Editorial: Open primary bill a victim of shenanigans
In the years that Rod Blagojevich ruled Illinois, state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, like other Illinois House Democrats, tried to craft an image as a fighter of our disgraced former governor’s bad policies.
We always suspected that the white hats Lang and the House Democrats have worn would be soiled once the uniting force that was Blagojevich was gone, and they were left to their own tendencies.
On Wednesday, Lang proved us right as he played toady for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.
Lang succeeded in attaching a poison pill to the open primary bill sponsored by state Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville. Black’s bill would finally free current and prospective government workers from having political bosses rifle through their primary voting histories.
Lang’s amendment has nothing to do with open primaries and everything to do with settling scores with the Republican minority. It would require Illinois Republicans to elect state central committeemen, an issue that has sparked a civil war between Republican moderates, who are against it, and the party’s right wing, which favors it.
Lang’s amendment was an act of classic, sleazy Illinois political skullduggery, revenge for Republican criticism of Democrats’ flip flop on whether there should be a special election for President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.
A similar amendment was attached to the open primary bill in the Senate. Just Monday, Senate President John Cullerton boasted to us that he did not bottle up the bill in committee as his predecessor might have. If Cullerton is truly serious about swearing off these types of shenanigans, he will ask the amendment’s sponsor to withdraw it.
Gov. Pat Quinn, an open primary supporter, described the move as “cynical,” although he said he favors the democratic election of Republican committeemen.
Not being privy to the Machiavellian game plan, it’s unclear whether the amendment’s purpose is to further inflame the Republican civil war or kill the open primary bill, which would make Madigan and his fellow political bosses’ jobs harder if it passed. The open primary bill should have an up or down vote on its own.