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Stealing Brady's Thunder

Blake D. Dvorak

In response to the state Senate's passage of a school choice program championed by Sen. James Meeks, this comment over at CapFax makes a good point:

Looks like Madigan and Cullerton are attempting to clear the field of traditional hot GOP issues to campaign on. It appears they are trying to put up a damn [sic] to slow the pending anti dem flood of discontent.
Add in the pension reform bill that just passed -- a significant step also -- and suddenly the Democrat-controlled General Assembly is stealing all the GOP's best talking points: An unsustainable pension system and a public school system dead-set against reform.

Now, Meeks has been fighting for vouchers for a while now, so we shouldn't sully his victory by implying political opportunism. Similarly, something had to happen with the pension system, because at north of $80 billion, Illinois has the largest unfunded pension system in the country. Any steps toward balancing the budget and restoring the state's fiscal health has to take pensions into account.

But that leaves two fewer issues for Brady and the Republicans to campaign on this year. And they're both big issues that were hurting the Democrats in the public's eye. Brady still has the tax increase issue to attack, and one might argue that the pension reform bill doesn't go far enough, but the Dems have managed to steal a bit of his thunder.

UPDATE: I should also probably include Pat Quinn's choice of Sheila Simon as somewhat directed at Brady. Simon is a "downstater" and the CW out there is that Quinn wanted to minimize Brady's downstate support.

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