By DOUG IBENDAHL • November 7, 2012
The Illinois Republican Party officially imploded yesterday. The Chicago Sun-Times calls it a “bloodbath.” That’s putting it mildly.
From the U.S. Congressional races lost across the state to the veto-proof majorities the Democrats gained in both the Illinois House and Illinois Senate, it may be the single worst failure for the Illinois Republican Party in the history of the GOP.
But no one should be surprised. State GOP Chair Pat Brady and his crew have spent most of their time trying to prevent voters from voting. Brady & Co. have done nothing but work to shrink our party instead of working to build an organization that can compete and win.
Back in June at the Illinois Republican State Convention, the Illinois GOP had one last chance to turn things around going into this election. I and others championed a reform that would have opened-up the Illinois Republican Party and made it more inclusive and participatory. We worked to give every Republican back a voice in their Party. We tried to give every Republican back their vote for their top State Party officials.
It could have been accomplished in June. Our Party could have been energized by giving the Illinois GOP back to Republican voters. Nothing would have fired-up volunteer energy going into election season like the Illinois GOP declaring that it was going to end the closed culture of the past. We would not only be a more open Party today, we would also be a more diverse Party.
But that didn’t happen. So hostile were Brady and his handlers to the idea of Republicans voting – they wouldn’t even allow the delegates to vote on whether Republicans should have a vote.
The direct election resolution had to clear a committee before it could be voted on by the full delegation the next day. Brady & Co. simply stacked that committee with a puppet majority and killed reform in the crib. A full report on that disgrace is here: Mike Madigan’s 11 favorite Republicans.
It’s simple. If you rig conventions to keep fellow Republicans from voting, why would you possibly expect anyone to vote for you in some other election? If you demonstrate you’re hostile to people voting, of course voters aren’t going to vote for you.
Pat Brady and the entire State Central Committee he chairs need to do the right thing. For the good of our Party they all need to resign today. All have proven they can’t lead. Yesterday simply provided the latest evidence.
It’s also a given that Tom Cross must resign his leadership position in the Illinois House, and Christine Radogno must resign her leadership position in the Illinois Senate. Few thought the GOP could become more irrelevant in Springfield, but it happened yesterday.
If the GOP State Representatives and State Senators who serve under them won’t demand it, they should go too. Right now they all just represent overhead we can’t afford and a drag on our already weak Illinois economy.
If yesterday wasn’t a wake-up call to all the enablers out there, I honestly don’t know what it’s going to take. But it’s time for Republicans to stop whining about Madigan and do something to clean out the awful officials on our own team. If you’re serious about beating the Democrats some day, get serious about making our Illinois Republican Party a vehicle that can compete.
Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.