Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What went wrong with Rod?

A recurring theme here of sorts. The column by Greg Hinz of Crain's declared the governor's career in politics over. I'll get to the column in a minute.

There was a lot of focused activity over at the Capitol Fax today. There was an impeachment memo handed around by Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, who it should be noted also doubles as the Chairman of the state Democratic Party. There was a leaders meeting at the Thompson Center downtown, Madigan has made it a personal point never to attend these meetings because he believes them to not be productive. Instead he sends a member of his caucus Babara J. Currie who fears that the governor is focused less on a [operational] budget but more on a capital budget. She thinks there could be a government shut down next month. You can read some of the details in this very cluttered post there.

I'd also like to note that US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. even tears into the governor on WLS-AM and his lack of leadership in this state. It made me think instead of running for mayor of Chicago, the Congressman should consider running for governor. It should be noted that the recently convicted Tony Rezko apparently was seeking to negotiate an airport deal. Somehow Rezko got involved instead of other administration officials who were supposed to be involved with this airport deal.

Anyway here's what's up with our governor:
But some features clearly stick out. Arrogance and inexperience. Wild ambition teamed with bad memory. Too much attention to the wrong things, and not enough to the things that count.

The most obvious truth is that Mr. Blagojevich, who succeeded the scandal-plagued George Ryan, failed to learn the central lesson of the Ryan years: Keep the folks who run your government far, far away from the guys who collect your campaign cash.
Mr. Blagojevich, to put it gently, is a “big picture” kind of guy. No agonizing nights with the budget director or poring over résumés and policy details for him. Instead, it was “presidential” stuff — health care, infrastructure, tax reform and the like. Someone else could take care of the details of actually running the government day to day.

The problem is that Mr. Blagojevich didn’t recruit the people he needed to operate such a George W. Bush-style administration. Instead, his chief of staff was a former sports agent and college buddy from California, his first deputy governor burned out, his second deputy governor was an in-your-face New Yawkah, and his budget director was hamstrung by orders to increase spending while freezing taxes. Though personally bright, not one of the top hands had real, recent experience in day-to-day Springfield.

Combined with the governor’s own hot-dogging style, it all was a recipe for disaster — particularly in dealing with the always-delicate House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Mr. Madigan can be as much a prima donna as Hot Rod. He’d taken some shots at Mr. Blagojevich through the years. But whatever else he did before or after, Mr. Madigan gave the new governor free rein in his first year in office, passing the budget the governor wanted, even though it included a massive and questionable arbitrage play known as a pension obligation bond issue.

The governor’s response? After the General Assembly went home, without picking up the phone to give any notice, he vetoed a routine legislative pay hike, baiting a powerful if temperamental force who had been trying to play nice. Thus was a pattern set.

Then Mr. Blagojevich started fighting with his father-in-law, Chicago Alderman Dick Mell (33rd). I’m not sure whether the guv was trying to break free of his Machine roots or just was being an ingrate. Either way, the ugly public brawl sparked the still-continuing federal probe into his administration.
You know this has been discussed a lot in the past his relationship with the legislature indeed his relationship with his father in law who just so happened to be a ward boss responsible for helping Blagojevich in his political career. I've basically decided that the governor is being an ingrate and if he did seek to break free of his machine roots, well what good has come of it. Anyway I want to refer you to my earlier post about another piece discussing the Blagojevich administration.

I wonder, were the warning signs always there? Was there any signal that the governor at any point in time would have become this much trouble? There are more questions to be asked than this of course, but there certainly has to be a logical answer to this.

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