State Dems 2.0 - NBC Chicago

State Dems 2.0

New website sure to suck



    State Dems 2.0
    A new website for Illinois State Senate Democrats is going to be a knee slapper.

    A new website for state senate Democrats is launching on Monday and it's going to be hilarious.

    Not particularly truthful, but hilarious.

    Intended to be a repository for Democratic legislators to talk up their proposals, the site's sure to be rife with unintended laugh lines.

    For example, as part of the launch the Dems have put together a video called Leading the Way that could only be improved upon if Morgan Freeman did the narration instead of state senate president John Cullerton.

    Leading the Way is a minimalist, documentary-style take on what senate Democrats have accomplished this year, but let's stick it in the drama category because it's only loosely based on the facts.

    Shot as a series of black-and-white still photos and backed by the stirring musical strains of Democracy, Cullerton intones the best he can that "the impeachment of an elected official is a very serious event."

    Really? News at 10.

    Leading the Way

    Cullerton goes on like this for an excruciating nine minutes and four seconds. It's so painful I started to pine for Rod Blagojevich.

    The most amusing moment occurs at the 4:32 mark (set your alarm) when Patrick Collins, the former federal prosecutor who chaired an ethics board tasked to help clean up state government, makes a (surely unwanted) appearance.

    "We took their recommendations and went even further," Cullerton says, even though Collins has railed about the way legislators avoided real reform and watered down those recommendations it bothered to act on.

    Though there is no laugh track, I nearly lost it when Cullerton noted "the dysfunction of the last six years" without mentioning that his own party led the way while controlling both the Senate and the House.

    "I hope you will refer often to as Senate Democrats help Lead the Way to improving Illinois," Toby Trimmer from Cullerton's office wrote in a mass e-mail.

    Oh I will. I can hardly wait.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor ofThe Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.