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A Republican dilemma: Govern or harangue?

Friday, Nov 16, 2012

* My Sun-Times column

The challenges facing the Republican Party in this state are simply enormous.

For the first time in 20 years, more Illinoisans identified themselves to exit pollsters as independents than Republicans. Latinos made up 12 percent of the Election Day voting population this year, a 50 percent increase from 2010, and 81 percent of Latinos voted for President Barack Obama. Just 35 percent of Illinois women voted for Mitt Romney.

The new district maps played a significant role in the defeat of Republicans, but the party’s perceived hostility to women and minorities and the less fortunate is just killing them. They are so inept that they couldn’t elect a governor or gain majorities in either legislative chamber two years ago during the greatest Republican landslide since maybe 1946.

There’s a real temptation to just write off the GOP and be done with it. But politics can change. Illinois had a Republican governor for 26 years. The party didn’t used to scare suburban women by screaming about abortion and rape, nor did it completely alienate minorities and the poor by deeming them subhuman parasites.

Aside from class, gender and race, the GOP also faces a real dilemma of what to do about governing.

Do they boycott the Illinois legislative process, as the Tea Party-friendly Illinois Policy Institute is demanding? Or do they join in and try to make the best of a very bad situation?

The recent warning issued to Republican legislative leaders by John Tillman, who runs the IL Policy Institute, was clear: “If leaders continue the pattern of seeking a seat at the table rather than providing a clear party-in-exile alternative, the rank-and-file members, investors and grass-roots activists must demand changes.”

But the Senate Republicans did just that when they unveiled what they called a “Reality Check” budget plan. The proposal included unrealistically steep cuts in state spending on education and many other areas. The Senate Democrats took that plan and bashed the Republicans repeatedly during the recent campaign. It turns out, voters were far more upset about proposed budget cuts than actual tax hikes and the Democrats now have a historic 40-seat super-majority in that chamber. It’ll take just 10 votes to elect the next Senate minority leader.

Tillman has proposed a budget every year for the past several years, and I’ve commended him for it. He does have some good ideas. But not once has a state legislator ever introduced Tillman’s plan as an actual piece of legislation. Even the most hardcore conservative knows it’s political death.

So, I was heartened to see House Republican Leader Tom Cross hold a joint press conference with Gov. Pat Quinn the week after the election. The two talked about the importance of cooperation as the government moves forward.

Bending Democratic policy even a little by participating in the process is far more responsible and politically sensible than just sitting on the sidelines and screaming about suicidal position papers.

Republicans need to show that they can help govern Illinois before voters will hand them the keys to the governor’s mansion.

* Sen. Kyle McCarter and Tillman disagree

Some say the party’s problem is messaging. Sen. Kyle McCarter, who is considering challenging Radogno for her leadership seat, said his caucus should have taken a stronger stand on controversial issues such as budget cuts and pension reform. “As Republicans, we can’t just say, ‘No.’ We’ve got to put some detailed plans on the table that really show how we as a state can get out of this fiscal mess.” Senate Republicans have come together to back a budget plan that they put down on paper, but McCarter said they should have introduced the plan as legislation. “I think it’s something that we should have done in this last session. We should have put that in bill form on the table,” he said. “Since I’ve been here, the leadership of the Republican Party has been much too risk-averse.” […]

“The Republican caucuses have been too focused on trying to make bad Democrat policies marginally better rather than having a clear brand-distinguishing alternative vision that they promote vigorously.” He was critical of Republican legislative leaders for their compromises with Democrats. “In terms of the Republican caucuses, with the Democrats having a supermajority, if leaders continue the pattern of seeking a seat at the table rather than providing a clear party-in-exile alternative, the rank and file members, investors and grassroots activists must demand changes. Regardless, the status quo is untenable,” Tillman wrote in his opinion piece.

As I wrote above, the Senate GOP did propose an alternative, and it proved toxic to voters.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


66 Comments
  1. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:06 am:

    ==A Republican dilemma: Govern or harangue?==

    Which definition do you mean?

    gov·ern   [guhv-ern]
    verb (used with object)

    1. to rule over by right of authority: to govern a nation.

    2. to exercise a directing or restraining influence over; guide: the motives governing a decision.
    3. to hold in check; control: to govern one’s temper.

    4. to serve as or constitute a law for: the principles governing a case.

    5. Grammar . to be regularly accompanied by or require the use of (a particular form). In They helped us, the verb helped governs the objective case of the pronoun we.


  2. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:07 am:

    GOP was complacent during their day and developed no bench. Now they must choose between ‘Losing by Held Convictions’ or ‘Winning by Compromise’


  3. - quincy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:09 am:

    They still need to fire BILL BRADY as state chairmen. and foreget about MJM.


  4. - just sayin' - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:11 am:

    John Tillman is part of the problem. Has been one of the biggest enablers of failed leader Tom Cross and the feckless House Republicans for years.

    Tillman reminds me of Karl Rove in the worst possible way, a guy with fingerprints all over the disaster who comes along after the disaster and tries to sell us more snake oil. Guess what, we ain’t buyin’.


  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:15 am:

    ===Which definition do you mean?===

    Read the column, for crying out loud.

    Sheesh, man.

    Nothing I hate worse than semantics arguments.


  6. - x ace - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:18 am:

    Mr. Miller nails it:
    “didn’t used to scare…… and completely alienate…”


  7. - Newsclown - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:24 am:

    In one of my jobs, I learned an important principle of business planning and working with a business hierarchy. The person you’re contracting with in the organization may not be the one that actually makes final decisions, and you can bust your butt trying to please the contact only to find the real authority hates everything about what you’ve done, maybe never sanctioned it to begin with.

    What you want to do is find The Guy That Signs The Checks.

    No matter what your immediate contact has to say, it can and often is overridden by the check-signer, whom you may not meet until the project is almost done.

    The Republicans’ version of Who Signs The Checks is not their campaign donors. It is not teahadi’s. It is not Jack Roeser. Or the IPI. Or Mamma Trib. Or any rich nut ball with a cultural axe to grind.

    The voters are the check-writers, ultimately.

    Recent Republican campaign ideology seems driven more by polling of their big donors’ issues than of polling actual tax-paying voters. They built up a strategy and a platform, convinced themselves it was brilliant, and then proceeded to try to sell it to voters who just would not buy it. They pretty much ignored census data and trends, when a politician’s job is to mirror his or her constituents to reflect their will. Then they act surprised that their electorate no longer “looks like them” or thinks their way. Even more ridiculously, since the election, they act like the electorate is at fault for not thinking right (their way).

    Being recalcitrant, obstinate, now, can only hurt them more. They need as a party organization to hunt for that moment of clarity when someone with a problem lets ego and self-delusion drop away to reveal the reality underneath. Face the world as it is, come to grips with it, and then either work with that or retire from the game. You can be “Loyal Opposition” without being a joke, if you put the actual voters first, instead of campaign donors.


  8. - Sunshine - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:26 am:

    “…developed no bench.” is spot on. Those that moved into power did not want to and did not give up that power. The party is now paying the price with out of touch leaders, and failed policies of instituting kicking the debt can down the road.

    The Republican party must now rebuild and that will take several more election cycles, if the old politicals step aside. In the meantime the Independents will continue to grow.

    I don’t think the Republican party has learned it’s lesson, and will continue to slide out of favor.


  9. - wishbone - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:30 am:

    Republicans. Like Romney himself, they have so much and always will, and yet they resent those who have so little and always will. That is no way to govern, and if we are very lucky they will continue to be denied the opportunity to do so.


  10. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:31 am:

    Rich, there is no way the Republican Party can remain viable if it tries to out Democrat Democrats. Republicans have been so marginalized from their own ineptness and a genius remap that the ONLY thing they are useful for is providing political cover for the GA Democrats. Do you REALLY feel that any of the core conservative fiscal ideas that are supposed to make up the basis of the Party will even be considered in a tangential fashion?

    I believe in the core fiscal values of the Republican Party. In my opinion, we need to consider what tactics we need to take to win elections using those core fiscal values. While I am personally pro-life, I think that every time we Republicans get wrapped around the axle on this issue, we lose voters, and we do so whenever the Democrats bring the issue up. We chase the shiny object.

    But what is the real issue for women? Economic security. If the people of this state want (fill in social issue here), as long as the people are deciding and not just 175 poobahs in Springfield who are influenced by the loudest constituencies, I say that the people have spoken. I will pray for them if they are against my beliefs, and hope that the legislature passes fair enabling laws.

    I am so cynical now that I believe Republicans should focus on one thing only, jobs and fiscal responsibility. This message bridges all factions, women, men, hispanics, blacks, moon men, everyone. Unless we get people to work, increasing the revenues to the government, and control our spending, all of the social issues and the time spent arguing their finer points are meaningless.


  11. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:32 am:

    I think the voters are sick and tired of the parties fighting and not doing their jobs. I have talked to a lot of people that are fed up with the lack of progress in the legislature.

    As far as the GOP is concerned the leadership is out of touch with the votors, there needs to be a clean sweep on the NATIONAL, STATE and Legislature. I have great respect for Dillard and Brady, but they are not the answer to the Governors office, but I guess it is the best we can offer for now. We need to get some new blood out there and we need to look across the color/ethnic barrier.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:34 am:

    ===Republicans. Like Romney himself, they have so much and always will, and yet they resent those who have so little and always will.===

    ALL Republicans? Every ONE? I would hope for a tad bit more thought and respect, as Dems ask of Repubs to STOP with the “All Dems are lazy, want something for nothing from the government.”

    Just a thought. Can’t have it both ways.


  13. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:36 am:

    ===there is no way the Republican Party can remain viable if it tries to out Democrat Democrats===

    I never said that. At all. Stop twisting my words.


  14. - Ray del Camino - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:37 am:

    Except that “jobs and fiscal responsibility” really means “lower taxes for rich people,” which, if it really worked, would have done so by now, since rich people’s taxes have been lower for a decade.


  15. - Newsclown - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:44 am:

    Those independents… ARE Republicans, many of them. I had a discussion once with JBT. She said someone as iconoclastic as her could never get elected today because she didn’t pass her party’s purity of thought standards. She was elected originally as an independent, back in the three-rep-per-district days. She ran opposite the party-annointed male candidates, back in the day. She voted her own way, which usually happened to coincide with the people she lived with in her district. In other words, she reflected the will of her constituents first, and worried about party loyalty second. Why after all these years can JBT still get elected when most R’s have a hard time? Ponder on that.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:44 am:

    === ===there is no way the Republican Party can remain viable if it tries to out Democrat Democrats===

    I never said that. At all. Stop twisting my words. ===

    My Party in a Nutshell, when given advice, that makes sense, we mess it up ..

    If we in the ILGOP don’t figure out a message, a structure to deliver that message, and seem to be a group in the GA that Quinn and even Cullerton or Madigan can look to to find some common ground and look like we want to be part of the solutions, we are going nowhere fast.

    Rich … that “horse to water” analogy keeps creeping up in my head now.


  17. - western illinois - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:45 am:

    I expect a split between mostly downstate pragmatists who have state institutions and the ideolgous.
    Is there a link with a map showing how the districts went?


  18. - LilLebowskiAchiever - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:45 am:

    So what’s your plan Kyle? He’s not exactly a policy wonk.


  19. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:46 am:

    You’re elected to govern, not represent some alleged “core party principles” that we’ve never actually seen put in action when the Illinois GOP has had power.

    I’m not convinced a majority of state GOP lawmakers have an interest in governing or even having power. Many seem content to collect their paychecks and sing to the choir in the echo chamber.


  20. - Downstater - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:46 am:

    Illinois has become like California politically.
    Illinois Republicans will be a minority party for the next 10 years, at least. Republicans should just sit back and let the Democrats figure out how to correct this financial mess. When it all falls apart, and it will, then step in and start fresh. The Democrats need to remember one thing about California and why people put up with the financial mess out there. Beautiful weather!


  21. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:54 am:

    ===I’m not convinced a majority of state GOP lawmakers have an interest in governing or even having power. Many seem content to collect their paychecks and sing to the choir in the echo chamber. ===

    When Cross and Radogno get elected, again, to be the “Irrelevent” Leaders in their Caucuses, then - wordslinger -, who can deny what you say is the truth?

    Yes, “Irrelevent” Leaders. Why? Becasue if those Caucuses can NOT come up with either a concensus candidate to start over, or someone who can actually LEAD these caucuses through policy and political pitfalls that Cross and Radogno ignored… then how can they be relevent to the discussion as True Leaders, understanding how to get back to relevency?

    They can’t. They had numerous shots. They proved they can’t

    Thus, “Irrelevent” Leaders.

    I asked them to prove me wrong so many times, that I get dinged for being “negative”, but never in those shots at me does the answer to how to correct things with Cross and Radogno finds its way in the response.

    Are you in it for the “Extra Pay”, maybe for Greens Fees and Groceries on a Table, or what is going to be different with the “same old leaders”?


  22. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:57 am:

    Downstater - Maybe you need to take a look at Dana Milbank’s column today to gain some understanding about the “financial mess” in California and Illinois:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-perspec-1116-secession-20121116-6,0,5554384.story

    You see, people live in Illinois and California because there are great opportunities and a high standard of living. So much, in fact, that we are federal tax dollar exporters.

    Feel free to move to one of the tax eating states with people who think more like you, I won’t even judge you for being a “taker”.


  23. - Bill White - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:58 am:

    @wordslinger

    Playing for the Washington Generals is still a good gig, even if the Globetrotters cut you.

    Steady pay, good tables at the best restaurants and invites to all the fancy parties.

    Plus the ability to kvetch about the unfairness of the world.

    @Cincinnatus

    If Illinois borrowed ~$6 or ~$8 billion from Wall Street at historic low interest rates and retired outstanding prompt payment act invoices, that would create a lot of jobs in Illinois.


  24. - RMD - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:01 am:

    Rich, you have got the wrong party who faces the challenges. The R’s are, at least for the time being, almost irrelevant. The D’s are now charged with fixing the unfixable. Because of their base they can only offer ineffective quarter-measure solutions. With all their election successes it is truly not a good time to be a Democrat in Illinois.


  25. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:02 am:

    ===Rich, you have got the wrong party who faces the challenges.===

    No doubt that the ruling party faces huge challenges, but it’s not in immediate danger of extinction.


  26. - too obvious - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:04 am:

    Good column by Rich.

    But you can’t fix stupid. It’s the same old thing. Bad election for IL GOP. A lot of post-election talk and promises about how the IL GOP needs to rebuild, “reach out”, and run better candidates, blah blah blah blah.

    Then another 2 years go by. The same dimwits are still in charge, and things got worse, not better.

    The IL GOP should just turn out the lights. It’s not funny anymore. Let’s save the state some money and stop pretending. All of the gop state reps and state senators just stay home and work at real jobs.


  27. - Loop Lady - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:05 am:

    Haranguing is NOT governing. I hope McCarter is successful in his attempt to dislodge Radogno. She has been less than ineffectual. Can’t the GOP see business as usual has failed them miserably?
    Are they that blind/ignorant?


  28. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:08 am:

    –Because of their base they can only offer ineffective quarter-measure solutions. With all their election successes it is truly not a good time to be a Democrat in Illinois.–

    Gov. Romney, when did you get to town?

    I’m sure the $1.6 billion in Medicaid cuts, $200 million in education cuts and attempts to close state facilities with union employees are examples of Democrats pandering to their “base.”


  29. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:14 am:

    ===but it’s not in immediate danger of extinction.===

    “Doctor, we have 2 issues, a broken bone, broken in multiple places, or an open Aeorta, what is the bigger challenge for you? What should we do?”

    Perspective …perspective.


  30. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:17 am:

    Is it possible the Illinois GOP has no winning options other than to wait for Dems to make mistakes?

    The national party has decided to pursue strategies that put the Illinois GOP at an extreme disadvantage.

    Both the national GOP demographic strategy and the fundraising strategy mean that the Illinois GOP is going to be irrelevant.

    The demographics have been discussed at length in other places.

    But what about raising money in a post Citizens United world?

    The GOP seems to have shifted toward raising an increasing percentage of its money from a few billionaire cranks. And when those guys give money they expect two things.

    1. They want their way on issues.
    2. They want to win.

    B/c the billionaire cranks want to win, they tend to skip Illinois and go to states that are more winnable.

    And the billionaire cranks cause the GOP to go further to the Right, which makes winning harder still.


  31. - Norseman - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:21 am:

    The Republican road to revelance will daunting. There are too many wingnuts who believe that the party’s problems are that they haven’t been conservative enough. These folks have the backing of a large portion of the money people. While the voters are the ultimate decision-makers, the check-writers are those motivated people who are willing to put up the money to see their interests are advanced or protected. Money is the lifeblood of campaigns. It’s even needed to provide support for the GOTV efforts that Willy so rightly advocates.

    The party needs leaders to search out new donors and convince right-wing donors to support more moderates. Their message is that none of the donors’ agenda will be successful without a viable alternative to the Democrats.

    Legislatively, in addition to providing support for moderate issues, i.e. licenses for undocumented aliens, the GOP caucuses need to look at strategize over goals they want to achieve in exchange for support of extremely controversial issues. The sad fact of life when you become this irrelevant is that the Democrats don’t need GOP support on most legislation needed to enact their agenda. The savy leadership provided by Cullerton and Madigan will espouse bi-partisan support, but they will dictate the terms. Only on those issues where the Democrats want to provide cover, will they entertain trade-off requests by the GOP.


  32. - Obamas Puppy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:23 am:

    Clearly the Republican party is not conservative enough. You have to love it when one party starts to drink its own bathwater after a defeat.


  33. - Norseman - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:29 am:

    Loop Lady, you think that McCarter will govern instead of harangue?

    Do you want to make a gentleperson’s wager on that?


  34. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:30 am:

    - Bill White - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 9:58 am:

    “@Cincinnatus

    If Illinois borrowed ~$6 or ~$8 billion from Wall Street at historic low interest rates and retired outstanding prompt payment act invoices, that would create a lot of jobs in Illinois.”

    I believe that the GA’s failure to make its required pension payments is illustrative. The reason we need to take on the bond would be that we are spending money in excess of revenue. Only gimmickry allows the state to say the budget is balanced. Now we are proposing to take on 7 years of debt payments to pay for one year of spending without a corresponding plan to make the payments. What combination of cuts and revenue enhancements will be instituted to make the payments on the debt. What spending cuts and revenue enhancements will be made to keep the books balanced for annual spending not counting this added indebtedness? Sounds like the supermajority party needs to issue its plan so we taxpayers can see what is up their collective sleeves.


  35. - RMD - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:31 am:

    Rich, I agree the D’s don’t face extinction. It’s the state that faces an uncertain future and the extinction of the life as we know it. A market turn around will help. But i see no solution, but tax hikes and deep service cuts. I am not certain of the capacities our citizens possess to handle these.


  36. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:35 am:

    ===the extinction of the life as we know it===

    Bruce? Is that you?


  37. - Bemused - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:35 am:

    I think the party needs to look back to a time when moderates were both accepted and supported in thier ranks.

    I once apon a time tried to get my organization to support Carl Oblinger in the Primary Race against Shimkus. They would not which I felt at the time was a bad call. We could have tried to get a reasonable labor guy against a good labor guy. The real problem was even by then a moderate Republican was not going to be supported in the Primarys. Of course later Carl was chased out of the party and in my opinion left to hang and dry by the other side. Say what you will about Carl but he came from good moderate republican stock. His mother was a well respected member of the GA and also not an enemy of Labor.

    As far as the republican fiscal core policys go, it rings a bit hollow to me. As much as I hate to admit it as a young man I was one of those Regan Democrats in his first election. I bought into the shared pain thing. Sorry but I’ve been broke of sucking eggs.


  38. - Bill - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:42 am:

    Cinci,
    Part of the income tax increase plan was to re-finance the states debt which is the result of many years of deficit spending not one. A portion of the increased revenue was earmarked to repay the bonds. The Republicans obstructed that plan hence we have even more debt. That plan is still viable at todays low rates but it is not an all day sucker. The money has already been spent. No amount of draconian cuts will unspend it. We need to make the income tax increase permanent, extend sales tax to services, tax retirement income over $50k, and start to work to reform the tax code, starting with a constitutional amendment. That is the fair, honorable, rational way out this mess and no right wing rhetoric is going to convince citizens otherwise.Check the polls. Look at the election results. What does it take for you to admit reality?


  39. - east central - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 10:55 am:

    The Democrats are in a very good position if they do not become timid about solving the major fiscal problems.

    Borrowing money to pay down the payment backlog will help the economy ahead of 2014, as long as it is done soon.

    The Pension systems can be largely fixed by a combination of placing some responsibility for normal costs on the school districts, freeing up a few general fund dollars by charging retirees for health care, mixing in some of Fortner’s proposal, and an extension of the income tax increase probably in a modified form. I expect the income tax extension will occur only after they pass a bill to diminish pension benefits and it is ruled unconstitutional so that the apparent blame can be on the courts.

    If the D’s get this done, then the Republicans are going to be in an awfully tough spot for a long time.

    Perhaps the order of the day for the R’s is not to harangue but to sabotage. If they scare enough D’s to get the washrooms packed during tough votes, then in 2014 the R’s can campaign on their own solutions to fiscal problems that the D’s failed to address.


  40. - Bill - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:01 am:

    I just can’t picture Republicans scaring Dem legislators very much. Besides if they flock to the bathrooms the staffers would just vote for them.


  41. - LincolnLounger - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:06 am:

    Let’s see. Very conservative, white, middle-aged, religious dogmatist who is so “nuanced” in his approach that he gets into brawls on the Senate floor? Is this the new IL GOP way of broadening the base? Really?

    I’m not campaigning for Radogno, but come on.


  42. - Votecounter - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:06 am:

    When you have a lock on 8 Senate and 19 House seats with only one party running a candidate It makes it easier to run the other campaigns; you can target your money into areas that are competitive and out spend any candidate. It is impossable to recrute and run a Republican candidate in any of the black wards and Townships in Chicago. For one thing the Committeemen can peel off enough votes to beat any candidate by running their own person (as Madigan does) In some wards it only takes less than 60 votes to be committeeman so the chances of more votes than that to win the primary are very small. If you want to appoint you have to find people who did not vote Democrat in the primary. Try to find a store owner or anyone depending on city services who don’t vote in the primary. Life is made very difficult by the Alderman or precinct captain. I know every person who tried to run in or get appointed to Black wards were thrown off the ballot.
    As I have said the GOP has to get away from Wards and Township committeemen and get into the black community. The Dems can run their own person for something as big as a ward but 5074 precincts would be much harder.


  43. - Votecounter - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:07 am:

    Of course the Townships are Cook. Sorry I have to proof read


  44. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:10 am:

    ===who is so “nuanced” in his approach that he gets into brawls on the Senate floor===

    Oh, please. McCarter was clearly the victim in that fight. He deserved a tongue-lashing, for sure, but not a punch, or push, or whatever, to the chest.


  45. - Bill White - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:12 am:

    @Cincinnatus

    You raise valid concerns. Any plan to pay accumulated debts with a debt consolidation loan needs to be packaged with a balanced budget going forward. The other “Bill” offered a few ideas as to how that might happen.

    However John Tillman’s challenge still stands —

    Should the GOP seek a seat at the table and eventually support a package that includes issuing bonds for accumulated debts based on a negotiated balanced go forward budget or embrace a “party in exile” identity?

    But remember, an $8 billion dollar Keynesian stimulus will boost the Illinois economy and that also will increase future tax revenues without raising rates.


  46. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:15 am:

    I am not advocating for ANY of the 18 SGOP Legislators … at all!

    I am advocating Radogno’s removal. What needs to be done, is that most Pragmatic leader, who is not going to be running for Governor, or any other office, must step up and say, “I will give the Caucus 2 years, and I will, if you still want me, another 2 years after.”

    That is what needs to happen. Someone needs to look themselves in the mirror and say, “When is all of this enough?” Politically and Governmentally, this Pragmatist must realize that inclusion of Moderates and Conservatives is the only way this WILL work.

    I will not even throw out names, but those Pragmatic leaders KNOW who they are, but do they want to do it? Tons of heavy lifting, but could be rewarded hansomly in the long-run if that SGOP person comes forward.


  47. - jake - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:17 am:

    Specific point: If we pass an amendment in 2014 to permit a graduated tax, there will be no need to extend the present tax rate beyond the 2015 expiration date. Rather it can be directly replaced with a graduated tax.

    General point: The two party system works best when both sides acknowledge the same set of facts, and then argue and negotiate about competing interests and values. The reason the Republicans have gone off the rails is the extent to which they have constructed an alternative reality in which the “facts” conform to a particular ideology. There are some Democrats who do that too, but on average the Democrats have a much firmer grip on reality at this time in our history than the Republicans do. And let me pre-empt those who will immediately jump on me about how much of a grip on reality could Democrats have to get us into the fiscal crisis we are in, to point out that many of the budgets that dug us into this hole over the years by underfunding the pension system were signed by Republican governors–and voted for by Republican legislators as well as Democrats.


  48. - walkinfool - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:24 am:

    === Do you REALLY think that any of the core conservative fiscal values … will even be considered in a tangential fashion? ===

    Simply: Yes.

    The Dem caucus is not monolithic on fiscal issues, and the Speaker can often be more Conservative than the majority of his caucus. Most suburban Dem reps, as Crespo recently pointed out, and the downstate Dem reps, would in fact join Republicans on some of these ideas. For Repubs to sit out would be a mistake.

    I have witnessed specific fiscal solutions offered by individual GOP members,and supported by some Dems, subsequently voted down as a bloc by the GOP caucus, simply because the Dems in power would get credit for doing something smart before an election. That nonsense occurs on both sides, and has to stop.


  49. - Endangered Moderate Species - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:28 am:

    The political pendulum will swing back and allow the ILGOP an opportunity. If the GOP continues their current strategy, they will not be able to seize upon that opportunity. Most voters agree with fiscal conservatism, but for the last 20 years the talking heads (Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, etc.), have turned the word conservative into something that resembles anger with a scowl. If the GOP runs likable candidates, whom can survive the ugly GOP primary (litmus) tests, I believe a majority of voters will give them a chance. Dems should not rest on their laurels.


  50. - Downstater - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    Oswego Willy your profound knowledge and expertise should give you a platform to become a main player in the Republican party.


  51. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 12:05 pm:

    ===Oswego Willy your profound knowledge and expertise should give you a platform to become a main player in the Republican party.===

    - Downstater -,

    I think the ILGOP’s response to that is “Just keep posting to Rich’s Caption Contest.”

    I think I would have to agree with them.

    If your statement is snark, then the above I wrote ALSO … is true!

    The only thing I will add, is that we, all of us in the GOP here in Illinois also need to look in mirror and think about being more like the “Reagan 80″, and not “Enemy 20″.

    Appreciate it, and if its snark, I still appreciate it.


  52. - Loop Lady - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 12:07 pm:

    Norse: at least it will be a different haranguing voice….


  53. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 12:26 pm:

    ===Unless we get people to work…all of the social issues and the time spent arguing their finer points are meaningless===

    Maybe they still won’t be meaningless to women, minorities, and people who understand the earth is more than 10,000 years old. Maybe it would help if you understood that.


  54. - Norseman - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 12:32 pm:

    LL - True, but that doesn’t benefit the GOP. That may be what you’re hoping for.


  55. - steve schnorf - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 1:45 pm:

    I might be able to buy into the government in exile scenario, given our new numbers in the GA. I believe a critical component to such an approach having even a modicum of chance to succeed would have to be our self-discipline to use such a forum to talk about jobs and economic opportunity, and NOT talk about abortion, creationism, moral weaknesses of poor people, president Obama’s patriotism and whether he is a natural born US citizen, etc.

    Given the people who might likely grab the stage, I am skeptical that we could exercise that discipline. I fear we might use the opportunity to further disenchant the social agenda non-believers, reducing our dwindled ranks even further.


  56. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 1:57 pm:

    ===I fear we might use the opportunity to further disenchant the social agenda non-believers, reducing our dwindled ranks even further.===

    That is where the ILGOP is right now. The possible or current leaders, today, could cause even more damage than has laready been done.

    Speaks… Volumes


  57. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 2:03 pm:

    Bill @ 10:42 am:

    What I don’t take as reality is the only thing in your long explanation is increasing taxes and fees. Nowhere do you recognize decreased spending and economic growth in your discussion.

    Bill White @ 11:12 am:

    Please provide examples where Keynesian stimulus has provided long-term, sustained economic growth. Are the past 4 years the example? As a practical matter, if I thought a SINGLE Republican thought would be included in the Democrats plan, I’d say work with them. However, I do not see a scenario where Republicans wouldn’t be used as anything but dupes in the Democrats’ plans.

    Oswego Willy,

    I believe the ship has sailed on Radogno remaining leader…

    walkinfool,

    Madigan has been speaker for as long as anyone remembers, Cullerton has been there for many years, and Quinn governor for 4. How can we expect a lesser number of Republicans to influence the Democrats more than in the past? Republicans will be offered for “bipartisanship” but really will just get rolled or if they resist, be blamed for the problems. This is about as close to a no-win situation as I can imagine.

    Joe Bidenopoulous @ 12:26 pm:

    Look, if your inference is that people are as ignorant as your comment, I contend that economic and social freedom are the core message that Republicans should have. Social issues should be decided by the people, and not enlightened people like yourself. If the voters say that the position on (fill in your social issue here) is what they want, we, as Republicans should acknowledge their wishes and assist drafting laws to accomplish the issue without infringing on others social beliefs. On the other hand, balanced budges, no debt, lower taxes and economic growth affect ALL the people. You can choose to look at our citizens as small segments that you can pander to which is essential a negative point of view. I choose to look at us as a whole, and what’s good for everyone and have a positive view on our citizens.


  58. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    - Cincinnatus -

    A Michael Corleone Post

    You took care of all your Family Business in one swoop.


  59. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 2:10 pm:

    ===Please provide examples where Keynesian stimulus has provided long-term, sustained economic growth===

    World War 2.


  60. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 2:11 pm:

    Also, the idea is to provide stimulus until the rest of the economy can recover. Try to learn a bit before posting on something.


  61. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 2:21 pm:

    Well, Radogno is asking to be Leader … might be a LONG 2 years …


  62. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 2:37 pm:

    Rich,

    We provided $1T in stimulus in 2009, and increased the government’s share of spending as a percentage of GDP by 4% annually on top of that for a total of $6T of economic stimulus we cannot pay for over 4 years.

    Perhaps if we would have spent that 2009 stimulus on re-equipping our military (shovel ready to boot), roads and bridges, and the power grid, then we would have seen some economic growth instead of our current stagnant economy.


  63. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 2:45 pm:

    Cinci-

    Saying I am pandering to constituencies like women, minorities and the LGBT community is preposterous when that is in fact, the exact thing Republicans have been engaged in since their rebuke at the polls. Regardless of the economy/jobs issue, my wife, and millions like her, will continue to feel that social issues – she would call them social justice issues – are important. Specifically, she would say that it’s important for her to decide what she does with her body, and she would tell you to take your “people should decide” commentary and shove it.

    What women do with their bodies, treating minorities as equals, and gay rights. Tell me, why are they even “issues” that need to be debated at all? Why should “the people” get to decide what my wife or yours does with their bodies? Should “the people” determine what classes of society get equal treatment, equal rights, or is it simple human decency that we extend them to all without putting it to a vote? In 1946, my marriage would have been illegal in 30 states – “the people” decided that through their representation. “The people” also decided that slavery and segregation were good things. Should we just wait for “the people” to become more enlightened?

    Again, you can talk about my ignorance all you like, my feelings certainly won’t be hurt. And Lord knows I don’t have all the answers. But I am certain that on these issues, I am on the right side of history and that will be borne out. The GOP ignores their history on these issues at their own peril. And shouting down those who point it out, calling it pandering, will never be an effective defense. Until the GOP understands this, you will struggle for female and minority votes, regardless of what you do for the economy.

    If you “choose to look at people as a whole, and what’s good for everyone” as you allege, then I would respectfully suggest that you work to understand that basic human freedoms and basic human rights lead to a better society for everyone.


  64. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 3:11 pm:

    - roads and bridges, and the power grid, then we would have seen some economic growth instead of our current stagnant economy. -

    Have you not seen the ARRA signs? What do you think the stimulus money went towards?

    All over the country there is infrastructure work going on, including roads, bridges, sewers, water systems, and even broadband networks. If anything the program should have been bigger.

    Aside from that, how can you go from asking for examples of Keynesian stimulus providing “long-term, sustained economic growth” to suggesting that Keynesian stimulus would have provided economic growth?

    Pick a lane.


  65. - 47th Ward - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 4:04 pm:

    ===We provided $1T in stimulus in 2009,===

    One third of which was tax cuts, which you should embrace given your earlier comment about how you’d rush to support Democratic policies if they included any Republican idea (I’d also mention Obamacare as a Republican/Heritage Foundation idea too, btw, which undercuts your argument further).

    The result of the stimulus is the US economy is not in recession. Europe, on the other hand, pursued austerity, cuts on top of cuts in spending. Guess what? Britain and the EU are in recession.

    You can try to dismiss Keynesian economics, but the fact is, it works as intended. It hasn’t worked fast enough and the costs are frightening. But the cost of austerity is far higher and we can’t cut our way to prosperity.


  66. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Nov 16, 12 @ 4:36 pm:

    While most people may support fiscal responsibility, many do not support fiscal “extremism,” where the wealthy are protected at all costs from paying slightly higher income taxes. If the GOP should work toward inclusiveness and more tolerance in social issues, it should also consider being more reasonable about taxation and fiscal issues.

    I’ve read about the federal stimulus and how the CBO chief wouldn’t tell Republican legislators that it didn’t work. The GOP also forced the Congressional Research Service to retract a study that found that tax cuts for the wealthy have not caused economic growth.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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