EXAMINER PUBLICATIONS – SEPTEMBER 5, 2007
A VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS
The Roots of Obsession
By Rich Trzupek
It is difficult for many people to understand why Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has fought so desperately to force universal health care down the state’s throat, in spite of opposition among both parties and despite the simple fact that Illinois can not afford such a grandiose vision.
He’s tried trickery. He’s tried bullying. And now he’s resorted to something that smells a lot like legal bribery, selectively cutting what he has called “pork” while protecting the other white meat when it is attached to a district with a vote he needs.
With all of the other challenges facing the state, why is this one so important to Blago? We’ve got the lowest rate of job growth in the Midwest, billions in debt, a state pension system in shambles and an education system badly in need of reform. Yet, in spite of everything, universal health care is the one issue that may be more important to the gov then his hair-do, if that’s possible.
We must delve far back in the governor’s past to understand why this is so. His obsession with universal health care started a long time ago. He was in kindergarten, I believe…
Mrs. Patterson: Now children, let’s all tell the class what we would like to be when we grow up. We’ll start with you Johnny.
Johnny: I want to be a fireman!
Mrs. Patterson: Very good. Lauren?
Lauren: I’m going to be a doctor!
Mrs. Patterson: That’s great Lauren. How about you Roddy?
Rod: I’m going to be the guy who brings universal health care to Illinois!
It would be a theme that would continue throughout the governor’s precocious elementary school years. Consider this snippet of fifth-grade class discussion that our crack Cheap Seats research staff managed to obtain:
Mrs. Patterson: Now class, we’re going to discuss the causes of the Revolutionary War. Oh, I see we have a question. Yes Lauren?
Lauren: Weren’t you our kindergarten teacher?
Mrs. Patterson: No, that was my-um-sister. But let’s get back on track boys and girls. Who can tell me some of the reasons that the American colonies rebelled against Great Britain? Johnny?
Johnny: They didn’t want taxation without representation.
Mrs. Patterson: Very good Johnny. The revolutionary leaders didn’t think it was fair for England to levy taxes in America, no matter how small, unless Americans were represented in Parliament. What else? Melissa?
Melissa: They didn’t want England to keep a standing army in America and force people to keep soldiers in their homes and stuff.
Mrs. Patterson: Very good. Oh, I see Rod has another one. Go ahead Rod.
Rod: The colonists wanted universal health care.
Mrs. Patterson: Uh-what?
Rod: You know, universal health care. If they got like-attacked by a grizzly bear-they wanted the king to pay for amputating their legs before they got all black and disgusting and falling off like.
Mrs. Patterson: I don’t think that was on the agenda, Mr. Blagojevich. Do you have any other ideas?
Rod: Universal health care?
Mrs. Patterson: No, try again. And try not to say “universal health care” this time.
Rod: Oh. Okay. Ummm, is it…universal health care?
Mrs. Patterson: Sigh…
Let’s move on to the governor’s junior year in high school, where we find him wrestling on the bench seat of his Chevy Nova with a nubile young lass, parked in darkened forest preserve on the northwest side. It’s Friday night.
Rod: Oh Heather!
Heather: Oh Rod!
Rod: That’s right baby. Right there. Oh God! When you touch my hair like that, it drives me crazy!
Heather: I love your hair Roddy-body.
Rod: Everybody does baby. Everybody does. And there’s enough there for all of you.
Heather: Rod-there’s something I need to hear before we go any farther.
Rod: What’s that baby?
Heather: You know Roddy. We’ve been going out two whole months. I just want to hear it, and then I’m yours.
Rod: I’m not tracking…
Heather: C’mon honey. You know. Those three little words that every girl wants to hear? Just whisper them in my ear.
Rod: Three words?
Heather: That’s right Roddy, those three words that make every girl’s life complete. Those three words that bring the sun bursting through the clouds on the darkest day. The three words that bring music into our lives, when there isn’t an instrument around. You know.
Rod: Oh-yeah! I got you.
Heather: Say it Rod. Say it.
Heather: Yes Rod?
Rod: Universal health care!
Some obsessions we can not shake, not without intervention and a lengthy stay at a good rehab clinic. Clearly, this is that kind of obsession for our governor. He will have universal health care, whether it makes sense or not and whether we can afford it or not. He will have it, as they say, by hook or by crook.
And, considering what’s been going on in Springfield lately, “crook” seems to be the option of choice in the Executive Mansion.