By DOUG IBENDAHL • April 14, 2009
Wednesday is the day fed-up citizens will come out to hundreds of Tax Day Tea Parties around the country. It’s good to see this kind of grassroots energy, and it’s definitely fitting and proper that citizens would want to demonstrate their revulsion at the Obama Administration’s efforts to plunge America into socialism.
Tea Party attendees will need to follow through post-Wednesday if they really want to achieve positive change. But Wednesday will be a start for some who maybe haven’t been active on the political field before.
I would only offer one unsolicited suggestion. In the spirit of making Wednesday’s events parallel those of the real Boston Tea Party of 1773 as accurately as possible, there is no more fitting person for the role of England’s King George III than State GOP Chairman Andy McKenna.
One of the colonists’ most famous rallying slogans was of course “no taxation without representation.”
Granted, McKenna has no power to tax, but he does have his outfit trying to fundraise from unsuspecting Republicans. Needless to say, the fundraising letters and calls Illinois Republicans get say nothing about where their donations would really go – like for the hiring of a Democrat controlled law firm from Washington D.C. that’s trying to help McKenna and his handlers stay entrenched.
McKenna wants your money, but he doesn’t want you to have a vote again in your own State Party. Never mind that every Illinois Democrat already has that same right, or that every Illinois Republican did too, for over 70 years up until it was stolen away in the late 1980’s.
McKenna’s obsession has become keeping Republicans voiceless in their own party. His faction has even stooped to calling supporters of Senate Bill 600 “insurgents.” The insulting term was used again by McKenna in a Chicago Tribune story on Monday.
If you Google the words “terrorists” and “insurgents” – you get 1.5 million hits, articles where the two words are used interchangeably. McKenna chose that word for a reason and it’s shameful. The good news is that when our opponents start playing the terrorist card against pro-democracy, pro-accountability Republicans – we’ve already won.
It’s McKenna of course who leads the reactionary group on this issue, and it’s a small minority. Every Republican who is concerned about something more than selfish interest wants their vote back. Who wouldn’t? It’s not only what America was founded upon – everyone can see that removing accountability from the equation two decades ago has been a disaster for our Illinois Republican Party.
So sure, support a Tea Party on Wednesday. Give Obama and the Democrats an earful. Have some fun.
But just remember, that’s the easy part. Until Illinois Republicans decide to get serious and clean-up their own house, all of the shouting at the Democrats won’t make any difference.
Illinois Republicans have to find real leaders, and failed figureheads like Andy McKenna have to go. The first step is to pass SB600 – that will give Republicans a fighting chance at getting some real leaders to run the Illinois Republican Party. Similarly, once we have a State Central Committee that’s chosen by and accountable to Republicans – there will be every reason to hope that we’ll no longer get ineffective Chairmen like an Andy McKenna. Or at least if such a mistake is made, we’ll have a State Central Committee that won’t allow the blunder to fester for years.
Just as the original Boston Tea Party was a defining moment leading up to the American Revolution, passage of SB600 will be a defining moment that ushers in a Republican Renaissance in Illinois.
Until we fix our own house, Illinois Republicans can just expect more “humiliation without representation” at the hands of McKenna and the Democrats.
Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.