I'm a little late with this release. Dan is right on target.
Both Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton were seen yesterday, standing side-by-side with the governor, praising his veto of the campaign finance “reform” bill. It may surprise you to learn that they both voted for it.
This is what passes for reform in Illinois. Egregious corruption is exposed by third parties, and when the public finally seems to have had its fill, some career politician decides to take a stand and appoint a “blue-ribbon” panel, headed by a fresh new face from his own party. Inevitably, the conclusion they come to is not that government is too big, has too much influence, or is designed to increase the accumulation of power over time; they conclude that there aren’t enough laws designed to exclude outsiders.
In this most recent case, the sham campaign finance “reform” legislation that was sent to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk, at his urging, was meant to protect legislative leaders in Springfield, who essentially retained their unfettered ability to raise and spend money. From the day this bill was written to the governor’s veto, the whole sorry charade of Springfield politicians “doing something” played out exactly as planned.
Meanwhile, Republican legislators were unable throughout this entire process to present a contrast vision for what true reform would look like in Illinois. Instead, Republicans agreed to the principle of individual campaign contribution limits, a policy that serves the interests of incumbency protection.
The whole episode perfectly captures the problem in Springfield: The complete lack of critical thought or substantive policy consideration going on in either party.
My primary opponent, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, the "camera-ready" Hinsdale Republican who appeared in a campaign commercial for Barack Obama, is representative of this problem. In a statement, Sen. Dillard praised the governor’s veto. From this, one would think that Sen. Dillard was a champion leading the fight against the original legislation. The roll call indicates otherwise as it reads simply: “Dillard: Present”.
We need Republican leadership that is not content to simply be present while the Democrats advance policies that destroy our economy or pass window-dressing legislation to cover up their crimes and mismanagement.
Not until the Republican Party is willing to present a clear, contrast vision for how Illinois should be governed will we have meaningful reform of state government. I am the only candidate in this race proposing system change ideas rooted in conservative reform principles. I am the only candidate proposing a reduction in the size and scope of state government tentacles, and I am the only candidate who saw this sham for what it was when it was originally handed off to the “blue-ribbon” panel.
As governor, you will know where I stand. I will be present, and the Democrats will know it.