The [Thursday] Papers
How totally stoked are you for today's televised health care summit?
That's what I thought.
I'd rather watch a high school play. At least the actors would be sincere.
Now, I don't know why American Idol has to always be the whipping boy for our perpetually ailing civic culture; sure, it represents everything that's wrong with the music industry, but that's another story.
"'They should stop crying about reconciliation as if it's never been done before,' Reid said of Republican outrage. 'It's done almost every Congress, and they're the ones who used it more than anyone else.'
"Reid's right. And Republicans have problems crying about it now.
"Yet what Reid, Obama and others avoid is that a few short years ago, they were shrieking. Republicans sought rule changes so a simple majority could approve then- President George W. Bush's judicial nominees who had been held hostage by Democrats.
"'(Bush) hasn't gotten his way, and that is now prompting, you know, a change in the Senate rules that really, I think, would change the character of the Senate forever,' said then-Sen. Obama in 2005.
"Sen. Joe Biden, now Obama's VP, gave the best sound bite of all.
"'I say to my friends on the Republican side, you may own the field for now,' Biden speechified with dramatic pause, lip bite, shake of head, 'but you won't own it forever. I pray God that when the Democrats take back control, we won't make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.'"
Using reconciliation to pass a lousy health insurance bill would be based on the political imperative of the Obama administration to not come up with a big, giant zero that wasted everybody's time instead of focusing on jobs.
That's how politics works, but it's also why people hate politics. Gamesmanship always seems to trump the public interest.
Look no further than Michael Madigan, who reiterates in today's papers that he and his fellow Democrats could pass the necessary tax increases - and believe me, I only support progressive tax increases - needed to balance the state's budget but they won't without Republican support because they don't want to take the blame.
Come to think of it, that's the same reason - well, that and a huge pot of gold now instead of a pot of gold later - that the Daley administration sold our parking meters instead of having the balls to raise rates themselves.
Is there not a man - and I don't mean that in a gender sense - among them?
Leadership, people. Courage. Honesty.
The cynics - the pols and all the parasites in their eco-system - will tell you that voters won't reward those qualities. I tend to think that, instead, the pols and their parasites find less to gain (and less to maliciously exploit in their enemies) by acting selflessly.
And isn't a belief that voters won't reward integrity a renunciation of democracy? I mean, why even pretend anymore, then?
We might as well just head for the hills.
Beachwood Crystal Ball
Profile In Discouragement
"Senate President John Cullerton, the Chicago Democrat who sponsored the measure, said the legislation is needed because there is a 'perception that you get a campaign contribution and somebody gets a scholarship, that there's some kind of connection. So we should - going forward - say You can't do that anymore.'
"But Cullerton's legislation also trumped proposals by lawmakers in both parties to abolish the program, measures that stalled in a Democratic-controlled Senate panel."
Even when there's bi-partisan support to do the right thing, they can't do the right thing.
See: "The Scholarship Scam."
So do I, in today's edition of Pundit Patrol. Also discussed: recent columns by Rick Telander, Richard Roeper and Neil Steinberg.
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Posted on February 25, 2010
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