Saturday, April 19, 2014

GOP upset they didn’t get a chance to vote “No” on something Obama-related

There is a stink going on these days with regards to the way an Illinois House of Representatives committee gave its recommendation to a bill providing some state funds to the eventual development of the presidential library and museum that honors Barack Obama.

Someday to be on display?
The committee gave its approval to the idea, which sends the bill to the full Illinois House for consideration. No big deal, right?

OF COURSE, IT’S a huge deal!!! But only for the ideologues who are upset that the political maneuvering deprived them of a chance to rant and rage about how Obama is unworthy of ANYTHING showing him respect.

For sparing us that, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, deserves our respect and admiration.

We certainly shouldn’t be getting all worked up over it. The conservative ideologues will get their chance to complain and make their views known later this spring – because the Illinois Senate also will have to review the measure as well.

There will be ample chance for ideologues to spew their venom against Obama.

ALTHOUGH I’LL BE the first to admit that the means by which Madigan got a recommendation for the Obama library bill was an intriguing one – and a bit sneaky, as well.

What happened was that on Wednesday, the Illinois House executive committee (the one whose members are picked by leadership because they can be trusted to do what the party leaders want done) held a hearing in Chicago to discuss bills related to expanded gambling opportunities.

Considering that the focus of this particular hearing was to study the idea of a Chicago-based casino, perhaps it made a lot of sense to hold the hearing outside the Statehouse in Springfield.

Upset because they were silenced for a day?
When the hearing ended Wednesday, instead of adjourning, it was “recessed to the call of the chair.”

WHICH IN THIS particular case was Thursday. Committee members reconvened the very next day, heard talk about an Obama library, then instead of a vote, they decided to take an “attendance” role call – meaning everyone recorded as being present was an “aye” vote.

The only problem is that the Republican members of the committee, particularly those who came to Chicago from outside the metropolitan area, left the city immediately after Wednesday’s proceedings.

They claim they didn’t know the committee would meet again Thursday, so they went home. But because it was a “recessed” hearing, they were still considered “present.” Personally, I heard Wednesday afternoon they'd be returning to action the next day.

So there are now some Republican legislators who are on the record as having supported the idea of state funding for an Obama library. Which for some of them will not be a popular vote back home.

THEY’RE GOING TO get trashed by their constituents for letting such a thing happen. And if the best explanation they can offer is that they weren’t there, they’re going to get trashed for being dumb enough to let something like this happen to them!

That’s what the anger is really about. I suspect the only difference if the GOP members had been present is that the debate would have been rancorous, and it would not have been unanimous in favor of it.

Statehouse debate will be heard loud and clear ...
It would have been a partisan vote that still would have recommended the bill because, after all, it is a Democrat-run state Legislature.

If there were Republican leadership of any significance, then it would have been rigged to make for a vote against Obama, which merely shows that Illinoisans are as politically-motivated as officials anywhere else in the country.

HOW ELSE TO explain the fact that the “$100 million” figure suggested as the appropriate state level is the same amount of money spent to develop an Abraham Lincoln museum and library in Springfield?

Equal time? Political parity? Regional balance?

... after being silenced at Bilandic Building.
The reality is that the Obama library and museum is going to be a contentious issue – no matter what happens. There’s also the reality that most of the money for the project will come from private fundraising overseen by Obama himself.

The reason state officials are willing to put some government money into the project is that they want to ensure it gets located in Chicago – instead of the counter-proposals from New York and Honolulu officials.

BECAUSE WITH CHICAGO being a place of significance, and Obama library and museum has the potential to be a significant draw – unlike the libraries of presidents such as Gerald R. Ford that are so isolated they just don’t draw.

It could be a tourist attraction of significance – one that Madigan is trying to ensure comes here. What’s wrong with that?


No comments: