* The governor’s decision to skip the House floor debate on the mass transit bailout plan in favor of attending a Blackhawks game sure looks like it has “legs”. The SJ-R editorializes today…
As these and many other initiatives blew up in Blagojevich’s face, the governor withdrew more and more. He calls special sessions without showing up. He attends hockey games in Chicago while important votes are taken in Springfield. And, according to Flannery, he spends much of his “work” time at home. He is not connected to the process — and that is untenable. But why?
We are not trying to be flippant when we say this — the governor appears afraid. But you can’t govern scared. And if you can’t govern, you should not be governor.
I don’t think he’s afraid. I just think he prefers the bunker. In the bunker, you can’t hear anybody scream at you.
* Blagojevich tried to explain his attendance, but nobody really bought it…
The governor said he had been invited to the first home game under new Blackhawks president John McDonough and that he chose to attend as a favor to McDonough, “an act to help him as a friend.”
Blagojevich wouldn’t say if he would consider reimbursing the state Treasury for the $5,800 it cost to use a state plane to shuttle him from Springfield to Chicago and back again to watch a sporting event on a day he ordered lawmakers to be in Springfield.
He was ridiculed in the House, where Rep. Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein) brought a hockey stick to the House floor to make a point.
“If he’s truly up there working on commerce, that’s one thing. But this is him going to a hockey game to enjoy himself at the expense of the people of the state of Illinois. You can’t get any more plain than that,” said Sullivan, who called on the governor to cut a check to the taxpayers for his airfare.
* The Republicans picked up on it, as did just about everyone else at the Statehouse…
Politically embarrassing visual evidence of Blagojevich watching the Blackhawks at the United Center dominated conversation Thursday in the Statehouse, where lawmakers were perplexed by the governor’s lack of support for a solution he publicly endorsed.
“Perhaps a stint in the penalty box would be appropriate,” said Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville).
Senate Republican leader Frank Watson of Greenville, who is working with the governor on a multibillion-dollar public-works program, said Blagojevich’s absence is a failure of leadership that hurts the state.
“The governor has a way of governing that baffles me,” Watson said.
* Speaking of the Republicans, the Illinois Republican Party has announced a new contest: “Governor for a day”. From a press release…
In light of the recent expose on the carefree lifestyle led by Governor Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois Republican Party is conducting a special drawing across the state to make one lucky Illinoisan Governor for a Day.
“While we can’t give you a $155,000 taxpayer funded paycheck to do nothing, we will attempt to come close by giving you what we believe one day in the life of Rod Blagojevich might be like,” said ILGOP Spokesperson Lance Trover.
The winner of Governor for a Day will begin the day at the hour of their choice. From then, they will be ushered to a salon for a haircut and massage. Following their time at the salon they will be treated to a first-class lunch which will be followed by a tour of the City of Chicago including visits to the Sears Tower and other Chicago landmarks. Ensuring they are treated just like our current governor, the winners will end their day by attending a Chicago Blackhawk’s game.
“While it is clear this sort of lifestyle is normal for Rod Blagojevich on any given day, it’s far from normal for the average Illinoisan,” added Trover. “Hopefully this day will give one hardworking Illinoisan the opportunity to live like the Governor they help fund with their hard earned tax dollars.”
The special drawing will kick off at noon on Friday, November 30, in front of the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago and the Illinois Capitol in Springfield. ILGOP staff will be present handing out free drawing tickets at both locations.
To ensure all Illinoisans have a shot at being Governor for a Day, anyone can email their name and contact information to GovernorforaDay@ilgop.org and they will be assigned a specific number for Wednesday’s drawing. One entry per person.
The winning number will be announced on WeAreIllinois.org at noon on Wednesday, December 5, 2007.
Best of luck to all entrants. And just remember: being Governor of Illinois is not hard work, as long as you don’t show up.