President Trump shows Illinois what actual leadership looks like

By DOUG E. IBENDAHL • July 27, 2018

 

 

“Today the blast furnace is blazing bright and we are once again pouring American steel into the spine of our country.” – President Trump on Thursday in Granite City, Illinois

 

Donald Trump made his first visit to Illinois as President on Thursday with a speech to grateful (and very emotional) steelworkers at the U.S. Steel Granite City Works. Located on the east bank of the Mississippi just north of St. Louis, Granite City has seen its share of hard times.

 

The mill laid off 2,000 workers in 2015. But thanks to Trump Administration policies, one furnace has been fired up again and 500 workers are back on the job. A second furnace and 300 additional workers are expected to go back on line by October.

 

The American people executed a master stroke when they hired a hardworking builder who knows how to get things done.

 

One would hope that Illinois’ dreary political class might learn from having a competent leader on the field. But the outlook is far from optimistic.

 

Governor Bruce Rauner went out of his way Thursday to avoid welcoming the President of the United States to Illinois. Rauner made a point of being somewhere else, presumably to talk about the vital issue of J.B. Pritzker’s toilets. And it’s a fair bet Rauner did so while employing that phony hillbilly language of his, the one he just decided to make up one day out of thin air for some inexplicable reason. (Governor, I live in Chicago but grew up in Southern Illinois. No one in the state talks like that. Please, just stop it.)

 

Three Republican congressmen (Mike Bost, John Shimkus and Rodney Davis) did have the good sense to glom-on to President Trump’s visit to Granite City.

 

The GOP was a do-nothing party before Donald Trump came along. The party was dying. Dull officials were tediously herding a shrinking base of mostly aging voters with the same old promises which they had no intention of ever keeping, even if they had the skillset to do so.

 

Donald Trump has changed all that. The Republican Party, nationally at least, has never been more energized and it’s never had a more optimistic message capable of attracting new voters.

 

And best of all, we finally have a public official who keeps his promises.

 

The good news Granite City is experiencing is just one of countless examples of the winning we’re witnessing across America and on the world stage — accomplishments that are only happening because of this President.

 

It’s stunning that it’s hard to find a Republican candidate in Illinois who gets it. The Trump agenda of economic growth, job creation, deregulation, and security of our citizens is a winning agenda in Illinois as much as it is in any other state.

 

But instead of thinking big and getting behind the leader who is already doing all the heavy lifting, most Republicans in Illinois just cower. Republicans in other states are having a blast building around a positive agenda and the best President we’ve had in generations.

 

Meanwhile, in the Land of Lincoln we get toilet talk and obsession with a 76-year old man, Mike Madigan, who apparently is still able to run circles around the yokels who call themselves the Republican leadership.

 

Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone to “defend” him, as that implies he’s doing something wrong. Far from doing anything wrong, this President is doing an incredible number of things right.

 

But Trump does need people to stand with him. If you’re a Republican official (or a wannabe) it’s a no-brainer that you should proudly support the President who is actually advancing the Republican agenda faster and better than any Republican has in our lifetime, if not in history.

 

When you consider the Democrats, their media lackeys, plus the bitter Never-Trumpers who keep an ‘R’ by their names, this President is dealing with hundreds of Mike Madigans on a daily basis – except they are a lot more hostile than the real one.

 

Donald Trump is fine with all that. He clearly revels in the fight. He actually wades into the ranks of the unhinged with a smile on his face. Skillfully employing what can only be described as political jiu-jitsu, each time the haters make one of their clumsy attacks, Trump redeploys their own weight against them.

 

Trump doesn’t just sit around whining about one elderly man like Bruce Rauner and so many other Republicans do in Illinois. This President just keeps advancing the ball. (Madigan is a convenient excuse for lazy, incompetent Republicans to not do their jobs, but God only knows what they would do if Democrats did pick a younger, more energetic leader who would almost surely be much more liberal than Mike Madigan.)

 

The abandonment of this President in Illinois by so many is beyond shameful. I especially cringe every time some Republican official or candidate of little or no accomplishment makes some passive-aggressive observation like: “Well, I like some of the things Trump does like his tax cuts, but I really wish he would stop tweeting.”

 

I swear, if you don’t get it about how wonderful it is that a President of the United States is keeping up a direct conversation with the America people, you should really just keep a real job. This political thing just isn’t working out for you.

 

But the cluelessness isn’t surprising. The Republican Party in Illinois is beyond awful when it comes to communication, and that’s directly reflected in the awfulness of the performance come most Election Days.

 

There is little or no communication with rank-and-file voters – although I do get an email blast every week or so from the GOP state senate caucus which looks as cutting-edge today as a Dire Straits music video.

 

Even if Republican candidates in Illinois woke up today and decided to get behind the President and his winning agenda, it’s probably too late to save many of them this year. Too many attacks have not been countered and the voter education simply hasn’t been done. Most Republican officials in Illinois continue to refuse to use the platforms they’ve been given to support our President. Rauner and the rest seem to live in fear they’ll be publicly taken to task by some Trump-hating “journalist” if they stand-up for the one official who is actually getting things done in this country.

 

It’s unlikely that years of cowardice and ineptitude can be overcome in the less than four months left to go. Probably the best we can hope for in Illinois at this point is for a sweeping-out of the ninnies and the cowards, and the clean slate we would get for building around Trump’s reelection going into 2020.

 

Until the Illinois Republican Party gets its act together, other states are going to have to pick up the slack, for our President’s sake and for America’s.

 

Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.

 

 

 

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