Early voting starts today and continues for the next two weeks.
We think early voting is a really dumb idea, maybe one of the dumbest ideas ever invented by politicians. And that’s saying something.
Worse yet, those politicians have been able to convince their more gullible constituents that early voting is really for the voters’ benefit rather than to make it easier for the politicians to allocate their campaign resources. As if polls open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on election day don’t provide enough voting opportunities for the average voter who actually cares about doing his/her civic duty. And as if traditional absentee ballots for people who truly can’t make it to the polls on election day aren’t a sufficient alternative.
Among the many thoughtful critics of early voting, Northwestern University Law professor and public intellectual Eugene Kontorovich may have stated the case against it most succinctly:
More fundamentally, early voting changes what it means to vote. Voting then becomes an incoherent summing of how various individuals feel at a series of moments, not how the nation feels at a particular moment. This weakens civic cohesiveness, and it threatens to substitute raw preferences and momentary opinion for rational deliberation. Of course, those eager to cast early will be the most ideological — but these are precisely the voters who would benefit most from taking in the full back and forth of the campaign.
Early voting also encourages voting without important information that often comes to the fore in the final weeks of the campaign, whether through debates, late-breaking events, or even crass political tactics like “October Surprises.”
If we employed early voting principles for jury trials, individual jurors would be permitted to return their verdicts anytime after opening statements. Some jurors might render their verdicts immediately and leave without hearing any evidence at all, while others would vote and go home after hearing only some of the evidence.
Would that be a reasonable way to run a justice system? Of course not.
Unfortunately, that’s the kind of incomplete decision-making early voting encourages. But since we’re stuck with early voting for the time being, we feel compelled to issue our one and only candidate endorsement in this election – in the race for state representative of the 55th District – for all you early voters instead of waiting until a day or two before election day.
Once upon a time, before Mike Madigan became Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and began cutting all those foolish and kinky deals with Republican In Name Only (“RINO”) governors “Big Jim” Thompson, “Slim Jim” Edgar and George “No. 16627-424” Ryan that have helped turn Illinois into the banana republic of American states, we actually had elections between very good and good candidates. That slipped to elections between good and mediocre candidates, and then to between mediocre and bad candidates, and then to between bad and worse candidates.
Republican Mel Thillens v. first-term incumbent Democrat Marty Moylan presents a choice between terrible and horrible – like choosing between congestive heart failure and metastasized brain cancer.
In any rational world, neither Thillens nor Moylan would be allowed to run for anything more significant than home room rep to their high school student council. This editor has the dubious distinction of having talked government policy and practice with both of them within the past six months, allowing him to both hear and observe firsthand that what these two may lack in stupidity they more than make up for with ignorance.
They are, on their absolute best days, political hacks who represent the worst of the slim pickings their respective political parties have to offer the voters of this state. It’s hard to fathom exactly how low that goes, but just the concept is scary.
There is one crucial difference between them, however, that accounts for today’s endorsement of Thillens.
The simple truth is that a vote for Moylan is a vote for continuing Speaker Madigan’s corrupt stranglehold on State government. So long as the Democrats hold a majority in the Illinois House, they will continue to elect Madigan speaker. And Illinois will continue its slide toward bankruptcy that started the moment Madigan became Speaker in 1983.
That’s right, folks, 1983. For twenty nine of those thirty one year (the exceptions being 1995-96, when the Republicans gained control of the House for a measly two years), Madigan has been the one constant in Illinois state government and the intractable mess it has become.
People are slowly starting to figure out that Madigan is the albatross, however, which is why Moylan doesn’t want the voters to think of him as Madigan’s sock puppet – despite the fact that Moylan can’t speak whenever Madigan is drinking water. So Moylan’s campaign is going out of its way to stress a few issues on which Moylan seemingly has split with Madigan.
Don’t be fooled. Moylan’s next original thought will be his first.
Ironically, back in 1999 Madigan attempted to recruit this editor – then in his first term as a Park Ridge Park District commissioner – to run for state rep against the then-incumbent one-trick (pro-abortion rights) pony, Republican Rosemary Mulligan in 2000. Madigan’s recruiter back then was his political operative Rob Biederman, a Niles resident who subsequently moved to Park Ridge after his wife’s failed bid for Niles mayor in 2009.
Biederman promised this editor plenty of financial support from Madigan and assured him that Madigan tolerated independence from his minions except on certain key votes, such as when it came to electing the Speaker. When this editor rejected the pitch, Biederman turned his sights on then-Park Ridge Library Board member Mary Beth Tighe.
Madigan delivered on his promised financial support, and even produced U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin for a Tighe fundraiser at the home of Laura Morask – who was elected to the Maine Township Board the following April (2001) as a Democrat, but soon flipped to the Republican side.
Mulligan beat Tighe by 1,300 votes, Rosie’s toughest re-election race until her botched petition drive two years ago led to her being blown out by Susan Sweeney by over 2,000 votes in a write-in Republican primary. Mulligan turned around and endorsed Moylan, thereby joining Morask in demonstrating that what Tribune columnist John Kass branded “The Combine” is alive and well in Maine Township politics and government.
So much for the stroll down memory lane. We’ve got more than enough challenges in the here-and-now.
The first is to convince as many voters as possible to envision the name “Madigan” on every green and white “Moylan” sign, and to treat every Moylan vote as a vote for Madigan himself. Practice by referring to them, interchangeably, as “Mike Moylan” and “Marty Madigan.”
The second is to make certain nobody deludes themselves about Thillens. He is NOT a fiscal conservative, as his three year tenure of tax, borrow and spend practices on the Park Board has amply demonstrated. When it comes to public policy, Thillens’ only principles are whatever will get him elected. And, like Groucho Marx, if you don’t like those, Thillens has others.
Voting for Thillens, however, does have one other positive effect beyond depriving Madigan of a vote for Speaker: if Thillens wins, we understand that he has to resign from the Park Board. As a first-term state rep he probably can’t do as much damage to Park Ridge taxpayers from down in Springfield as he can from Park District headquarters on Sibley, judging from the $20 million-plus of long-term debt he helped the Park District run up in the last 18 months or so.
That’s why we’ve decided to ask you to hold your nose when you go to the polls and cast your vote for Mel Thillens. Put on one of those ebola-proof hazmat suits if that’s what it takes for you to feels safe enough to vote against Moylan, the 55th District’s proxy for Illinois’ Dark Lord of the Sith. Because Illinois government will NEVER improve, E-V-E-R, so long as the Democrats keep control of the Illinois House and keep anointing Madigan as Speaker.
And with a little luck, maybe between now and 2016 the Republicans might actually find a qualified candidate to challenge Thillens’ re-election bid in the Republican primary.
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