I gotta tell ya, after almost a decade of covering ‘em, the fact that some politicians can still make me wanna kiss them squarely on the lips is one of my favorites things in life.
Apparently I’m very easy to please.
Not only did brand new Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Scneider managed to accomplish just that on yesterday’s episode of Left, Right and You – he did it three separate times! I almost had to get out the chapstick.
By the time Tim made his third point I was fully convinced we’d slipped into some sort of parallel universe where politician suddenly make sense. And sadly, I have no proof that’s not the case. But instead of going all quantum physics on you and looking a philosophical gift horse in the mouth, let’s simply enjoy it? To paraphrase, here’s what Tim told us:
1. “My personal political and social views don’t matter, but the party’s do!”
That’s right! The chairman isn’t supposed to make policy, the chairman is charged with presiding over that process and subsequently selling party policy to the public. Despite the abject simplicity of that concept, most leadership folks fail to even consider the possibility.
Personally, I loved it when former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady came out in favor of same-sex marriage. But once he let that cat out of the bag, my immediate thought was, “Yikes! How can the chairman undermine the very platform he’s supposed to be supporting.”
And don’t give me that tired old “speaking as a private citizen” line because being chairman is a 24/7 proposition. It doesn’t matter! Whatever words come out of your mouth are coming directly from the chairman.
Now, I’m not saying Tim’s views clash with what the GOP’s already put forth, but if they do, we’ll never know. And that’s exactly the way it should be!
2. “The Republican Party is a big tent.”
The last time someone told me that a liberal Republican like myself was welcome in the party was…well…um…never. Having forgotten the term “Rockefeller Republican,” most conservatives summarily dismiss me as something slightly lower than a RINO.
But not Tim! Spurred on by a great Larry Jones question, He clearly stipulated that, in order to prevail in November, Illinois Republicans need the Tea Partiers, classic conservatives, moderate independents, liberal Republicans, minorities, and even Democrats to come together for a common cause.
And that rallying cry is returning Illinois to some semblance of fiscal sanity.
Considering the fractious nature of the Republican Party, I’d say manufacturing the kind of unity Tim just proposed is the quintessential Sisyphean task. But the good news is, you can’t set out to accomplish something until you understand exactly what needs to be accomplished.
So we’re already halfway there!
3. “There are five things that unite all Republicans”
And then he listed them:
- Lower taxes
- Less wasteful spending
- A quality education for our children
- Term limits
- A booming economy
Though I believe the term limit thought should only apply to legislative leadership, I’ve been saying the same thing for years! Just like that repetitious real estate adage, Republican candidates should be saying nothing but, “finances, finances, finances.”
But instead, they hang their hats on social issues like same-sex marriage, their theories on women’s biological processes, and race relations, and then they lose every election that really matters.
The reason I generally vote Republican is because I’m bleepin’ sick and tired of other people spending my money. That resonates with voters. And as long as the Illinois GOP can stick to that single cohesive message, I guarantee you they’ll start kicking some Democratic butt.
To make a long story short, I can’t tell you how much I’m pulling for Tim Schneider to pull this off. The problem is, he just got dropped into a mile wide minefield without a map. It will be interesting to see if he can find his way out.