Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How Mighty is Quinn?

Now that we’re past the Jesse Jackson, Jr., replacement fiasco (we now have Rep.-elect Robin Kelly, D-Ill.), we can move forward to the next election cycle – the ones in 2014 that will give people a chance to have their say about state government officials.

QUINN: The favorite?!?
Particularly Pat Quinn, our “beloved” governor whom some people are all too eager to dump on!

THE WHOLE IDEA of some people being eager for the Democratic primary in March to come around so they can have their chance to vote against Quinn is laughable in so many ways.

It has me wondering what those individuals think of the New York Times, which on Tuesday used its website to publish a commentary about governors that decreed Quinn “a favorite to win re-election.”

Of course, what that commentary based its thought upon was the notion that Illinois is such an overwhelmingly Democratic state these days (two-thirds of the state’s population lives in the Chicago metro area) that whoever wins the primary is a shoo-in to win the general election in November.

A depressing thought, I’m sure, to those people who live in the 96 counties that comprise “rural” Illinois and can’t comprehend how six counties in the northeast can be so dominant.

SO WHAT SHOULD we think of the chances of Pat Quinn?

Personally, at this point in time, I could be persuaded to vote for him again. Although nothing is definite, and I have to admit to having a certain level of respect for the professional skills of the woman who is the alleged front-runner to challenge him – Lisa Madigan.

MADIGAN: The favorite!!!
Although it seems that the bulk of the people who are talking up Madigan for governor are doing so mainly because they feel snubbed by something Quinn did at some point.

The man did spend decades as being a thorn in the tush of state government officials. I’m sure the fact that they impeached Rod Blagojevich was tempered somewhat by the knowledge that it would mean Quinn would rise to the top spot.

AND LET’S BE honest. He wouldn’t have won that term of his own in 2010 if not for the fact that the Republicans put forth a nominee who was so determined to cater to the rural one-third of the state that the two-thirds majority pinched their noses in the voter booths and cast their votes for Quinn anyway.

If Quinn is to have a chance to win the March primary election, he’s going to have to rely on a same level of disgust – in this case, from people who just can’t bear the thought of having a governor who is the daughter of the long-serving and all-powerful Illinois House speaker.

Get enough contempt for the thought of Madigan (as in Michael) having even more influence over Illinois state government, and Quinn could very well win that primary.

Particularly if you can get those people with a good-government bent to them to remember all those years past when Quinn was the self-appointed voice of the downtrodden who stood up to government.

NOT THAT I’M convinced this strategy will work. For one thing, those kind of people tend to be small contributors to political campaigns. The big money comes from business interests who may well not have any problem with the thought of an even mightier Madigan.

And let’s all remember the fact that Illinois Republicans in 2012 tried a campaign strategy that urged people to vote against all Democrats – on the grounds that they were nothing but shills for Mike Madigan.

It didn’t work then, because I don’t think many "real" people (as opposed to political geeks) get that angered at the thought of Mike Madigan – who has been around for so long that he almost seems like part of the scenery at the Illinois Statehouse. A majority of Illinoisans may well be more offended by the GOP options (Bruce Rauner? Who’s willing to accept a state government shutdown to score ideological political points!) for public office.
MADIGAN: The variable

In fact, about the only thing that might really bolster Quinn is the fact that Mike Madigan himself has talked in the past about how much harm was done to Democrats in 1976 when the party persisted with a challenge to then-Gov. Dan Walker.

WALKER LOST THAT primary, but James R. Thompson wound up taking the general election – beginning a 26-year string of Republican governors of Illinois.

I’m sure the last thing Madigan would want is for his daughter to do anything that would be perceived as bolstering the chances of a Republican victory come November 2014 – although the modern-day Illinois GOP may well be too weak to take advantage.


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