Democrats put Illinois in shambles

Still undecided about who gets your vote Nov. 2? Then consider:

Who has turned Illinois into perhaps the most financially crippled state in the Union? The Democrats who run it.

Who's the ex-governor who, among other things, is charged with trying to shake down a children's hospital? Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat.

Who's the politician who rules the House with an iron fist, blocking every reasonable proposal that would help Illinois climb out of its financial cesspool? House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat.

Who's the scaredy-cat governor who would sink us further into the state's financial hellhole by not standing up to Madigan? Democrat Pat Quinn.


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Who is the state's chief law enforcement officer who's too busy with other stuff to prosecute public corruption? Lisa Madigan, Michael Madigan's daughter and, of course, a Democrat.

Whose solution to the current budget problems is to borrow billions more when the state's credit rating is among the nation's worst, sending the cost of further borrowing into the stratosphere? Whose policies have turned Illinois into the nation's leading deadbeat, making health care and Medicaid providers, schools, substance abuse and senior centers, as well as hundreds of other social service agencies, cut services? Who is stiffing the public employees' pension funds? Democrats, Democrats and Democrats.

Nationally, who has racked up more national debt in such quick and historic proportions? DemocratPresident Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress. Who has shoved future generations into multitrillion-dollar hock with costly and utopian fiscal policies that, by creating a climate of such uncertainty, is dragging America into one of its longest economic declines? Again, Democrats. Whose delusional spending schemes have exceeded what the nation has spent in two wars? Democrats.

Which political party controls perhaps the most corrupt major city and state in the nation? Who has elevated insider dealing and profiteering to heights that far eclipse the venality of Aldermen "Bathhouse John" Coughlin and Michael "Hinky Dink" Kenna, Chicago's iconic crooks? Who has been filling the buses heading for the slammer, from city clerk to enough aldermen to field the offensive and defensive units of the Chicago Bears? Which party unhesitatingly endorsed the two biggest buffoons ever to serve here in public office -- Blagojevich and Cook County Board President Todd Stroger? The answer: Democrats, all.

Quickly will come the response: "But Republicans have had their share of crooks too. Former Gov.George Ryan, who occupies a federal prison cell, for one. Then there's, umh and umh ... ." I'll let someone e-mail me the complete list.

Republicans indeed have been carted off to the slammer and have botched their share of state, federal and local governments. Republicans, such as Ryan, betraying campaign promises to GOP voters, have teamed up with Democrats in the state Combine (© John Kass) to fleece taxpayers and create the Chicago and Illinois model of government hell.

But Republicans aren't in charge now. They didn't create the present shambles. Democrats did.

I agree with the candidate who said in an ad, "Why in the world would we put back into power the same people who made this mess? ... We deserve better."

Incredibly, though, that came from a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, whose handlers haven't noticed the growing, steaming piles of rubbish that now pass for federal, Illinois and Chicago governance. That candidate, Alexi Giannoulias, stood by as Bright Start -- the college loan program he oversees as state treasurer -- blew tens of millions of dollars that parents had saved for their kids' education. Whose explanation about his role in his family bank's failure and its loans to mob figures is so hashed that he, apparently, can't keep it straight? Whose answer to what programs he would cut amounted to "Gee, let's see, umh, just a second, let me think ... "

Giannoulias and the rest of the Democrats know who made this mess. They're counting on you not to know.

Or care.


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  • Mr. Byrne, I have to give you credit. Somehow, some way, you continue to convince the Tribune to cut you checks, while week after week you simply write some variation on "it's all the Democrat's fault!". But this time, you've outdone yourself. You literally devote an entire column to why everything is the fault of the Democrats.

    I'd like to get into a principled argument about how badly you "analysis" is off the mark. I'd like to try to explain to you that at least part (if not a vast majority) of the problems facing Illinois are a direct reflection of the problems facing the nation. Problems that started well before Obama the anti-Christ become President. Problems that grew and festered under predominantly Republican rule. Problems you rather predictably fail to mention, as it doesn't fit your world view.

    Certainly Illinois could have been run better, and there is very little to be proud of on either side of the aisle, but I would think the problems in Illinois are can be blamed more fully on the effects of a nationwide economic collapse than on Lisa Madigan.

  • Re national debt runup, suggest you look at G W Bush. Include all debt financed through other countries that did not get recorded in national debt figures, e.g. war in Iraq. You will get quite a different story.

  • Sorry to inform the two of you to the fact that in Illinois the republican party couldn't pass gas. They don't have the votes.Can you count the seats held by both parties abd see the difference? As for the war,I don't like them either but the cost of both do not add up to the stimulus spent in just 18 monthes. We are talking about Illinois here though. Granted this has been a joint effort politically but who has control of BOTH houses here??? I'll let you talk a guess .......I am not an econ major but just from my humble life of raising a couple of kids ,running a business and paying for 2 to go to college,you can't spend what you don't have.This is not fiction of some far right fringe group,just fundamental truth.It's all about the spending.....Don't forget that when it begins to snow that to is Bushs fault for not recognizing global warming.

  • waterbill, you missed my point. Yes, we are talking about Illinois, but Illinois does not exist in a vacuum. If the national economy was doing well, Illinois would not be in this mess, regardless of whether the Democrats or Republicans were in charge. To pretend that Illinois is in trouble because Lisa Madigan won't prosecute corrupt politicians is silly. To single out Giannoulias as "standing by" while Bright Start lost money, is asinine, lest you are going to pillory EVERY treasurer from EVERY state, as pretty much the entire country was losing money at that time. In point of fact, Illinois was one of the quicker states, when it came to reacting to the downturn.

    To jump on Obama for spending billions on the stimulus, without mentioning WHY the stimulus was necessary, is intellectually dishonest. Obama didn't come to office and randomly decide that he wanted to blow 750 billion just for the heck of it. He did it because most economists said it was necessary in order to avoid a depression. A depression brought about due to economic conditions which festered under almost unanimous Republican rule. You may not think it was the Republicans fault, but I promise you that if John Kerry had been President from 2004-2008, Mr. Byrne would have wasted no time pointing that out.

    As far as the "cost" of the wars, I know what Fox News is telling you, but even if the numbers are correct (and I'm not sure they are), I'm pretty sure 4,000 American soldiers didn't die because of the stimulus.

  • Look we are not going to change each others line of thinking,but I never saw george bush at the capital in springfield.We can go round and round about federal policies but the facts are we can not spend our way out of anything.Don't you find it a little funny how tax relief always has an experation date but tax increases never do? Remember to that it takes more than a president to get anything done.Not blaming both is asinine.We have to hold these pirates in power for this mess,I as well as you didn't blow the dough,or not monitor,or had no idea this was going to happen.WE put these people in office and we have to put them out of office.I do not want to saddle my children as well as their children with a debt that I can't even fathom.It's about the spending,the uncertainty ,the over regulations,the mismanagement.We all deserve better.Illinois is broke,pick a party and just tell them to stop the spending. Do some research and follow the money,fox didn't have to tell me that one.

  • In reply to waterbill:

    I could go point by point with you, but as you said, we aren't going to change each others thinking. However, you did say "not blaming both is asinine", which I agree with and was essentially my original point. The entire point of Mr. Byrne's column was, as it ALWAYS is, don't blame the Republicans, it's all the Democrats fault. So he clearly doesn't blame both. Which, by the transitive property, means....well I think you can figure it out.

  • In reply to Briant1:

    In order to carry on an intelligent conversation, it is necessary to read and comprehend what I wrote. In response to your criticism that I ALWAYS say don't blame the Republicans, it's all the Democrats' fault, here's what I wrote:

    "Quickly will come the response: 'But Republicans have had their share of crooks too. Former Gov.George Ryan, who occupies a federal prison cell, for one. Then there's, umh and umh ... .' I'll let someone e-mail me the complete list.

    "Republicans indeed have been carted off to the slammer and have botched their share of state, federal and local governments. Republicans, such as Ryan, betraying campaign promises to GOP voters, have teamed up with Democrats in the state Combine (

  • In reply to Briant1:

    Mr. Byrne, your response is welcome, but isn't actually addressing the point. I never claimed that you said Republicans are always perfect. Indeed, you said they could be blamed for bad stuff in the past. Your actual point of this article, however, is "even though the Republicans have had some stinkers in office before, this is all the Democrats fault". You specifically state, and even repeat this point in your response: "But Republicans aren't in charge now. They didn't create the present shambles. Democrats did."

    If you honestly believe that one party, EITHER party is entirely responsible for the situation we find ourselves in, how can anyone take you seriously? If you honestly believe that the situation in Illinois isn't directly related to the situation in Washington, and if you honestly believe that we are here because of less than 2 years of Obama being President, then I have a hard time to believe you are giving this any kind serious thought. If your goal is to push people to vote for the people you want, then congratulations. If your goal is to inform people, you aren't nearly as successful.

    I didn't give you a laundry list of jailed Republicans. I simply pointed out how simplistic your premise was. So your claim that I somehow made your "predictions come true" is only accurate if your prediction was "I bet someone argues with me".

    Lastly, your misguided shots at my reading comprehension doesn't address virtually every other column that I have ever read by you. I am a 25 year Tribune subscriber, and once I took notice of your columns, I started paying attention to your worldview. I will fully admit that I don't remember your column from the Sun-times from the mid 80's which proves you don't always blame Democrats. However, I doubt you would hold many people to the standard of researching an author's works from 1985 in order to criticize their current body of work.

    Thanks for your time.

  • I just saw the story about the tax bills coming after the elections,mmmm.Who's in charge here???

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