CHICAGO – Lawmakers around the country have gone on some impressive rants in recent years – Rep. Anthony Weiner’s outrage over the 9-11 first responders’ bill and Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s fury over the war in Afghanistan spring to mind – but perhaps none can match Illinois State Rep. Mike Bost’s tirade this week.
Irate over a quick vote on a pension bill, Bost exploded on the floor of the Illinois House Tuesday.
Bost, a Republican, unloaded on Democrats led by House Speaker Mike Madigan for setting votes on pension reform bills without providing enough time for lawmakers to assess the measures after they emerged from committee.
“Total power in one person’s hands, not the American way!” Bost screamed, tossing the bill up in the air and then taking an errant swing at the papers as they fluttered down around him. He then took the papers that settled near him and threw them at his colleagues.
“These damn bills that come out here all the damn time, come out here at the last second, and I’ve got to try to figure out how to vote for my people? You should be ashamed of yourselves! I’m sick of it! Every year we give power to one person! It was not made that way in the Constitution!”
“Enough!” he yelled, his arms flailing. “I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt. Let my people go! My God, they sent me here to vote for them! To argue for them! But I’m trapped. I’m trapped by the rules that have been forced down our throats.”
“Folks,” he pleaded, dropping his voice almost to a whisper, “we live in a democracy, but not here. But not here.”
Bost later said in a radio interview that after his rant some of his Democratic colleagues approached him and told him they had the same complaints, but could not express them.
“When I left the floor,” Bost told ABC News affiliate WLS, “many Democrats from around the state – even Chicago Democrats – came in and said, ‘We want to say this but we can’t.’”