As I look back on things, I realized that you've been pretty darned good to me over the years. You brought me that electric guitar I wanted when I was nine, the telescope I begged for when I was 10, the Daisy Pump-Action BB gun with scope I craved when I was 11, etc., etc., etc.
As I grew older, your presents became more sophisticated. Stereos, vacations, computers, cell phones, fine Irish whiskey. I've just been overwhelmed by your generosity and thoughtfulness. I can't imagine what I've done to deserve your grand beneficence throughout these many years, but, trust me on this one: I've appreciated every gift you've bestowed upon me.
In fact, Santa, you've been so overwhelmingly kind that I hope this year you turned your attention to others and showered them with presents instead. Here's my list of what some people need.
- Governor Rod Blagojevich. Please give this man the realization that he doesn't always have to be running for reelection. The root of the word "governor" is, after all, "govern," and Blagojevich does precious little of that, preferring to propose big programs that get him on the front page of newspapers, but with no money attached to actually achieve his claimed goals. I know this may be a little too selfish, but if you could also make sure that Blagojevich is reelected again and again and again I would be forever in your debt. Rod has been excellent for the news business, what with all those shady pals of his who have run afoul of the law. I can't imagine life without him.
- U.S. Senator Barack Obama. What do you get for the man who has everything? He's already got boatloads of charisma, charm, and intelligence. Millions of people are clamoring for him to run for president. His book is on the New York Times bestseller list. Hillary Clinton is shaking in her boots. I've thought long and hard about this one, and I've come up with a suggestion. How about making sure Barack doesn't forget Illinois while he's toying with this presidential thing? We're supposed to have two U.S. senators, but if he starts jaunting around the country, he might forget to make time for the very people who elevated him to his newfound place of prominence. Also, could you deliver a big lump of coal to all the goofy pundits who claim that his middle name "Hussein" and his late father's Islamic religion (that he flatly rejected long ago) are somehow all-important "issues"? Thanks. That would be nice.
- Judy Baar Topinka. I see you already got her a job with sweet benefits since she lost the governor's race to Rod Blagojevich, so I think your work is done.
- Comptroller Dan Hynes. Could you find a way in your heart to see that he gets another chance at higher office? He's been stuck as state comptroller since 1998. That's supposed to be a springboard office, not a permanent job. He's a good guy and I kinda feel sorry for him ever since he was run over by the Barack Obama freight train in the U.S. Senate primary two years ago.
- Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. I'd consider it a major personal favor if you could somehow make Daley's reelection race a whole lot tougher than it looks to be right now. We don't have contribution limits in Illinois, so maybe you could drop off a pile of checks for Dorothy Brown or Doc Walls. I think it would be good for Daley to finally have a real run for his money. The arrogance of power is never a good thing.
- House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones. These two powerful Democrats have been fighting for years. Keep up the good work, Santa. If they ever made peace, my political newsletter would lose half of its subscribers.
- Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson. As you well know, Frank is stuck on the wrong end of Emil Jones' newly won veto-proof majority. Please strengthen his sense of humor. He's gonna need it to get through the next two years.
Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax (a daily political newsletter) and (http://www.thecapitolfaxblog.com).