CULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnG E O R G E H. RYAN, Illinois’ Republicanrngovernor and bona fide “compassionaternconservative,” has borrowed onernfrom the Clinton playbook: I le seems tornthink that a vast right-wing conspiracy hasrnbeen out to get him since he took office,rnforcing him to decline to run for a secondrnterm. The real reason, of course, is t h a t -rndue to mounting charges of corruptionrnand Ran’s consistently left-wing policiesrn—he wouldn’t have a snowball’srnchance in Texas of winning again, havingrnalienated most of his base.rnSetting aside the “license-for-bribes”rnscandal (in which illegal, non-FnglishspeakingrnMexicans were given semitruckrnlicenses in exchange for payola duringrnGeorge Ryan’s stint as secretary ofrnstate), the most interesting aspect of hisrnbesmirched tenure as governor is that IllinoisrnRepublicans championed him inrnthe first place, only to throw up theirrnhands in despair each time he connectedrnwith one of his telegraphed passes.rn”George Ryan,” according to his campaignrnwebsite, “does not believe a staternincome tax increase is needed. Illinois’rnrevenue growth is up substantially. Thernstate ended the fiscal year with $800 millionrnin the bank. State spending hasrnbeen brought under control. Governmentrnneeds to live within its means.” Ofrncourse, what he meant was that lie wouldrnraise revenue to finance his massixe IllinoisrnFIRST program by doubling orrntripling “user fees” —ehicIc-registrationrnfees, title-transfer fees, and liquor taxes. Itrnwas quite a dirill for many Illinois tax]Dayersrnto discover they were really usersrn(though here in Winnebago County, ourrnRepublican county-board chairpersonrnrefers to us as “customers”). Conversely,rnsince taking office, Ryan started talkingrnabout the possibilit)’ of limiting and, inrnsome cases, eliminating tollbooths onrnIllinois highways. Highway tolls, thoughrnanno} ing, are the closest thing we have torngenuine “user fees,” since out-of-staterncommuters get socked alongside Illinoisrntaxpayers.rnCandidate Ryan oudined what wouldrnbecome his Illinois FIRST program duringrnhis campaign, promising the moonrnwhen it came to repairing Illinois highways.rnWhere did he plan to find thernmoney for “building a transportation infrastructurernthat relieves highway congestion,rnpromotes economic developmentrnand supports mass transit”? Where else?rnYet Republican voters just kept chantingrnthe mantra, “Republicans are for taxrncuts” and punched Ryan’s chad.rnWhat should have been even morernobvious to voters was (ieorge Ryan’srnplanned assault on gun owners. In campaignrnliterature, Ryan reminded the soccerrnmoms of suburban Chicago that hernsupported the Brady Bill, een when itrnwas unfashionable among Republicans;rnthat he was in f;rvor of mandatory triggerrnlocks for guns inside homes where childrenrnare present, and that parents who resistrnshould be charged widi felonies. Surprise,rnsurprise: When elected governor,rnGeorge Ryan pushed for gun-controlrnlaws even beyond what he had jjromised,rninsisting that anyone transporting arngun — even one contained in a case —inrna vehicle in which ammunition is “readi-rnIv accessible” should be charged with arnfelonv. This was part of his xersion of thernSafe Neighborhoods Act —a piece of legislafionrndesigned to reinstate Draconianrngun-control measures found unconstitutionalrnby the Illinois State Siq^remcrnCourt. Governor Ryan tried to ram hisrnSafe Neighborlioods Act through the IllinoisrnHouse last Christmas, by calling arnspecial legislative session that forcedrnmany of Hie state reps to stav in Springfieldrnduring the holiday break. The billrnpassed the following spring, but only afterrnthe charge for a first-time criminal offensern(sa’, for some hunter who travelsrnwith his box of bird-shot shells in thernfloorboard of his pickup) was reduced torna misdemeanor—and that’s only for thernfirst offense. All bets are off, though, ifrnyour pistol is loaded and under the seatrn(say, in the case of some honest, taxpayingrncitizen who has to drive through arngangland every day on his way to work).rnLike Clinton and Bush, Ryan campaignedrnon his commitment to upholdrnthe rights of “hunters and collectors” (alwa}rns code for latent anti-gun tendencies),rnwhile supporting the ban on assaultrnweapons and opposing a concealed-carryrnlaw “out of a firm conviction that allowingrnmore people to cany guns will onlyrnincrease the bloodshed on our streets.”rnThat’s right —everyone who carries arnloaded gun for self-defense is really a latentrncriminal, just waiting to “increasernthe bloodshed.” Candidate Ryan paintedrnhis Democratic opponent, Glenn Poshard,rna former school teacher, as a gunrnnut, simply because Poshard supported arnconcealed-carrv law that applied only tornformer policemen and military personnel.rnFor the record, Glenn Poshard was alsornmore conservative than Ryan on aborfion,rnstating in his campaign that he wasrnpro-life across tiie board. The Ryan campaignrnrefrained from discussing the issue,rnallowing pro-life Christians to circulaternvoters guides indicating that GeorgernRyan was verv pro-life, while castingrndoubt upon the evil Democrat Poshard.rnThe official position of the Ryan campaignrnwas as follows: “George Ryan isrnpro-life with exceptions for rape, incest,rnand the life of the mother. He is awarernthat the U.S. Supreme Court has clearlyrnstated that a woman has a Constitutionalrnright to choose to hae an abortion [alwaysrncode for latent anti-life leanings |. AsrnGovernor, he would carefully weigh anyrnabortion-related legislation to ensure thatrnit does not run counter to existing Coirstitutionalrnlaw, and would likely withstandrncourt challenges. George Ryanrndoes not and never has used one’s positionrnon this issue as a litmus test for inclusionrnin the Republican Party.” Thisrnpast June, Ryan vetoed Illinois House Billrn709, which would have stopped all staternfunding of abortion in Illinois, for whichrnhe was praised by Republican Lt. Gov.rnCorinne Wood: “[Fjirst, it was the rightrnthing to do because protecting the healthrnof poor women is good public policy;rnsecond, the Governor’s veto was consistentrnnot onlv with the law and the courts,rnbut also with Republican philosophy.”rnWood is now considering running to replacernRyair.rnIn addition to these feats of conservatism,rnGeorge Ran has sparked a nationalrndebate over the death penalty by issuingrna moratorium on all executions inrnthe state of Illinois because he believesrnthere are too nianv blacks on death row.rnIn mid-August, he vetoed legislationrnsponsored bv Rep. Susanna Mendozarn(L^Chicago, and a Latino representativernof a Latino community riddled with gangrnviolence), which would have made thosernconvicted of gang-related homicide automaticallyrneligible for the death penalt)’ (ifrnRyan ever reinstates it). Governor Ryanrnclaimed that this legislation “introducesrnarbitrariness and discretion” by singlingrn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn