Friday, August 24, 2012

Quinn can cause weekend controversies

Pat Quinn has always been the type of person who had a knack for offending the general populace. So from his perspective, the fact that his weekends recently have managed to offend people probably doesn’t seem at all unique.
QUINN: Upsetting everybody?

But Quinn is bound to irritate many people this weekend, as he says he’s going to use the time to figure out exactly what he’s going to do with the bill that would expand casino gambling (and other gambling opportunities) throughout Illinois.

THIS COMES AFTER his appearance last weekend at an end-of-Ramadan event held at the Toyota Park stadium in suburban Bridgeview that has some ideologues offended that Quinn would “dignify” Islam, and even has some nitwits convinced that he “inadvertently” was converted to that religious faith.

You can guess how absurd the rhetoric has become. I wonder if accidental conversion to another religious faith is anything like the idea of “legitimate rape” and the idea that a woman can’t truly be impregnated against her will?

But the offense caused by Quinn’s participation in that event may be minor compared to the offense that will be caused by Quinn this weekend when he decides what to do with proposed gambling expansion.

Because at least some of us are sensible enough to realize that the people getting worked up over Quinn and Islam aren’t rational.

THERE ARE A lot of otherwise-rational people who will be offended by whatever Quinn does with gambling.

For the truth is that Quinn probably is anxious to veto the bill in question. He has made it known for years that he thinks the plan to add five more casinos, and also allow slot machines and other gambling opportunities, goes too far.

Yet he knows if he does that, he will face the wrath of the General Assembly, and all the people who are anxious to have a casino closer to them than the 10 existing riverboat casinos (that really aren’t riverboats anymore, but that’s an issue for another day).

Which is why the speculation exists that he’s going to push for an amendatory veto – by which he gives his approval to the concept with some alterations.

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY would get their chance to undo those changes when they reconvene in November. But House Speaker Michael Madigan has told reporter-types the answer is “No!” to the question, “Does the Legislature have enough votes to override a gubernatorial veto?”

Which means Quinn, when he acts on the bill (he has until Tuesday, the deadline for all the remaining bills approved this spring by the General Assembly), is going to have a lot of ticked off people.

For these are the people who are anxious to have more gambling opportunities. They argue it is about the economic struggles the state currently faces.

Yet there are many officials supporting this who have wanted it for many years – going back to the times when Illinois was doing well financially.

WHICH MEANS IT’S not really about bailing out Illinois’ fiscal status as much as they just want every municipality to have a casino – if the community wants it.

That ignores the fact that having so many casinos would cause them to drown each other out and be rather worthless financially. We may be at a position where we have about as much gambling opportunity as the state can handle without undermining itself.

Quinn’s opposition can be seen as a realistic understanding of that fact, rather than him being a malcontent who can’t get with the program – which is what many people are going to claim when he acts on the bill. Just as his appearance at a Ramadan event also shouldn’t be something perceived as controversial.

Which probably puts me in the minority of Illinois – someone who isn’t offended by the actions of Pat Quinn.


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