When Rod Blagojevich was impeached, we lost a good friend. A f-ing golden ally. Stand-up comics lost a steady paycheck. The Chicago dailies lost the last reason anyone bought their newsprint. And the Democrats lost an election. Ha, that last statement is impossible here in Illinois.
Blago was replaced by Lt. Governor Pat Quinn. Though he’s not exactly the most popular pol in the land after he put through a 67% income tax increase, Quinn is as staid as Blago was wild. Quinn is a boring white guy, say Bing Crosby without the silvery voice, to Blago’s late period Elvis. Even more surprising, Quinn hasn’t been convicted of anything, unlike his two immediate predecessors (Blago & the state’s last Republican, perhaps literally, George Ryan). Earlier 1960s/1970s governors Mark Walker and Otto Kerner also spent quality time in the Big House. And those are only the ones that got caught.
Here on this day when Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. resigned, reportedly because the Feds are investigating him,  it’s easy to think we Illinoisans are jaded about our pols. Who else nominates LaRouchies for Lt. Governor in the Democratic primary (tantamount to election here) and follows up a few years later by again nominating for the same Democratic Lt. Governor spot a pawn broker with a squalid tale of strippers, steroids, arrests for domestic abuse, failure to pay back taxes and child support?  In Illinois, the quickest path to the Governor’s mansion is that Lt. Governor’s office since Governors always seem to be off to the slammer.
Ho hum, it takes a lot to shock a Chicagoan. What’s $97 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and a state budget that makes California look like Warren Buffett’s financial acumen married to George Bailey’s ethics? Please, we’ve got a Chicago Bears loss to watch.
Quinn may be a genius, using audio-visual trying to get people to care about, well, their own kids’ future, taxes they’ll someday pay to fund the pension hole, their local employment situation, property values, roadways, schools and the like.
There’s also the tirade of disdain any Illinoisan receives when sharing their home state’s name with an out-of-stater:
Virginian laughs like Vincent Price and asks, “Tell me, you didn’t really vote for ________[fill in the blank], did you?”
“Uh, I always vote ___________[Green or Libertarian]. Don’t blame me.”
So, please, stick a bag of popcorn in the microwave and click over to the slithering pension squeezing fun, “Illinioisan Style”: http://thisismyillinois.com/
Speaking of allusions to “Gangham Style”, Quinn should stick a few “sexy ladies” in the video. I hear Blago’s wife Patti is available. On second thought, I’d rather eat a tarantula. But as the Korean rapper PSY and his billion youTube hits proves , no one pays attention to lyrics, it’s all about the visuals and the back beat. Squeezy the Pension Python is halfway there (the sexy part).
Chicago Magazine points out the python only points out the pension problem.  No solution is presented. Technicalities, smechnicalities… Then again, how often do pols present workable solutions? I thought so.
Governor Quinn has, judging by the quality of the video, for what I’m sure is very little state money, bequeathed a cute new character on the people of Illinois. That’s something Jesse Jackson, Jr., George Ryan and Blago never gave us.
If the Python goes to New York and appears on TV talk shows, Quinn will be even with Blago and ahead of the rest of the sorry lot of small-time Illinois state representative, state senators and aldermen who couldn’t resist demanding a small favor the Feds characterized as a “bribe”. Or keep up to date on child support (former Congressman Walsh).  Or limit themself to just one homeowner exemption since its hard to keep track of their two homes and, well, one tax deduction seems low (see Walsh’s replacement, the new US Rep Duckworth).  Others let their spouse run some complicated not-for-profit tax fraud and got convicted (see Jan Schakowsky).  Or pay property taxes (Congressman Gutierrez).  In 2012, when his national party debated about how many years back Mitt Romney should go with his tax return disclosures, Illinois Democratic candidate for US Congress, Brad Schneider, refused to release any tax returns.  Don’t worry, nothing to hide, right? And the blaise Illinois voters elected Schneider, anyway. The phrase “dodgy real estate deal” brings to mind sneaky things Illinois politicians have done (Obama’s “boneheaded” Rezko loan and Gutierrez again ).
And, perhaps most importantly, we need not worry about Squeezy going on NBC’s reality series “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” and hesitating about eating bugs. “Patti Blagojevich was voted off during Tuesday night’s episode after lasting 23 days of eating tarantulas and being dumped into rushing rivers in Costa Rica.” 
That suggests a partial solution to the Illinois pension mess: put Squeezy on “I’m A Celebrity”, win and use the cash against that Illinois pension shortfall. Only $97 billion more to go.
You political junkies notice most of the pols above are Democrats. Lest I be accused of partisanship, I point out only a few Republicans remain in Illinois. Two, actually. And they just lost their seats so they have no power to misuse. Which ties back to Governor Quinn and Squeezy the Pension Python. With the last Republican evicted from the state, the Democrats gained “Supermajority” control in each house. Governor Quinn ceased to exist. Though he is of the same party, his veto is useless because the legislature can override. Meaning, if Quinn is serious about the state’s deficit (and if Squeezy the Pension Python stands for anything, its seriousness of legislative purpose), he needs people to start caring and call their legislators because he can’t do a thing. He’s almost as powerless as an Illinois Republican.
Why did the Republicans lose their last forest hideaway in the foothills of northwest Illinois in 2012? Didn’t Romney kinda, sorta make it interesting nationally? Yes, but the Illinois Republican Party’s two members think family trips to Taco Bell one Sunday night a month qualifies as “Hispanic outreach.” The GOP won zero Latino votes in a year when the Latino proportion jumped from 6% to 12% of the state’s vote. Yes, I exaggerate, Latinos only gave 81% of their Illinois votes to Obama. Still, that smoked the Last of the Land of Lincoln Republicans.
It also left Governor Quinn powerless and Illinois GOP State Chairman Brady anxiously waiting publication of my novels which one kind reading volunteer, an English teacher, called, “gringos chasing amazing Latinas.” Which is a close proxy for what the national GOP is trying to do by 2016. Except that my gringos win Latin sympathy more than 19% of the time. Perhaps the Illinois GOP should read my fiction, they’ll learn un poco Español. Spanglish never hurt a red voter; Spanish is a European language, after all. Soon the state’s other Republican, Jim Oberweis, will think twice about proposals to deport the gente – or their cousins and uncles – he’d like to vote for him. Stay tuned Illinois Republicans for more cross-cultural tips. You’ll be singing along to Yuridia in faster than Mexican Time (GOP gringo translation: she’s a popular Mexican-born singer who sings in Spanish and, my oh my, lived nine years in Arizona).
Aspiring authors, take note! Please don’t steal my specific lines or you’ll hear from my lawyer, but Illinois settings are always good for a line or two. Set it in Chicago and you’ll find corrupt aldermen and ghost-payroll patronage workers. Please, get something useful out of our miserable government. Perhaps you’ve got a need for a cuddly orange pension snake? There’s a rumor they live in sewers and attack people from toilets. Except in the University of Chicago dorm toilets, where they leave hand grenades.  I’ve dipped into the sewer that is Illinois politics a few times myself. In Details:
“We jay-walked near the alley called Quincy Street, where a “Beware Rats!” sign decorated a light post. Because the phrase could refer to vermin or Chicago politicians, a helpful drawing of a long-tailed pest clarified under the words.”
“In the light of the highway’s halogen street lights, I saw the car was silver, late-model and had a telltale white with blue numbering Illinois license plate. Lovingly hand-crafted by an imprisoned former Governor.”
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gangnam_Style, retrieved 11/22/12.
 “He came under fire last August for a discrepancy in the property tax bill for his Bucktown house at 2132 W. Cortland St., which he has just listed for $539,000. The fact that his 1996 property taxes were only $274.42–significantly less than the $5,000-a-year tax bills for neighboring homes.” http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1999-04-25/business/9904250298_1_illinois-house-rod-blagojevich-property-tax-bill