Monday, March 27, 2006

Sen. Jim DeLeo and Gary Skoien Were an Interesting Combination

The assistant Democratic majority leader of the Illinois Senate and the Republican chairman of Cook county were a good pair on my WLS-AM radio show last night. Skoien, a bright and articulate man, supported Ron Gidwitz for governor but as a loyalist as is required by his post has endorsed Topinka. Jim DeLeo, a powerful and resourceful leader of the Senate who represents a fairly conservative Northwest Side constituency sees no problem in Gov. Blagojevich’s reelection as the governor “has grown” in the past few years. I didn’t get the idea that either DeLeo or Skoien believe that State Sen. James Meeks will run as an independent for governor, the two seeming to feel that Meeks is trying to extort—if that is the correct word—concessions out of Blagojevich.

Normally, DeLeo conceded, the so-called conservative social views of the Reverend and Senator and, in his dreams, Governor-to-be Meeks (although I have heard precious few of them) could have an impact with Reagan Democrats except that Meeks is calling for a hike in the state income tax to produce more revenue for the schools—hardly a welcome prospect for anyone except the members his own huge Salem Baptist church who, if their hearing has not been damaged by the Reverend’s stentorian shouting, are usually able to respond with huzzas from the amen corner.

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