Friday, September 25, 2015

The “I” word

Believe it or not, the thought of impeachment for Gov. Bruce Rauner actually creeped its way into the conversation at the Statehouse in Springfield.
RAUNER: Impeachment ain't happenin'

Not that anyone who is serious about government is thinking of using the Democratic supermajority in the General Assembly to actually kick Rauner out of office.

THIS RANT CAME from Rob Sherman, the long-time activist who is an atheist and pushes to ensure that no traces of organized religion creep their way into government operations.

It seems that Sherman on Thursday showed up at the Illinois capitol building to appear at a hearing related to government operations, then brought up the notion that Rauner ought to be kicked out of office because of his office’s interference (for purely partisan political reasons) with the passage of a budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

I’m equally appalled that we’re going to hit the three-month mark next week – that’s literally one-quarter of the current fiscal year without a constitutionally-mandated budget to dictate how government spends its money.

But bringing up the “I” word manages to harm the cause of those people who think the governor is at fault in his budgetary negotiation behavior. It reduces the issue of budget talks to a clown show. Which does no one any good!

THE IDEA THAT Sherman would be willing to reduce the issue to a level of ludicrousity ought not to be a surprise. I still remember the first time I ever met the man (he showed up at the old City News Bureau offices at about 3 a.m. one overnight to play a tape of, then complain about, then-President Ronald Reagan making an insensitive remark) to know he’ll do anything to draw attention to his causes.

So showing up at the Statehouse to complain about the governor? It’s probably one of the most rational actions he’s ever taken.

But it scares me that anyone would think seriously to bring up impeachment, particularly since we have to admit that all Rauner is doing is taking a hard line against the concerns of organized labor.

If we were paying any attention during the primary and general election cycles of 2014, we’d know that Rauner fully intended to do such things. Anybody who is surprised by his attitude wasn’t paying attention during the gubernatorial campaign.

MADIGAN: Won't lower self to ideologue level
EITHER THAT, OR else they’re so clueless that they deserve any agony that is being brought upon them.

My point is that I don’t think the governor’s actions even come close to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that are usually the standard for having the Legislature seriously consider acting to undo the results of a statewide election.

We voted for this good, and we probably have to live with that mistake through 2018. Perhaps in the future, we’ll give more serious thought to slacking off of support for the opposing candidate. Political apathy, such as was shown by many Democratic partisans in 2014, can be painful.

Besides, the mood of the electorate is that it takes a lot to get them worked up to the point where they want their officials thrown out of office. They may want to dump the opposition, but it shouldn’t be so easy.

INSOFAR AS TO whether or not impeachment is possible for Rauner, I’m pretty sure it isn’t. Because if it were, I’m pretty sure that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, would have had his political operatives begin the proceedings the instant the fiscal year began without a budget in place.

Or maybe sooner (the day after Inauguration Day?).
OBAMA: How quickly would some impeach him?

Because for one to seriously talk in terms of impeachment would reduce Madigan to a partisan level even lower than anything Rauner has engaged in. It would trash any trace of the moral high ground that the esteemed Mr. Speaker currently has and lower him to the level of the Republicans in Congress who cast all their votes in accordance to what most opposes the desires of Barack Obama.

And probably reduce him to a level of respect even lower than what Sherman gets for his continued rants against the existence of God – who if he does exist ought to start shooting down lightning bolts on our political people any time now because of the lack of a state budget!


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