Monday, May 17, 2010

GOP fails to lead (again)

From William McGurn in the WSJ...

In the 19th century, Illinois was the land of Lincoln. In the 20th, it was the birthplace of Ronald Reagan. In the 21st, Illinois has given us a new breed of Republican: Roger Eddy.

Mr. Eddy is what they call a downstater, an assemblyman who serves an east-central Illinois district hugging the Indiana border. His day job turns out to be in government as well, as a public schools superintendent.

Last week Mr. Eddy became the face of the Republican failure to get a voucher bill through the Illinois assembly. The bill had passed the Senate. Yet despite being pushed by a remarkable coalition involving fellow Republicans, a free-market state think tank, and a prominent African-American leader, only 25 Republicans in the House voted yes. That was 12 votes short. Mr. Eddy was one of 23 Republicans who killed it by voting no...

In fairness, Democrats voted against the bill in larger numbers, which is to be expected of a party in thrall to the public employee unions. Still, the GOP failure is striking. Republicans typically complain about not getting black support for reforms that would benefit primarily black families. In this case, however, they had that support, in the form of the Rev. James Meeks, a African-American state senator leader whom Barack Obama has called a spiritual adviser....

"Republicans had an opportunity here to show they really mean it when they say vouchers are the answer for the inner city," says Mr. Meeks. "If we could do this in Chicago, it would have caught on nationwide. That's what the teachers unions are afraid of, and that's why they opposed it. I wonder what were the House Republicans who voted 'no' were thinking?"


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