Contrary to popular progressive opinion, Illinois doesn't have a revenue problem in meeting its constitutional requirements to the voters of this state, and its problem isn't exclusively about spending either…although – let's be clear – spending is certainly a really big problem that must never under any circumstances be understated. But. The principal issue facing Illinois in the year 2014 is more extensive than a simple economic crisis. Economic recovery is actually pretty easy if you know or care about how it gets done. The problem with Illinois is that there are simply too many people in positions of authority who are ignoring the fundamentals that drive economic growth.
And why would elected officials disregard what are essentially the laws of physics guiding the science of prosperity building? Well, that begets an answer that is equally elementary. The state has been under one party's control for so long and the rather castrated opposition party has played spineless enabler so effectively for so long that voters can no longer identify a party or a course of action that will get them out of this approaching, absolutely predictable disaster.
Understand. Confusion and despair are not traditionally a good mixture of reactions for the people who are responsible for driving economic growth, and that shaky state of mind leaves Illinois residents with two intolerable options before them. Either they must go down with the sinking ship which requires a morbid sense of chivalry and utter lack of self-preservation, or they must leave their homeland and emigrate to a state that has its legislative house in order.
As Illinois residents have come to understand through decades of observation, our state's dysfunctional codependence goes both ways. Yes, the progressive Left should stop its unyielding debauchery of tax-spend-waste-and tax again, but Democrats would not be able to repeat the destructive cycle if there was anything like determined and unapologetic opposition to it…even as a minority party. The Illinois Republicans most often offer nothing that resembles principled contrast. At best, voters are periodically treated to a cacophony of anthem-esque buzzwords that are meant to get opposition voters excited about the prospect of reform – just long enough for candidates to get elected, get settled and get absorbed into the political Combine so that they can divvy up their fair share of regionalized fiefdoms.
Take our US Senators as a prime example. No – really – take them. Please. There is no better illustration of the consequence of "Combine" politics on our way of life than what the collective efforts of Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk have produced.
So Illinois has been under Durbinian rule since 1996 when he took over for the long-long-long established Senator Paul Simon (D). Consider that the shared tenure of Simon and Durbin is responsible for generations of legislative carnage that regularly besieges not only the people of Illinois but also the entire nation. Their procedural war against constitutional liberty and economic freedom is legendary. To this end, I'm most certain they will be well remembered with the appropriate sacrificial offerings of bridges to nowhere that will be named for them as homage to their legislative prowess. Maybe there will be the construction of schools bearing their names that the children inside will never learn to read as a fitting tribute to the fruits of their labor. That is what life is all about after all…how many highways were named for you in your war against prosperity? How many government buildings are christened in your name that will further stifle human potential in the expansion of entitlement philosophy? The mind boggles.
Mark Kirk, of course, joined Dick Durbin in 2010 as he rode the wave of Tea Party outrage that spread across the fruited plain by defeating Roland Burris who had claimed the vacated senatorial throne so that Barack Obama could unleash audacity and hope on a grander scale. There wasn't a whole lot of expectation that Kirk would rock our world with governmental reform if I remember properly. It was more about electability at the time, and Mark Kirk was an innocuous moderate that could get along in the name of a state that's run by a city that's run by a machine. It was about gaining an "R" where a "D" once reigned.
Mind you, those moderate, innocuous "Rs" are what gave us bailouts, deficits, a left-leaning Supreme Court, Obamacare, HHS mandates, a budgetless Senate, housing bubbles, Benghazi and economic crisis after economic crisis after everlasting economic crisis. As always, the innocuous "Rs" are biding their time and waiting for the right moment to make their stand…and if you think that stand has anything to do with rolling back Obamacare or balancing the budget, you may as well give it up. No such grand reform shall be forthcoming. Maybe a continuing resolution on the dietary importance of oat bran would be better suited to their commitment levels given the incompetence of Congress right now.
It would seem – based on our economic, social, political, educational and global trajectories – that the innocuous "Rs" that have been voted into office are not really working for a reformer's best interests. This brings us to the face of reform and what it might look like in the 2014.
Because of the election of Barack Obama, there are a lot of former Illinois leaders who have taken their regional fiefdoms to the next level by setting up bureaucratic shop in the nation's capital. The effect of Illinoisan imperialism is that the Obama Administration has exposed our less than ideal politics to the rest of the world. There's nothing more embarrassing than seeing your own state's incompetence and corruption through the eyes of strangers. What was once Chicago's own private inside joke is now a mortifying portrait on how things get done in the Land of Lincoln.
Revealing the underbelly of Chicago's political class is a little like exposing cancer cells to fresh air. A barely recognized management style to the rest of the country is now fully understood as a Chicago malignancy that grows exponentially with each passing year. Dick Durbin, for all his tenure and importance in the Senate, has been a significant force in leading Senate Democrats to their current position of vulnerability as is typical when representatives legislate against the will of the people. Republicans have an opportunity to make history in the next election if they are willing to take a stand rather than play lip service to reformation.
That brings us to Jim Oberweis and Doug Truax… these are the major Republican candidates that claim they have the fortitude to challenge a vulnerable Dick Durbin incumbency in the next election cycle. With just a few weeks to decide on our candidate, this leaves us with a very important decision to make for ourselves and our state's future. These are some of questions that voters should be asking themselves and their friends as they consider how to cast their votes: Who can act as the face of reform in 2014? Who will be the man to lead the charge against the status quo? Which one of these men has enough poise, knowledge and integrity to face Dick Durbin in a debate and offer solutions where Durbin can offer only excuses for failure?
Beyond those preliminary questions about the how-to of getting elected, which one of these men can be trusted to keep his election promises? Either? Both? Neither? Who is prepared to set the tone for reform in the State of Illinois by helping to reform the US Senate?
Is either candidate capable of going against the surge of conciliation that has leached into the bloodstream of the Grand Old Party? I guess it's just about time to find out.
If you haven't already, take a moment and get to know your candidates: