* As I’ve said before, Chicago Tribune editorials simply don’t pack the political punch that they once did, partly because of the waning influence and readership of newspapers and partly because this has become such a Democratic state that the leaders don’t pay much attention to a Republican-leaning edit board.
Even so, yesterday’s Tribby editorial is worth a look. Entitled Removing a Governor, it’s a searing indictment of Rod Blagojevich…
The bill of particulars against Rod Blagojevich is numbingly familiar. His is a legacy of federal and state investigations of alleged cronyism and corruption in the steering of pension fund investments to political donors, in the subversion of state hiring laws, in the awarding of state contracts, in matters as personal as that mysterious $1,500 check made out to the governor’s then-7-year-old daughter by a friend whose wife had been awarded a state job. […]
Blagojevich is an intentionally divisive governor and a profoundly unhelpful influence. He is unwilling or unable to see the chaos all around him. This year, lawmakers failed to make progress on schools, on state pension reform, on any number of critical matters. Mass transit in the Chicago region is about to implode, largely because of the state government’s failure.
Yet Blagojevich said 10 days ago that “If you measure success on whether or not you are doing things for people, this is the most successful session in years.”
* The Trib claims that it’s doubtful that the General Assembly will impeach him, but goes on to suggest the possibility of amending the state Constitution to remove him from office…
The Blagojevich experience suggests that the answer is yes, Illinois should write a recall mechanism into its constitution. Having endured the Blagojevich era, we believe voters never should have to endure another one like it. They instead should have the power to recall an inept governor.
The National Conference of State Legislatures offers a succinct summary of how a recall provision would be useful in a predicament such as Illinois’: “Proponents of the recall maintain that it provides a way for citizens to retain control over elected officials who are not representing the best interests of their constituents, or who are unresponsive or incompetent. This view holds that an elected representative is an agent, a servant and not a master.” (The NCSL takes no position on whether states should have recall provisions.)
* My own opinion is that if the governor doesn’t get his horrifically poor polling numbers up, then voters will almost assuredly vote for a Constitutional Convention next year in the hopes that a recall provision will be implemented…
* Rich Miller: New poll shows unanimity, everyone unhappy with Blagojevich
* Schoenburg: Poll shows governor wearing thin in Cook Co.
* Statehouse Insider: If the governor can’t get his way, we pay
* But a Con-Con wouldn’t come early enough to change the Constitution in time to remove him. The Legislature would have to pass a recall provision in the spring, put it on the fall ballot and provide for a special election sometime between the ‘08 election and the end of his term.
Unless things change dramatically in the Senate, where Sen. President Emil Jones would undoubtedly block the proposal (he has kept the ethics bill locked up until after the governor’s annual fundraiser, and perhaps beyond), then we can’t expect an amendment, either.
In other words, you’re probably just gonna have to get used to him. That is, unless you have other ideas.
Please, don’t post silly drive-by comments like “Impeach the jerk.” They’ll be deleted. I’m curious if you have any thoughts about how a removal could be accomplished, or if you’ve resigned yourself to three more years.