Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bipartisanship truly is a dirty word in modern-day political universe

One thing is painfully obvious these days – Barack Obama gave a speech about political cooperation and bipartisanship to the Illinois Legislature and NO ONE was listening.

Bipartisanship is as big a fantasy these days ...
How else to explain the knee-jerk rejection given by the Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail to the very idea of permitting Obama to make an appointment to fill the vacancy now on the Supreme Court of the United States.

TO LISTEN TO the conservative ideologues who fear a high court that isn’t rigged in their favor, the Republic can only be preserved by keeping a seat open for more than a year – or perhaps longer if the voters get delusional (from their perspective) enough to pick a Democrat to be the new president come 2017.

Keep in mind that the vacancy creates the potential for a lot of 4-4 splits on upcoming cases – and it takes five justices to back a ruling for it to take effect.

In short, 4-4 maintains the status quo – and likely means a lot of efforts to protect the rights of people who don’t fit into the narrow vision of what conservatives think our society ought to be will go down the tubes.

Now I don’t know how this whole Supreme Court political battle will play out this year – other than that I expect the Republican majorities that now run both the Senate and House of Representatives are stubborn enough to refuse to act on filling a vacancy.

THE ONE IN which Obama makes an appointment and the Senate gives its consent as to whether or not to accept said appointment. A whole lot of nothing is going to come up, all in the name of preserving our “way of life.”

Or at least the vision of our life that the ideologues want to preserve!

But this is just one of many issues that have become over-politicized in recent years by a Republican faction of Congress determined to prevent the duly-elected president of 2008 and 2012 to do a damned thing that would give him a lasting legacy.

... as the idea of another all-Chicago World Series in our lifetimes
Which could easily have been the outcome of the Harold Washington mayoral years if not for that redistricting of ’86 that enabled a Washington-allied majority to take control of our City Council.

UNFORTUNATELY FOR OBAMA, there isn’t any chance of a restructuring of Congress during his presidency. It will be the political weakness of the Democrats who ought to have been Obama’s allies that they allowed control of Congress to shift away from them during his presidency.

All of which is why I find it odd to hear the ongoing quarrels over redistricting. Yes it is true that the current system is convoluted and creates districts in Congress and the General Assembly that bear little resemblance to the reality of our communities.

But I have my moments of disbelief that this effort with the backing of Gov. Bruce Rauner is really interested in representing the people.

With so many other states having political structures that produce Republican-leaning public officials in their Legislatures and Congress, it seems they’re interested in eradicating a system in Illinois that won’t go along with their program.

THE REASON, OF course, that Illinois’ structure winds up being Democrat-sympathetic is because of the dominance of Chicago in this state and the fact that the modern-day Republican Party is openly hostile toward urban areas.

If we gave someone like Rauner the General Assembly of his choice, it would be equally unrepresentative of the people of Illinois – particularly the two-thirds of the state’s population that lives in the six northeastern-most counties.

OBAMA: Nobody listened!
And yes, I remember the days of 1995-96 when Illinois government was Republican dominated – all of its actions were geared toward putting a leash upon Chicago. All this talk by Republicans comes off as little more than bitterness that they’re no longer capable of running roughshod over the state like they once tried to do.

All the more reason to believe that Obama’s talk of bipartisanship was cute, but not likely to take hold. Not here in Illinois, or anywhere else in this nation.


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