Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Play ball!

This isn't a game--it's real life.-Governor Rod Blagojevich, "State of the State" Address

Well, he's right. It isn't. For him and many of the legislators, it is a matter of political life or death. It is an election year.

In today's speech, the Governor exuded all the natural equanimity of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Always using the royal "we," he resisted the temptation to attack his Illinois colleagues. In the interest of party fealty(and, more likely, Speaker Mike), he even gave props to the AG(citing her work on methamphetamines.) Other issues mentioned, including the minimum wage increase and the "equal pay for equal work" legislation, are safely lodged in the past, and are unlikely to renew controversy.

Blago took repeated shots at DC without mentioning party names. After all, it's hard for "Washington,"(whatever that is) to recriminate. The nation's capital may be an easy target, but it's also a safe one.

"When Washington wouldn't raise the minimum wage, we did. When Washington wouldn't guarantee women equal pay for equal work, we did. When Washington tried to strip overtime pay from workers we made it clear that here in Illinois ..."(See here for the SOS.)

The weakest points of the Governor's speech were, undoubtedly, the touting of the mercury emissions reduction and the proposed bond issue. Like any politician, he has not learned that promoting his own initiatives comes at the cost. He's unlikely to get any more legislators on board by doing so, and this will only intensify the storm. (A mention in one of Blago's SOS-s seems to curse any legislation. See also:ISBE reorganization, the highschool graduation requirements, importing drugs from Canada, et cetera.)

It's often said that, in life as well as politics, an obnoxious enemy is better than a friendly ally. Which is what makes the Governor's remarks all the more dangerous.


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