A vast immaturity
During a recent debate with a local Democratic elected official, my contention was, all insipid governors aside, most conservatives weren’t nearly as bad as he is, and some sort of compromise in the post-apocalyptic Illinois budget battle was inevitable.
Meanwhile, my friend was arguing that this started with the Koch brothers, it’s become a national ideological battleground with no logical underpinnings, and it’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets better.
But sadly, as I’ve gauged the Illinois-finally-has-a-budget reactions of even my generally wise and intelligent conservative friends, I’m going to have to utter those rare words that always make my wife so happy – “I wuz wrong!”
Don’t get me wrong! I understand the need to vent and I understand nobody’s happy about the long shadow Michael Madigan casts over the State. But I also understand that, much as the Governor just discovered, throwing a three-year temper tantrum while expecting the impossible generally doesn’t work out too well, either.
The singular statement that always seems to stop my office holding friends dead in their tracks is, “You don’t govern that way! You don’t govern by tantrum, pettiness and obstruction.”
So, since I still have faith in humanity – even in the political variety – I will, once again, repeat the political axioms that are blatantly true whether you believe them or not:
1. I’m not happy with the havoc the Speaker has wreaked upon Illinois, but conservative bitchin’ ain’t gonna change a goddam thing. If Republicans want to beat the man they have to develop the kind of ground game that’s proven so effective. The reason Mr. Madigan enjoys a supermajority is he gets people elected. Make no mistake, if the Speaker died tomorrow, another Democrat would keep the electoral ball rolling. The problem is, it’s a lot of hard work – something many conservatives seem to be allergic to.
2. Michael Madigan didn’t occur in a vacuum. It took him 30 years to get this far and it’s going to take a lot more than two to undo the damage.
3. Nobody gets 100 percent of any political deal. Nobody! Despite the baseless conservative bitching to the contrary, the Democrats put some real offers on the table this time. I could not believe the concessions Rauner wrung out of them! In his own words, the Governor said he got 90 percent of the education reform deal and he still wouldn’t budge. Boxing matches don’t have one round for a reason! When you make something an all or nothing proposition, you almost always end up with nothing.
4. What truly baffled me is the abject conservative willingness to destroy the state rather than compromise on anything. They’d rather deny the speaker his “prize,” than take the necessary small steps always required to affect political change.
So, the real traitors are the bible thumping conservative Republicans who would destroy the social service agencies that serve the least of our brothers and sisters, destroy the hopes and dreams of those attending our State universities, and destroy our bond rating so we could no longer effectively borrow money. The heroes are State Rep Steve Anderson and the Republicans who voted for a budget, because it was exactly the right thing to do. Aren’t they supposed to represent the majority of their constituents?
5. And trust me, those Springfield Republicans secretly LOVE the Speaker. They have absolutely no intention of mounting any real effort to defeat him, because he makes their lives so much easier. They don’t have to accomplish anything, they don’t really have to work and they know their constituents won’t hold them accountable for their failures. All they have to do is shriek “Madigan sucks” on a regular basis and they’ll get reelected. He’s the perfect pandering foil.
So now, in an effort to double down, Governor Rauner just hired Breitbart contributor and Illinois Policy Institute loon Kristina Rasmussen as his chief of staff, because that kind of pointless ideological divisiveness is exactly what we need right now.
Yes! Illinois desperately needs change and, for the last 11 years, I’ve been the first one to give the Democrats shit when they deserve it. But in order for that change to come, an awful lot of conservatives have to grow up first.
A few good (alder)men
In an effort to put my political money where my mouth is, I’m looking for five candidates to run for Geneva City Council in 2019 – one from each ward. You see, Geneva desperately needs change too! I’ve tried working within the system to affect that change, and I’ve had some success, but it’s not nearly enough, because Genevans are still facing down:
- A city council that never met a fee, utility or tax increase they didn’t like
- City administrators who dole out the kind of salary and benefit packages the rest of us would drool over
- A mayor who’s been in office for too long and no longer has the interest of Genevans at heart
- A police department that’s out of control internally and publicly (see Delnor)
- An electric utility that can’t keep the power on for more than an hour at a time
- Electric and water rates that border on the absurd
- A city manager who firmly believes we’re there to serve her
So it’s simple! I’m looking for five candidates with the cohones to put on the fiscal brakes, and perhaps even reverse some spending, while they hold city staff accountable when it’s appropriate to do so.
But just like I don’t want to have to witness the State of Illinois’ demise, I’m not talking about “destroying” Geneva, either. All I’m talking about restoring balance to the city council force through a cooperative spirit and the kind of good government that always puts constituents first.
So here’s the deal! You come up with the money for mailers, door hangers and signs and I’ll do all the design work, get you the best prices and manage your campaign at no cost. Those interested in serving Geneva can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s talk!