Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 28, 2007
POLITICS: The Joys of Democratic Governance

Congressional Democrats have been discovering, after 12 years out of power, that actually governing is a lot harder and less fun than griping from the cheap seats; but as long as George W. Bush is in the White House, they retain a convenient scapegoat for the gap between their rhetoric and reality.

Democratic governors, the numbers of which have proliferated in recent years, have no such luxury; having sold the pie in the sky, they actually have to bake it. I've been warning of this since the spring in regard to tax hikes, and Eliot Spitzer's disastrous illegal-immigrant-driver's license plan is only one of many other examples of Democratic governors reminding people why there were so many Republican incumbents in the first place.

Add now the Chicago Tribune to the list of the disenchanted, to the point of arguing that the Rod Blagojevich era demonstrates why Illinois needs a mechanism to recall a governor:

The bill of particulars against Rod Blagojevich is numbingly familiar. His is a legacy of federal and state investigations of alleged cronyism and corruption in the steering of pension fund investments to political donors, in the subversion of state hiring laws, in the awarding of state contracts, in matters as personal as that mysterious $1,500 check made out to the governor's then-7-year-old daughter by a friend whose wife had been awarded a state job.

Presented this year with an extraordinary opportunity -- his Democratic Party controlling both houses of the Illinois General Assembly -- Blagojevich has squandered what should have been a leadership moment: He is governor of a state in desperate need of more accountability in its public schools, of a new tax formula for funding those schools, of a meaningful attack on its swelling pension indebtedness. Today Illinois has ... solutions to none of the above.

Instead, taxpayers are bankrolling an endless game of chicken between legislative leaders and a governor known to boast about his self-diagnosed "testicular virility." Blagojevich has clumsily tried to recast himself as a prairie populist, bashing his state's employers. He has borrowed from the future to cover costs of state government today. And in a fiasco that may have its own constitutional implications, he has redirected millions of taxpayers' dollars to personal priorities that he can't convince lawmakers to support.

Blagojevich is an intentionally divisive governor and a profoundly unhelpful influence. He is unwilling or unable to see the chaos all around him. This year, lawmakers failed to make progress on schools, on state pension reform, on any number of critical matters. Mass transit in the Chicago region is about to implode, largely because of the state government's failure.

Yet Blagojevich said 10 days ago that "If you measure success on whether or not you are doing things for people, this is the most successful session in years."

Do you see that success? Do you see Blagojevich forging compromises and solving problems? Or do you see the same distracted governor who, after House members crushed his 2007 tax scheme by a vote of 107-0, said: "Today, I think, was basically an up. ... I feel good about it."

He is the governor who cannot govern.

Read the whole thing, and ask yourself: shouldn't the GOP be doing more to capitalize on the incompetence and corruption of its adversaries?

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:29 PM | Politics 2007 | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Governing must be harder than it looks, since the Republican majority spent so much time rubber stamping, instead of actually coming up with their own ideas.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 29, 2007 12:47 PM

We have not yet begun to fight. Which is the problem.

Until the MSM beast is slain, there will be no progress. The MSM has become a blatant propaganda organ. The mushy middle that never pays attention to politics, but decides elections, gets the propaganda message indelibly imprinted in the brain. If those who generally oppose Democrats do not step up to provide an alternative to the MSM that reaches the mushy middle, winning will be rare.

Posted by: stan at October 29, 2007 2:46 PM

As an adult, I prefer to govern myself. The more decisions left to politicians, the more likely the process will degenerate into corruption and other things not intended or wished for by the electorate. Therefore, I am a firm proponent of the policy that if you want something, you should strive as a free man or woman to get it on your own and not through the questionable largess of the political animal. State government is grossly overdone in many places (and certainly is way out of control here in the Peoples Republic of California).

Posted by: NRA Life Member at October 29, 2007 2:55 PM

I have no idea what Blagojevich is doing - he must have thought the 2006 kick was for himself, and not as much as nationwide.

And as for the others - 'we've spent 10 years breaking the system, now you go fix it in 1 year'. Sounds about right. I could be wrong, but I believe each of those governors came into town with a deficit. This dramatically limits what they can do, no?

Let alone the looming shadow of the unfunded pension liability - which has been grown by both D's and R's over the past 25 years. Few are even willing to touch that.

Posted by: Dave at October 29, 2007 4:02 PM

I submit that We the People of the United States need a recall inmore than one state. Madison thought though, if we want to give Bus and Cheney their well earned easy exits, we would have to impeach, and it is as hard as it should be. However, we have several mechanisms in every part of this nation that works with a recall: It's called Election Day. When that fails, we this thing which I hate, called Term limits.

Why are republicans such sore winners and sore losers anyway?

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 29, 2007 6:21 PM

Yes Daryl... the Dems have been so gracious about their 2000 and 2004 presidential defeats. You make a fantastic point.

The question is "Why are partisans such sore winners and sore losers, anyway?" and the question answers itself.

Posted by: Joel at October 29, 2007 7:10 PM

the Dems have been so gracious about their 2000 . . . presidential defeat[]

Joel, really wanna go there?

Meanwhile the GOPers have been winning just about everything for 27 years, but you'd think from listening to all the whining that (a) the Dems have been in power and (b) the Republicans have been chafing under a monopolistic, Democratic political machine simultaneously driving the country and the Grand Old party into ruin.

If the Republicans think the country is so messed up, how do they factor in the salient point that they've been effectively running it for two-and-a-half decades now?

Posted by: Mike at October 30, 2007 7:21 AM

Mike:

My point isn't that either side is gracious in defeat or victory. It's that both sides are equally obnoxious when it comes to the other party.

As far as Republican dominance of US politics for the past quarter century... it's kind of hard to square that with the Democratic majorities in Congress for most of the past HALF CENTURY... Granted, I was only 13 when the republicans took the majority in Congress, so I don't know much about the political climate before that, but I think you're hard-pressed to argue that both sides don't share the blame for where we're at.

While my social conservatism leads me to lean Republican, I'm frankly disgusted with both parties, and consider myself independent. The way to convince me to look the other way on Democrats' social policy is to sway me on economic and/or foreign policy. Since those policies also alienate me, I have no choice but to side with the Republicans. But I really am open to being convinced by either party.

The things that lead me to believe that the country is 'so messed up' aren't going to be solved by raising the minimum wage, allowing organized labor to intimidate workers into unionization, limiting school choice, and half-hearted measures to make Congressional pork-barreling less transparent.

The "it's not our fault" strategy only works as long as you're out of power. If the Dems didn't break the country, they're not even attempting to do anything that will fix it.

Posted by: Joel at October 30, 2007 1:05 PM

To get back to this story, what was his 2007 tax scheme that House members crushed by a vote of 107-0?

Posted by: Ron at October 30, 2007 4:25 PM

The IL GOP has been a basket case for years. The Party is dominated by a moderate-to-liberal group of insiders that are nearly as liberal and every bit as corrupt as the Democrats.

The Party will take years to recover from corruption of George Ryan and the comically tragic reign of Judy Baar Topinka as party leader.

Posted by: drbill at October 31, 2007 3:42 PM

Add NY AG Cuomo to the list.

It's all fun and games-- all these folks just blindly pulling the lever for Dems because the newspapers make em out to be glamorous: Get those evil Republicans.

And then reality hits.

Posted by: Comment at November 7, 2007 10:51 PM
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