Monday, October 16, 2006


The Game Show Governor's Race

Remember that great old game show called Let's Make A Deal? It was hosted by Monty Hall and the contestants were often given the choice of exchanging their prizes for what was behind a set of three doors. It was pretty much a crapshoot and the odds were pretty good that whichever door the contestant chose it was going to be less than what he or she had hoped for. Well this is the way I feel when I think about the current Governor's race here in Illinois.

Recent polling shows that the incumbent Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich has a commanding fourteen point lead in this race. Unfortunately, he's corrupt. And I don't mean just a little, I mean a lot. He has been under investigation for his hiring practices almost throughout his tenure and is now being investigated for accepting a $1500 check given to his daughter by a friend whose wife had just been hired by the state despite her inability to pass a required test. (This is just one of the many reasons I voted against him in the primary.) On the other hand, he has done some very good things here in Illinois. For instance, we are #1 in job creation in the midwest. He's also expanded pre-school for children, has made affordable prescription drugs available to all seniors, and has guaranteed affordable health care for every single child in the state. Democratic action at its best. But he's still corrupt.

His opponent is Judy Baar Topinka, the Republican State Treasurer and virtually the only Republican to have survived the George Ryan bribery scandal in the last election. However, she's corrupt too. Over the years, questions have been raised about her fundraising activities including the fact that during her re-election campaign in 2004 she took as much as $600,000 from banking interests that did business with the her office and stand to benefit from future state contracts. She's also on record as a strong supporter of George W. Bush's economic and tax policies plus she has miles of videotape to contend with where she loudly voices her support of her ex boss, George Ryan. Including one incident where she called him a "damn decent guy" and proclaimed that she "loved him dearly."

So what are my options? Well, much like Let's Make A Deal, it looks as though I've got three choices and the odds are pretty good that I'm going to end up disappointed.

Behind door number 1 is Rod Blagojevich - A corrupt Democrat who has done some good things for the state despite being ethically challenged.

Behind door number two is Judy Baar Topinka - A corrupt Republican who supports George W. Bush and has ties to a convicted felon.

Behind door number three is Rich Whitney - The Green party candidate who has no chance of winning and is exactly the person Topinka and the Republicans would like me to vote for.

So... which door should I choose? (tick tock tick tock tick tock...)

As hard as it is, I will be voting for the corrupt Democrat, Rod Blagojevich. Why? Because he is my party's candidate and has the best chance of getting things done with the Democratic state legislature. However, that doesn't mean he should get a free pass. I believe that it is imperative that we as Democrats hold to our principles and insist that Blagojevich clean up his act. And I think that this should be the MO of every Democrat across the country - Support your party, but demand transparency and accountability of your elected officials. How can we possibly distinguish ourselves from the culture of corruption that has infested the Republican party if we are not willing to hold our own party members to the same high standard? It's time that we showed the world that we are indeed the country of higher morals and values by cleaning up American politics, including those within our own party. And after we've seen the Republican party's fa├žade of moral superiority crumble away, it's only fitting that Democrats should lead the way.

So anyway, this November I will be holding my breath and choosing what's behind door number one. Let's hope I'm making the right choice.

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