Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Republican in the Donkey Suit

I've had enough. Time for a change.

No, I'm not talking about George Bush but the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich. Today's Animal Farm observes:

Reading it over, I was stunned by this passage:

“I think there’s great cause to be concerned. If Speaker Madigan and the House leadership pick up a veto-proof majority… then they’ll be in a position to easily override a veto.”

That sounds an awful lot like the Democratic governor is urging voters to shun Democrats this fall so his intraparty rival – Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan -- doesn’t get any stronger.

Let's be clear about what this means: Rod Blagojevich appears to be arguing that voters in the IL-17th House district, for example, should vote for the Republican Elizabeth Coulson instead of the promising Democrat, Daniel Biss.

If nothing else, Illinois' inept governor is giving Republican House candidates ammunition for beating their Democratic opponents. And Illinois' authoritative political reporter, Rich Miller, puts this in context:

The House GOP has positioned itself much closer to Blagojevich lately, and the governor has returned the favor by bashing Madigan at every opportunity. Yesterday was the first time, however, that Blagojevich openly fretted that House Republican Leader Tom Cross might wind up in a veto-proof minority.

Forgive me if I'm a little suspicious, but this sure sounds like collusion to me. Whether the Governor and Republicans are coordinating their message does not matter. They are clearly on the same page, and this rising group of young, exciting progressives looking to get elected to Illinois' General Assembly are the sacrificial lambs.

For the governor, of course, this is all about power. I'm sure that's the case for the speaker, too. But the governor's private war with Madigan has literally paralyzed Illinois government. Last year, the governor stopped funding Cease Fire -- and then was surprised that violence broke out in Chicago. Illinois' roads are the worst in the nation. Chicago's famous "el" is over a hundred years old and in dire need of attention. Chicago's trains are crowded and probably operating at full capacity, without any real hope for expansion. The governor has already raided the pension's fund, money that needs to be replaced.

What Illinois really needs is political leadership, and this Governor has failed to provide it. Instead, he blames the system of checks and balances that limit his power. Given Blagojevich's self-imposed isolation from the rest of state government, his ability to inspire loyalty from others is purely transactional. But the result is paralysis, the blame for which falls squarely at the governor's feet.

In the effort to deflect that blame, the governor has resorted to Republican talking points:

Blagojevich was adamant that House Democrats are planning a tax increase.

“If they believe that the way to have balanced budget is to raise taxes on people, then they ought to be straight with the people, they ought to tell us now, they ought to do it before the election and not after the election. They shouldn’t do to the people of Illinois what the county board did to the people of Cook County: get elected to office and then sock it to the people with the largest sales tax increase in Illinois history.”

I don't blame the governor for parroting the "No New Taxes" pledge when he thought he had a chance to run for president. But that ship has sailed. The boat's not even visible from the harbor. It is long gone. Now, it's just about the feud. You'd call it a family feud if one of them wasn't acting like a Republican. Still, this private war between Speaker Madigan and Governor Blagojevich has consequences. Among them, The constant bickering between members of the majority party has hurt the state and its reputation.

It's clear that Blagojevich has crossed over the line. Suggesting that voters should vote Republican because he fears the Democrats in the House getting a veto-proof majority not only shows a profound lack of leadership but demonstrates that the governor has no confidence in himself or his political skills to actually lead Illinois. I gotta agree with the blogfather here: Blagojevich is Illinois’s Bush. Impeach him, impeach him now.

2 comments:

Anonymous,  3:46 PM  

It was Blagojevich who called MJM the Republican.

Blagojevich and Jones more left with programgs like All Kids, and closer to Obama than Mike Madigan who seems more the Lipinski Blue Dog (Bush Dog) to me.

Progressives are stuck with Blagojevich... you can't shake 'em.

Anonymous,  2:01 PM  

Republicans in Donkey SUits--- you mean Bob Schillerstrom and Kirk Dillard?

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