Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Term limits for Illinois? Or Rauner trying to create a campaign crusade?

Call it a quirk – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner sent me (and many others, I’m sure) via e-mail a video of himself Tuesday signing a pledge that he’s convinced will clean up our government.

RAUNER: Will he limit his own terms?
He’s attempting to bring up the almighty issue of term limits. He wants to put an eight-year limit on the amount of time any one person can serve in the General Assembly.

HE CERTAINLY WOULD hate the idea of Michael Madigan – whose home neighborhood on the Southwest Side has turned out the vote in his favor to send him back to Springfield for the past four decades! With three of those decades seeing him as the leader of the Democrats at the Statehouse.

Not that I expect this issue to go anywhere. It is one of the talking points that certain types of people like to bring up because they think it will bring them voter support come Election Day.

Rauner letting us see him sign a pledge to limit the amount of time anyone can spend in the Legislature (enough of a limit that no one would be able to build up any influence) is nothing more than a move by him to try to get the support of the mini-minds who usually get worked up about this.

The fact that, in his statement, he also calls upon Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Pat Quinn and William Daley to back him? Another strategic move on his part. Rauner dreams that people will become incensed at the Democratic hopefuls when they refuse to go along with his nonsense.

NOT THAT IT will happen that way. I have no doubt Rauner himself won’t shut up about this issue between now and the March 18, 2014 primary elections!

Although I always suspect that the people who back term limits the loudest are the ones who realize they can’t win any other way than to eliminate the competition. Which is the big reason why I don’t take the concept seriously.

While I realize incumbency gives a candidate some advantages (the reason why I don’t discount Quinn’s chances of being re-elected, no matter how low the polls say he ranks), I also have seen enough instances of incumbent politicos being defeated to know it can be done.

Hard work. That’s what it takes to win an election; not trying to find ways to keep any serious opponents from challenging you!

SO RAUNER MAY come up with statements such as, “too many in Springfield are part of a broken system that puts getting re-elected first and allows the special interests and government union bosses to effectively own the politicians.”

It may be true. But it comes across as self-serving from Rauner.

As far as the chances of term limits being passed (Rauner wants a voter referendum on the ballot in next year’s election cycle), I’m not convinced it will happen.

I still remember what happened when the issue came up decades ago – only to fail because the Illinois Supreme Court determined that legislative term limits are beyond the scope of issues that voters themselves can force onto the ballot as referendum questions.

MEANING THIS IS an issue that the legislators themselves would have to put on the ballot in order for the voters to consider it.

I’m not going to challenge Rauner’s ability to bring this issue up during his gubernatorial campaign. He has a right to make an issue out of any matter that he deems worthy.

Whether or not anyone takes him seriously for it is a different matter.

Ultimately, it will be the voters who will decide which of the gubernatorial candidates they detest the least and is worthy of a four-year term at the head of Illinois state government.


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