Sunday, June 1

Of politics and pundits

Like many Americans, I am weary of this election and there are months of pontification and punditry yet to endure. I think we should all get some special award for surviving this election.

Hillary Clinton. It's hard to discuss this election without discussing Mrs. Clinton. I read a marvelous editorial in Saturday's Chicago Tribune. I want to send the writer a thank you note. She is in her early 50s as am I. Like me, she wants to see a woman in the White House. Like me, she does not think that Hillary is that woman and gave a marvelous list of reasons. Unlike me, she does not seem to be concerned that with Hillary comes Bill; she seems less concerned about having him pursue his own affairs of his own state. Like me, she does want the first woman in the White House to be one who has pursued her own path and can claim her own achievements, one who is considerably less controversial and considerably less strident. The woman I want to see in the White House will be less nakedly desperate about her own ambition, less about manipulation and political machinations, and considerably more about restoration of this country to what has made it great and can make it great again.

Political "contributions". There have been a lot of conversations about limiting political contributions and there are even laws in place. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (http://www.ncsl.org/programs/legismgt/about/ContribLimits.htm):
States commonly place limits on contributions to candidates from various sources, and also on contributions to political action committees (PACs) and political parties. Just five states - Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Virginia - place no limits on contributions at all. Another eight states - Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas - have minimal contribution limits. Missouri prohibits monetary contributions to candidates by political parties (in-kind contributions are permitted), and the remainder of these states limit contributions by corporations and/or unions. Contributions to candidates from all other sources is unlimited in these eight states.

The state in which I now live, Illinois, is one of those with no limits. Our fine legislators may have just given themselves another extravagant pay raise and apparently passed a budget that may or may not be balanced and then skedaddled to leave the mess in the governor's hand, which is fine because he is quite familiar with political mess though generally those of his own making. Anyway, I'd just like to point out that when there are no limits on so-called contributions, other people call them bribes.

I am appalled that Illinois politics remains such a game to most. That far too many politicians in Chicago and in this state seem to think that because Illinois is known for political corruption, it simply cannot be helped. That's the way things are done.

This may be a novel thought for most Illinois politicians, but try this on for size: govern as you would like to be governed. One day you will not be in a position of power; like the former Governor Ryan, you might as deservedly be in jail. What goes around always comes around, and often when you least expect it.

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