Anti-stimulus Illinois Republicans now want $ for coal plant

From an AP article, three U.S. House representatives from Illinois – two Republicans and one Democrat – have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy to get stimulus bill money for the FutureGen coal plant near Mattoon, Ill.

Of course, as we all know, every single Republican in the House voted against the stimulus bill.

The three Representatives are Tim Johnson (R), John Shimkus (R), and Jerry Costello (D).

Johnson has a press release on his web site:

U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson today released a letter he is sending to Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu calling on the DOE to release its Record of Decision on FutureGen, along with $1 billion in Fossil Energy Research funding contained in the President’s stimulus package.

He goes on, apparently without any irony:

With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 now enacted into law, we recommend that DOE direct funds towards FutureGen because of the positive effects it will have on the economy. While not specifically mentioned in the stimulus package, it is our understanding that DOE could fund FutureGen at $1 billion under DOE’s ‘fossil energy research and development programs.’ We believe FutureGen would make exceptional use of these funds.

Looks like some Republicans are looking to punch their “conservative movement” card by voting against the stimulus and get their cake, too.

By the way, I found this little bit of info buried on B6 of today’s Peoria Journal Star.

(Cross-posted to Daily Kos)

Democracy in Morton (and many other places, I would imagine)

About a year-and-a-third ago, I moved to Morton – a village of about 16,000 people, southeast of Peoria.

The other day I got a flyer from Morton Township listing the candidates for the local elections in April.

Not one of the races is competitive.

There are exactly the same number of candidates as there are slots to fill.

I called the County Clerk, and apparently write-in candidates can run, but they have to register a couple of months before the election. So, no luck there.

Maybe this is why voter participation rates are so low.

Get it together

I don’t like to write specifically about political parties on this blog. I prefer to stick to exploring liberalism vs. conservatism. But I just have to say what a huge disappointment the Illinois Democratic party has been for me.

What, again with trouble getting it together on the budget? Never mind Blagojevich and all of his troubles.

As I think I’ve written before, we moved back to the Peoria area just six months ago. We lived a little over a year in Naperville, but for several years before that, we lived in Michigan.

When we lived there, Michigan had a divided government – Democratic governor, Republican legislature. (Now the Democrats have the House, too.) I don’t know if it was this divided power that did it, but it always seemed to me that the disputes between the two parties highlighted their ideological differences. Policy and budget issues helped people understand who and what each party stood for.

In Illinois, the Democrats have it all. When we moved here, I thought it would be great to see what an all-“Blue” state would be like.

It turns out that single-party rule leads to all of them chewing at one another’s ankles.

Very disappointing.

P.S.

I’m not a political scientist, and I don’t have a deep historical understanding of Illinois politics. There might be other reasons for all of the trouble with the Democratic leadership in Illinois than single- vs. two-party rule. All I can say – returning to what I hope is the emphasis of this blog – is that I don’t hear Democratic leaders talking up the general liberal worldview as they smack one another around. Nor do they help forward what I see as a liberal value – fiscal prudence – with all of the budget games.