We keep searching for signs of Republican activity during this historic summer – to no avail. At some point it would seem that at least more than a few Republican legislators would start to question their leadership. But no. All is silence.
Oh, except for the occasional and useless statements emanating from the “spokespersons” for one or other of the caucus leaders. Today it was from state Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson’s. Did you know he has a spokesperson? He does. And the quote in today’s paper is a perfect example of why she gets her generous salary.
Here it is. Are you ready for the profound statement of the day? From the Trib:
Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson (R-Greenville) noted that there was rarely a quorum in the Senate for special sessions, either, and that even the governor was not there to press his case on those days.“We’re disappointed this kind of gamesmanship continues at a time when there are still pressing issues in the state,” Schuh said.
We don’t blame Schuh, we blame her employers. Even if she’s nearing the time when she cashes in on her retirement, her replacement no doubt will fill her shoes nicely. Being the “spokesperson” for a caucus and caucus leader with nothing to say isn’t a bad gig.
The latest news that Governor Blajojevich is suing Speaker Madigan is described by the Trib this way:
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich has sued House Speaker Michael Madigan for allegedly concocting a scheme to let lawmakers ignore the governor’s frequent calls for special legislative sessions. In the lawsuit, Blagojevich accused Madigan of acts “aimed at eradicating the governor’s constitutional and statutory powers.”He is asking a judge to order Madigan to hold special sessions at times and dates of the governor’s choosing.Blagojevich did not sue Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago), his chief legislative ally, even though few senators have shown up for the same weekend sessions.
That’s a pretty good journalistic lead to the news story because you really don’t have to read anything more. Illinois voters get the picture. They see this as only the latest manifestation of the spat that they don’t care all that much about.
If “inside baseball” refers to the fine details of the game that are of interest only to the most devoted fans, “inside Illinois state government” brings mind-blowing boredom to spectacular new heights.
The one constant has been the news coverage. The media lives for a good (or at least unusual) story and most members of the press have given this Blagojevich/Madigan/Jones months-long tussle a lot of attention. Too bad Watson and Cross weren’t ready to capitalize on it by showing how they’d govern differently. And we don’t mean how they’d pass a tax increase or gambling expansion package faster.
It’s possible that someday another series of events takes place like this summer’s overtime General Assembly session but we doubt it. These kinds of opportunities are once in a lifetime.
The same could be said, of course, about the opportunity to take out Blagojevich last year. That’s when these same Republican General Assembly members fell in behind Topinka – the one Republican candidate who could win less than 40% of the vote against the scandal-ridden incumbent governor.
You can imagine these same deep thinking Republicans looking forward to taking Blagojevich out next time. That’s when they’ll really get the job done. Too bad the Democrat nominee will be Lisa Madigan or Dan Hynes.
There are so many state policy, political corruption, and basic competence issues to be highlighted, Republicans should never run out of things to say.
And as we’ve said before, if you’re not trying to advance reforms, you shouldn’t be a Republican. You should follow those who are retiring and exit the political stage. Or you should follow the example of our old friend Paul Froehlich and be honest about the fact that you belong in the Democrat Party.