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Froehlich’s Republican “road map”

Tuesday, Dec 19, 2006

State Rep. Paul Froelich, who saw several formerly solid Republican seats in his own backyard go to the Democrats last month, presents a road map to the future for the GOP.

Demographic math makes it clear that Republicans in the blue state of Illinois will not regain majority party status until the GOP attracts a sizable segment of minority voters. It isn’t happening at the moment, so the party has to change. The question is how?

I propose bringing back the traditional Republican emphasis on pursuing justice and providing equal opportunity. Lincoln said the Republican cause is “to elevate the condition of men, to lift the artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the path of laudable pursuits for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.”

Froehlich wants more emphasis on social justice issues and he lists several problems with the GOP’s current approach.

Blunt crusades against illegal immigrants and affirmative action, which are easily (mis)interpreted as racist.

A blind attachment to the death penalty, despite the high wrongful-conviction rate of minority defendants.

The lack of serious Republican effort (except for Ken Mehlman) to earn support from African-Americans.

Opposition or indifference to issues important to Latinos and African-Americans, such as rooting out racial profiling and closing the nation’s biggest disparity in public education funding.


[Comments closed. Move to this post instead.]

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:15 am:

    Sounds like Lincoln would be a democrat today.

  2. - V. Santana - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:18 am:

    I think Paul’s vision is very similar to Sen. Obama’s. They seem to have a lot in common. And I think people would read too much into the fact that every GOP candidate lost in the township Froehlich is GOP chair of. Clearly, his vision is years ahead of current voters.

    I see an Obama/Froehlich ticket in 2008!

  3. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:27 am:

    I like Froehlich. He has introduced several Instant Runoff Voting bills in the General Assembly, even though Madigan’s people won’t let those bills come out of the House Rules Committee. I suspect that he won’t be sponsoring another IRV bill, however, now that the Green Party is established in Illinois–the general impression is that IRV would not benefit Illinois Democrats.

  4. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:27 am:

    Scratch that… The general impression is that IRV would NOW benefit Illinois Democrats.

  5. - Johnny USA - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:29 am:

    Froelich should just stick to continuing to enslave us with his use of automated radar cameras to give tickets out to motorists on the interstates.

  6. - thought provoking - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:42 am:

    I wish more Republican politicians would be independent thinkers like Rep. Froelich. I don’t always agree with him, but I thought Froelich’s column was thought provoking and hope that the Republican leadership in the state will take heed.

  7. - good column - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:49 am:

    I wish more Republican politicians would be independent thinkers like Rep. Froehlich. While I don’t always agree with him, I thought his column was thought provoking and hope that the Republican leadership will take heed.

  8. - C$ - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:53 am:

    No real difference… republicans and democrats both want my money and my freedom.

  9. - Snark - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:58 am:

    He could just switch to the Democratic party, we already do all that.

  10. - Carl Monday - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:07 am:

    It is a good column, and nice ideas, etc. But it largely ignores the elephant in the room that Republican successes going back to 1968 have been predicated on racism. Beyond that, no small amount of Republicans (some, not all) are Republicans BECAUSE they don’t like Blacks and Latinos. It’s kind of a zero sum game.

  11. - Patron - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:20 am:

    It is refreshing, perhaps even hopeful, to read comments by a Republican who actually understands why the party is in the minority and likely to stay that way for the forseeable future. Rep. Froehlich’s fellow Republicans ought to take heart, or resign themselves to being the perpetual also-rans of Illinois politics.

  12. - Bob o Link - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:39 am:

    Carl, while I agree with, I also agree with Froelich that the only future for the Republican Party in Illinois is to include minorities. As a Democrat, a part of me hopes they don’t wake up to this fact, but as a minority I think that both parties working for minority empowerment is a good thing. So in the end, I hope Froelich’s views take hold. But I’m not holding my breath.

  13. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:40 am:

    Froehlich gets a bad rap. He is thoughtful and willing to discuss differences in opinion and his views. He is conservative, no doubt, but not a lockstepper. Paul has a committment to diversity with qualified people. He has been burned before, but still continues to grow the party w/o disregarding the principals. He is often too nice for IL politics.

  14. - jerry - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:45 am:

    so the path to relevance for republicans is…social justice? Sounds mighty liberal to me.

  15. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:46 am:

    Froehlich is a smug wimp.

    Instead of proposing a better way of explaining how the GOP differs from the Democrats on major issues, he proposes just adopting the Democrat’s positions.

    Then he does it by coming off as holier than thou.

    What the GOP needs to do is better express their politics and beliefs. There are real reasons, based on REALITY, why the GOP favors legal immigration, equal opportunity for jobs, equal opportunity to education, helping the poor, and a strong justice system, including a death penalty for heinous crimes.

    Just because Froehlich can’t think outside the box and sell the GOP, doesn’t mean it cannot be done. Anyone with half a brain recognizes a fake, and Froehlich is definately one.

    If you really believe what you scribbled - get out of the GOP. There is no room for two Democratic Parties screwing taxpayers and coddling special interest groups.

    There is no road map here - just a snotty Jimmy Carter wanna-be saying the GOP is wrong and he is right.

  16. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:50 am:

    We need to advocate strict immigration laws without coming across as racist/nationalist/isolationist. It’s not hard to do so when our country is running massive budget deficits and economists and the party in power on both the state and federal levels are beating the wage gap drum. Following the laws set forth is not racist nor is it inhumane. And yes, justice is important but it is also necessary to deter criminals and would-be criminals from committing infractions against society. At some point, our country seems to have forgotten that it is okay for society to be concerned about public safety and those who cannot defend themselves. It is not improper to want security and safety for myself, my family and my friends.

  17. - Too Many Horses - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:55 am:

    Why not just unload the crooks and schnooks who are calling the shots and doing a very poor job.

  18. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:06 am:

    “Social justice” sounds liberal?

    I thought that idea came from the Bible.

    I thought conservatives liked the Bible.

  19. - Bubs - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:12 am:

    My thought is that there is not much new here.

    People in the GOP have said all this before. For example, if I hear one more white bread Cook County Republican earnestly say “We need to reach out to African-Americans!!!” without Clue No. 1 on how to do it other than shallow smarmyness, I’ll scream. Blacks don’t trust Republicans (no matter what nice things Republican candidates may say at election time, which is the only time Republicans give a damn), and who can blame them?

    I disagree with Froelich. The answer is to push prosperity and economic development for the Black community, not become faux-liberals. They will never believe us on social issues, ever, and will always be looking for the wolf inside the fleece. I would if I were them.

  20. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:16 am:

    “VanillaMan,” I think, once again, that you’ve misread what was written. You’ve keyed in on a couple of hot-button words, regurgitated them back as misrepresentations and then pronounced the guy a “smug wimp.”

    You want to kick someone out of the GOP because he abhors “blunt crusades” against illegal immigration, “blind attachments” to the death penalty and a complete lack of “serious effort” to recruit African-American candidates? You’re gonna be awfully lonely in your party if you get your way.

  21. - Dollar USA - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:17 am:

    How you convince blind sheep to follow you?

  22. - oldie opah - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:32 am:

    Republicans are, and always will be the party of the wealthy,religiously intolerant,and as my father in laws puts it the white mans party. a pox on them

  23. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:36 am:

    “Oldie Opah” I think you went as far overboard as VM did.

  24. - Snidely Whiplash - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:41 am:

    The Republican party needs to stop advancing the wants of the rich over the needs of the majority. Considering that it is by-and-largely controlled by the rich, fat chance.

  25. - Bubs - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 12:01 pm:

    My second thought is that if the GOP wants the support of voters in minority communities, they need to REALLY start thinking outside the box, not doing the half-measure of adopting a few “moderated” intellectual positions.

    The Illinois GOP needs to decide: is it a party of less government, or a party of “everyone has to stand on their own, so go away.” Stated differently, is the GOP opposed to government as a flawed mechanism for social development, or is it simply against social development itself? If the answer is the former, and the GOP is committed to finding alternative means for addressing social and community problems other than reliance on Big Government, then things could get interesting, indeed.

    To survive as a competitive political force in Illinois, the GOP has to step out of the quagmire of obsession over social conservative agendas, and start addressing the fundamental problems of communities, of whatever color. In part, such is the duty of a statewide party, and - who knows? - in 10 years some of those folks might even vote for our candidates.

    GOP “principles” and “platforms” begin to look mighty small when you look a starving man or woman in the eye, or face a family that can’t afford housing, or elderly person eating cat food. One method (and just one method) is to back NGOs, even when they have the shocking (!!) and “liberal” (!!!) goals of providing health insurance coverage for the poor, or affordable housing. These private organizations frequently have a good track record, and, since they have to live on what they can get, usually (but not always) avoid the political horsesh*t of stunts like AllKids, and the stunning waste and corruption inherent in “Machine Government” in Illinois.

    Bottom line: start takling responsibility to address their PROBLEMS, not a few TV talking head issues. The you might get some respect.

  26. - Ole Prof - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 12:04 pm:

    The “road map” reads like a string of one-liners in a DuPage County comedy club. You can just hear the good old boys yuking it up with the slightest mention of absurd notions such as “social justice”.

    Froehlich’s analysis is dead on target; he’s right. But he’s also very wrong, because a significant number of those who comprise his party really and truly don’t like minorities, do equate immigration with race, and enjoy the Old Testament side to Illinois’ criminal justice system.

  27. - Angie - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 12:16 pm:

    If the GOP specifically targets minorities as a we-want-to-woo-them group by acting more or less just like Democrats, then what is the point in even having another party?

    Does the GOP need to listen to its social moderates on many issues? Probably, but becoming Democrat Lite isn’t the answer.

    It has to be about having the better ideas for all of us. We all care about healthcare and education, and there needs to be a difference between the two major parties on how best to go about tackling those issues for all of us, not this specific group or that group. Otherwise, you just divvy everyone up via demagoguery, they head off to their corners of the political boxing ring, and nothing serious gets done that truly affects everyone as a whole.

    Some minorities live in poverty? So do some whites, and there are a lot more of them in comparison to the smaller number of minorities (there are less of them, hence the minority status). Quit color-based class warfare and go with social class issues, as in how do we help more people, white, black, or Hispanic, with attaining a quality education, etc. etc.

    The you-are-black, America-is-racist, so vote for our party nonsense doesn’t help anyone. It hasn’t put more fathers in the homes of children who are born out of wedlock because the biological father really didn’t give a darn about the mother enough to actually marry her, a clear societal sign of permanent committment. And now, even white kids are increasingly being born into illegitimacy, too. So, make it about all of us and have the better ideas.

    Oh, and I seriously think Rudy should take Colin Powell along with him as VP. ‘Tis to my knowledge that Powell doesn’t want the top spot, as I think his wife suffers from depression and perhaps doesn’t want him (or her, as First Lady) to be in quite that high-profile of a position, but why not take him along as VP? That would be very positive, especially since neither Powell nor Giuliani will upset moderates on either side, and on top of it, they both have experience, especially with regards to crime, handling the War in Iraq, and so forth.

    That’s the winning GOP ticket. Put the beloved and decorated General along with “America’s Mayor,” and see what happens when Obama and Hillary run.

  28. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 12:31 pm:

    One of the interesting points raised by Froehlich concerns racism and immigration.

    There was an interesting event during the last election in which a well known social conservative raised questions about voter registration outside predominantly Hispanic churches.

    The woman was in favor of voter registration outside churches, but wanted to know what was being done to prevent illegal aliens from registering.

    This same woman did not raise the issue with regard to Polish churches.

    There is an assumption among many on the right that all Mexicans are illegal unless shown otherwise.

    That is attitude that Froehlich is attacking. He wants to the GOP to look at its real values and to stop making race based assumptions.

    Overall, the column did not provide any real solutions, but it was a step in the right direction towards building a real two party system in Illinois.

  29. - V. Santana - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 2:31 pm:

    One way to get the GOP back on track would be for GOP Township committeemen to start winning their naturally republican townships instead of writing letters.

  30. - the Other Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 2:39 pm:

    Some interesting, if unoriginal, thoughts from Froelich. The real problem for the GOP is that they just want to get African American votes, but they don’t really want to represent the interests of African Americans. (Btw, the Democrats’ problem is that they often take African American support for granted — a slightly different issue.)

  31. - Bluefish - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 2:40 pm:

    What Paul is attempting to do is head off those in his party who strongly believe that the only way to return to power is to take a hard turn to the right (which would be political suicide in IL). The fact is that most voters who care even a tiny bit about “social justice” issues automatically reject the GOP. Paul recognizes that and wants to take that disadvantage away. The problem is that most voters will not believe this is a sincere effort, especially in light of very extreme positions extolled by usual GOP attention-getters like Oberweis.

  32. - Angie - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 2:42 pm:

    Re: “There is an assumption among many on the right that all Mexicans are illegal unless shown otherwise.”

    Incorrect assumption, but more Mexicans can get in here illegally due to closer proximity. That said, anyone who is non-Mexican can just as easily get in here through Mexico, so illegal immigration is an issue that everyone should be concerned about. And building a stupid fence isn’t a solution, either, although I suppose it seems more–you know–neighborly, than to put tanks on the border, as some idiots on the ultra hard right might like to see happen.

    But whoever runs needs to come up with some real ideas for a change, because when Paris Hilton issues more press releases via her publicist than First Lady Laura Bush does, and when Miss USA is in rehab, you just know America is in bad shape.

  33. - Cicero - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 2:47 pm:

    “Santana” asserts “the fact that every GOP candidate lost in the township Froehlich is GOP chair of.” “Santana” should check the election results. Among the Republicans who carried Schaumburg Township were Peter Roskam, Tony Peraica and Tim Schneider.

  34. - Elder - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 5:41 pm:

    Hooray for Froelich. He saw, in his district, how the NRCC mailers with Osama, bearded Arabs with machine guns, and Latinos climbing a fence, KILLED the GOP with immigrant voters. And in case any of the readers cannot count — there are 91 THOUSAND naturalized citizens in DuPage County!

  35. - Squideshi - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:55 pm:

    There’s a difference between conservatism and corpratism; and when leaders in the Republican Party acknowledge that, perhaps things will improve.

  36. - bluedog demo - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 7:10 am:

    It ain’t gonna happen for the GOPers. They embraced the racist Dixiecrats of the Solid South with open arms during the time of Nixon and that folks is the sordid history. Can you just imagine the stuffed shirt, blond haired, blue eyed uppity GOPers having to move over for black folks at the county monthly meeting. They’ll snort and hurry out to shot a round of golf to release their frustrations !

  37. - Eric - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 8:22 am:

    Are you guys telling me that Republicans don’t care about social justice issues? Isn’t the right to life a social justice issue? Isn’t the right to work a social justice issue? Isn’t the right to choose a school for your kids a social justice issue?

    You guys sound out of touch with reality. The GOP is the party of empowerment and not dependence. Therefore, social justice is relevant and necessary. We have let the Dems paint our party into a corner and made us out to be only concerned about the unborn but dissociated once they are born.

    We must take back this ground, which is what Froelich is saying. It does not belong to the Dems. The Dems will make everyone dependent on the government. Republicans will help people become self-sufficient. This is social justice- teaching people to use their God given talents and skills to better themselves and their/our community. It is offering them a level playing field so they have an opportunity to succeed.

    Wake up people and arise from your slumber. There is work to be done!

  38. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 8:51 am:

    This is nothing more than a change in communication tactics. More has to be done to communicate postions, rather than expecting people to understand or believe because you say it. Conservatives are dealing with a hostile media (how many minorities listen to non-WVON talk radio?) Positions do not necessarily have to shift, but explain why you think that way and what factors lead to that decision. I know Froehlich, he is not rging anyone to abandon principals, but have an open discussion and to communicate better.

  39. - Truthful James - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 9:37 am:

    Paul is running for reelection from a weak position in Schaumburg Township and for Rep later. This is an attempt to shore up his base and that of his STAR organization against a group called FIRST.

  40. - Cicero - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 9:47 am:

    “Truthful” may not be aware that Froehlich shellacked two candidates backed by FIRST in the March ‘06 primary, winning by 67% and by 73% respectively for state rep and for committeeman. It doesn’t sound as if he has a “weak” position vis a vis the old guard in his township.

  41. - Cicero - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 9:50 am:

    In addition, Froehlich’s staunch ally, Mayor Al Larson of Schaumburg, is running for re-election unopposed. Once again, this doesn’t suggest a “weak” position locally.

  42. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 10:04 am:

    In response to Eric:

    No, those are not social justice positions.

    Glad we can clear that up.

  43. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 10:22 am:

    I realize the following speaker is not from Illinois, but this is the sort of thing that Froehlich was talking about. There are some attitudes in the GOP that need to change:

    Quote of the Day
    “I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States.”

    – Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), quoted by Think Progress, in a letter to constituents.


  44. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 10:26 am:

    Let’s close this one out and move to a fresh thread.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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