Don’t miss point of Bost’s bluster
SouthtownStar editorial May 31, 2012 10:34PM
Updated: July 6, 2012 10:13AM
State Rep. Mike “Let My People Go” Bost (R-Murphysboro) now is the most famous member of the Illinois Legislature. The video of his 90-second rant against what he saw as the totalitarian excesses of House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) went viral over the Internet this week.
Because Bost went intercontinentally ballistic, millions have been introduced to our loopy Legislature. His meltdown consisted of shouting, a reddened face, distended neck veins and a quick wrist that flung a sheaf of papers across the House floor.
His outrage was grand theater, but before Bost is dispatched to the back bench of hysterical history, it’s important to note that few of our legislators ever get to the inconvenient truth as directly as Bost did. The tirade, while excessive, was right on.
Only Madigan, 70, who has been speaker since 1983 except for two years, makes meaningful decisions in Springfield. Democrats control the General Assembly, and Madigan controls the Democrats. Proposed laws, including significant ones such as pension reform, are often dumped on legislators at the last minute with orders to vote “yes” or “no.”
The House and Senate Democrats are indentured servants. What are they voting on? Darned if they know. Legislators of both parties typically don’t know exactly what a bill says or means.
Bost’s outburst flared after he received a Madigan staff rewrite of pension reform, about 300 pages, Tuesday morning, about 20 minutes before the House convened. If lawmakers took this seriously, they’d require more lead time so they could at least read a proposed law. But under Madigan’s Law, that too often doesn’t happen. As Bost pointed out, “It’s not democracy.”
The answer is not voting out the Democratic Party overlords. They’re untouchable in their districts. It’s establishing a more fair and open legislative process, not one controlled by an imperious ruler. But first you gotta get rid of the king. Term limits, anyone?
Perhaps no one will remember Bost after this week. Too bad. He was right.