Update from the Institute: September 4, 2008
Mavericks, Reformers and the Media
By John Tillman, CEO
Just how powerful are the principles we share? You need look no further than the respective treatments the Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin
tickets have received from the mainstream media. True reform backed by
maverick leadership willing to buck the establishment - this truly
terrifies the left and the media.
The press is in an uproar
over the Palin pick. Yet, when you look at her record versus
Obama's--and remember, she is the VP choice, and he is still heading
the top of the ticket--you can make the case her experience is longer
and more relevant to executive office than his.
Her record reflects a real change agent, as does McCain's. Obama's does not, despite all the rhetoric.
alas, you don't hear that from the mainstream media. In fact, what you
hear reeks of condescending sexism such as, "Oh, how will she ever
balance the job of vice president and still raise those five kids?" I
don't remember people asking that of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards with his young children and a wife battling cancer, do you?
Obama cannot seem to pull away in spite of the massive tailwind the media continues to give him. One must ask, "Why?"
answer is quite simple: This is a country that, left to its own natural
tendencies, is for less government, not more. And that means ideas
really do matter--people really do "get it."
People want change
and that has helped Obama immensely. And the media fuels this, of
course. But, for most Republican and many right-leaning independent
voters, they want change in elected officials, particularly
Republicans, from the big-government, big-spending, pork-procuring,
privilege-loving crew to, dare I say, mavericks who will truly (and I
really, really mean it this time!) reform the government. Some
Democrats want this, too.
This has the media and the left
terrified. People want change, but no one is asking the question:
Change from what to what? Is the decision simply to keep the
outrageous overspending going and only change who holds our credit
card? Or, is the change about going back to core principles of limited
government that focus on a few key things and doing those things well?
want to rein in spending, earmarks and the growth of government while
still having government perform its core functions well. (What those
functions are is a debate for another day.)
Who is better
equipped to lead that change? Maverick leaders with proven reform
credentials, or those who have never risked alienating insiders in
Chicago or Washington?
McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden? Hmmmm, no wonder the media is in a feeding frenzy.
all, when Obama could have bucked the system here and helped reform
Cook County by backing Democratic reformer Forest Claypool over the
prodigal son Todd Stroger, what did Obama do? Did he buck the establishment? Was he a maverick? Did he back reform?
He backed Stroger. But McCain and Palin have proven records of reform,
and the left and the media want to make sure the public doesn't notice.
lies a lesson for all of us in Illinois: Ideas matter and being willing
to buck the system for those ideas is a good thing. And in 2010, a
liberty-oriented reformer who is pro-business, pro-reform and willing
to embrace an aggressive Liberty Agenda can and will win.
must all buck the system today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next
year and forever to see that liberty principles do indeed prevail.
Questions? Comments? Like to get involved? E-mail John Tillman at email@example.com.
Don't Gamble Without Transparency
By Greg Blankenship, President
Next week House Speaker Michael Madigan
will call on his caucus to return to Springfield for hearings on
Wednesday. The reason for this latest legislative reunion? The House
may vote on Thursday to lease the Illinois State Lottery in order to
pay for a capital (road and infrastructure) bill.
Now, we support the privatization of services. It comes down to what Lawrence Reed, former President of the Mackinac Center,
called the “Yellow Pages test”--if it’s a service you can find in the
Yellow Pages, then the private sector should be doing it. It worked
for the Chicago Skyway, and it’s working for the Indiana toll road. So,
there is no reason why a private entity couldn’t successfully run the
Madigan has been against privatization in
the past because our politicians in Illinois do not easily give up
revenue-generating assets. But as you can imagine, he has a lot of
downstate Democrats screaming to finish projects and Chicago
politicians wanting to feed at the trough. If anything, Speaker
Madigan has always been a master at knowing what his caucus wants and
when to give it to them. That understanding has made him an
institution in Illinois.
Leasing the lottery provides a
revenue stream for the capital bill, but it doesn’t address how
government will spend the money. Despite recent national events
depicting Democrat unity, deep distrust circulates among our state’s
Democrat leaders, the legislature on the whole, and Illinois citizens.
distrust and unclear understanding of how revenue from the lottery will
be spent underscores the serious need for transparency at the state
Leasing the state lottery is a good idea, but we need
fiscal transparency at the state level in order to make sure the
revenue generated from leasing the lottery is spent well.
Thanks to the help of our friends at Americans for Prosperity,
transparency in state government might occur in Illinois because of
their efforts for a transparency bill, which would create the Illinois
Accountability Portal (HB4765). Earlier this year, we witnessed HB4765
pass the House unanimously. Additionally, we encourage transparency at
the state level, similar to the type described in HB4765. It would help
clarify how revenue generated from decisions, like leasing the State
Lottery, is spent by our government.
Good policy can only go
so far. We need a check on government’s spending decisions and clearer
understanding of how it spends revenue derived from policies--good or
bad--our politicians enact. Transparency helps keep government on track
and the public in the know.
First things first, Speaker
Madigan. Implement comprehensive transparency in government so our
state can fully reap the benefits of good policy decisions, like
leasing the Illinois State Lottery.
The Birth of Freedom: September 4, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art.
The American founders said that all men are created equal and are
endowed with certain unalienable rights--that among these are life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But humans are separated by
enormous differences in talent and circumstance. Why would anyone
believe that all men are created equal? That all should be free? That
all deserve a voice in choosing their leaders? Why would any nation
consider this a self-evident truth? Buy tickets