Tired of gridlock and wary of another potential government shutdown, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner opted to resign from the speakership last week.
In Springfield, Governor Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan appear quite content to watch and point fingers at each other as Illinois state government hurtles into shutdown mode and state finances become ever more disastrous.
When the federal government endured its 2013 shutdown, Illinoisans had reason for reassurance. We may have had the worst credit rating of any state, an incalculable pension problem and, at the time, nearly the highest unemployment in the nation, but at least things weren't as bad as in Washington.
Not so today. And, unlike the federal government shutdown of 2013, which had limited impact, state government's current budget-free status rapidly is being felt all over.
From schoolteachers whose class field trips to Illinois State Museum facilities must be canceled as of Wednesday to mental health patients who are seeing their lifelines snatched away as state funding vanishes, more and more Illinoisans are learning the consequences of the Springfield gridlock that finds the state three months into Fiscal Year 2016 with no budget to guide or control state spending.
There are big differences in the circumstances of Boehner's pending departure and Illinois state government's biggest problem.
Boehner is leaving because he can't reconcile with hardliners within his caucus who view any effort toward compromise with the Obama White House as capitulation. As the Washington Post reported Sunday:
Asked Sunday by host John Dickerson on a live broadcast of CBS's "Face the Nation" whether those hard-liners are "unrealistic about what can be done in government," Boehner exploded.
"Absolutely, they're unrealistic!" he said. "But, you know, the Bible says beware of false prophets, and there are people out there spreading noise about how much can get done."
Boehner referred, as he has in the past, to the ill-fated 2013 shutdown over funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare: "This plan never had a chance," he said, but he blamed outside forces for leading Republicans down an ill-advised path: "We got groups here in town, members of the House and Senate here in town, who whip people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know -- they know! -- are never going to happen."
Depending on your chosen perspective, you can apply Boehner's statement to either Gov. Bruce Rauner or House Speaker Michael Madigan. Or, ideally, you'll apply it to both.
You can read the rest of this article at Reboot Illinois.