While my doubts about William Brady’s partisan rhetoric about the state’s financial problems are part of my reason for opposing the GOP’s choice for governor, another significant part of the reason I’m hoping Pat Quinn gets his own full term as governor is that the more I learn about Brady’s running mate, the less I like him.
It is a juvenile sentiment on my part, It is spiteful. The part of me that is Catholic thinks I should have a serious talk with a priest for having such negative feelings. But the thought of Jason Plummer holding any government position – particularly one that could put him in charge of state government someday – gives me the creeps.
THIS IS A 29-year-old who is counting on the fact that few voters pay any attention to the running mate to get himself elected to a political position. Running for a lower-level position to gain experience would not appeal to him, because then he’d have to expose himself and let us all see him for what he is.
Exposure is something that Plummer definitely has avoided. His participation in the campaign cycle has been limited to the rural portions of the state at events where he only appears before the hard-core faithful – the GOPers so determined to vote against a Democrat that they’ll put up with anyone who carries the requisite “R” after his name.
That attitude was on display, instead of Plummer himself, when he blew off what was meant to be a debate between Jason, Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Sheila Simon, and Baxter Swilley, the man who is paired up with independent gubernatorial hopeful Scott Lee Cohen.
I’m not about to claim that Plummer and Simon need to be the political equivalent of conjoined twins for the next couple of weeks. I understand he has his own campaign activity to tend to.
BUT PLUMMER IS going about trying to claim that it is Simon’s fault that she is not coordinating her schedule to his partisan needs, and that if she truly were interested in appearing with him, she would adapt.
I kind of like the way WMAQ-TV handled the debate this week – putting up an empty chair for Simon and Swilley to debate. Of course, I’m sure he’s going to take this as a slight and claim it is evidence that he is being picked on.
If it reads like I think that Plummer is the kind of aspiring politico who wants to beat up on the opposition, but can’t take their hits back, you’d be correct. When it comes to the world of electoral politics, that is a serious flaw that ought to make one unworthy of anyone’s vote.
Because politics is about having to deal with an opposition. It is not (nor should it be) about being able to strong-arm the opposition.
I’M CURIOUS TO see how things work out Monday, where Simon and Plummer are supposed to face off against each other at WTTW-TV studios, with their “debate” to be included in the “Chicago Tonight” program.
Plummer claims he will be there, and I expect he will show (because I don’t think he has the nerve to be arrogant enough to skip out on this event). But I want to see how he tries to spin the circumstances to make it appear that he’s doing us the favor by appearing at the event – and how somehow it is Simon’s fault that the two haven’t had any prior confrontations on the campaign trail.
I also expect we’re going to get a self-righteous tone when it comes to the one ongoing issue of this year’s campaign for lieutenant governor – the fact that Plummer is adamant about refusing to let anyone see the personal income tax returns he has filed in recent years.
It has become a staple of government that our elected officials make copies of their returns public so we can see what kind of people they are associated with and what income they have. For some political people, it is meant to show evidence that their sole income is the check they receive twice a month from the Illinois comptroller’s office for their government duties.
SOME POLITICAL PEOPLE, including Brady, go to extremes to make it difficult to see their returns, so as to make sure that only the most dedicated of political geeks bother. Plummer won’t even go that far, claiming that because of his family’s lumber business in the St. Louis Metro East area, he has business ties whose privacy ought to be respected.
He’s trying to put a noble spin on the concept of “none of your business,” which basically is his sole reason for not wanting people to understand that he is a guy who comes from a wealthy family (in short, he’s not a self-made millionaire).
I’m a firm believer in the concept that elected officials give up some of their privacy when they go on a public payroll to do the “people’s business.” If Plummer had been able to accept that fact early on in the campaign cycle, then none of this would be an issue.
I used to think that the most stubborn business-type who ever tried running for political office was H. Ross Perot’s presidential aspirations of 1992 and 1996. But the fact that Plummer stubbornly clings to his concepts all these months later – with only 10 days remaining until Election Day – means he tops Perot, and is unworthy in my mind of a vote.