Friday, June 22, 2007
Personal Aside: It Occurred to Me Yesterday in Springfield
I rarely go to Springfield but I went there on an intelligence missionnot lobbying venturefor a client. There with a relaxed dinner I looked at my tablemates a bright young independent Democratic legislator a talented advocate from an agency in the governors domain and a very astute youngish Republican. Add to this an African American civic leader from Chicago and me old a veteran of many political wars with the scars to prove it.
As we sat around I heard everybody analyze why the deadlock between the Democratic governor and the Democratic legislature. It sounded very complicated. But then as we went around the table, it was obvious that if all of us were empowered to negotiate and had at our beck and call a tall pitcher of cool iced tea we could arrive at a satisfactory decision in about an hour an hour and a half max.
As we went around the table, it is obvious there are only so many options that can be taken that give the Governor something not all but something Speaker Madigan somethingnot all but something and President Jones somethingnot all but something along with the reasonable views of House Minority Leader Tom Cross and a slice or two of views from Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson.
In essence: when you look at the options any reasonable group of people could iron out a compromise so that everyone could have some trophy or other but not the whole enchilada. And so as I went to sleep that night at the Abraham Lincoln, I wondered why if it would be so easily done for usdifferent people, different ages, different demandswhy could it not be with the leadership.
And of course the answer is clear. Its not testosterone as faultily charged but the desperate need to posture. And posturing, let me point out, is endemic to the political condition if half the components or all of them were women as well. If the media were to vacate to other things, for example, leaving just a skeleton crew around the Capitol with the hot summer wending on youd find them dropping the posturing and settle it quickly.
Ergo: the media ever-present, playing on the political human condition of savoring posture, contributes to the problem.
Why dont the newspapers and television decide to let the wire services cover it and pack up all the gear and go home, leaving just a very few bare-bones communicators around? Just enough to report in concise fashion what the agreement is and allow the analyses to wait until after everhybody departs? Its the damned analysis Madigan flinches Governor barks Jones wont budge that keeps everybody at nose-to-nose length in impossible postures.
When the editors call the analysts home, you will find it wont take long until this bunch wraps it all up and goes home. In other words, this is the anticipation of a winning media event that blocks progress.