Thursday, July 20, 2006

Republican abdiction?

Last week on a blog—Democracy Chicago style, I quoted extensively from an article on the website about the Protect Marriage Illinois referendum.  Not only did the website have information about the progress of the referendum, it also made some rather pointed comments about the Republican Party in Illinois.  Again, I’m going to quote from that website article.

“In January of this year, our friends at Protect Marriage Illinois (PMI) asked us for assistance with collecting the necessary signatures….”

“Family Taxpayers Network responded by agreeing to put in place the professional infrastructure needed to accomplish such a major undertaking.  No other statewide organization, including the Illinois Republican Party, was in a position to pull off what turned out to be one of the most successful grassroots efforts in Illinois history.”

“Family Taxpayers Network essentially took on the leadership role that Republican State Parties have typically performed in other states on the protect marriage front.  Family Taxpayers Network stepped-up on this quintessentially Republican issue since it was clear that the Illinois GOP had no desire to help, and it lacked the organizational ability in any case.

The Illinois GOP’s entrenched establishment actually abandoned the cause and the Party’s base entirely on this project, and very early on.  It’s fashionable these days for Republican leaders to talk about how important it is to build the grassroots.  But when presented with an historic opportunity to do more than just talk—they merely cut and run.  The fecklessness demonstrated by the Illinois GOP’s outdated leadership hardly bodes well for the old-line Republican candidates going into November.

The good news is that thousands of real volunteers did step-up to answer the call.  Our hope is that from these ranks the real leaders of tomorrow will emerge.  One of the great things accomplished by this project is the tremendous number of new and dedicated folks who were introduced to political activism for the first time.

These are good people, and most of them haven’t heard yet that the political game in Illinois is only supposed to be for self-serving profiteers.  These people represent precisely the new blood this state needs.  Family Taxpayers Network is dedicated to helping these folks stay involved.  Regardless of what happens with the referendum, it’s only one project and it’s only a beginning.”

“One of the remarkable stories to come out of this effort is the tremendous participation by Black Churches on the south and west sides of Chicago.  In fact, approximately one-third of all petition submissions came from minority communities.  This is just one more example of how the Illinois Republican Party missed an historic opportunity.  For all of the empty talk about how the GOP needs to get into the African American community and demonstrate how our Republican Party is really on the side of black folks—when a perfect opportunity presents itself, the blowhards were nowhere to be found.”

“As Jessie Smart, Chairman of the Illinois Board of Elections said yesterday in a status hearing, ‘I can’t understand why anyone would object to give the voters a chance to express their opinions.’

Incredibly, voters deserve an answer not just from liberal Democrats—but also from Topinka and the Illinois GOP on that question.

Posted July 6, 2006”        


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