Steve Chapman

That is not something Iowa would or could ever aspire to. CCR named Iowa the second least corrupt place in America, trailing only Oregon. Head west across the Mississippi River, and you are transported from Sodom to the Celestial City.

"Iowa political scandal" is an oxymoron. The worst one you've had recently was when the governor's wife was seen smoking in a state vehicle. Imagine that! In Illinois, we're happy if the governor's wife is not caught using a state vehicle as a getaway car in a bank robbery.

Illinois could learn a lot from seeing how things are done in Iowa. But let's face it: We've been located right next door ever since Iowa became a state in 1846, and we haven't learned anything yet.

So what can we do? Stop trying to clean up Illinois and let somebody else do it, and that somebody is you. We propose that the honest, decent folks of Iowa annex us, vote out all our grifters, shysters, thieves, extortionists, bagmen, flunkies and mopes, and replace them with clean-cut, plain-spoken guardians of the public interest -- of which you have a surplus.

It's a win-win deal, giving each state what it currently lacks. We'd get good government and honest politicians. You'd get major league baseball, Lake Michigan, great airline service, restaurants that serve something fancier than meatloaf, and the kind of nightlife you can't find in Oskaloosa.

We're confident that given this opportunity to spread the blessings of Iowa to less fortunate souls, you'll do it out of the goodness of your simple, honest, cornfed hearts. And if that's not sufficient motivation -- well, we have some friends who could make it worth your while.

Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.

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