Monday, May 10, 2004

John McCarron's great column on Governor Blagojevich

John McCarron has a great column in the Tribune here on how Governor Blagojevich has disappointed progressives.

But he makes a few major strategic errors, in my opinion.

First, he equates "control" of Springfield with "electing a governor" and just ignores the General Assembly. That's wildly wrong, and also a bad move for progressives, since we probably have more progressive influence in the House and the Senate than we do in the Blagojevich Administration. Speaker Madigan and President Jones reflect their caucus, and if we can help to beef up the voices of the many progressive legislators, then the legislative leadership will reflect that agenda.

There are hot legislative battles being fought right now on lots of progressives issues, and they can use some attention in these last few weeks of the session. (I'll try to do a better job of highlighting some of them as well).

We Illinois progressives need to invest more in our legislators, and not always look to the governor to implement the agenda. It's true that in 2003 the legislature basically deferred to the governor, but this year, that deference is evaporating. For the next three years (assuming the state senate keeps a majority of Democrats and Independent James Meeks), we can expect the governor to sign progressive bills, even if we don't expect him to champion many of them.

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