* Eric Zorn came up with a great analogy about Bruce Rauner’s proposed constitutional amendment for term limits, etc.…
In one of the more memorable scenes in the 1971 comedy “Bananas,” Woody Allen’s character Fielding Mellish is perusing the magazine rack at a small store. He’s trying to sneak peeks at the erotic fare in a way that avoids the notice of a matronly woman at the nearby checkout counter (see YouTube clip below)
He settles on a plan. “I’ll get a copy of Time magazine,” he says, loud enough for the woman to hear, as he takes a copy off the rack. “I’ll take Commentary. And the Saturday Review. And, uh, let’s see, Newsweek, and just I’ll grab one of these…”
He slips one of the skin magazines into the small collection of periodicals he doesn’t really care about, then turns to the cashier. “I’ll take `em all,” he mumbles as the woman looks on from several feet away.
It’s a nice try at misdirection.
Zorn’s premise is that Rauner is attempting to get around the state Constitution’s limit of popular amendments to only “structural and procedural” changes in the the General Assembly’s Article by proposing a change in the number of House and Senate members and an increase in the number of votes to override a gubernatorial veto…
So think of the term limits proposal as the equivalent of the pornographic publication in “Bananas” — the illicit yet true object of desire.
And think of the other two elements on the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits petition as the equivalent of Saturday Review and Newsweek — conventional, but, really, beside the point.
Both are clearly constititutional.
* Meanwhile, the Tribune editorialized again in favor of a different constitutional amendment for redistricting reform…
Next comes the inevitable lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality or the language of the amendment, or both. It would fall to the Illinois Supreme Court, whose members were elected with party support, to decide whether the measure stays on the ballot.
Then there’s the big disinformation campaign, on which millions will be spent to convince voters that the amendment is bad for them. Already, the state’s top Democrats are voicing disingenuous concerns that the measure could reduce minority representation.
Um, I wonder who’s gonna spend “millions” to fight this? The unions will be spending all they can to defeat Rauner. The House and Senate Democrats will be spending cash on their own races, along with the state party.
Is there a pro-status quo millionaire out there who will step in and throw big money away attempting to defeat a proposal which has overwhelming popular support? I kinda doubt it.
* And Paul Green, writing in the Daily Herald, gets the last word again…
Reform is a many splendored thing. You want to be a reformer? It’s easy; simply call yourself one, e.g., every Chicago mayor since 1837 has labeled himself or herself — a reformer. As we meander into the Illinois General Assembly’s closing weeks of session and ponder the upcoming November general elections, once again its “Reform Time — Illinois Style”.
Some “reformers” want to change how Illinois legislative maps are drawn. Other “reformers” want to initiate term limits for state legislators, while almost everyone claiming reform DNA — constantly use the terms “transparency” and accountability” like those words have some biblical meaning to frame their intentions.
Statewide reform goals and philosophy aside, the main target for all this activity is Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Reformers lament and criticize “The Speaker’s” power, influence and durability, especially in his control of the Illinois House.
Alas, what is seldom if ever mentioned, is that Speaker Madigan was created — you guessed it — by reformers. Yes, my friends, over 30 years ago, a youngish reformer (who now happens to be Illinois governor) led a constitutional crusade to end cumulative voting for electing Illinois House members.
It was called the “Cut-back” Amendment” — it created single member districts, reduced House membership from 177 to 118 members and obliterated independent Republicans from Chicago and independent Democrats from suburban Cook and the Collars. And it gave a shrewd and workaholic Mike Madigan the opportunity to create a power base that would have been impossible pre-Cut-back.
Ergo, beware of reform promises. Or, said another way, if folks are promising a New Deal, make sure you cut the cards.
* ADDED: House votes to make secret government severance deals public
* AARP backs changes to redistricting process
* Baar-Topinka tells broadcasters term limits are stupid