Serious, intense clout usually only comes into play at the Illinois Statehouse on behalf of giant corporations, powerful political organizations, influential labor unions, entrenched bureaucracies, or other unstoppable special interests.
Yet another statewide survey shows big trouble for Governor Rod Blagojevich. The Glengariff Group's poll of 600 registered Illinois voters found Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka leading Blagojevich 33-31.
Representative John Fritchey's spring legislative session was going extraordinarily well ... until he smacked into the past 10 days. Fritchey (D-Chicago) was the prime motivator behind the unprecedented compromise between pro-life and pro-choice groups earlier this session.
Governor Rod Blagojevich was declared a "winner" by the Chicago media after the spring legislative session ended last week. Adjourning the session by May 31 while, for a change, getting along with other Democrats, upholding his promise not to raise taxes, and coming up with lots of new programs and comprehensive medical-malpractice reform made him look pretty good in many eyes.
If you're wondering why Governor Rod Blagojevich would flip-flop on his solemn vow to reform the state's massively underfunded pension systems, you don't have to look much farther than the most recent poll. A survey of 1,000 registered Illinois voters taken a week ago showed Republican state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka leading Democrat Blagojevich by almost 10 percentage points.
I suppose the easy thing to do would be to follow everyone else's lead and write a column about Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's potty mouth. So much has been written about the governor's self-proclaimed "testicular virility" that you've probably gotten the point, however.
Last year, House Speaker Michael Madigan sent a clear message to Governor Rod Blagojevich when he brought all of the governor's highly unpopular tax and fee hikes to the floor for up-or-down votes. The governor's bills all lost by overwhelming margins, and Blagojevich was forced to back down from his demand that Madigan pass his proposals.
Illinois Republican leaders who attended a recent Will County retreat with Karl Rove were a little taken aback when the White House political guru talked excitedly about bringing Vice President Dick Cheney into Illinois to campaign on behalf of the Republican candidate for Illinois attorney general.
The scathing audit of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services that made such big headlines last week could be just the tip of the iceberg. The audit uncovered numerous problems at the agency, including some possible criminal activity, but inside sources say that there is much more to come.
Other than a handful of state employees, highway workers, Medicaid vendors, commercial-truck owners, and poor people, almost nobody out there in Voter Land has really paid much attention to the state's budget problems.

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