November 4, 2012
My fellow taxpaying chumbolones. With only days before Tuesday's election — between a big-government Republican and a big-big-big-really-big-government Democrat — why don't we wrap things up?
The dog that didn't bark
Can President Barack Obama lose the popular vote to Mitt Romney on Tuesday and still be re-elected?
Of course. If Obama does well enough in the so-called battleground states, particularly Ohio and Virginia, he could very well win the 270 Electoral College votes he needs.
If this happens, Republican activists will tear out their hair and shriek with rage. They'll argue that the Electoral College system is an antiquated affair giving too much power to just a few battleground states, where the ground was poisoned by Team Obama's intensely negative campaigning early on.
But the Democrats will shake their heads and say something like, "Well, the rules are the rules."
With all those loud sounds coming from the presidential campaigns, sometimes it is important to concentrate on what you don't hear. Such as when the famous detective realized that no one heard the barking dog.
I haven't heard the Democrats barking complaints about the Electoral College, have you? Oh, in 2000, during the razor-thin election between soon-to-be President George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, there was plenty of barking about the Electoral College. Bush narrowly lost the popular vote. But those Florida hanging chads — remember those ridiculous bits from paper ballots? — helped Bush win the Electoral College and the presidency.
Afterward, the Republicans talked about the rule of law and the importance of traditions passed down from the founders. And the political left issued piteous screams about the unfairness of it all, on TV, the Web, editorial pages, newspaper columns and talk radio. It was one gigantic shriek party.
And like almost every other Democrat back then, President Obama wanted the Electoral College eliminated. I was reminded of this after reading The Hill, which recently ran a story mentioning that the issue came up in the 2004 U.S. Senate campaign between Obama and the deranged right-wing Republican Alan Keyes.
I have good reason to call Keyes deranged. During a news conference, Keyes didn't like one of my questions. So he denounced me as just a left-wing agent of the liberal media bent on embarrassing conservatives. Chicago TV newsman Mike Flannery almost fainted.
"Are you talking about Kass?" an astonished Flannery asked. Keyes said he was indeed.
But back to the story. During the debate, Obama, the young backbencher from the Illinois state Senate, was asked about the Electoral College.
When asked if he would eliminate it, Obama replied, "Yes. I think at this point, this is breaking down."
What really broke down were the Democratic hopes for a Gore presidency. Since then Tipper finally had enough and left him, he got fat, and he made a pile of money championing the environment.
Gore's analysis about the first Romney-Obama debate in Denver, explaining that Obama lost because the president couldn't handle the mountain altitude, confirmed the suspicion among many that he was cuckoo and that the Electoral College did the right thing.
These days, I don't hear much from the anti-Electoral College Democrats. They're mum, and so are those old pro-Electoral College Republicans.
The shrieking always comes afterward, and only by the losers. Just remember, they're politicos. And few are interested in the state of the nation. Most of the operatives want only this: their hands on the levers of power.
Madiganistan (formerly Illinois)
The most important election in the state isn't officially on the ballot, but you will decide it anyway.
With the state all but bankrupt, with the economy failing and jobs fleeing, you will determine our local economic and political future with the ballot you cast.
Will Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Lisa's Daddy, remain as boss of the state's government and the Illinois Democratic Party?
Whether he retains the speaker's role is technically up to the members of the Illinois House. There are good and bad among them from each party. But the other day I let you in on a secret, and I feel like repeating it today.
The relative merits of the Democratic candidates for the Illinois House don't matter. What matters is that Madigan drew their district boundaries and contributes to their campaigns from the vast war chests he controls. What he expects in return is this: To be reinstalled as speaker, as he has been for most of the past three decades, so he can control the state.
He's so intent on this that he's even made a deal with the politicos of Melrose Park to oust state Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano and install a Democrat. Just what the boys from Melrose Park expect from Madigan in return for their turning on Saviano, we don't know.
But I do know this. If you vote for a Democrat for state representative, any Democrat, good or bad, all you're really doing is voting for Mike Madigan to remain the boss.
And in January, during the lame-duck session, he'll most likely broker a deal to make permanent the 67 percent state income tax increase, along with passing a casino deal and some lukewarm state pension reform. Don't say I didn't warn you.
The Khan of Madiganistan isn't beholden to us. Just to the puppets in his control.
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