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Greens respond to Froehlich

Wednesday, Dec 20, 2006

Rep. Paul Froehlich’s item about the future of the Republican Party set off quite a debate here yesterday. Today, the Green Party responds.

Rep. Paul Froehlich in Tuesday’s commentary piece, “Map to the future of the Illinois GOP” (Dec. 19) rightly calls for the Illinois Republican Party to focus more on issues of justice and equality. However, when he refers to these ideals in terms of attracting the increasing minority vote, I suspect he is talking more about a branding initiative than adopting deeply held values. And that I find disturbing.

Justice is not something that can be merely portioned out to a target audience of desirable voters, such as the Latinos or African Americans. Justice and equality are deserved by everyone, regardless of who they vote for or if they vote at all. This includes equal marriage, equal wages, access to health care for everyone, and fairness in education funding. It also means each person having a voice in our political system that is not drowned out by wealthy corporate interests.

Rep. Froehlich, justice and equality begin not with a party, but with an individual. And you can demonstrate your commitment to these ideals by throwing your weight behind bills like HB 750, which would reform education funding, and personally refusing corporate campaign contributions.

Fortunately, Froehlich and others needn’t wait for the Illinois GOP or the Democrats to change their ways. The Illinois Green Party, which was created because the two major parties had largely abandoned their commitments to social justice and equality, earned enough votes in the last election to automatically be placed on the ballot in 2008. So many Illinoisans WILL have the opportunity to vote for candidates committed to these values running under Green Party banner.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


23 Comments
  1. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 11:09 am:

    In the “Spirit of the Season”, I would like to point out to Mr. Froelich that what the Greens are saying is what is called “reality”.

    What I stated poorly yesterday, I hope to express clearer -

    Sir. You need to sell what you wish to sell to voters using the vision and beliefs of the GOP, not the Democrats. Democratic policies on justice and equality does not accomplish either. As long as Democrats continue to push the easy sell that some government program can end a problem, they have the upper hand. Voters like being told they will be taken care of, everything is free, nothing is their fault, and it is government’s responsibility to care for them. Socialism is easy to sell, but it is a proven dead end. What the GOP has to do is drag our society into the 21st Century, as the Democrats kick and scream.

    MLK was right. Base society on character, not race. Is this what is being accomplished with most Democrat policy positions? No. If society stopped seeing citizens by race or ethnicity, the Democrats would lose votes. They depend on the status quo. Just as a quack doctor keeps telling his patients they are sick, patients will continue to associate every imperfection a health crisis that needs his attention. This endless cycle will end up killing us, regardless of how well intended.

    It is your job sir, and it is a tough one. It is not easy to tell voters they are no longer victims of mean GOP conspiracies, or cabals intent on keeping them down. It is the job of the GOP to tell voters the truth. Voters don’t like self-service, even when it is the best solution.

    So pull up your pants - get off your pity pot - and start showing the cynics raised on New Deal mentality that future generations depend on us moving forward, not dreaming of 1974.


  2. - Left Leaner - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 11:52 am:

    The Green Party needs to shed its image as the party of tree huggers and better position itself as a voice on issues like social justice, education and health care.

    That’ll take better organization and very aggressive marketing. This is a good press release, but it’s going to take A LOT more to compete with the Dems and Repubs.

    I think Americans are ready to begin listening to a third party, but first they have to have something to hear.


  3. - So-Called "Austin Mayor" - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 12:14 pm:

    I would have taken Mr. Froehlich’s call for a “social justice Republican party” more seriously, if he had done so before the last election where his party once again ran on fear of The Other.

    His piece reminds me of the apologies by celebrities who are really sorry about the impressions others developed after the celeb is arrested for a profane and drunken rampage. “I’m not really like that. I have a good heart.” And of course, celebrity friends are always willing to speak up for their buddy, “I’ve known him for 20 years and he’s never expressed those beliefs.”

    The actions and inaction of the Republican party are the reason people have “the impression” that the GOP does not care about social justice — they haven’t even cared enough to fake it.


  4. - Crimefighter - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 3:52 pm:

    The Illinois GOP direly needs to go back to pushing Reagan conservative prinicipals hard, otherwise they might as well quit pretending to be Republicans–which will start by forcing the party leadership to step down because they’re absolutely clueless and incompetent. The Greens are alas, not an attractive alternative, if you’ve read their party platform, which pushes socialism and far less economic freedom.


  5. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 4:23 pm:

    I’m a Democrat with great sympathy for the Green Party, but I think the Green Party release and the comments about Rep. Froehlich’s proposals are off base.

    If you believe that public policy should be driven by the desire to serve the greater good, I really don’t care what arguments Paul Froelich makes to move his party in that direction. Sure, he’s appealing to his party’s more base electoral goals, but if it gets his party to back a socially just agenda, thank God he has the courage to say something.

    I also think it’s a little perverse for the Green Party to take the olive branch being extended by Rep. Froehlich and whack him with it — accusing him of trying to advance the politics of his party — and in doing so make a pitch for the politics of their own party. It’s a cheap shot, and it cheapens the Green Party’s image in my mind.

    Are Rep. Froehlich’s efforts to develop a message that appeals to social liberals any different than Senator Obama’s efforts to develop a message that appeals to moral conservatives? Don’t these efforts force Democrats to do a better job of ensuring their agenda broadly serves the needs of the poor and the middle class, and force Republicans to do a better job of ensuring their agenda broadly reflects the morality of the nation, especially where issues like AIDS, genocide, and uplifting the poor are concerned?

    Politically, the Green Party may end up on the losing side of this. Traditionally, strong showings by independent and third party candidates always force a realignment of political agendas by the major parties, as both battle to win the votes that the insurgents picked up. Ross Perot’s crusade for a balanced budget is the most recent example.

    As a result of Whitney’s performance, both parties will be fighting to earn the education reform vote and to a lesser degree the ethics vote. If major legislation passes on one or both, it certainly dims the Green Party’s chances in 2008. But if they are true to their beliefs, the Green Party will be the ones cheering the loudest.


  6. - Truthful James - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 4:42 pm:

    You have my permission to groan, but if any party is to appeal to a majority, it will have to be on the most basic principles and they are easy to articulate:

    1. The opportunity for Interclass Mobility for all citizens.

    2. The availability of Geographic Mobility to all citizens

    3. The recognition that the functioning family is the primal engine in our society and the only one qualified and able to make and enforce moral judgments on individual members.

    4. The necessity for the family at home and then school systems to provide the level of education necessary to achieve interclass mobility in what is now a 21st Century world economy.

    All laws must be drafted, approved and enforced to minimize the friction against the principles above.


  7. - Pete O - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 4:59 pm:

    Ah…the greens…no power, nothing to protect..they can say whatever they want and get away with it.

    Trust me, I won’t ever hold my breath fot the Greens to actually live up & implement their utopian ideas.


  8. - independent downstater - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 5:03 pm:

    Many people that I know did not vote for any of the candidates for governor because of so much corruption in Republican and Democrat parties. The platform of the Green party was just too extreme in some of its beliefs for me to follow. I wait for each Rep. or Dem. party candidate to come forth and it is always someone with so much baggage that one wonders why they even bother. Even the candidate from the Green party was so, so green. We independents would just like a normal person; a person that cares about basics and not trying to get a buck for theirselves and their friends.


  9. - independent downstater - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 5:22 pm:

    Please ignore the theirselves above and replace with themselves. At times my southern hill country grandparents language slips out and surprises me. )


  10. - Loyal Whig - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 6:36 pm:

    Justice and equality do begin with an individual. If you attend, and I have, meetings of Froehich’s organization you will see more blacks than you see at a repulican national convention, and precinct captains who are black, muslim, hindu, asian, white. Froehlich is sincere in his committment to social justice and inclusion. It is easy to disbelieve that a repub has that committment, but Paul has walked the walk not just talked the talk.


  11. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 7:11 pm:

    The Green Party has no more people of color in their ranks than the Republican Party, and their environmentalism is barely better. First indict Blagojevich and then Daley, or vica versa, and justice and equality may trickle down.


  12. - Anon - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 7:14 pm:

    or vice versa


  13. - Frank Booth - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 9:02 pm:

    Sheesh, give a party 11 or 12 percent and suddenly it thinks it’s in control.


  14. - ANON - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 9:30 pm:

    no, give a party 11-12% and they can sway an election against a weak incumbent only if there is a strong opposition. Remember the latino community was considered “swing” at one point


  15. - Dan Johnson-Weinberger - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 10:18 pm:

    This is a ridiculous response to a reasoned call by Representative Froehlich to embrace justice as the core principle of a political party. I blogged about his column, but the main point is that it’s refreshing to see any white, suburban elected official spending political capital on improving the lives of racial minorities. Only in Illinois do we get a Republican legislator dedicated to the principle of justice and working on better public policies. He ought to be commended, not criticized.


  16. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 10:21 pm:

    Green green
    It’s green they say
    On the far side of the hill

    Green green
    I’m goin’ away
    To where the grass is greener still.

    The Greens had a situational opening in the past election and took what fell into their lap as a protest vote, not as a ringing endorsement of their views (save for the “ethics” bit). My bet is that no Green candidate will top 5% in the next statewide. And with self serving and annoying talking points like the one above, it will not be a wonder why.


  17. - The Conservative - Thursday, Dec 21, 06 @ 4:10 am:

    We need to clean the dead Liberals out of the Republican party, raise up true conservatives with conviction and a message. People will vote if the leadership believes what it is saying. Good ideas get votes. The citizens of Illinois are tired of the “you owe me crowd” and the “let me tell you how to spend your money crowd”. Socialisim does not work. It sounds good to the lazy, but the hard worker wants and demands rewards for his/her work. Higher taxes are not the answer. More money in a family’s pocket and laws to protect that family will gain voters.


  18. - mike van winkle - Thursday, Dec 21, 06 @ 6:35 am:

    Yes, Republicans should avoid directly offending minority communities and get off the immigration bandwagon. They should be more careful about their rhetoric appearing to be racists code language.

    But it’s absurd to think that they lost because they didn’t have enough African American or Hispanic voters. Let’s be brutally honest here African Americans won’t vote Republican until they’re leadership changes, and their leaders are no dummies. Republicans have advocated school choice for years and the facts show that minorities are the overwhelming beneficiaries of choice programs, but it probably hasn’t earned them one single vote in the Black community. Of course, this is not why they support choice, but it tells us a lot about the potential payoffs of reaching out to minorities.

    Froehlich and the Republicans need to actually get an identity of their own in Illinois … until they do they will lose more than they win.


  19. - Bill Baar - Thursday, Dec 21, 06 @ 7:28 am:

    Froelich is right. We have a Progressive-Machine alliance now in Chicago that wants to talk about abuse in Iraq but not Chicago.

    I’ve skimmed these comments (wish I had paid attention yesterday), but I don’t think there is a single comment on the Burge report. Soldiers in Iraq did fake electric shock on prisoners. CPD fries African American prisoners for real.

    No one wants to talk about it because they don’t want to rock the mayors re election.

    I belong to a liberal Church and I volunteered for the Social Justice committee. Every Bush supporter in a main line Church should join too.


  20. - whatever - Thursday, Dec 21, 06 @ 11:17 am:

    First, Froehlich’s piece is very unoriginal. A lot of people have talked about these very same ideas. 150 years ago Abe Lincoln’s Republican Party was against slavery. I get it.

    Second, where was Froehlich 2 months ago when his Springfield buddy Peter Roskam had ads up showing illegals climbing over the border and a photo of Tammy Duckworth that made her look as much like one of those illegals as it possibly could. As Roskam barely held on in that hard-R district, obviously Republicans (including the National GOP) felt that absent hitting the illegal immigration issue hard, Roskam would have lost.


  21. - Bill Baar - Thursday, Dec 21, 06 @ 12:26 pm:

    I wish Forehlich had told JBT how to run her campaign.


  22. - Squideshi - Thursday, Dec 21, 06 @ 10:14 pm:

    You’ll note that the response was indeed written by the Media Coordinator of the Illinois Green Party, but it was not written on behalf of the party–its still just one individual’s response. There are a number of Greens, and Libertarians, who appreciate Representative Froehlich’s efforts to introduce several Instant Runoff Voting bills in recent General Assemblies. I count myself amongst those.


  23. - M.V. - Friday, Dec 29, 06 @ 10:19 am:

    DJW writes:
    “This is a ridiculous response to a reasoned call by Representative Froehlich to embrace justice as the core principle of a political party.”

    To those who get all starry eyed when someone who is male, white and in power talks about social justice, try to read what Froehlich is actually saying. He’s not talking about social justice. He’s talking about a appealing to minority voters with the idea of social justice — in other words, pandering. But where does he talk about making substantive reforms? In fact, there is absolutely nothing substantive about this. Someone said he’s using his political capital to call for justice. What political capital has he spent?

    He’s talking about a way for the Republican Party to keep the power it has, not bettering society, nor is he talking about changing the ideas of the party, just how they are packaged. Look at what he says about immigration:

    “Immigration, like affirmative action, is an issue that must be addressed with care. Appeals to racial resentment and fears regarding either issue should be verboten. It’s one thing to advocate better enforcement of our immigration laws; it’s another to run campaign ads equating illegal immigrants with terrorists. Republican support from Latinos plummeted from 44 percent for Bush in 2004 to 26 percent this year.”

    He’s not actually talking about changing the GOP’s stand on immigration, just how it is talked about and perceived, and muting the voices that will cost them votes. Telling someone to shut up is a very different thing than changing their mind.

    And to the Democratic apologists for Froehlich’s opinion who think that it is wrong for a Green to bring up partisan politics in this so-called call for social justice, look what he says about the Democrats. He basically calls Democrats the party of racism:

    “The GOP has a relatively proud lineage as the party that ended slavery, gave black men the vote, and passed the 14th Amendment to protect against state violations of civil rights. By contrast, the Democratic Party opposed the Civil War amendments, enacted Jim Crow laws, and prevented a federal law against lynching.”

    Sorry, but this kind of partisan attack is exactly what opens the door for criticism from opponents.

    But Democrats seem so willing to shout down a Green that they’ll actually rush to the defense of this empty political speech by a Republican, even if that Republican has called you racist and says he wants to lure your voters away with empty promises. Makes a lot of sense.


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