Speaker Madigan, SB600, ‘Fleeced,’ Turkey and Turkeys

I wanted to touch on two quick topics today. The first is rather simple. If anyone in Springfield knows the answer to this question – please send me a note here.

“Has a group of house and senate Republicans walked over to Speaker Mike Madigan‘s office yet to request that he call SB600 for a vote?”

It’s a simple concept. The Republican senators who voted for the bill, including Leader Christine Radogno, and any house sponsors, should make it a group trip. The conspiracy theories about why Mr. Madigan won’t call the bill are silly.

I don’t believe Mike is the least bit afraid of any kind of Republican resurgence in Illinois any time soon. He knows who his opponents are. On the contrary, it’s my view that the sensible Democrats would be able to manage the state somewhat better in the near term if we had a two party system in Illinois. Right now it’s a one-party, one-agenda blob that runs Illinois. Pork, contracts, jobs, and ever higher spending motivates almost all the players, Republican and Democrat.

The problem in Illinois is over-spending, and as of now, there is no serious check or balance on it. Most Illinois Republican legislators still merely talk in terms of what they’d like to see before a tax increase is passed.

My other topic is about commentator and political consultant Dick Morris, who has a new book out titled “Catastrophe.” I’ll probably read it since his last book, “Fleeced,” was worthwhile. Though “Fleeced” was written well before last year’s election, I didn’t get around to reading it until December.

In a nutshell, it’s a nice outline of the ugly hard ball reality that is national politics. In eighteen chapters he writes about the then prospective Obama presidency, the liberal media, the developing economic crisis, the do-nothing Congress, and the insidious nature of a lot of what constitutes lobbying these days.

While I don’t agree with all of his points, the rest of his points are politically right on target. Morris also conveys a decent amount of information about the workings of the Washington, D.C. political culture. It’s been a few years since I worked there, so I learned a few things I didn’t know – and had a few other things confirmed that I suspected.

On the topic of the Bush White House and the Republican-then-Democratic controlled Congress, Morris uses “AWOL” to describe their job performance when it came to the need for policy reforms.

“Who’s calling the shots instead? Big media, big business, big government, big labor, and big lobbyists. And their self-serving agendas are doing nothing to help the ever-increasing number of American people who are losing their homes, paying credit card interest rates higher than 25 percent, and finding their jobs outsourced to foreign countries.”

On the topic of former members of Congress going to work as lobbyists, Morris cites a report revealing the unprecedented “new revolving door between Congress and the lobbying industry.” Many of these former Congressmen are now working to empower foreign governments.

What a great country this is, eh? Even a former school teacher and wrestling coach like Dennis Hastert can rise to the Speakership, resign early, make local taxpayers pay the cost of a special election, and then become a lobbyist and take a big monthly check from the nation of Turkey.

By the way, I understand that a big group of Illinois legislators has a junket planned for Turkey this summer. I doubt that’s a coincidence.

Let’s hope a much more important group trip to Madigan’s office takes place during this special session so SB600 gets passed. That no-doubt “critically important” “fact finding” trip to Turkey won’t be easy to justify, but at least they will have accomplished something before taking flight.