Friday, November 10, 2017

Whodathunkit? A Kennedy trying to act like he’s a true-blue political goo-goo

How free-thinking are the 177 individual members of the Illinois General Assembly? Do we really have expressions of multiple opinions on issues, or are they really just a batch of sheep awaiting orders from the leadership?

KENNEDY: Thinking for himself?
I’m sure the overly cynical among us will think it ridiculous to even ponder such a question. Of course, they’re a batch of hacks who do what they’re told – they’re politicians!

WOULD-BE GOVERNOR HOPEFUL Chris Kennedy has added his own thoughts to this issue – recently telling the State Journal-Register newspaper in Springfield that he thinks the Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature sometimes create bills on issues of concern to the public.

Not that they have any intent of actually addressing those issues. Instead, the bills are a promise of sorts – something the Democrats in charge will get to in some future year. Provided, of course, that they’re re-elected to their posts.

“I think that’s just emblematic of the inherent, well, corruption in our government there,” Kennedy said. “We’re more interested in keeping people in power and preserving power than actually passing legislation that’s helpful.”

A sentiment that, officially, is being debunked by Democratic leadership. An aide to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, the guy whom many people want to believe is the ultimate political boss to be blamed for all that is wrong with Illinois, said of the statement, “Mr. Kennedy is not very well informed.” No wonder Madigan is in the camp of Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker.

THERE’S ALSO THE rule of thumb used throughout the years by many political reporters trying to figure out what will happen on the Statehouse Scene in Springfield – Nothing happens if the Speaker is opposed.

Meaning the legislative leadership, both in the Illinois House and state Senate, have a process by which they dictate which bills amongst the hundreds introduced each year actually get through committee review and get a final vote.

Or, actually, which ones get stalled without anything resembling a public review and are never heard from again. Which isn’t exactly what Kennedy is complaining about.

MADIGAN: All powerful and domineering?
For under Kennedy’s theory, a bill needs some sort of public attention paid to it – what good is it to claim you’ll do something in the future if you don’t tell anybody about it in the present?

CHRIS KENNEDY – WHO may be one of the few members of that political family that can claim Jack, Bobby and Ted as relatives who hasn’t actually held a political office in the past – is trying to create an image for himself with such statements that he’s not a political hack.

That even though he’s the son of Bobby and nephew to Jack and Ted, he’s not the ultimate political insider. Which may be true, but largely because he has never had the will power to follow through his past talk of running for office to actually campaign for the post.

Many people are going to try to tag the one-time boss of the Merchandise Mart (the Chicago property that the Kennedy family owned for decades) as nothing but a political insider. Hence, Chris is now eager to toss out the kind of talk that might appeal to the good-government types in our society.

As though he has high-minded ideals he wants to bring about for the betterment of all of us in our society.

AS FOR WHETHER our legislators are sheep who do what the leaders tell them to do, I know many have explained they rely on the legislative analyses put together by the leadership staffs. They’re told what to believe, then they act.
PHILIP: Was he really just taking orders?

While I know one former Illinois House member who told me that she was always permitted to vote on issues as she saw fit – other than the first vote of each legislative session to pick leadership. So long as she picked Madigan, she was allowed to decide things for herself.

Although I also remember one former Illinois Senate member who once ridiculed me when I suggested that then-Senate President James “Pate” Philip would tell him what to do. He insisted that the Senate Republican caucus was a batch of conservative-minded people who told their president what THEY would permit HIM to say and do.

Which may go a long way to explaining the level of nonsense that appears to pervade our state’s political structure – the one that Kennedy seems to think he wants to oversee, but may someday come to his senses and wish he never became involved with.


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