It won't just be the shadow of disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich hanging around in the ether as Gov. Pat Quinn gives his first budget address to the General Assembly today; it will be his actual campaign-mode voice as Blago continues to narrate the performance of his successor in a cynical and even pitiful attempt to rehabilitate his own image.
"Pat Quinn, shame on you for wanting to raise taxes on people!" Blagojevich said on the Don & Roma Show on Tuesday.
Quinn was listening, and said that what Blagojevich said sounded good "if you say it real fast."
Quinn also noted that it's isn't exactly responsible to not pay your bills - even at a diner, a reference that might have struck many folks as odd, but clearly aimed at Blagojevich's habit as a college student of the famed dine-and-dash. It's a habit, Quinn implied, that stuck.
In fact, Quinn's budget proposal would raise taxes for those families generally above the income median in Illinois and lower them for those below. Blagojevich can say he never raised the income tax during his tenure, but Quinn is attempting to actually reform the income tax in a progressive way. Like it or not, it's a more credible attempt at governing.
But then, when it comes to budgets Blagojevich has less credibility than the executives at AIG. For example, Blagojevich said that if he was still governor he would close the budget gap in part by selling the state lottery. As Phil Rogers noted in his NBC5 report last night, the U.S. Department of Justice said a few months ago that that plan was likely illegal. The Justice Department wasn't trying to be funny or ironic, but in retrospect such an attempt could have wound up among Blago's articles of impeachment if he pursued it the way he pursued so many other ill-advised schemes.
Blagojevich also complained that Quinn the famed populist was siding with corporations, but corporate taxes will likely go up under Quinn's plan.
You don't have to like Quinn or his budget proposal to once again be reminded by Blagojevich himself that he can be an awfully persuasive speaker - if you don't pay attention to the facts. Once you do, you are reminded of what a louse he is, and how he is likely to be in prison a year or two from now unless he gets just the right jury pool. Then he'll probably be on talk radio instead - speaking really fast.