* Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Manteno) speaking at a recent Lincoln Day dinner…
“We need to be upset about what’s going on in Washington. We need to be upset about what’s going on in Illinois. But we have to do it in a way that’s not about dividing our country. Ronald Reagan won in 1980 not because he stood on national TV and screamed at Jimmy Carter, talked about how terrible everything was and tried to scare the American people. He won because he had a vision of the America he wanted to live in and the America that he believed could exist under his leadership,” Kinzinger said.
He continued, adding that the general public sees Republicans in a negative light and that needs to change.
“What I’ve seen lately that concerns me, and I’m just being honest, is that the new definition of conservatism in this country is not any more about what you believe, it’s about who’s the loudest and who’s the angriest. And whoever’s on national TV screaming the most is probably the biggest offender of conservatism. That’s what I think people have started to see,” he said.
Kinzinger said that the Republicans lost a lot of ground in the 2012 election, but he’s hoping the party can regain some of its momentum in the coming years.
“Thirty-eight percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans, which means that in order to win national elections … if we want to be a minority party forever, we’re on the right track. If we want to win national elections, we need to take 13 percent and switch them from the ‘I don’t call myself a Republican’ column to ‘You know what? I’m going to be a Republican today.’ They do that by talking about the optimistic hope for our future,” Kinzinger said.
It’s even worse in Illinois. The recent Paul Simon Institute poll found that just 22.3 percent identified themselves as Republicans. Last fall’s PPP poll had it at 26 percent.