Illinois is deservedly known for its culture of raw political power and officeholder corruption, and now, moreover, for fiscal profligacy almost beyond compare. For most of the adult lifetimes of probably most living Illinois voters, it has also been effectively wired by the Democrats.
Mike Madigan has ruled the Statehouse for nearly 30 years. John Cullerton, now into his fifth year running the Senate, is a growing power center. Under Rahm Emmanuel, Chicago’s outsize influence threatens to become even greater.
Mere governors come and go, some to prison. Democratic gerrymandering has locked down this pattern of control, largely neutering the voters.
Meanwhile, Illinois accelerates toward the abyss. Dire warnings have become so commonplace they are tuned out with a hopeless shrug. As rumors swirl and trial balloons float, the puppet masters — those with the clout — calculate, scheme and connive in deepest shadows, as far as possible from the slightest public scrutiny. At some point a grand bargain will likely be sprung full born upon the public, with votes assured, some by quiet promises perhaps involving illegality.
After the initial hoopla subsides, the grand bargain will probably be seen to merely — once again — kick the can down the road a bit farther, buying a little more time and breathing space for the public’s elected representatives. … Before they will once again begin to feel the heat, of duties deferred and solemn public responsibilities shirked, in favor of reelection viability or nest feathering.
How long will Illinoisans put up with this?