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National Editorial & Columnists

Missouri outshines Illinois – in legislative softball, that is

Doug Finke
Doug Finke

Last week marked the first of what’s hoped to be an annual softball game between members of the Missouri Legislature and the Illinois General Assembly.

It was organized by the St. Louis Regional Chamber, and they did it up big time. The game was played in Busch Stadium.

And once again, Illinois played right into Gov. Bruce Rauner’s narrative that we are not competitive with our neighboring states.

According to coverage of the game in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Missouri Legislature got out to a 7-0 lead by the fourth inning. It was a lead Illinois could not overcome. Final score: Missouri 7, Illinois 4.

Now, to give the General Assembly some credit, the Missouri legislative session ends before Illinois’ does. So it’s entirely possible the Illinois contingent was still exhausted from passing a budget on time.

There apparently were suggestions after the game that Missouri had the advantage of a younger team than Illinois. Why? Missouri has term limits to weed out the codgers.

More ammunition for Rauner.

Apparently Rauner so enjoyed one of the ads he ran during the primary campaign that he plans to reprise it for the general election.

The ad in question featured Republican governors from Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri mockingly thanking House Speaker Michael Madigan for making their states great because of his actions. Included in that is the income tax increase that Rauner says is Madigan’s doing and that should be repealed, even though he used that money while preparing his own budget proposal.

During an appearance last week, Rauner said he’s “got a whole bunch” of those ads coming.

Not that anyone really wants more campaign ads, but hopefully Rauner will have a little better luck with this batch. That other ad disappeared after then-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens admitted to an extramarital affair. That set off a string of events that eventually led to his resignation.

So maybe, since Rauner said he’s got a whole bunch of these things coming, he’ll just use one official in each ad, just in case. That way you don’t lose the whole production.

Speaking of ads, Rauner has a new one out taking another shot at Democrat J.B. Pritzker.

It opens with video of Pritzker saying no one knew that Rod Blagojevich was up to no good. It then displays headlines from stories over several years showing that, in fact, it was well known that Blagojevich and his administration were under investigation by the feds. For good measure, the ad continues with audio from that federal wiretap that has Pritzker talking to Blagojevich about getting appointed treasurer if the job came open.

It’s still way early in the campaign season, but there’s little dispute that Rauner has been doing the more aggressive ads so far.

State Supreme Court Justice Charles Freeman retired last week. He was the first African-American to serve on the state’s high court. He was replaced by P. Scott Neville Jr., who is the second African-American to serve on the court.

Freeman served 27 years and thus was involved in many, many decisions. One, though, brought a bit of flak his way. The 2009 case involved a state law requiring judges to retire when they hit 75 years of age. The law, though, had some problems, like a loophole that would allow someone to run the first time at age 76 and not be forced to retire.

Anyway, the court struck the law. Freeman wrote the opinion. He was 75 at the time. He went on to run for retention in 2012.

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