From John Kass at The Chicago Tribune:
f there's one place that fleeing Democratic state lawmakers from Wisconsin and Indiana can find refuge, it's here, behind the Jell-O Curtain in Illinois.
"They're not hiding out," insisted Illinois Gov. Jell-O, also known as Pat Quinn.
"They're visiting Illinois," he told Fox Chicago News. "And we're happy they're here. I talked to one of their leaders, I think on Sunday, and they're always welcome."
Not hiding out? Talked to their "leaders"? Dude. They aren't space alien invaders, Governor. They're Democratic politicians running from their jobs to prevent votes on important issues.
Actually, they're fleeing responsibility in a time of massive budget deficits in their own states, which is why they're called the Flee Party. And they've come here, where it's ideologically safe.
If they had stayed at work, they would have had to choose between supporting their public employee union allies who fund and work for their political campaigns, or supporting the exhausted taxpayers who are tired of paying for those contracts and fat pensions.
What's not surprising is that the Flee Partyers have become celebrities, so much so that T-shirts are being made in their honor.
A guy named Bernie DiMeo from Rocco Shirts in Chicago just sent me his new creation, the "Illinois Welcomes Democrats in Exile" T-shirt. On it is Abraham Lincoln holding a torch of liberty.
"I wanted you to be one of the very first to own one," Bernie wrote.
Thanks, Bernie, but I'm also hoping that somebody could design a shirt with the Flee Party refugees joining Illinois politicians as they use sporks to devour the living hearts of Illinois taxpayers. Could that one fit on a T-shirt, Bern?
As many of you know, the refugees have been here with us for several days.
The Wisconsinites are huddled in places like Rockford, probably demanding extra lingonberries on their pancakes at the Stockholm Inn, talking loudly about the Packers and leaving stingy tips.
And the Hoosiers are in Urbana, where they no doubt have consumed much beer at Murphy's, discussing civics and the greater good with U. of I. grad students.
But now, the pressure is on, and the Republicans back home are moving to cut the refugee expense accounts and hold their paychecks until they actually show up for work.
So in the precious days they have left, our refugees should probably do something a little more productive than just drinking beer and eating pancakes and looking for their names in their local papers.
They should leave their sanctuaries and go on several pilgrimage
First would be to the Southwest Side of Chicago, to the home of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. He won't answer the door, but the refugees should still touch their foreheads to the sidewalk several times, their behinds facing their home states, as they pay homage to the warlord of Madiganistan.
That would make a really great T-shirt. And then it's on to Springfield, where the refugees could get a hug from the governor and a pat on the head from a friendly Illinois Legislature.
The refugees might even win assurances that if they can just find a way to keep spending and spending like there is no tomorrow, they might be qualified to work in Illinois government someday.
By the way, can I even use the word "refugee" anymore, or will the Thought Police visit my home and take me to Room 101? Remember, only about five years ago, we weren't allowed to use the word "refugee" to pertain to those seeking refuge from Hurricane Katrina.
It was decided by the Rev. Jesse Jackson — in one of his last displays of real power — that the word "refugee" was not a good word, but a very bad word.
He and some other liberal elites of the time argued that "refugee" was suggestive of second-class status and of someone not quite American.
"It is racist to call American citizens refugees," Jackson declared.
He banned it from media accounts, and there was much chattering in newsrooms that "refugee" was used as a pejorative. A few idiots like me cleaved to the belief that "refugee" actually meant an innocent person who sought "refuge" from a catastrophe.
But now I've used the word, and no one has applied electric shocks to my temples, I suppose it safe enough for you to use it as well, but only if you apply it to politicians.
And whether you call them Flee Party Refugees or Heroic Lawmakers of Noble Principle and Justice, there's one thing that is not in dispute.
The longer they stay behind the Jell-O Curtain, the further they drift from reality, like the lotus-eaters of old or those characters from the movie "Inception" who went mad after playing in fantasy land for too long.
If you want fantasy land, there's nothing like Illinois, where our governor and Democratic state legislators can raise taxes, borrow billions of dollars on top of additional billions and billions that we already owe, and still get re-elected.
In Illinois it is our taxpayers — not our politicians — who seek refuge.
Pay no attention to the men behind the Jell-O Curtain.