Tuesday is Groundhog Day, and as I stick my head out of my humble abode, I see, hear and sense the presence of politicians desperately grubbing about for each and every vote they can get.
Since I see their shadow, I quickly scurry back into my residence out of a sense of desperation. Perhaps they’ll go away and leave me alone.
BUT MY REALITY (along with all of yours) is the same as Punxatawney Phil and all his groundhog brethren. They “see” shadows and we get sentenced to six more weeks of winter weather. We Illinoisans see shadows, and we’re doomed to suffer through nine more months of campaign rhetoric.
For every single person who is enough of a nitwit to say that the earlier primary Election Day date in Illinois is a good thing because it reduces the length of the primary season, I have to point out the truth that it really means that we’re doomed to an even longer general election season in 2010.
For beginning tomorrow and running through Nov. 2, we’re going to have all the candidates who manage to win Tuesday’s primaries coming out and going straight on the attack. Republicans who have been eagerly beating up on each other are now going to start their screeching of the name “Blagojevich!” out of the belief that they will scare us into voting for anying with an “R” following his name, rather than the dreaded “D.”
And as for Democrats?
WE’RE GOING TO see whether they decide to fight back and take it to the hard-core GOP partisans (it can be done, since too many of these GOPers are of the type whose ideal government is one rigged in favor of their ideological agenda on so many social issues), or are they going to snivel about and let themselves get smacked about for the next nine months – with the people being the ultimate losers.
The bottom line is that 2010 is going to be ugly. If 2008 was about inspiration and talk of change, this year is going to be about the people who were disgusted by ’08 doing whatever they can to turn back any electoral gains that were made that year.
That means we’re going to need to see a political party quit acting as though they are meant to be beaten upon, and start standing up for the ideals that the electorate indicated they wanted in recent years.
Seriously, I wonder in Illinois if the more hard-core Republican partisans are going to prevail to such an extent that they will wind up picking candidates on Tuesday who will be out of touch with the bulk of people who live in this state – particularly the two-thirds of the state’s population that considers itself to be first-and-foremost the Chicago metropolitan area.
BUT THEN AGAIN, if Democrats go about the next few months whimpering, then perhaps this will be a year in which the one-third minority manages to achieve something at the ballot box.
Not that I think it will be all bad if our state’s government ceases to be dominated by one party. For the past few years have truly been an aberation.
Typically, in those years when one political party in Illinois manages to capture an Election Day mood and win a preponderance of government offices, the electorate manages to correct itself in the next election.
The Republican “domination” of state government that resulted from 1994’s elections ended in 1996. The Democratic boost of 1964 came to an equally-quick end. The fact that Democratic control from 2002 remains in effect today is more due to the ineptitude of the Illinois Republican Party.
SO FOR ME, the big question that will start to be answered with the results of Tuesday’s primaries is whether the GOP is still bumbling about? Or are they starting a process of rebuilding, one which could result in our state government having a mixture of partisan political people in the constitutional offices?
I will agree that government rarely works well when it is in the hands of one political party. There needs to be certain forces counterbalancing each other and preventing either side from being able to enact its worst tendencies amongst the people – although in all honest truth, the inability of Rod Blagojevich and Michael Madigan to work together during the past decade probably served as that counterbalancing force.
So while I am looking forward to observing the government entities that ultimately are created by the elections to be held in November, the period between now and then is going to be loaded up with so much campaign rhetoric that this year is going to be agonizing to observe.
I already have Nov. 3 marked prominently on my calendar, and not just because it is “Culture Day” in Japan.
THE NEXT FEW months are literally going to be like that film “Groundhog Day,” where weatherman Phil Connors (a.k.a., Bill Murray) had to keep reliving the events of Groundhog Day until he finally got everything right.
Even though the primary will be over after Tuesday, it’s going to feel like we’re living the campaign season over and over and over again. That is my true nightmare.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I have already done the polling place routine, so I won't be among the many voters needing to take time out of my day on Tuesday to cast my ballot (http://chicagoargus.blogspot.com/2010/01/casting-my-ballot.html) for the primary elections.