Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Illinois politics

Those who follow Springfield are sure to chuckle at the recent news that Emil Jones, President of the Illinois State Senate, is retiring.

He is one of the very few people who stands WITH Gov. Blagojevich.

For a time his clout helped carry the day but lately folks have been ignoring Jones right along with Blago.

One wonders if the recent defeat of the 12% pay raise for legislators had anything to do with it. Jones accused Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn of killing the deal for political purposes.

And Quinn really made it a public battle. He did a media blitz and set up a website where taxpayers could register their displeasure over the proposed pay raise. (It has been quite some time since I've seen anything that noble from an elected official.)

Anyway, Jones groused about the tactics Quinn used and voted "present" rather than vote "no" to a pay raise. And it was only a couple of days later that he announced his retirement.

It appears that king-making continues in Illinois politics. First it was county board chairman John Stroger paving the way for his son Todd to replace him. Now Emil Jones III is going to be on the November ballot to replace dear old dad.

You have to give the Democrats credit here. The GOP lost the Hastert seat in the special election, a tailor-made district map that should have been a shoe-in. But it wasn't. And he wasn't even trying to anoint Denny Junior!

Sadly, Hastert signed on as a senior lobbyist last month, confirming the rumor that he got out when he did to avoid the new rules for ex-Congressmen. If he has served out his term he would have had to wait two years to become a lobbyist. I always thought he was above all that.

But as Mark Twain said, "I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position."

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