Every legislative session has its own feel, and its own rhythm. This fall's veto session feels like death - in more ways than one.

One should never predict anything about what could happen in a veto session, but nothing big seems to be moving or percolating this fall.

You've probably heard by now that Illinois Governor George Ryan has ordered almost all state agencies under his control to come up with 2-percent budget cuts.

The idea is to find $250 million in savings to make up for a drop in state revenues.

From the totally pro-life Jim Ryan, to the tough-talking, pro-life, pro-gun prosecutor Joe Birkett, to the "Let's attack Iraq today!" U.S. Senate candidate Jim Durkin, the right wing got its head handed to it last week in Illinois.

You'd think that all four state legislative leaders would have busted their humps this fall to win every possible race.

But it actually looked like a couple of those leaders threw some races, albeit for different reasons.

In preparation for the upcoming election, the River Cities' Reader asked candidates to respond to the following: "Compare yourself to and contrast yourself with your opponent(s) in terms of your respective positions on the issues you think will be most important during the next term of the office you're seeking.

My buddy Jim Anderson over at the Illinois Radio Network mentioned the other day that he is seeing some eerie similarities between this governor's race and the last one. He could very well be right.

Back in 1998, George Ryan was the heavy early favorite.

Republicans have controlled the governor's mansion in Illinois since 1977, and that stranglehold has been a consistent theme in the campaign of Democrat Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich, a member of the U.

In preparation for the upcoming election, the River Cities' Reader asked candidates to respond to the following: "Compare yourself to and contrast yourself with your opponent(s) in terms of your respective positions on the issues you think will be most important during the next term of the office you're seeking.

No real drama was expected out of Illinois House campaigns this year.

The Democrats have a lock on the chamber. A combination of a new and loss-proof legislative-district map and the political might of House Speaker Michael Madigan's campaign operation guarantee that the Republicans can't take the House for the next 10 years - barring a cataclysmic political event that would have to surpass the Great 1994 Republican Landslide.

I have been writing about Illinois politics for more than 12 years now, and, believe it or not, I've never called anyone a liar. That's a pretty harsh thing to say about someone, even a politician. But I'm starting to wonder whether Republican attorney general candidate Joe Birkett is capable of telling the truth.

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