Thursday, January 22, 2009

Give Him a C for Creativity Also

Just when you think that Illinois politics can't get any stranger, along comes the Governor to smack you upside the head and prove you wrong. In the immediate aftermath of his impeachment, the Governor shamelessly brought out health care recipients to use as human shields aimed at deflecting attention away from the charges against him.

The House was out to get him because of all of the good things that he had tried to do to improve health care for the people of Illinois. That's right, the same Governor accused of holding up $8 million for pediatric hospitals in order to shake out a $50,o00 campaign contribution from the head of Children's Memorial Hospital, was being persecuted for his compassion in the area of health care. But have no fear, because the truth, and the Senate, would set him free. Just like Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption.

After that effort went over like a lead balloon, there was an unsettling silence coming from the Governor. No more. Today, he unveiled his latest tact, comparing his arrest last month to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
"Dec. 9 to my family, to us, to me, is what Pearl Harbor Day was to the United States," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It was a complete surprise, completely unexpected. And just like the United States prevailed in that, we'll prevail in this."
Okay, so maybe it's not like Tora, Tora, Tora on the prairie, but it's quite the analogy nonetheless. But the Governor was just getting started:
"I'm not going to be a party to that process," he said. "That would be a violation of my oath of office. That, to me, would be an impeachable offense."
No, technically, it was found that a pattern of misuse and abuse of power were impeachable offenses - showing up to your impeachment trial smacks of common sense. One would think that an innocent man would jump at any chance to prove his innocence.

But then came the day's highlight. He was no longer being persecuted for wanting to provide health care to everybody, he was being impeached so (drumroll please) the Legislature could raise taxes. Of course. Why didn't we realize that at the time?
"The reason they're doing this is because they can't wait to get rid of me so they can raise taxes on the people of Illinois," he said. "This is as much about a tax increases as it is about anything else."
That's right, all the Republicans joined almost all the Democrats in impeaching the Governor for the sole purpose of pushing through a tax hike. Surely, not one nearly as massive as his failed Gross Receipts Tax proposal (that would be the one that failed in the House 107-0), but a big hike in any event. And for good measure, an overwhelming majority of the public was in on the plot as well, as evidenced by the widespread support for his ouster.

What is truly amazing, or unsettling, depending upon how you look at it, is that he says all of this with a completely straight face. And for good reason. It takes at least a day or so for the shock of what he has said to wear off of those who hear or read it. And by then, he's on to another excuse.

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