Thursday, October 20, 2016

Is Capitol Hill really that much better than being governor of Illinois?

He could always change his mind. In fact, it’s probably a safe bet to presume a political person will not try to run for a particular post until that election cycle passes without their name on the ballot.
DURBIN: Maybe he'll change mind, or not

But long-time member of Congress Richard Durbin says he’s happy with what he has, and has no intention of trying to become governor of Illinois.

WHICH IS RELEVANT because Durbin’s name is one being tossed about as a potential challenger to Gov. Bruce Rauner come the 2018 election cycle. We’re not even through the ’16 electoral nonsense yet, and there already are those speculating about the next election.

It’s as nonsensical as those people who want to talk ever since spring training how the Chicago Cubs are entitled to win this year’s World Series – only to see the ball club stagger a bit as they get within a couple of games of an actual National League championship.

But, back to Durbin, who is an East St. Louis native who has lived the bulk of his life in Springfield, from where he has been elected to a few terms in the House of Representatives, then became Illinois’ senator some 20 years ago.

It is figured by those people who keep talking up his name that he has the recognition to be taken seriously against the money that Rauner most definitely will put into his re-election bid in two years to try to bury anybody who has the unmitigated gall to try to challenge him.

TAKING ON RAUNER isn’t a challenge for the meek at heart, or for the little-known.

It may even be that Durbin could be a worthy public official if he were to try to serve as governor. Although the fact is that while he lives in Springfield, he is not a part of the local political process.
RAUNER: Which Dem will challenge him?

He’s the guy who went “up and out” to a bigger post in Washington, albeit one that isn’t all that important to the political people whose view of the world doesn’t extend beyond their local ward office.

If anything, Durbin is like Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, in one aspect – he has his sights set elsewhere in hopes that he can bring that place’s influence to use back to the local scene.
FOR MADIGAN, THAT local place is the Statehouse in Springfield. He rose to the ranks of House speaker for all these decades largely so he can ensure the Legislature works in ways that are of benefit to Chicago.
MADIGAN: Likes the power of being "Mr. Speaker"

While Durbin works the halls of Capitol Hill to try to bring back those federal benefits to Illinois – making sure the Land of Lincoln gets something back for all the tax dollars we have to pay in to the federal treasury.

Personally, I wasn’t surprised to learn that Durbin said recently he wants to remain in

Washington and is more likely to run for re-election rather than consider coming back home to be governor. He made such a statement while appearing this week in Champaign, saying he’s satisfied with his current lot in life.

Part of it, I’m sure, is that he knows it would be a tough political fight – although I don’t doubt he wouldn’t mind it in the least if he were remembered as the guy who dumped Bruce Rauner come 2018.

BUT IT’S PROBABLY more like Madigan in that he focuses his attention on an out-of-town political entity because he likes being part of the political scene there. It’s not like many Chicago political observers would think it wise to willingly want to live part of the year in Springfield, yet he does because he enjoys being the “almighty and powerful” speaker of the House.

While Durbin, I’m sure, fantasizes about the day he can be the Senate majority leader. Perhaps his goal is not to depose Rauner, but to be the guy who replaces Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Although as minority whip, it can be argued he already has a position pretty close to the top.
A remodeled home not enough to entice Durbin?

Important enough that his proximity to the top of Congress is a benefit that Illinois likes to play off of. If he came back to Springfield, he’d have to start focusing on such parochial concerns.

Besides, perhaps he figures the fact he’d be expected to live in the Executive Mansion isn’t all that much of a perk – no matter how much the place gets fixed up in coming years by the Rauners.


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