If the definition of insanity truly is…
… Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result, then Governor Rauner has it down pat. And the best evidence of this psychiatric diagnosis is his annual budget speech in which he gave the Democrats two options:
- Either pass my anti-middle class reforms, or
- Give me the power to make drastic spending cuts
What he’s essentially saying is, “Either you can do what I want, or, you can do what I want. It’s your choice.”
But the lack of options don’t really matter because, as it’s been for the last year, neither possibility will ever come to pass. Unlike the Governor, Springfield Democrats understand what it means to commit political suicide and they’re not about to pull that trigger anytime soon.
Then, to make matters immediately worse, Rauner vetoed a bill that would’ve freed up $721 million in state college funding which only goes to show that:
- He’s not willing to compromise
- He has no idea what an “olive branch” is
- He refuses to realize these cuts aren’t helping his middle-class cause
- He’s giving the Democrats everything they need to ensure he’s a one-shot deal
With the exception of the GOP faithful, folks on both sides of the aisle are saying that Rauner’s “offer” is just more of the same.
And the insanity grows.
“The politics of the possible was being replaced by the politics of purity”
Those oh so prophetic words from author, educator and, historian, H. W. Brands, certainly sum up the Springfield Republican sentiment these days. Put more simply, they, and especially the governor, seem to think that throwing a temper tantrum is the way to get your way.
But that’s not how it works. Does anyone within the sound of my voice truly believe that perpetually petulant Donald Trump could possibly keep all of his absurd promises? Politics has to start with the art of the possible, otherwise it completely breaks down just as it has in Springfield.
One the best examples of this phenomenon came when 43rd State Rep District candidates Anna Moeller and Jeff Meyer debated on Left, Right and You. The conservative Meyer was gung ho about eliminating things like Chicago block grants and making massive reforms in his first term.
Meanwhile, Moeller’s response was that you can’t eliminate something like block grants without crafting the kind of win-win outcome that makes a major political shift possible. A true compromise may disappoint both sides, but it allows them to claim some sort of victory – no matter how small.
And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work because, given the frailties of human nature, governance isn’t supposed to turn on a dime. It’s intended to take time. True leaders understand that reform only comes through a series of well-founded compromises that slowly move the conversation in the right direction.
The immaturity of the right
Unlike their hero Ronald Reagan, today’s naïve conservatives completely fail to comprehend that notion of compromise. Their eminently short attentions spans and massive egos consistently con them into believing they always inhabit the moral high ground.
Then they wonder why they don’t get anything done.
Despite their abject complicity in this fiasco we call the State of Illinois, they seem to completely forget that:
- Republicans raided those pension funds with equal glee.
- Republican went along with so many silly kick the can down the road ideas.
- Republicans repeatedly hung their hats on social issues that made them unelectable.
- With all due respect to Illinois Republican Chairman Tim Schneider, I still can’t figure out what the GOP message is.
- A series of compromises are the only thing that has ever move the political debate.
So stick to your guns my intrepid Illinois Republicans! Not only are you ensuring the Democratic supermajority will remain intact, but that Lisa Madigan will be our next governor. Meanwhile, Rauner, in an effort to feed his massive ego, will continue to do more damage to the state than Speaker Madigan ever could.
In the immortal words of Walt Kelly, you have met the enemy and he is you!