* For whatever reason, the DCCC’s opposition research reports on several Republican congressional candidates have been posted online. They were found by a loyal reader this afternoon when he was searching Google for something else. Click here for the Google search which eventually turned them all up. I downloaded all the Illinois reports I could find…
* I first remember seeing this particular pension “solution” on the WLS Radio website back on August 9th…
Tom Cross, the Republican Leader of the Illinois House, has a solution to the pension crisis.
Tom Cross says the governor ought to put the leaders in a room, lock the door and tell them to call him when they’ve got a solution.
* Cross has said this “lock ‘em in a room” line numerous times over the past few weeks. For instance, from August 15th…
“…put us in a room, lock the key, and when we’re done, you let us out.”
* The idea, which is not really an idea as much as empty hyperbole, has since been adopted by some of Cross’ candidates as their own pension reform “solution.” Here’s Rep. Sid Mathias, who is in a very tough reelection race…
“I think the parties have to be put in a room and not let out until they come up with a solution,” said Sente’s opponent, Rep. Sidney Mathias, a Buffalo Grove Republican.
“I think this requires immediate action by the governor and Speaker Madigan,” said the former candidate for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, who is considered likely to throw his hat in the ring again. He wants to lock representatives of the governor, legislative leaders and pension experts in a room, “give them sleeping bags and pillows and make sure no one leaves” until there’s a template for reducing the state’s unfunded pension liabilities.
* Obviously, this isn’t anything approaching a “solution.” It’s just talk. And it would be illegal as well. Kidnapping maybe? Unlawful restraint? I dunno what the exact crime would be, but it would almost definitely be a crime.
Yet, it’s a good sound bite, so it gets repeated endlessly and even taken seriously by journalists who ought to know better.
Maybe we’d all love to lock the leaders in a room and throw away the key, but that’s not how government works, nor how life works, for that matter.
* It’s been frustrating to watch as the media refuses to challenged this empty rhetoric. But in doing a Google search for this post, I realized that the idea was first suggested by the Southern Illinoisan’s editorial board on August 5th…
But if Quinn is serious about passing a reform plan Aug. 17, he should lock himself in a room with the Four Tops and no one emerges until a deal is struck.
The editorial was headlined “Fix pensions in proper, open manner.” Um, OK. What’s so “open” about locking the leaders and the governor in a room?
Enough, already. This is childish stuff and not a worthwhile addition to the debate.
* And, by the way, this is not to say that the other side is blameless here. For example…
Steve Brown, spokesman for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, pointed the finger at Republicans for the lack of action.
“We tried to pass a bill (in a special legislative session) a couple weeks ago, but the Republicans blocked it,” he said in a phone interview, referring to a bill that would have cut benefits in two of the state’s five pension funds. “We’re committed to comprehensive pension reform.”
They didn’t vote on a pension reform “solution,” they voted to cover their political behinds.
* Democratic congressional candidate Bill Enyart has a new TV ad…
Two images you will see a lot of in this fall’s race to replace U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello: Scott Air Force Base and factories.
Bill Enyart, the Democrat seeking to replace Costello, is out with his first television ad featuring both. […]
“As a teenager I worked at a factory just like this one,” Enyart says on camera. “As a commanding General of our National Guard I led young men and women who fought in our wars. And served in our communities.
Enyart continues: “I’m running for Congress because our country’s gotten off track. The middle class is paying more, while millionaires pay less.”
Enyart’s comment about millionaires is certainly an unspecified swipe at his opponent, Republican Jason Plummer, a lumber heir from O’Fallon, Ill. Plummer has mounted a serious campaign for the congressional seat, which hasn’t elected a Republican since just after World War II.
1. November 1982 - November 1984, Trial Counsel, 66th Infantry Brigade, Decatur, Illinois
2. November 1984 - February 1985, Executive Officer, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry, Litchfield, Illinois
3. February 1985 - August 1985, Assistant Trial Counsel, 86th Army Reserve Command, Urbana, Illinois
4. August 1985 - September 1990, Selective Service System Officer, Detachment One, State Area Command, Springfield, Illinois
5. September 1990 - August 1993, Assistant Judge Advocate, State Area Command, Springfield, Illinois
6. August 1993 - May 1996, Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, 66th Infantry Brigade, Decatur, Illinois
7. May 1996 - September 1997, Command Judge Advocate, 33rd Area Support Group, Chicago, Illinois
8. September 1997 - October 2002, Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, State Area Command, Springfield, Illinois
9. October 2002 - December 2005, Staff Judge Advocate, State Area Command, Springfield, Illinois
10. December 2005 - May 2006, Deputy Commander, Joint Forces Headquarters, Springfield, Illinois
11. June 2006 - September 2007, Assistant Adjutant General-Army, Illinois National Guard, Joint Forces Headquarters, Springfield, Illinois
12. September 2007 - Present, The Adjutant General, Illinois National Guard, Springfield, Illinois
* Plummer meets with IYC Murphysboro workers: If elected, Plummer promised to work with state and local leaders to avoid the type of confusion more than 50 employees of IYC Murphysboro are currently in. The facility is one of several Southern Illinois facilities that could ultimately close due to budget concerns. The original shutdown date was Friday, but it has been postponed for the moment. “There’s no question that the state must make cuts to balance its budget, but the announced closures unfairly target Southern Illinois,” Plummer said.
* Enyart tells seniors he has the experience to be their congressman: “I know he didn’t change my mind,” said Mike Nelson, of Mascoutah, as he shuffled a deck of cards. “I’m going to vote for Jason Plummer. One of the main reasons is St. Clair County has been locked down too tight with Democrats. The one-party system doesn’t work. We need the diversity.”