I hate to sound cruel, but there is something ever so appropriate about the mood of the Republican partisans in Illinois who have been smacking our fair city about in recent months.
On a Day-After-Election Day that saw their preferred political party take a U.S. Senate seat and several seats in the Illinois congressional delegation, along with gaining two of the lesser state Constitutional posts, the BIG story across Illinois seems to be the fact that they likely lost the campaign for governor.
PAT QUINN, WHO narrowly managed to get his party’s nomination for a full term of his own, may well have won an even closer campaign in the general election – which was the point of his joke early Wednesday about “landslides.”
Perhaps we should start thinking of Quinn in the same league as Lyndon B. Johnson – at least the “Landslide Lyndon” who won a 1948 runoff election for U.S. Senate by all of 87 votes.
By comparison, Quinn won his primary against Dan Hynes by about 5,000 votes, and had a lead on Wednesday of about 8,300 votes over Republican opponent William Brady. This will be one election that literally won’t be resolved until that date nearly a month from now when the vote tallies are certified by the State Board of Elections.
So I understand in theory why Brady says he won’t concede anything, and we won’t know until December who our state’s new governor is.
BUT IN PRACTICE, it has the potential to make Brady seem like some candy-bottomed blowhard who won’t accept reality. As much as Republican partisans want to believe that absentee ballots from places like McLean County will help close the gap, the simple fact is that there are likely too many thousands of potential absentee ballots and other votes to come from Cook County that will eliminate any gains Brady made.
|How much does this century-old postcard image of the Illinois Statehouse capture the mood of GOP partisans on Wednesday?|
The only real question about the 2010 Illinois governor campaign is whether the final outcome will surpass the results of the 1982 campaign – when James R. Thompson beat Adlai E. Stevenson III by a mere margin of 5,074 votes.
It may happen. But privately, the campaign tacticians are realizing how unlikely it is that a gap that big could be closed. The people most outspoken about Brady pushing forward are the ones who look at that state map colored all in red with just a couple of blue smudges (ignoring the fact that the big blue smudge in the upper-right corner is for the county that accounts for nearly half of the state’s population).
That means it may be time to accept the fact that we have Gov. Pat Quinn for another four years. Ultimately, Brady is going to play a role in how well that fact is accepted by his conduct in coming days.
WILL HE EDGE on the conservative ideologues who were determined to dump anything having to do with Chicago? Will he put them in a hostile mode for the next four years that they will become the obstructions to anything being done to resolve Illinois’ very real problems?
This would be a case where the best thing Brady can do will be to fall into the background and resume his status as the state Senator from Bloomington. I could care less about formal statements. I don’t need to hear anything resembling an “I surrender” come from his mouth (and I think Democratic partisans who need to hear him grovel in some form should take the advice of Archie Bunker and “stifle” themselves).
I actually thought that Sen.-elect Mark Kirk, D-Ill., put it best late Tuesday when he said the time for partisanship was over, implying that it is time for people to start working together to resolve the problems of our society.
With their reaction to the Brady campaign, my guess is that we’re going to learn just how seriously they believe their rhetoric about working together. Do they define “working together” as telling everyone else to shut up and do what they say?
IF WE START getting the hostile rhetoric from the Brady campaign, that is the impression they will give.
It’s bad enough that we’re going to enter a two-year period of intense political partisanship in Congress, where Republicans now control the House of Representatives while Democrats retain the Senate (with Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., remaining as a top-ranking official under Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.)
I noticed a new Gallup Organization poll that said people identifying as Democrats wanted Congress to approve a new stimulus package to try to bolster the economy, while Republican backers most wanted a repeal of the healthcare reform measure enacted earlier this year.
WE IN ILLINOIS already know what it means when our government stagnates – the fact that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was determined to stick it in the face of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, meant that nothing got done, and our state’s problems became even worse with time.
To avoid that, Brady may well have to accept in the next couple of days that he gave it his best shot and actually came incredibly close to winning, but didn’t. Unless Brady can come up with about 9,000 more votes without resorting to the kinds of tactics that Republican political hacks always accuse Chicago of using, it’s over.
It’s time to move forward, and the fact that Republican caucuses in the state Legislature are stronger for the next two years hopefully means they will not be so irrelevant to the process.