By Ron Brzoska
No. The title does not mean that I believe that Republicans should embrace the Obama “Forward” agenda. Rather, I believe that the Illinois Republican Party needs to make a bold step in order to have any future at all. The Illinois Republican Party must replace its triumvirate of leadership: House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, and Chairman Pat Brady.
The results on Election Day for Illinois republicans have been termed a “bloodbath.” This true; very true. Like any sports franchise, or any company that has been beaten so badly by its competition that the status quo leaves the organization uncompetitive going forward, a change in management is necessary.
Representative Tom Cross and Senator Christine Radogno have done very little to stop the Madigan/Quinn agenda. Not only do they routinely stay silent until after the votes have taken place, but they seldom offer any type of Republican counter. Cross and agenda have not offered a vision from their caucuses that gives the Illinois voter an alternative to exansion of government and its burdens imposed by the Democrats. There is no battle cry and therefore no battle, only a rout.
Representative Tom Cross and Senator Christine Radogno have seen their caucuses shrink to ineffectual levels. The Democrats have veto-proof majorities in both houses of the General Assembly. This has reduced Illinois Republicans to a relevancy equal to the Libertarian Party or the Green Party. Our Republican legislators now are nothing more than a protest vote. But what has either Cross or Radogno done to increase the number of Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly? There were 20 state senate races with no Republican challenger. There were 39 state representative races without a Republican challenger. How do they or the party expect to reverse the tide if they don’t even try? What have they done to bring candidates in or help the ones that do run? We aren’t seeing it. Since the election the rank-and-file and precinct committeemen like myself have waited for answers. We have waited for something uplifting. We have waited for a plan. We have waited for something … anything, and received nothing.
What I have said goes double for Chairman Pat Brady. Afterall, Representative Cross and Senator Radogno have their jobs as legislators to tend to as well as being party leaders. Chairman Brady’s only job is to be the party leader. Pat Brady has presided over the failed governor’s race. Not only were Republicans unable to defeat the unpopular legacy of scandal-ridden Rod Blagojevich, Pat Quinn, but the loss allowed the Democrats to gerrymander the district maps to favor their party. This was during the 2010 election cycle that was a boon to Republicans across the country. Brady should have been replaced after that debacle. He was not, and we paid for it in 2012. The state convention was a failure. We didn’t attempt to run candidates in 59 state races. We almost ran out of money (Thank you Sandy Stuart for making that an “almost”). We lost five congressman. I can’t name one GOP success story that can be attributed to the management of Pat Brady.
When the rank-and-file consider their leaders to be losers, they tune them out. Think of Ozzie Guillen. Think of Mike Ditka. Think of the bosses that you may have had that you had no confidence in. This is where we are now. These three people must go. This is not about the direction of ideology to the left or right. This is about no longer falling backward and moving forward. Results mandate a change, not more of the same.