Did Illinois lose out when a term limits amendment was denied a place on the fall ballot, or is all the bickering just another political time waster that ignores the biggest problem in Illinois: the voters.
Let’s be honest. Voters can have term limits whenever we want them. We just don’t want them badly enough and prove it in election after election. All we have to do is stop voting the same politicians into office. We don’t do that. Instead, we blame members of the legislature who won’t stop seeking reelection while ignoring our responsibility to make sure bad candidates are not voted in to begin with. Once they get in, we fail in our duty to vote them out. Even if we passed a term limits amendment, would that save us from the bad decisions that have made Illinois a bad example for the entire country?
No term limits, or too many pigs at the public trough?
Instead of rehashing the Quinn-Rauner scuffle over how Illinois voters didn’t get to decide for or against keeping politicians on the public dole for a lifetime, we should be asking why voters let hangers-on stick around. The answer is one of those ugly truths no one likes to talk about.
Elected officials aren’t the only ones who like to spend too much time at the public trough. Unions, lobbyists, activists, special interests, public employees, and most important, too many voters with their hands out enjoy taxpayer slops, too. They all stand to lose something if we tinker with the system. The state’s economy wasn’t drained to destitution because of responsible decision-making. It was made a national laughingstock because there are too many hands out and not enough legislators wise enough to say no.
The Obama-inspired socialist theme for this year’s midterm elections is how government can best raise the standard of living for Americans with as little effort and responsibility on our part as possible. All we have to do in Illinois is cast our votes for Democrats and we have a chance at not only raising the minimum wage, but also saying “yes” to clipping millionaires so their success can’t impede our upward mobility. That’s the kind of thinking and two ballot questions that make Illinois a state where term limits can’t and won’t save the day.
Quinn’s minimum wage stunt shows who Illinois works for.
Is there any reason to go all-out for term limits in a state where the governor makes a public display of living off the minimum wage? Pat Quinn’s new stunt is a fraud in a state where too many already expect too much and businesses have been targeted to pay for the newest handout.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel just made his own show of raising the mandatory wage for Chicago contractors, an irresponsibly prudent move considering teacher’s union leader Karen Lewis is barking at his heels. Emanuel doesn’t have to defend his record against a Republican just yet. He has to fight members of his own party first. Quinn doesn’t have that problem. He only needs to wear the Democratic moniker, repeat Obama’s words, and recite his record of passing out alms to the needy. Don’t forget, Rod Blagojevich won a second term with a similar agenda despite the dark cloud that finally put Quinn in the governor’s seat. None of this would have been prevented by a term limits amendment. It could only have been stopped in the voting booth by never giving Blago a chance.
Term limits demands responsibility too many voters don’t have.
Samuel Adams called the vote a solemn trust. He would crawl out of his grave if he could see how we treat that trust. Until voters demand responsibility from themselves and their vote, we could end up worse off with term limits than letting the likes of Mike Madigan stay in office until the end of time. Why? Because in a state where running on an irresponsible record draw votes, the new blood only needs to up the ante by making even more irresponsible promises.
I will vote for Bruce Rauner. Voting for Pat Quinn is a vote for fiscal suicide. However, anyone who believes for a second that getting a term limits amendment on the ballot would have fixed Illinois’ biggest problem places too much faith in voters. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for term limits. Politicians on both sides of the partisan coin are greedy and many will feed at the public trough until they choke. That why so many Illinois public officials end up in prison.
Popular sovereignty went bad in Illinois. While many of us would like to see term limits imposed all the way to Capitol Hill, they are not a panacea for bad decision making on the part of the people. Not only is Illinois a place where term limits might not make a difference, it is a place where too many people prove they should never enter a voting booth.