A change in the Illinois constitution to allow the recall of the Governor of Illinois is closer to passage. The Illinois Senate, in which some of the Senate leadership that are closely allied to the Governor, changed the original bill to include other elected officials.
SPRINGFIELD – The question of whether to amend the state Constitution so Illinoisans can recall corrupt or inept politicians devolved Tuesday into a legislative game of chicken that must be decided by the weekend if voters are to get a chance to oust scandal-plagued Gov. Blagojevich before his term ends.
By a 12-1 vote, a Senate panel approved a newly-tailored plan that would enable voters to oust statewide officeholders, legislators, judges, mayors and county board officials – a vastly larger group than what was contained in an earlier, House-passed plan targeting only state officeholders.
Senate Democrats also tweaked the plan so that if a recall drive is launched against Blagojevich, his running mate, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, also would be targeted for removal. Quinn is an ardent backer of the recall and a frequent Blagojevich critic.
The Illinois Senate leadership thought that this “poison pill,” which included recall the Governor and Lt Governor as a team, would effectively kill the bill. In an act of political courage, the Lt. Governor Quinn announced he is supporting the revised bill. This in spite of the fact that he would be a innocent victim of a recall. Quinn is placing “principal over self-preservation” in an act that could get him a chapter in Caroline Kennedy’s next version of Profiles in Courage. This act by Quinn shows once again how the Governor has underestimated the depth of this animosity toward him.
It has not as the Speaker of the Illinois House, Michael Madigan, announced they would vote on the bill as is if passed by the Illinois Senate.
This political intrigue in Illinois has become much more interesting, at the moment, than Presidential politics.
Passage of this bill, which would amend the constitution, would allow the Governor and the Lt. Governor to be recalled. The bill as rewritten by the Illinois Senate also calls for the recall of other state officials. The political animosity between the Governor of Illinois and most of the State legislature has reached such a high pitch that passage of a bill that the legislature does not particularly want, is still likely. In spite of the fact that some of these same officials could be hurt by this bill. Should the bill pass, it will be placed on the November ballot for ratification by the Illinois electorate which most expect to pass easily.
There is no question that should this bill pass and then ratified by the voters in November, steps would be taken to recall the Governor. Although Illinois is clearly a “Blue State” with a Democratic Governor, the recall of the Governor would sail through. The Democratic Governor of Illinois is nearly as unpopular as President George Bush. And that, my friends, is no small feat. In 2002 Governor Blagojevich came into office with high hopes, but since that time he has made mistake after mistake and clearly doesn’t learn much from those mistakes except to make bigger mistakes.
The last straw was the budget battle of 2007 that took eleven months. The Governor called for special session after special session. In many cases the legislature simply ignored the call into special session.
To get a detailed history of this merry-go-round, check out Rich Miller’s Illinois blog at http://thecapitolfaxblog.com/. He has done a great job in covering this circus with lots of insider stuff. Reading on Walden Bookstore.