Back to the Future?

Chris Rhodes brings up a subject near and dear to my heart in discussing environmental concern and the major political parties. He argues that environmental issues should be more consensus oriented instead of R vs. D.

Amen, but let me give a bit of history to environmental issues. It isn’t until the late 1960s when environmental issues even show up as an issue in public opinion polling. Before then it wasn’t even asked (I have the exact years in lecture notes and may post a brief graph later). Originally environmental policy was largely a bipartisan concern with consertative Southern Dems and some rural Republicans fighting significant changes in regulation. And if you look at the scores normed for different years, Republicans and Democrats had similar scores for many years. As Reagan gained influence those scores diverged (paper by Bill Lowry I can send to anyone who is really interested is available).

I think part of this is the reallignment of the south and the northeast. In Illinois the tensions have not become as great though there are some signs Republicans are pulling back on some issues.

One issue they aren’t pulling back on is wetlands regulation. Despite the Reader’s ‘environmental’ columnists claims, Dan Rutherford (R-Pontiac and future statewide candidate) isn’t worried about the regulations as much as he felt they regs should apply in Cook County. I tend to agree with Rutherford, though there may be a case for excluding Cook that I don’t fully understand.

But during the 1990s Jim Edgar was decent on most environmental issues. The exceptions being power plant emissions which all Midwest Governors are bad on and hog farm regulation. His Department of Ag head had a brother working for the biggest hog farm owner in Illinois and there were some inconsistencies in that case. I doubt it would be much different with any of the Dems who might have been in his place given rural Dems aren’t much different on those issues.

The key difference between parties should be how to reach good environmental outcomes in Chris’ hopeful world. Republicans traditionally have pushed for market incentive based programs such as effluent fees and permit trading.

Democrats have pushed for command and control regulations such as best available technology which mandates the kind of environmental technology that should be in place.

I tend to be favorable to market incentives. Properly constructed they give business the incentive to be cleaner and reduce costs by reducing pollution and do it in a way that is most efficient. Using best available technology is sometimes needed when talking about especially toxic chemicals or something of that sort and has its place.

I don’t have the same confidence that Chris does that there will be less room over time between the parties because often when effluent charges are mentioned now, many Republicans (not Leader Cross or other moderates in the Illinois Republican caucus) argue now that they are simply taxes. And this leads to Democrats pushing for BAT often to satisfy environmental advocates who are leary of any market friendly solution and little in the way of progress.

But I hope I’m wrong.

That said, many kudos to the Bush administrations implementation of the new diesel rules. It was a good move.

Illinois Budget-Legislative Session

The following is from an anonymous reader–I think it is great analysis so pass it along in its entirety:

While there is still no official budget deal yet, there is little doubt that House Speaker Mike Madigan will emerge from the legislative session as the big winner, while Governor Blagojevich has been handed a humiliating defeat. The way Madigan appears to have done this is both simple and brilliant.

Blagojevich spent all session attacking the ?old way? General Assembly. He refused to negotiate on his budget. He demanded that Speaker Madigan and Senate President Jones pass the budget he submitted. He threatened massive cuts and layoffs, overtime session, and/or special session, to ensure he got what he wanted.

In return, Madigan has provided the Governor an important lesson in understanding how government works, and its importance in achieving political goals.

You see, overtime requires a 3/5 majority to pass a budget, and Madigan understood that an overtime session was never going to strengthen the hand of the Governor. It only strengthens the hands of the minority leaders ? neither of whom were members of the Governor?s party or his allies.

Madigan also understood that the 3/5 majority required of an overtime session also happens to be VETO PROOF.

So, while Blagojevich blustered about overtime and made demands of the General Assembly, Madigan spent the legislative session quietly reeling in the two GOP minority leaders from the House and Senate, and making them his allies.

The result has been that, since Thursday, the 3 of the 4 legislative caucuses have been working cooperatively to pass a compromise budget that will attain a 3/5 majority. The only holdout at this point in Emil Jones ? and he?s not holding out for the Governor, rather, he?s holding out for his own spending priorities.

The ?budgeteers? continue to meet through the weekend and are reportedly making good progress toward a final budget. And the Governor?s people aren?t even at the table, nor are they needed, because the budget will have enough votes to become law without the Governor?s approval.

Congratulations, Governor. You just cut yourself out of the process!

The act of crafting a budget that will become law without the Governor?s involvement is a development without precedent in the state of Illinois. It promises to be, quite literally, the most humiliating legislative session for a sitting Governor in recent history.

This might be the appropriate point to crack a joke about the first step to playing with the big boys, is actually making sure you have a seat at the table?.

Renner Chicago Fundraiser

From the Tari Renner newsletter:

On June 10, the group Democratic Leadership for the Twenty-First Century will be holding an event to benefit Renner for Congress in Chicago. The event will take place at Leona’s restaurant in Chicago. Tickets for this event are $30 or $100 to become a sponsor of the event. If you would like more information about this upcoming event please call us at (309) 829-VOTE.

I’d rank Renner second in the chance for an Illinois pick-up in the US House this election behind Bean and just ahead of Cegelis. Renner’s fundraising is doing well, but Jerry Weller is known for raising lots of cash. So help him out if you can. Click the ad to the bottom right for more info.

Not What I Said, What I Meant…

OneMan will appreciate this one from the Capitol Fax:

BROKEN PROMISES (excerpt) Back when Rod Blagojevich was campaigning for governor, he went on record to slam attempts to tap into the Illinois Fire Prevention Fund as “unconscionable.” The dedicated fund skim bill he now supports would all but empty out the Fire Prevention Fund. He wants to skim $20 million, but the fund only has about $22 million in the bank.

But, hey, that was the campaign, this is now. Last week, the governor explained that when he pledged during the campaign never to balance the budget on the backs of workers, he was referring to workers in general, not state workers.

Bumbling into Durbin

“I was misquoted” Charles Barkely on his autobiography

“I read that thing and it kind of irritated me because I don’t speak like that,” Blagojevich said. The Blagorgeous upset about a column under his name.

But Greenberg said it was the governor’s office that solicited the magazine to allow the governor to appear in the “My Turn” column of the St. Louis-based publication.

But what I don’t get is why he brought Durbin into the deal. Is he really trying to anger every Democrat in the state?

Blagojevich questioned the sports loyalty of another Democrat, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

“If you hear Sen. Durbin, he’s Cubs, he’s Sox and the Cardinals,” Blagojevich said. “I’m a Cubs fan.”

No Good News for the Guv In the Poll

Simply bad:

But the latest survey of 600 registered voters, conducted May 21-24 by Market Shares Corp. of Mt. Prospect, showed his job-approval rating falling below a majority of Illinois voters for the first time in his 16-month tenure. Only 40 percent of voters surveyed now view his performance as governor favorably, while almost as many–36 percent–disapprove.

As recently as February, a similar poll found Blagojevich with a 55 percent job approval rating while only 27 percent disapproved. A total of 18 percent had no opinion on Blagojevich’s job performance then, a figure that has risen to 25 percent now.

The graphic passes the interocular test.

Defining Kerry

Political Wire has a really interesting post up on how many people are still unfamiliar/undecided with Kerry.

This simple fact has set the strategies for the campaign. To attract on-the-fence voters, Kerry is expanding the use of biographical ads to introduce himself, while President Bush is running negative ads to try to define his opponent first.

In many ways, the presidential race mirrors the 1980 campaign when incumbent Jimmy Carter faced declining approval rates yet the public was unsure of Ronald Reagan, a candidate viewed by many on the ideological fringes of his own party. Reagan’s challenge then — to make himself more appealing to the average voter — is the same as Kerry’s today.