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Reeder: Party Loyalty




By Scott Reeder - 

SPRINGFIELD – I’ve never understood blind party loyalty.

To me, it’s much more important to identify with ideas rather than whether someone has a “D” or an “R” after their name.

Typically, I split my ballot between both Republicans and Democrats.

That may surprise some people, because I typically write about economic issues.

But I’m a fiscal conservative and a social moderate.

I believe in small limited government. But I’m appalled by how conservative “get tough on crime” talk has resulted in the incarceration of millions of non-violent individuals.

And while my faith is important to me, government shouldn’t impose any religion’s beliefs on society as a whole.

To be honest, I stand afraid when I see the party of Abraham Lincoln about to nominate a hateful, small-minded bigot to be its presidential nominee.

I hear some Republicans say they don’t support Donald Trump because they don’t believe he can win.

I’m just the opposite. I don’t support Trump because I’m terrified that he may.

When I heard U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan was breaking a long silence and (reluctantly) supporting Trump, I cringed.

It brought to mind the relationship between Rod Blagojevich and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Madigan hinted broadly about unspecified Blagojevich “indiscretions” when he first ran for governor. And after giving Blagojevich free reign for his first year in office, he formed a coalition of Republican and Democrat House members to stop him.

But then Madigan co-chaired Blagojevich’s reelection campaign even though he faced an honorable, moderate Republican, Judy Baar Topinka.

And shortly after Blagojevich won reelection, Madigan led the charge to impeach him – in part for things that were publicly known when he co-chaired his campaign.

For Madigan, party loyalty trumped the needs of the state.  

House Speaker Paul Ryan is making the same mistake. He is putting his loyalty to the Republican Party ahead of the needs of our nation.

The Democrats are nominating a woman I just don’t agree with on the issues.

And the Republicans are putting forward a bully, who aspires to be a demagogue.

This nation doesn’t need a Mussolini-lite.

Neither Clinton nor Trump will get my vote.

I’m tired of having to choose the lesser of two evils.

But I won’t stay home in November. I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.

And, no, I’m not foolish enough to think Libertarian Gary Johnson will win.

But at least I will have voted for someone who I agree with on most of the issues.

Isn’t that what democracy is supposed to be about?  

Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse journalist. He works as a freelance reporter in the Springfield area and can be reached at ScottReeder1965@gmail.com.


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  1. I agree. I also vote for the person, who has the best ideas. I try to vote for the candidate who usually agrees with the republican platform, not just the republican nominee. In the fall of 2010, I knew that Michael Labno, the Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate, agreed with the republican platform more often than then-Congressman Kirk agreed with the republican platform. Kirk is pro-choice, and Labno is pro-life. Kirk is pro-gun control, and Labno is pro-gun rights. While Kirk was in the U.S. House, he voted for a lot of unconstitutional pork barrel spending, including spending for Headstart, Metra, and local police departments. Labno wanted to cut federal spending. I voted for Labno, since I knew that he agreed with Republicans more than the republican candidate agreed with them.

  2. Curious Mr. Reeder if you feel Abraham Lincoln would have been more appalled by the neo-conservative hijacking of the GOP and its “religious” belief in free trade today or someone like Donald Trump who is calling for the imposition of tariffs? Because Abraham Lincoln was an avowed protectionist whose political hero was Henry Clay, one of the leading proponents of high tariffs in the antebellum period. The post-war GOP is truly nothing like the Party of Lincoln. It just conveniently uses his iconic status to fundraise every Spring.
    What makes you think as well that Donald Trump will be a Mussolini-lite any more than our current President? One can even argue that every President since FDR has been increased executive power. Doesn’t Mr. Trump, if elected, have the right to reverse executive actions taken by his predecessors?

  3. Funny, Frank, because Jefferson Davis was a personal friend of Henry Clay and sat next to Clay in Congress, and intended to carry forward Clay’s “States’ Rights” agenda, one of the causes of the Civil war.
    And one of those rights was low tariffs and free trade, because England and France would pay more for cotton than would the mills of the North.
    The South did not want to be the captive economy of the North, and Northern abolitionists used the finances of the northern mill owners to finance Lincoln’s campaign.

  4. Interesting too that Senator William Seward, quite a big abolitionist, helped nurse fellow colleague Jefferson Davis back to health when he had various illnesses in the late 1850s related to his eyes. Seward checked in on him regularly and helped his wife Varina with various tasks.
    Clay was more of a Nationalist than a Sectionalist. Clay’s American System aimed to stitch the country together through a High Protective Tariff, a National Bank and Internal Improvements. Sounds a lot more like Lincoln than Davis to me.

  5. “But I’m a fiscal conservative and a social moderate.”
    Scratch one of these self proclaimed “fiscal conservatives” and you’ll always find a fiscal liberal not too far beneath the surface.

  6. “To be honest, I stand afraid when I see the party of Abraham Lincoln about to nominate a hateful, small-minded bigot to be its presidential nominee.”
    I’m not sure you’ve done your research either on Trump or Lincoln.
    I question why someone who admits he is not a conservative is writing for a publication that tags itself the “Crossroads of the Conservative Community”.

  7. LOL. Topinka voter. What a loser. You know what, this state would’ve been WORSE, a lot WORSE, off under Topinka than it was under Blagojevich. That’s the real reason why they had to get him out of there with the help of the guy who went after Libby, who did nothing. Thompson, Edgar, Ryan, and Quinn did more to create the problems that this state is in today than Blagojevich. They’re all the same, big government tax politicians. I knew that Judy was a loser and that I would never ever vote for her when I heard her speak in ’05. She said, back then, before all of this, that a tax increase would be okay since it’s “fiscally conservative.”