Saturday, March 20, 2010

Would a woman help Quinn that much?

So Pat Quinn wants a woman. For lieutenant governor, that is.

Members of the Democratic Party’s state central committee plan to spend this weekend interviewing the minions who bothered to submit applications for the party’s nomination for the political post, and have hinted they may make a choice by next weekend.

MEANWHILE, THE GOVERNOR himself has tossed out a few hints about who he would like to have as a running mate – even though technically, he has no say in the process. Although the party’s leadership would be wise if they took Quinn’s thoughts into account.

What are those thoughts?

Now some of this is merely reporting on what has been rumored among political people. But the three names I have read that supposedly are people that Quinn would like to have as the state’s “just in case” governor are Tammy Duckworth, Sheila Simon and, now, Susan Garrett.

Duckworth is the one-time military hero who publicly turned down Quinn’s speculation so she could focus on her job with the Department of Military Affairs, while Simon and Garrett – theoretically – would feel “honored” to serve, if called upon.

THE POINT SEEMS to be that if Quinn gets a say in the matter (that is, if Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, lets him speak), Illinois would have its first chance at a female for lieutenant governor since 1998 – which was the year that both major parties nominated women to run for the number two post.

Remember Corinne Wood versus Mary Lou Kearns, the Kane County coroner who narrowly defeated Quinn himself in that year’s Democratic primary?

I’m sure Quinn would try to portray himself as pursuing a noble goal – placing more women on the statewide ticket. Currently, there are two – Lisa Madigan for attorney general and Robin Kelly for treasurer.

But the fact is that the man wants to win. In a typical year, he’d be a shoo-in for re-election against a Republican opponent whose appeal seems to be strictly regional. But this appears to be a year where GOP-types will do somewhat better than usual (although I expect the election cycle to end with Democrats still controlling most political posts in Illinois, if not all).

SO QUINN, WHO by some studies lost the women’s vote in the primary to departing Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, wants to do whatever is possible to make the difference between himself and Bill Brady, the state senator from Bloomington who won the GOP gubernatorial nomination, perfectly clear.

Not that it will be too difficult to distinguish between the two.

Right after Brady’s 193-vote primary victory over state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, became official earlier this month, Planned Parenthood of Illinois came out with its own opinion – saying that Brady’s record during 17 years as a state legislator, “completely disregards and denigrates women.”

While I understand that conservative activists of the female gender will disagree with Planned Parenthood’s ability to speak for all women, the fact is that Brady as a legislator has consistently voted on abortion-related bills in ways completely sympathetic to the anti-abortion viewpoint. They even say he is prepared to use the “executive order “ powers of the governor to impose additinoal restrictions related to the issue.

THEY ALSO HAVE problems with him opposing measures that would give women some degree of control over the process of their pregnancy. They cite a 2003 bill he co-sponsored that would allow insurance companies to offer plans that exclude items such as pap smears, mammograms and minimum hospital stays for childbirth.

After all, the logic of some people would go, such items could be considered luxuries not always essential for pregnant women but assurred of driving up the cost of a doctor’s bill.

Brady has also been a supporter of those pharmacists who want to impose their own so-called morals on all people by refusing to fill prescriptions of medications – such as birth control – that they object to.

This may be the Planned Parenthood impression of Brady, a man whom I will concede represents perfectly the mindset of residents of central Illinois. Perhaps he’d have a better shot of winning election if Illinois were a state more like Indiana, whose major city of Indianapolis is nowhere near as dominant over the state as Chicago is to Illinois.

SO THIS IS the image that Quinn has to run against. Which is why I’m sure the senator from Lake Bluff or the daughter of the late Sen. Paul Simon (who in her own right has served as a council member in Carbondale and is now a law school professor at Southern Illinois University) probably are running through the governor’s mind.

There might even be a superficial logic to any of these candidates.

But we all have to realize that Quinn’s opinion will be solicited only if Democratic Party officials are convinced that Quinn will agree with their opinion.

Because the bottom line is that this will be a party decision. Those party officials may pick a woman to be their nominee for lieutenant governor, unless they think there’s some other constituency they can better cater to by picking someone else.


EDITOR’S NOTES: Pat Quinn persists in preferring the idea of a woman as his running mate for the (,CST-NWS-ltgov19web.article) Nov. 2 general election.

Antediluvian! How many people out there had to dig out the dictionary (or use a dictionary-type website) to get ( the meaning of that attack?

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