Finish this childrens poem which you probably heard from kindergarten: Birdie with a yellow bill/ Hopped upon my window sill/ Cocked his shining eye and said Said what? I doubt that this is one you can cheat on as I wouldnt know where it would be published
Partisans Shifting Sides.
Its becoming quite obvious that House Speaker Mike Madigan is not in Gov. Blagojevichs corner any way, shape or form. Leaks on the governor are spilling into the news, including a popular usually pro-Democratic newsletter and Blog. At the same time, polls show Judy Baar Topinka is suffering from severe GOP base disaffection. Thus we have an anomaly. I notice it the most when I go to Springfield and occasionally in the Green Room, talking privately with Democratic and Republican guests before the Sunday broadcast. Many of the Speakers Democratic allies are plugging for Topinka to win the governorship although they dont say so. Many of the normal supporters of the GOP are hoping for Topinka to lose and Blagojevich to winalthough they dont say so. The funny thing is, as a realist, I can see the point for the pro-Topinka Democrats, the pro-Blagojevich Republicans and Topinka herself.
Why would some Democrats want Topinka to win? Easy. Blagojevich gives every indication that he would willingly bargain away the state in the next term while he moves on to what he hopes are bigger and better things. Those Democrats remaining to pick up the pieces would very likely have to recommend a tax increase to fill a chasm in the budget. That would be fatal for the career of Lisa Madigan or anyone else who might follow the current governor.
For Democrats, the logical answer is to have the 62-year-old Topinka elected for one term only, pass a tax increase and exit with a unpopularity and spare them the job of hiking taxes. (Thats why you have Steve Brown, the Speakers press guy, whispering sedition to the media and the media picking it up). For Republicans, the logical answer is to have Blagojevich continue to twist and turn and wrangle with his party for another four years, exiting in chaos and unpopularity. These Republicans believe this: If Topinka gets in and pushes through a tax increase, the onus will fall on the party and mar the prospect for success in the near future. (Thats why you dont see many Republicans worrying about Topinkas sparse fund-raising or her declining polls).
For Topinka, personally, the prospect of a tax increase would not be all that bad. She feels as a former suburban newspaper reporter, shes very lucky to become governor at all, so whats to complain about if she leaves after one term at age 66: a former governor, praised by liberals for her courage in recommending the tax increase? The media will give her the kind of serenade they gave Dick Ogilvie: a flinty man of courage etc. Thats why you dont see Topinka shrinking away from the prospect of a tax increase: she referred to it in last-resort terms the other day; her words impel more Democrats to support her. From Topinkas standpoint, one who never really had much hope in becoming governor, the future is not all that bad: getting elected as the first woman governor of Illinois who probably wouldnt want to run for a second term anyhow at her age pushing through a tax increase and getting saluted as a stateswoman of courage by the liberal media moving on to corporate board positions in private life and some big bucks like Jim Edgar earns. Why should she complain about that?...
Brady for Senate?
State Senator Bill Brady now is thinking about running for the U. S. Senate against Dick Durbin in 2008. He told me the other day at lunchyes, we had lunch at his behest and expensehe feels no responsibility for supposedly splitting the social conservative vote, depriving Jim Oberweis of winning and giving the nomination to Topinka. He argues that his vote from downstate was largely a personal testimonial and that had he not run, many of the folks who voted for him would probably have voted for Topinka. We could quarrel about that until the cows come home, but I reminded him that money was hard for him to raise during the governors primary.
It would likely be triply hard to raise for the U. S. Senate where the rules prohibit corporations giving, the rules insist that individuals can only give a very limited amount (like $1,000 a person). How would he fare? I have always felt, even when I was mad at him, that Brady has great talent for campaigning but it seemed to me he made a bad mistake in not pulling out of the governors race and running for another state office. If he had, can you imagine what hed be now? Hed be the golden boy of Republican politics, one who thought more of the partys chances than his own ambition. He could have the bases support for Senator in a New York minute, hands down.