Guest Column: A sad satire on state politics

Please allow me to introduce another candidate for governor of Illinois, Bob Flamboyantovich. He just loves to shake hands, and mix it up with all kinds of people. He was planning on running for this prestigious office several months ago, but wanted to keep everyone in suspense so he could get the most publicity. Bob is planning an energetic campaign of fund-raising, not caring how he gets the money, or whom he gets it from. Of course, he will have plenty of campaign signs out along the roads and does not plan on ever taking them down until they finally blow away.

If elected, the first thing he intends to do is fire all competent state workers and replace them with expensive political cronies who have no idea what they are doing. If they get in trouble, he will reassign them so at least they can keep their lucrative jobs. If he decides to run again, he then will have plenty of campaign workers to stand out in front of polling places and post his signs everywhere.

To keep former state workers at bay, he will instruct his attorneys to tie up all legal challenges for years so they will lose their homes, go bankrupt and eventually have to leave the state. He can always hire them back as consultants, if he ever needs anyone who can actually do their old jobs.

Next, he plans to appoint all of his friends to important influential boards so he can control them. Other political acquaintances, including a former mayor, and campaign contributors will be given new jobs or added to his security force. Others can expect lucrative contracts as consultants, whether or not they know anything about road construction or traffic management. Two of his priorities are maintaining cleanliness at all state facilities and the regular pressure washing of the interior of highway salt storage domes. Bob will also hire an aggressive public relations person to make sure his name gets mentioned in the press 10 times a week, whether or not he has something important to say. His PR department will dismantle every working state program, because, as he puts it, “change is good.” He will tell various social service agencies that his administration has plenty of money for them, but will never send them a check. He figures they will soon forget about it and vote for him anyway.

Bob says he enjoys meeting with the press, and knows how to sneak out the back door at events, when their questions get too intense. One of his best attributes is fence setting. He never wants to force his views on anyone including third airport issues, but dislikes violent video games and feels they should be outlawed. He would rather everyone watch old Elvis movies.

Yes, Bob is a real go-getter and a headline grabber. He plans to hop on the bandwagon at every opportunity to knock down toll booths, buy expired medicine, and if his administration runs out of money, he can always borrow from the state pension fund.

Bob believes every father should be home at night with his family, so he plans to spend very little time in the state’s capital, extensively use the state helicopter and take in many Chicago events except Sunday dinners with close relatives. On weekends, he will appear in parades, attend ball games, and drive around inspecting family-owned landfills.

Yes, Bob Flamboyantovich has a good chance to become our next governor. “It’s business as usual,” he says. “I just love this political game.” So vote for Bob, who typifies your average political candidate, or write in your own name on the ballot if you think you can do a better job.

John Russell Ghrist is a Rockford resident.

From the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2005, issue

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