans of school boards & the teacher unions about cuts. Ask yourself, how much money is eaten up by your district’s Superintendent & administration? How much money is spent on needless things like new basketball goals that light up when time hits zero on the scoreboard? In southern Illinois, two things reign supreme in school districts – administrators & sports. School boards are elected & many don’t want to make the tough decisions. Why not raise property taxes? Because that action is directly felt by the community at large & would be widely unpopular whereas a sales tax is felt indirectly.
Second, an increase in sales tax to our school districts, at least in my county, is a redistributive tax on my city. My city is at the crossroads of I57/70 & accounts for about 85% of the local sales tax generated. The notion behind this proposed sales tax increase is the school sales tax would be collected and distributed according to school population/size. In my community, my city would contribute the most by far to the sales tax pool yet only receive roughly 52% of the funds. The other 48% of the funds would be filtered to the area county school districts.
Third, sales tax revenue is not a revenue stream that is constant or that always increases. In fact, our city’s sales taxes are generally flat over this time last year & were actually down last year as a whole. School districts think that increasing the sales tax is the cash cow they have been waiting for but in reality, it won’t be & is only a temporary fix to a much larger problem.
There is some good news though. Many community leaders, local elected officials & business owners are opposed to increasing the sales tax & getting such an increased passed by public vote will be difficult if not impossible.
The time has come for school districts to consider consolidation of smaller districts. Neither the school districts nor the people that live within them can sustain the budgets to run these schools. Will our children’s education be hurt by consolidation? No, outside maybe a longer bus ride in the morning & afternoon. However, cuts should not all be focused on classrooms or activities. In our county, the county schools districts have 800 less students in them than 10 years ago yet our county school districts have the same amount, if not more administrators for those districts than 10 years ago. Big problem in my eyes.
Asking people to continue to fund an often bloated government whether local, state or federal is wrong. To fund that bloated government on the backs of the people working harder just to get by these days – directly or indirectly – is even more wrong. We cannot tax our way to prosperity. We cannot tax our way to balanced budgets. We cannot tax our way to fixing a broken system of public education funding.
“Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely…”
At some point, we have heard this phrase in our lives. The quote is a warning to anyone that giving someone too much power can corrupt even the most pure intentioned. The quote is also a warning to those who hold power to not allow themselves to lose sight of why they were given power.
Which brings me to the 2nd Congressional District where Paul McKinley – Republican – was the unlikely, unwanted (even by the IL GOP) winner of the special primary to replace the soon-to-be convict Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Paul McKinley is running on a campaign theme of “The Machine”. “The Machine” is mostly aimed at the Democratic Party 60 year stranglehold on the 2nd Congressional District. McKinley has been trying to highlight the abysmal state of the 2nd Congressional under the 60 year reign of Democrats in that district. I hope he wins.
But what happens when “The Machine” extends to your Congressional district not in party, but in the form of a Congressman – in particular Congressman John Shimkus? What do you do when you are a conservative essentially being held hostage by a Republican who claims to be conservative? What do you do?
- What do you do when Congressman Shimkus votes for Continuing Resolutions that include funding for Obamacare?
- What do you do when Congressman Shimkus continues to support President Obama’s Executive Order 13502 requiring project labor agreements for federal construction contracts?
- What do you do when Congressman Shimkus’ only real accomplishments in Congress in 10+ years has been sponsoring congratulatory resolutions congratulating former Soviet Bloc nations of accomplishing something?
- What do you do when Congressman Shimkus refuses to answer questions from his constituents? i.e. Why is DHS buying ammo when local PD are struggling to find ammo to buy?
- What do you do when Congressman Shimkus never meets his constituents in an open forum, but only behind closed doors often times without media present?
- What do you do when Congressman Shimkus supports increasing subsidies for the ethanol industry?
- What do you do when Congressman Shimkus is sponsoring a bill that is like Obamacare, only for the auto industry? See the Open Fuel Standard Act which nearly makes permanent ethanol subsidies by forcing the auto industry to have vehicles run various fuel mixes.
So what happens when “The Machine” Congressman Shimkus goes further than not supporting conservative principles, despite his insistence that he is a conservative? What happens when “The Machine” Congressman Shimkus starts influencing the operations of his party on a state level? What do you do?
- What do you do when Congressman Shimkus used his influence to get his former aide Rodney Davis appointed to the neighboring Congressional seat ballot after Tim Johnson’s resignation?
- What do you do when Congressman Shimkus used his influence to get his paid staffer Deb Detmers elected to the IL GOP State Central Committee?
- What do you do when Congressman Shimkus then uses his influence over his connections to the State Central Committee to have Deb Detmers pull her vote for forcing IL GOP Chair Pat Brady to resign?
Finally, what do you do when no Republican or Democrat has been able to even challenge Congressman Shimkus in either a primary or general? What do you do when Congressman Shimkus has $860,000 cash on hand banked up to defend any such challenge?
The left & the media have seemingly forever labeled the Republican Party as the party of rich old white guys. These same liberals their allies also claim the Republican Party is waging a war on women, war on children, war on the elderly, war on fill-in-the-blank.
Given the current economic & governmental situations, the Republicans should adopt the left’s previous arguments against them & use those same arguments against the Democratic Party.
For example, an argument made under previous Republican administrations was the “widening gap between rich & poor ”. Seeing the NYSE hit record 14,000 point territory while a record number of people are on food stamps, the Republicans should be the ones touting about how there is a widening gap between the rich & the poor – and it’s all because of this administration’s policies.
Another example is the left’s constant barrage of claiming the Republicans don’t care about minorities. Yet two of the most outspoken rising stars within the Republican Party are Ted Cruz & Marco Rubio. Even here, the Republicans should turn the left’s arguments against them. Minority unemployment is ridiculously high within the Hispanic (9.6%) & African-American (13.8%) communities. The numbers are even worse when looking at localized urban centers like Detroit – and it’s all because of this administration’s policies.
The Democratic Party has traditionally positioned itself as the “party of the working man” while painting the Republicans as the party of the greedy businessman. They have also traditionally said the Republicans are the party of “Big Business”. The Republicans should be turning these arguments against the Democratic Party as well! Which “Big Business” companies have aligned themselves with the Democratic Party are getting huge tax returns (Facebook) or pay no taxes (GE)? Meanwhile, the Democrats pushed for & got that long sought after tax increase on the rich this past January. Correction. The Democrats pushed for & got that long lied about, never going to happen middle class tax increase affecting 77% of workers – and it’s all because of this administration’s policies.
Obamacare must be fought & repealed as Paul Ryan recently stated. The left is still trying to sell the socialist nationalization of the healthcare industry to the voters. What will make the Republican’s case even stronger for the curbing & eventual repeal of Obamacare? The fact that over the next year, we will become a part-time nation. Employers will cut back to 28 or less hours & drop their healthcare plans altogether. Workers will earn less & will be forced take second jobs or find new ones – if possible. It’s already happening in my community. Ultimately, these involuntary part-time workers will have to change their lifestyles which will drive public opinion against Obamacare & also give fuel to repealing Obamacare completely. Driving public opinion against Obamacare will also be the fine (tax!) at tax time next year because people didn’t purchase healthcare. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at H&R Block next year when people find out they owe the government money versus getting money back. The argument should be made that Republicans will protect the American worker from government destroying their livelihoods & therefore repeal of Obamacare is necessary because it is the Republicans that are the true champions of the working class.
These are just a few examples. I’m positive there is more.
If there is one thing the Republicans have been really bad at, it is messaging. The Republicans need to broadcast these argument reversals far & wide & as often as possible. The media lapdogs of the left will decry it & do their best to prove it wrong . Watching Chris Matthews’ foam at the mouth would be worth it all. But the genius of it all is that try as the left might to discredit these arguments…they can’t.
The other side of the messaging overhaul must be different messengers! John McCain & Lindsey Graham are the very crusty old white guys (and squishes that drive conservatives nuts) that are the poster child for everything the left says about the Republicans. We must have people – young, rising stars – step up to be the spokesmen for the Republican Party. The Republicans must have people like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mario Rubio, Tim Scott, Mike Lee & others as the face of this new Republican message. These individuals all understand what is at stake. While John McCain & Lindsey Graham were dining on what I am sure was an exquisite high priced meal with President Obama, many of the aforementioned were on the floor of the Senate fighting for our liberties. I want fighters, not squishy diners.
Finally, Republicans – and what few allies they have in the media – must get rid of the old guard consultants, pundits & cheerleaders that are extensions of the old John McCain/Lindsey Graham Republican Party. To be exact, people like Karl Rove. People who have made a small mint providing advice & “leadership” to the Republican Party and the Republican intelligentsia. There are numerous younger, more articulate commentators, pundits, bloggers, etc. that could wipe the floor with a host of issues yet are forced to sit on the back bench or are lost in the noise of group think Republicans in the media. These new guard conservative pundits/consultants & young rising stars in the Republican caucus in Congress are all very fluent in social media as well. The battle must be fought online, not only on the airwaves.
The time to implement this change of messaging is now, not later. Despite polling numbers still somewhat bad for Congressional Republicans, the latest McClatchy-Marist poll suggests a beginning of a trend away from the President & tightening numbers – including 18% undecided – on who to blame in Congress. Republicans need to seize the opportunity before them & begin to imprint in voter’s minds now that Americans are definitely not better off today than they were last year…or 5 years ago – and it’s all because of this administration’s policies.
By: Brian Milleville
Illinois Conservatives Leadership Member
It’s Lincoln Day Dinner season in Illinois!
Republican candidates for office will be fanning out across the state, giving speeches, shaking hands & trying to convince the faithful that Republicans should vote for them in the all too soon primary. Some of those making the circuit are old hats & there are a few new faces as well. Let’s take a brief look at some of the candidates that might or might not run for various statewide offices.
Bruce Rauner for Governor – Successful businessman who idolizes what Scott Walker has done to the unions in Wisconsin. I can’t fault his success. I can fault his ties to Mayor Rahm and his & his wife’s past campaign donations to Democrat candidates, campaigns & PACs as pointed out by Illinois Review contributor Sam Pierce. Rauner’s stances on social issues are supposedly in question as well, but opportunities for Rauner to explain those will be forthcoming over the next few months.
Kirk Dillard for Governor – Ran in 2010 & lost to Bill Brady by the narrowest of margins. Dillard does have pretty good conservative credentials & has a name presence in the suburbs – a key voting demographic. Dillard does have some problems though. He ran before & lost & convincing voters that he can get the job done this time will be tougher than last time. Also, must deal with a divided downstate voters as multiple downstate candidates could enter the race.
Dan Rutherford for Governor– He won bigger than Gov. Pat Quinn & did better than expected within Chicago itself when he ran & won for IL State Treasurer. He has statewide name recognition & has a statewide campaign framework in place from his last campaign. However, Rutherford was the only Republican to vote in favor of civil unions during the lame duck session of the IL GA in 2010 which many conservatives still remember & conservatives are the ones that generally turnout in numbers during primaries.
Bill Brady for Governor – Shortly after his loss to Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010, he notified his campaign supporters to “save the signs” indicating then & there that he planned a third shot at winning the Governor’s mansion. Unfortunately, Brady’s time has come & gone & many of those that went to the mat for him remember his far from stellar debate performances, lack of campaigning in Chicago & overall lack of campaign defense against him by Personal PAC & others in the final week of the campaign.
Joe Walsh for Governor – Firebrand conservative who has many Tea Partiers excited about a possible run. Walsh’s words have gotten him in trouble in the past & could hurt him in the long run. Plus, he was only a one term Representative & lost in his first re-election try. Staying power & statewide appeal will be his biggest criticisms to fight, not his conservatism.
Aaron Schock for Governor – A once rising star in the Republican Party, Schock – even in 2010 – was considered to be the next candidate for Governor. Two years is 10 lifetimes in politics & now Schock faces a media blitzkrieg from Bruce Rauner & conservatives alike. Schock has earned the ire of others because he seems to be one of the Anointed Ones by the Illinois Republican leadership. Schock will have a hard time convincing Republican voters he can win if a pre-emptive strike by Rauner has already damaged his chances for winning the nomination for Governor.
Adam Andrzejewski for Treasurer – Don’t yell at me about not putting him in the Governor race column because sources I trust have indicated that he will be running for Treasurer as soon as Rutherford announces for Governor. If I’m wrong so be it. Andzejewski was a successful businessman & new comer during the Governor’s race in 2010. He did surprisingly well downstate where his conservative anti-Chicago, anti-government message met receptive ears. Andzejewski has been active since his run with For the Good of Illinois & therefore maintains a decent name ID. Andzejewski’s biggest hurdle will be convincing voters not in downstate Illinois to vote for him though if nobody with higher name ID enters the race against him, he should sail through the primary.
I’ve heard other names tossed about for Governor like Dan Duffy, Jason Plummer & a few others. I didn’t include them in this initial list because I haven’t heard anything else out of those other potential candidates regarding their possible runs. The same goes for other Treasurer candidates, though Andzejewski has been the only name I’ve heard for that office. As far as Senate, Comptroller, Lt. Governor & Attorney General , I have not heard any names for those offices.
The main point of this article is to point out both some positives & negatives of potential Republican candidates for statewide office in 2014. I know some of you support one person over another or are not satisfied with any of the candidates mentioned. That’s completely understandable. Each candidate has their problems, each candidate has issues they must overcome to win Republican voters. I also understand it’s quickly becoming primary season in Illinois & the long knives will be coming out as Republicans trash Republicans, conservatives argue their candidate is more conservative than the next & candidates trash candidates. Such is politics – there is no way around it.
As the campaign season begins to get into full swing & more people announce/explore, I plan on writing follow-ups to this article.
By: Brian Milleville
Illinois Conservatives Leadership Member
In 2010 State Senator Kirk Dillard (R-24) lost the Republican nomination by just 193 votes to State Senator Bill Brady (R-44). In 2014, both will battle it out again for the GOP nomination.
This upcoming election is much different though. In 2010, Dillard, a DuPage County resident, faced three other DuPage County residents: Adam Andrzejewski, Jim Ryan, and Bob Schillerstrom (who dropped out, but whose name appeared on the ballot). In fact, Kirk Dillard did not even win DuPage County, Jim Ryan did. Dillard beat Brady in the 6 counties that encompass the Chicago area by an 81,271 – 23,579 vote count. However that was not quite enough to beat Brady who had run up a big lead by winning 77 downstate counties.
How is 2014 different? It appears that fewer candidates from the DuPage County region are going to run. It also appears that more central Illinois candidates are going to run. In 2010, Bill Brady was the only downstate candidate, but in 2014 he will not be. Already, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford from Pontiac has made an unofficial announcement at a recent Lincoln Day dinner that he will join the race. Also rumored to be joining the race is central Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock. If Brady, Schock, and Rutherford split the vote in downstate Illinois, look for Dillard or someone from the suburbs to capitalize.
The wildcard in the race, however, is if former suburban Congressman Joe Walsh, or Chicago-area businessman Bruce Rauner decide to run for Governor. This would give Dillard slightly more competition in the suburbs. However with at least three candidates splitting the vote in the downstate counties, and more votes being available near Chicago, you have to be feeling pretty good about yourself if you’re a suburban Republican candidate.
Wait, what? Yes, actually this headline is not a typo.
We all know that Illinois has been a blue-team-run state for decades. We’ve seen the devastating
results of one-party control throughout our state, in our counties, and on our streets. Our state’s
government is riddled with corruption, residents and businesses are squeezed with extremely high
taxes, infrastructure is crumbling everywhere you look, businesses are fleeing Illinois for more friendly
states, and last but not least, the state’s crippling debt.
So, wouldn’t it be nice for the Grand Ole Party of Illinois to make an effort to fix this by promoting
conservative values? And wouldn’t it be nice if they backed and supported conservative candidates and
got them on ballots in elections across all of Illinois? You would think that should be a real no-brainer,
wouldn’t you? After all, GOP leaders are conservatives, right? Well, when it comes to Illinois, not so
Pat Brady is the Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. Top dog. Or more appropriately: top donkey.
This year, Brady threw Republican support behind legislation that led to a new law that gives drivers
licenses to illegal aliens. He then also spoke up in support of redefining marriage in Illinois to accept
homosexual unions. Uh, what, Mr. Brady? Since when are Republicans liberal?
Brady then goes on to say that social issues have clouded the good Republican message. Really, Mr.
Brady? Are you serious? It seems like YOU have clouded the good Republican message by surrendering
to the liberal agenda in Springfield. You are the one pushing the liberal values and claiming to be a
Republican in the same breath. Brady really needs to realize is that he is actually supposed to be in
charge of promoting conservative values in Illinois, not overlooking and destroying them. I would
suggest that maybe he should take another glimpse at his job description.
Brady is horrifically misinformed about people in Illinois. Not just conservatives, but everyone. Polls
suggested wide-spread disgust towards re-defining marriage, with some of the most vocal opponents
coming from minority religious leadership. Brady is also terribly misguided in thinking that more
centralist candidates have a better shot at winning elections.
So how does the Republican Party win more elections? Does the GOP become more “central” as a party
to win more support? Well, we’ve seen how that works out. Not only does it not work, but it backfires
tremendously. Every time the Republican Party gets behind a candidate that is central rather than
conservative, they lose. Why? Because there becomes little difference between the Democrat candidate
and the Republican candidate that voters see no difference. They decide it doesn’t matter, and don’t
vote. This is especially true with conservative voters: a centralist candidate keeps them at home on
No, the answer is to support real, tried and true conservative candidates and get them on the ballot.
This brings out the voters, because now they can tell the candidates apart again. The Republican
platform doesn’t need to change, but the Republican Party needs to back conservatives again.
Conservative voters will line up around the block to support a true conservative candidate on election
day, and it usually pays off.
Brady takes the problem with the Illinois Republican Party a step further and blames it on social
conservatives. And he will even routinely shut real conservatives out of state committees and
Republican leadership positions. All while giving Republicans in Illinois less of a voice as to who should
be involved in running the GOP in our state.
There are thousands of conservative men and women in Illinois that want to fight for their Republican
Party. But ILGOP won’t let them. Many people have reached out to local or county Republican
organization leadership in Illinois that want to be involved (myself included) only to have their message
fall on deaf ears.
How do we begin to spread conservative values in Illinois and grow the Republican Party if leadership
won’t do their jobs? How does this happen when GOP leaders won’t even make an attempt to put
candidates on the ballot? How does this begin to change when the Republican Party gives less and less
choice to the people of Illinois? We have all seen way too many blank spaces on the Republican side of
Well, we are tired of it. There are hundreds of thousands of conservatives all over Illinois that want their
voice heard, and they want it heard now. There are conservatives out there from every background
and in every corner, nook, and cranny of this once-great state wanting to get up and be acknowledged.
There is an abundance of great future conservative leaders across Illinois that need to be recognized and
put in positions to advance the Republican Party and its conservative values.
So I’m looking at you, Pat Brady. You’re in the position to do something about this mess. You could fix
this if you wanted to. Yet you act like you don’t want to; you act like you want the Democrats to win.
You are like cancer, slowly devouring the GOP in Illinois from the inside. Enough already; we know you
have heard us calling for your resignation, so it is time. Get out, or we will force you out.
I’m also looking at you, County GOP leaders. Make yourself known and make yourself available to
current and future conservative leaders in your county. Find those great conservative candidates in
your precincts and get them on the ballot. Any race, any election; just get conservative leaders on the
ballot. If you can’t do that, step aside and let someone who can take over. Or maybe you, too, should be
Finally, I’m looking at you, dear reader of this article. Being here looking at these words means there is
something inside you that supports conservatism and wants this state to change. You can be the voice
of the Republican resurgence in Illinois. You know someone who would be a great conservative leader in
Illinois, or maybe it’s even yourself. So go ahead and get started, we need you, and we need you now.
Let’s turn Illinois purple. Surely this is not a pipe dream.
By: Tim DeYoung
From: South Holland, IL
As many of you already know, IL GOP Chair Pat Brady openly called for gay marriage in Illinois, and lobbied members of the Illinois General Assembly to pass such a measure. This past weekend, Pat Brady doubled down on his stance and tried to pass the controversy off as him acting as a regular citizen, not as the IL GOP Chair.
There are some positions where you cannot separate yourself from the title you hold. Examples of this are the President of the United States, Governor, and heads of political parties. Whether the people holding these positions like it or not, what they say or do is a direct reflection on the office or position they now hold.
If Pat Brady wanted to advocate for gay marriage as a private citizen, then he should have resigned his position with the Illinois Republican Party and done so. There would still have been a dust up over a former IL GOP Chair calling for gay marriage, but at least the party would be spared the turmoil of a sitting IL GOP Chair doing what he did.
There have been a few Illinois Republican State Central Committeemen that have stepped up and are trying to whip the 3/5th vote needed to remove Brady. To my knowledge at this time, the votes are still not there to oust Brady.
The Illinois State Central Committee are not the only ones calling for Pat Brady’s resignation either. Grundy County GOP, Clinton County GOP, & McLean County GOP (Brady’s home county) have also echoed calls for resignation. It’s also my understanding that a few other Illinois county GOP groups will be following suit with their own calls for Brady’s resignation. Finally, there have been members of the GOP caucus in the IL General Assembly, like IL State Rep. David Reis, who have demanded Brady’s resignation.
The left leaning media in Illinois have taken these calls for the resignation of Pat Brady as a sign the Illinois GOP has lost touch with Illinois residents. More importantly, this same media echo chamber believes this schism in the party to be over “one issue”. Both inferences cannot be farther from the truth -– it’s multi-faceted; the gay marriage support by Brady was just the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.
One problem is the IL GOP has completely failed at messaging. As an example, Pat Brady’s ill-conceived “Fire Madigan” theme for last November’s elections failed miserably, and helped result in a Democrat veto-proof super majority in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly. The IL GOP under Brady’s tenure as IL GOP Chair has failed to bring the messaging directly to the voters. Many of us don’t agree with anything King Madigan has done during his reign as leader of the IL House but how does that connect with those running in the individual districts? It doesn’t.
The biggest failure in messaging comes from the complete abandonment by the IL GOP to fill empty Precinct Committeeman or Precinct Captain spots. The people who are PCs and those they work with are the direct link to the voters, and are the eyes & ears of the campaigns on the ground. When Pat Brady met with a group of Tea Party leaders at the Illinois State Fair GOP Day back in 2010, they asked him to get those PC spots filled. Brady’s response was dismissive and basically said the PC is an outdated form of campaigning because social media is the new way of reaching voters. Brady’s position is odd considering the IL GOP has put nearly their entire Get Out The Vote campaign squarely on the shoulders of the Illinois Victory campaign – phone calls are social and media but are not social media. Identifying voters is great but it doesn’t effectively communicate the Republican message or the message of those running for office. Social media is definitely a great way to reach voters but GOTV by grassroots volunteers -– on the ground going door to door, doing face to face contact -– is a much more effective process of GOTV than annoying phone calls. You’d figure that the Illinois GOP and the GOP at large learned the lesson of combining social media with a strong ground game from President Obama’s campaign in 2008, but….no.
Another aspect to calling for Brady’s resignation is losing, losing, losing. Besides the failures in GOTV which in my opinion amplified the losses, Pat Brady has yet to pull out a real win for the IL GOP. Brady can try point to the 2010 Congressional races as success for the IL GOP –- which is was -– but much of the heavy lifting was done by Tea Party members engaging in the very GOTV type of strategies the IL GOP refuses to embrace. Joe Walsh and Bobby Schilling are two examples of this success from GOTV efforts led mostly by Tea Party members. The lack of same zealous GOTV efforts by those same Tea Parties also helped mark Schilling & Walsh’s downfall.
But the losses started before November 2012. The IL GOP failed to oust Inmate Blago when Judy Baar Topinka ran against him, despite Blagojevich having a 30% approval rating. Then, the IL GOP failed to oust Gov. Quinn in 2010 and, as if on cue, blamed Conservatives, or conservatism, as the cause. Finally, the IL GOP got shellacked this past November. What, if anything, has Brady done to improve the IL GOP in Illinois? Nothing, really.
Finally, on to the gay marriage issue with Pat Brady. Why the rub? Because Pat Brady openly and defiantly broke with the very GOP Party Platform that he is supposed to uphold and defend. Specifically, he threw under the bus Sec. 5C and Sec. 5D which defines marriage between a man and a woman and supports the Defense of Marriage Act. Now we all know Republicans who don’t follow the party platform word by word –- sometimes not even at all –- but as the Chair? That is just a bit too far.
But the gay marriage issue with Pat Brady is just an Illinois issue, it has nothing to do with the national GOP, right? Wrong. As proof, you have to look no farther than the recent national GOP retreat in Williamsburg, VA. TheWashington Times on January 16th spells it out for us plain and simple on where we can expect the GOP to go if people like Pat Brady are left in the leadership:
Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist, said the updated party message also must appeal to nontraditional supporters.
“If we look at polling, the Republican brand is in the toilet. Part of that is the ideas are not connecting with what we would call the mainstream of the moderate voters,” Mr. O’Connell said. “What they have to do is stop looking at the past. Ronald Reagan is dead. They have to start shopping for the future. I am the world’s biggest Reagan fan, but it is time to move on. You have to adjust to the times, and once you adjust, you have to set the path forward.”
Echoing these sentiments in the same article (as if we should listen to pollsters after the November 2012 losses):
Pollster Stanley Greenberg, a former adviser to the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton, released a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll that found the GOP is losing ground with voters of all stripes.
“The fact is that we have a set of cultural and economic issues, and budget issues, in which [Republicans] are seen as extreme and out of touch,” Mr. Greenberg said.
What does this have to do with Illinois? The answer is that not only is Pat Brady the IL GOP Chair, but he also sits on the National Republican Committee. As a result, he gets to influence the IL GOP and the national GOP. The statements from the Washington Times article is proof that Pat Brady is playing out the very ideas expounded by the pollsters and political “gurus” who are arguing the GOP should “evolve” on social and economic issues. Going a little further down the rabbit hole, perhaps the gay marriage support is a king making attempt by Pat Brady. How? Given that Dan Rutherford, current IL State Treasurer, was the only GOP IL General Assembly member to have voted for Civil Unions during the 2010 General Assembly lame duck session, getting gay marriage passed in Illinois would give political cover for Dan Rutherford’s all but certain run for Governor while taking a political attack away from any potential contenders.
As you can see, the gay marriage flap is just the tip of the iceberg. Pat Brady has failed the leader of the Illinois Republican Party on so many levels, and his influence over the IL GOP needs to be stopped. As a result, Pat Brady needs to go. He should resign his position as IL GOP Chair and National Republican Committeeman. If Brady does not, the Illinois Republican Central Committee should gather the votes needed to oust him. We need a party leader that understands how to win, who is committed to GOTV, wants to fill vacant PC spots, can motivate the grassroots, and get the IL GOP back from the brink of extinction.
By: Brian Milleville
Illinois Conservatives Leadership Member
By Joe Kaiser
Energized from Gov. Scott Walker’s victory in the Wisconsin recall election last Tuesday, Midwestern conservatives came together this Friday at CPAC Chicago, with their efforts now focused on November.
The lineup of speakers included 2012 presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann; Senators Rand Paul and Ron Johnson; Governors John Kasich, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Bob McDonnell and Sam Brownback; Representatives Tim Huelskamp, Peter Roskam, Joe Walsh and Randy Hultgren; and Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
An overwhelming majority of the headline speakers mentioned the Wisconsin recall at least once, with most calling it a major win for conservatives and an impactful lead up to the November elections.
“Wisconsin has to be a model,” Senator Johnson said in his speech. “We turned a very blue state red. I have always been proud to be from Wisconsin and be a senator from Wisconsin, but I have never been more proud than I was on Tuesday night.”
Speakers also took time to hammer President Obama over his ‘doing just fine’ comment and emphasize the importance of the presidential election.
“We must fight together for the next couple of months to let people know American greatness is on the line [in this election],” Governor Christie said.
In an exclusive press conference with the media before his speech, Cain outlined five groups he thought will be pivotal not only for Mitt Romney’s chances at defeating Obama, but for Republican senate and house races also.
Cain said the groups he mentioned; Republicans, independents, people of faith, young people and disgruntled democrats; are necessary to get ‘conservatives excited about what new leadership would like in Washington D.C.’
The CPAC festivities also included a vice presidential straw poll which was won by Florida Senator Marco Rubio (30 percent), followed by Christie (14 percent) and Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan (9 percent). Senator Paul, Governor Jindal and Santorum were the only other candidates to receive over 3 percent, polling at 8, 7 and 5 percent respectively.
Attendance for the event was estimated to be around 2,000 guests.
By Joe Kaiser
According to President Barack Obama’s twitter page, he and the first lady will be holding the “first” rallies of the 2012 campaign on May 5.
Most of us, though, know the president has been in a perpetual campaign since the midterm elections and is becoming less and less transparent in doing so. Obama’s appearance on ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ Tuesday night was, in the minds of many voters not already in the tank for Obama, an embarrassingly shallow campaign ploy. Obama continues to walk the fine line of breaking all sorts of campaign laws, in this case the equal time rule, as he “slow-jammed the news” with Fallon or, in more basic terms, spewed campaign rhetoric to the tune of some drums and guitars.
However, by appearing on the show Obama reinforced what should be an unimportant feature of a candidate, although it subconsciously plays to a lot of independent voters. He is cool.
That’s right. Putting all political differences aside, it is hard to argue that the president carries himself with a certain swagger and demeanor that many people find appealing. What he obviously lacks in his governance, he will try to make up with his persona and even though it does not cancel out his lackluster record as president, it may be enough to sway some independents.
This also underlines another fact: Mitt Romney is not ‘cool.’ He can seem distanced at times from the mainstream and being 15 years Obama’s elder, he is going to need to work his way out of the narrative the Democrats are boiling up, that he is an out of touch, one percenter looking to offer the third term of Bush/Cheney.
Romney’s ‘cool’ problem does not call for pandering. Seeing Mitt try to be ‘hip’ could backfire harder than John Kerry ordering Swiss cheese on his Philly, or Newt Gingrich suggesting he was planning on watching the college basketball championship on a Saturday in January.
Instead of a matter of pandering, the larger issue is rather one of the conservative problem with ‘cool.’ While none of us would like to think that this is that large of an issue, it is evident as this has been popping up in the media lately. Chris Cillizza’s heading in The Washington Post Wednesday read “Barack Obama is cool. Mitt Romney is not. What does it mean for 2012?” MSNBC took time analyzing Obama’s playlist versus that of Eric Cantor and Marco Rubio. The fact is that cool is an issue and the conservative movement is short on ammunition.
While some of the younger guys like Marco Rubio, Aaron Schock, Paul Ryan and Justin Amash have shades of ‘cool’ in them, the current image being projected and orchestrated by the left is that the GOP, and by in large conservatives as a whole, are a bunch of up-tight, out of touch suits looking to only stand up for millionaires and billionaires, which, again, Mitt Romney embodies in the narrative currently being written by the DNC, true or not.
If the GOP wants to control the narrative, and make it more factual than the Democrats want it to be, they have to combat the ‘cool’ syndrome. Obama is going to be using his personality as a tool leading up to November. He may have pushed the envelope too far with his appearance on ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ but Fallon’s warm welcome of Obama’s free campaign time shows that the president’s ‘cool’ factor is still running strong and attracting voters.
Romney cannot pander his way to ‘cool’ and it’s not necessary. Mitt Romney is not cool. He is the nominee though and simply needs to focus on advaning conservative principles and convincing independents (and to an extent conservatives) that he can right the ship from the disastrous path Obama has created hiding behind his persona and likability.
In the future, however, conservatives should look to adopt a personality that genuinely shows an in touch, relaxed and somewhat youthful spirit. It’s working for Obama, as any uncool incumbent with his track record could be facing a landslide defeat mirroring Ronald Reagan’s 1980 yawner.
Hopefully, conservatives will have the personable advantage once again in the not too distant future. If so, then taking an axe to the federal budget, slashing taxes and reducing the federal government to its constitutional size will become a lot easier. That’d be really cool.
During the Illinois primary congressman Adam Kinzinger took several swipes at one of my friends Zach Oltmanns and the organization he leads Illinois Conservatives over their endorsement of Don Manzullo and not him. This plus Kinzingers false portrayal of him being more conservative than Manzullo ticked me off to no end. The way Kinzinger and his supporters, including House majority Eric Cantor, behaved in the primary resulted in Kinzinger alienating almost every conservative and Tea Party group in Illinois’ 16th congressional district and to put it bluntly made at least one enemy, me.
As it stands now Kinzinger is unopposed in the general election. There is talk in conservative and tea party circles of finding someone to challenge Kinzinger as an independent. Of course the Democratic Party has the option of putting forward their own candidate at their parties convention in June. And as reported today in my local paper a left leaning group is also looking at putting a candidate on the ballot as either a Democrat or an Independent.
This leftist group will be meeting in Dekalb this coming weekend and I plan on attending, so stay tuned.
When it comes to a conservative or Tea Party candidate challenging Kinzinger I am of two minds on the matter. While I would love to see a genuine conservative/Tea Party candidate beat Kinzinger in November, I realize the difficulty that candidate would have accomplishing that. The organization and money advantage belongs to Kinzinger. Although, should a real conservative/Tea Party candidate rise to challenge Kinzinger money and support from conservative and Tea Party affiliated groups nationally would flow into the district. However, that outside support does not directly translate into votes. In order for any candidate to have a shot at unseating Kinzinger they are going to have to develop one heck of a ground game, personally interact with every voter in the district and develop a strategy to counter the massive negative media ad blitz Kinzinger and his allies would launch. To say taking on Kinzinger would be an uphill climb would be an understatement.
That difficulty in taking on Kinzinger now leads me to think that maybe it would be better to spend the next two years building a support base and raising campaign funds in order to mount a true effort to defeat Kinzinger. I vacillate every other second between wanting to see a challenger now and wanting to help build the organization necessary over the next two years in order to see a successful challenge to Adam Kinzinger. Regardless of the fact that I keep changing my mind I will support any conservative or Tea Party candidate should they go up against Kinzinger now or in the future. If none do then I am left having to back Kinzinger(if only temporarily) should he face a Democrat or a left-leaning Independent opponent this fall.
No matter what happens when it comes to a challenger it is going to be up to all of us that have issues with Adam Kinzinger to hold his feet to the fire and hold him accountable for his voting record.(a voting record that has him with a 70 conservative rating, Manzullo had a lifetime rating of 90 by the way)
By: Ulysses S. Arn
His blog can be found at: usofarn.com
Well, here we are, another day of folks casting their votes for President. Who will it be today? I believe these are four good men who have convictions and above all want to see America restored to what she once was, the greatest country on Earth. Ah, but you see, that’s just it: regardless of the damage done during this administration and the “Apology for America World Tour,” this is still the greatest country in the world. However, in order for us to stay great and regain our strength we must make sure Obama is defeated. All I see is everyone saying I’m not going to vote for that guy or this guy. Okay who are you gonna vote for? There are no perfect candidates. Bottom line is this, we have to unite behind the nominee and make sure that person is the next President.
The primary focus so far this year among the contenders for the GOP nomination has been the dramatic increases in government spending we have seen under the Obama administration. This is probably as it should be, because ever increasing government spending is killing jobs and growth, while the size of government is rapidly reaching epic proportions that would make Thomas Jefferson turn over in his grave. We have completely ignored his thought provoking conclusion that “government big enough to give you everything you want is government big enough to take away everything you have.”
Our ever increasing government presents a second concern, however, that we as conservatives should find equally alarming: President Obama’s assault on the religious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
On January 20th, Obama’s Health and Human Services (HHS) director Kathleen Sebelius, issued a ruling that religious organizations would not be exempt from provisions of Obamacare that require employers to pay for sterilizations, contraception, and even “emergency contraception” in the form of “Plan B” and other abortifacient drugs as “necessary health care.” The President personally called New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to deliver the news– thus we know that this was not a random decision by the liberal HHS department head, but instead a directive that came straight from the Oval Office.
The Catholic Church, through its hospitals, universities, primary and secondary schools, child welfare agencies, etc., employs tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people in the United States, and this decision will affect nearly ALL of them.
But why should anyone who isn’t Catholic care about whether the Catholic Church has to pay for contraception, sterilizations, and early abortions??
Sister Jane Marie Klein, who is the chairperson of an alliance of 13 Catholic hospitals said, “This is nothing less than a direct attack on religion and First Amendment rights.” She is completely correct. The issue at hand concerns religious freedom at its most foundational level. If the government can trample on the sincerely held beliefs of Catholics, it can trample the beliefs of ANY religion. The right to act within one’s own conscience was the whole purpose of putting the Free Exercise clause into the First Amendment. As James Madison said, “Conscience is the most sacred of all property.”
The HHS decision has HUGE repercussions for First Amendment freedoms. Obama has spoken for years about the need for a “reasonable” right of conscience. But who is to determine what is “reasonable?” Should government be making that decision, or should it be left to the churches to decide what it is that they believe? If the long held dogma of the Catholic Church isn’t “reasonable” what is? Even in deciding Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the United States Supreme Court took for granted that the right of conscience would continue to play an important role in American jurisprudence, favorably citing the rights of doctors and a resolution put forth by the American Medical Association House of Delegates that stated, “Neither physician, hospital, nor hospital personnel shall be required to perform any act violative of personally held moral principles.” Ever since Roe, Congress has protected the right of conscience through the Church and Coats-Snow Amendments.
Obama’s decision to force religious groups morally opposed to abortion to provide abortifacient drugs to its employees free of charge completely ignores the law and instead tries to impose an arbitrarily chosen standard of “reasonableness” on a right that should be unencumbered: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
What hasn’t been discussed in the media coverage thus far is that there is no way the Catholic Church will ever comply with the Obamacare mandate. As we have already seen here in Illinois, the Catholic Church will close its operations rather than go against its own teachings. Catholic Charities of Illinois no longer exists because of our state’s mandate that Catholic Charities place children for adoption by same sex couples. Many nay-sayers said it wouldn’t happen, but it did, just like it happened in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. Now the operation– indeed, the very existence– of every single Catholic hospital, university, and school in our country is at stake.
More than the practical risk to Americans who would lose choices in healthcare and education, not to mention the loss of jobs created by Catholic employers, is the even greater risk to our Constitutional freedom. This is an impingement of mammoth proportions upon the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of conscience, tantamount to tyranny in its most blatant form. If the federal government can do this to Catholics, it can limit the freedoms of every single American who has a set of moral principles to which they adhere.
This is not the first time the Obama Administration has attempted to quash religious freedom. In the recent case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, Obama’s EEOC tried to eliminate the “ministerial exception” that has long been recognized by our courts. In its oral arguments before the Supreme Court, the EEOC claimed that the “government’s interest in this case is . . . to tell the school that it may not punish its employees for threatening to report civil wrongs to civil authorities. That is an interest that overrides the burden on the association’s religious message about the virtues of internal dispute as opposed to court resolution.”
That’s a little tricky to follow, so let’s think about it for a minute: a church, which operates a school, ordains a religious education teacher as a minister in that church. One of the church’s sincerely held tenets is that, when someone has a dispute with the leaders of that church, the dispute must be taken up with church leaders FIRST, before turning to civil remedies in the courts. The Obama administration argued, however, that employment regulations set by the EEOC should “override” the church’s religious teachings.
Are you noticing a pattern here?? In Hosanna Tabor, we have a government agency (the EEOC) setting a policy in an attempt to circumvent the First Amendment and dramatically limit the free exercise of religion. In the assault pending against the Catholic Church, yet another government agency (HHS) has set a policy that is a direct assault on the right of conscience protected by the Free Exercise Clause.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court upheld religious freedom in Hosanna-Tabor, but the Obama administration has now set its sights on Catholics and Evangelicals. Obama’s current assault is merely the next step in this administration’s march toward total annihilation of the First Amendment. Conservatives of ALL religious affiliations must take a stand and vehemently advocate for the protection of our Constitutional freedom because the words of Edmond Burke, the father of modern conservatism, are just as true now as they were when he said them more than 200 years ago:
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Yesterday, Illinois campaign leaders Dan Rutherford (for Mitt Romney), Bruce Hansen and Nick Provenzano (for Newt Gingrich), Chris Younce (for Ron Paul) and Al Salvi and Jon Zahm (for Rick Santorum) came to an agreement: all challenges to the petitions of other candidates would be withdrawn.
Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
More American’s today refer to themselves as conservatives than any other ideological group. At the same time many out there are trying to come up with the issues that define conservatism today. I would contend that the conservative moniker has been hijacked in effort to fractionalize what I would call the resurgence of Reaganism. We all know the legacy of Ronald Reagan, the turnaround of the American economy, the end of communism as we know it but more importantly pride in being who we are, Americans. His philosophy was not some text book ideology, but rather a common sense appeal to average Americans. He believed in the American people; their ability and drive to do the right thing. He summed up the over reach of government in a quote from 1986 “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Even today, opponents try and play down the accomplishments of ‘Reaganomics’ but the plain facts are this, in eight years of his administration, 20 million new jobs were created, inflation dropped from 13.5% in 1980 to 4.1% by 1988, unemployment fell from 7.6% to 5.5%, net worth of families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 annually grew by 27%, real gross national product rose 26%. Half of the jobs created went to women and employment of African-Americans grew by 25%. It was broad spectrum economic growth. He knew growth of government cannot sustain the engine of economic recovery, that was the ‘third leg of the stool’ to again quote Reagan. Reagan reined in government growth from 10% in 1982 to just over 1% in 1987. I had the great privilege to be invited to the White House in 1987, to meet and hear President Reagan. His message was always clear due to his deep conviction and devotion to America and her people. The naysayers, apologists and revisionists try down play the accomplishments of this man, born and raised in Illinois. Contrast the message of Hope, with Reagan’s message of Belief and you see where Belief in the American People can take you.
Monday, January 16th, 2012
In 2010 I looked to Adam Kinzinger as the possible future of the Illinois Republican Party and the conservative movement. In my eyes, the future was bright with leaders like Jason Plummer and Adam Kinzinger receiving attention as Tea Party backed candidates. They seemed ready to carry the conservative torch at the state and national level, respectively. Though the Brady/Plummer ticket ultimately lost in November, Kinzinger beat Debbie Halvorson by a very impressive margin in the 11th Congressional District, there was every reason to get excited about what was to come from the freshman congressman.
That was then, this is now. Kinzinger went to Washington and Washington changed him, while Plummer went back to work at his family owned business, creating jobs in Illinois and helping people find opportunity in tough times. It is now 2012, another election cycle, and once again both men are running. Jason Plummer is running in the 12th Congressional District, a seat that will have no incumbent in it. Kinzinger, a victim of redistricting, now has his place of residence located in the 2nd Congressional District instead of the 11th Congressional District, but is running in the 16th Congressional District, currently represented by conservative Republican Don Manzullo.
This certainly raises the question: why is he not running in the 2nd congressional district where he lives? Kinzinger had a chance to run against the winner of the Jessie Jackson Jr versus Debbie Halvorson democratic primary but he passed it up. He would rather go against a fellow Republican then the Chicago Democratic Machine.
Kinzinger went to Washington on the tidelwave Tea Party movement. Yet, he has disappointed the Tea Party and Conservatives. The Heritage Foundation, a leading nationwide conservative organization, has his score at just 60%. You can compare that to centrist Republican Senator Mark Kirk, who sits at 63%. Remember, the Tea Party never embraced Senator Kirk, yet Kirk has stood with the Tea Party more than Kinzinger.
If Kinzinger had the courage to run in the 2nd Congressional District where he lives, he could bring a right of center voice to the Democrat controlled city of Chicago. It may be a moderately conservative voice, but it would still help the conservative cause.
Instead Kinzinger’s decision could possibly push the conservative cause backward. And while Kinzinger’s decision jeopardizes Manzullo and the future of the conservative movement, Jason Plummer, the other young and exciting Tea Party prospect who appeared in 2010, has decided to try and take a democratic district and turn it red this year. Plummer, a true conservative, is fighting the democrats and standing on principle. Kinzinger has directed his fight toward a fellow Republican and has been changed by the culture of Washington D.C.
Illinois was introduced to both of them in 2010, but Kinzinger’s time in Washington combined with his decision to attempt to take out a real conservative this year has us wondering if the Adam Kinzinger of 2012 is still the Adam Kinzinger of 2010.
Sunday, January 15th, 2012
News has just broke about John Huntsman bowing out and endorsing Mitt Romney. I don’t care. His endorsement is not worth the paper that it is written on. I never cared for John Huntsman, the whole China/Obama thing really bothered me, and it may be nit picky but I did not like his attitude of always acting like he was better than everyone else. We already have a president who believes that. So I say farewell John Huntsman. So, now we’re down to five, who will drop out after South Carolina. Stay tuned, It is going to be an interesting year.