Politicians Tempted to Inflate Accomplishments – Part 2

Yesterday I digressed to relate how I didn’t brag about being an employee of the Executive Office of the President when Lyndon Johnson was in office when I ran for McHenry County Treasurer in 1966.

How could that have helped running in a Republican primary election? Just saying I had worked for the U.S. Bureau of the Budget was good enough, I figured.

1972 GOP Primary Election poster for Cal Skinner, Jr. This was posted in store windows back when stores were bold enough to allow such advertising.

When I ran for state representative in 1972 after being, how did I say, “underemployed,” for two years, I promoted myself as someone who had worked for state, local and federal government.

OK, so the state job staffing the House appropriations committee (back when there was just one and the chairman had real power) lasted until W. Robert Blair was selected as incoming House Speaker in mid-December, 1970.

It was legit, if brief.

I can still hear House Clerk Fred Selcke coming into the staff office (an office with a wooden balcony behind the rotunda’s southwest elevator) saying,

“The services of the following will no longer be needed after today. You will be paid through the first two weeks January.”

He didn’t add, “Merry Christmas.”

Bob Blair even tried to fire the Legislative Council’s interns, among whom were future Illinois State department head Jim Jeffers, future State Senator Prescott Bloom (favorite song “Different Strokes for Different Folks”), now Federal Judge Wayne Anderson and Springfield attorney Bill Panichi.  He found out he couldn’t.

That was a shock, let me tell you.

I left office as County Treasurer when my state constitutionally mandated term was up the first week of December, so I had been on the job two weeks at most. (No running for re-election if you were an Illinois county sheriff or treasurer under the 1870 state constitution. The old timers at the County Treasurer’s Association said it was because those who wrote the document figured, if you couldn’t get rich in four years, you were too stupid to fill the office.)

But, I could legitimately say I had experience in state government. My opponents only had experience in local government, one being a township supervisor and, because of that, a McHenry County Board member, the other a police chief in Fox River Grove and Harvard.

So, from personal experience, I know that stretching one’s experience or accomplishments is a temptation for political candidates.

Low self-esteem is seldom an issue with politicians who are seeking or holding the title of State Representative or State Senator. I served in the General Assembly for 16 years and can attest to that character flaw.

Their accomplishment is being voted into office in what is a two-party oligopoly system.

One hand washes the other. Even locally.

That was so evident when McHenry County Republican Chairman Bill LeFew gave a pass to Democrat Jack Franks four years ago. LeFew has been known to attend Franks’ fund raiser, even giving an impromptu testimonial once.

And the Feds’ tapes that were released of Rod Blagojevich certainly show what many of us suspected. This guy thinks too much of himself.

He really had and has an inflated opinion of his importance.

One witness, a former aide, testified at trial Blagojevich came into his Chicago office between 2 and 8 hours per week. Let a lawyer-politician like Blago interpret what “hard-working” means and the result can be a huge exaggeration.

Blagojevich has been commonly described as “narcissistic” in the media. He certainly has an over self-inflated opinion of himself and his accomplishments.

And no one with even a cursory knowledge of the evidence would characterize the impeached governor as “ethical.”

More tomorrow.

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