Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

The Illinois GOP's March Madness

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    NEWSLETTERS

    To celebrate the NCAA's March Madness, the Illinois Republican Party is sponsoring its own big-bracket tournament. Employing the subtlety we’ve come to expect from conservative humor, it’s called the “Biggest Tax and Spend Democrat in Illinois Tournament

    Illinois is full of ‘Tax & Spend’ Democrats,” the party’s website says. “But who is the biggest Tax & Spend Illinois Democrat? Pat Quinn? Mike Madigan? John Cullerton? Barack Obama? Or someone else? Welcome to the 2011 Illinois Madness Tournament to pick the biggest ‘Tax & Spend’ Illinois Democrat. Like the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament, ‘March Madness,’ Illinois Madness features a bracket of 63 Illinois Democrats from every region of the State and a special play-in round between ‘Flee Party’ Wisconsin and Indiana Democrats.”

    Concerned citizens are invited to vote for the winners of each round. 

    Let’s handicap the brackets.

    In the Higher Taxes Region, Gov. Pat Quinn is the #1 seed. Quinn, who pushed through a two-point increase in the state income tax last year, is a strong favorite to win it all.

    In the Skyrocketing Debt Region, House Speaker Michael Madigan is #1. Madigan provided the votes for Quinn’s tax increase. He has the moves to outmaneuver the governor on the House floor.

    In the Spend, Spend, Spend Region, State Senate President John Cullerton is the favorite. Cullerton is a rookie in the leadership. He’s not capable of raising taxes as high as Quinn or Madigan.

    In the Higher Gas Prices Region, President Barack Obama is the top seed. Obama can’t be seriously considered as a contender until gas prices reach the levels of late 2007/early 2008.

    Some of these first-round matches are impossible to figure. State Rep. Chuck Jefferson vs. state Rep. Keith Farnham? Cook County Clerk David Orr vs. St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern? Those are even more obscure than the Arkansas-Little Rock/Texas-San Antonio play-in game. These people are unknown even to their constituents. Not even Capitol Fax could dope these out.

    I’m going to have to go with Quinn as the winner of this tournament. During last year’s campaign, he promised to raise taxes by no more than one point, then doubled down after he was elected. And he got the all-powerful Madigan to go along.

    Unfortunately, Democrats won’t be able to retaliate with their own bracket. There aren’t 64 Republican politicians left in Illinois.