Friday, May 11, 2007

REACT: Governor Blago in denial

I have to admit. Heading into the last Illinois gubernatorial election, I could not see how Rod Blagojevich could possibly be re-elected. Of course, I had to accept the fact that the dysfunctional GOP in the Land of Lincoln could blow the Catholic vote if the had nominated Jesus Christ, himself.

So it is, even one of the arguably worse governors in Illinois history won a second chance at incompetent leadership. Not only is the man called Blago a terrible administrator, he does not appear to be a very nice person – turning on long time friends, engaging in an unseemly family feud with the father-in-law political mentor, hiding behind his children in tough political venues, etc., etc., etc. Not much to like about the guy.

As we start to see the second term take shape, we might consider the possibility that the man has totally taken leave of his senses.

Several months ago, he proposed a business tax increase so huge that it was almost incomprehensible. He hoped for success by taking advantage of a strain of anti-business sentiment in the body politic. “Make those corporate fat cats pay their share,” was his mantra. “It’s about time.” Like a pugnacious little punk, that he apears to be, the Governor said he looked forward to duking it out with the titans of commerce. He was offering nothing less than class warfare.

In an odd way, however, the Guv united the people. From the skyscrapers of Chicago to the rippling streams of southern Illinois, the people rose in opposition to his tax plan. Seems like the public’s angst with the corporate giants did not reach the level of hatred Blagojevich had expected. Like a good liberal, we does not believe in the common sense of the common man.

The Governor failed to explain to the public that you cannot tax a corporation. For them it is a cost of business that is passed on to the consumer. The people pay the tax in the form of increased prices. House Speaker Michael Madigan (pictured with appropriate response to the tax plan) understood that and said his own leader’s tax plan was regressive and would hit hardest on the people who least could afford it.

The Governor’s disturbing immaturity came fully unfurled when the General Assembly was about to vote on a non-binding resolution on the Governor’s tax plan – sort of an official poll in advance of the real vote.

Recognizing that the resolution had overwhelming support, and he was on the cusp of humiliating defeat, the smarmy Guv came up with a childish spin. He called on all legislators to vote “no” on the resolution, proclaiming that a “no” vote only meant that there should be no resolution ahead of a real vote. In other words, he tried to make the utter defeat of his tax plan look like some sort of back-handed victory.

Well he got his “victory.” The general assembly, in rare solidarity opposed Blago’s tax scheme 107 to nothing. That’s right. Not a single legislator voted in favor of the plan – and it was not about the resolution, it was about the plan.

The Governor is probably too arrogant to be humiliated, or at least to recognize humiliation when it is delivered. Will be interesting to see how he responds when the General Assemble trounces his idiotic tax plan. Is this man in denial, what?

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