Monday, August 23, 2010

Guv hopefuls use doubletalk for support

Call it strange political speak.

Both of the major candidates seeking the position of Illinois governor have made comments in recent days that seem as though they are trying to reach out to the “other side” for support.

THE PROBLEM IS that we are in such a partisan environment these days, that it is unlikely anyone’s mind was changed by what they heard from either Gov. Pat Quinn or his Republican challenger, state Sen. William Brady of Bloomington.

In the process, Quinn managed to make such a boob out of himself that I wonder if he managed to cost himself support among the people who should nominally be his supporters.

At stake is Brady talking about abortion, and Quinn speaking on the subject of religion – specifically the place of Islam within our nation.

Both of those candidates should have heard a “Danger, Will Robinson”-type alert sounding in their minds as they were preparing to speak. Perhaps they just preferred to ignore it.

IN THE CASE of Brady, he told a Republican gathering that while he might be opposed to the idea of abortion being legal, the simple fact is that it is a legal medical procedure that has been upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Anybody who thinks that electing him governor is going to result in Illinois passing laws calling for criminal penalties against doctors who perform the procedure is misguided.

“If you look at the makeup of the letter of the law, there’s very little that the governor can do,” Brady said while speaking at a temple in Springfield; a comment that has the anti-abortion activists upset because they want to believe that they can undermine the laws that permit a woman to terminate a pregnancy if she chooses.

The political pundits have said Brady is trying to downplay the ideological rhetoric so that he won’t be quite as scary to people who aren’t so conservative on social issues, particularly those who have developed their own hangups throughout the years at the very concept of Pat Quinn.

BRADY STILL SAYS, “yes, I am pro-life,” which means he’s not making as big a flop as Quinn did when he decided to open his mouth and speak on what really is a New York parochial issue – and which a Gallup Organization poll recently showed most people aren’t overly concerned with.

Quinn, who likes to think of himself as an unreformed liberal in a state where many Democratic government officials run from the “liberal” label as often as possible, decided he wants to be on the record as favoring the position of the conservative ideologues who want to think that Islam is somehow too foreign a religion to have a place in this country.

When asked about whether an Islamic community center that includes a mosque should be permitted at a location just a couple of blocks from the site of the one-time World Trade Center, Quinn said, in part, “I do believe that there are special places on Earth that should have a zone of solemnity around them. I would strongly urge those who are thinking of putting a mosque within that zone to rethink their position.”

I’m sure that part of what influenced Quinn was the fact that when President Barack Obama (whose favorable ratings in Illinois are still about 55 percent, at a time when his national approval rating is 43 percent) made comments favorable to the people who want to develop that community center, the conservative trash talkers got their soiled undies in a bunch.

QUINN PROBABLY FIGURED it would be easier to say something sympathetic to the “other” side, hoping his comments would get lost in the shuffle.

It hasn’t. If anything, Quinn has gained more hostility by saying what he did, rather than what many of his partisans would have wanted him to say. Officials with various Muslim groups, along with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, are now trashing him.

What amazes me about Quinn’s comments was that he made them at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield on the day that Democrats use for assorted partisan activities, including a morning breakfast in the Illinois capital city at which several Democrats of national stature made it clear they back Obama for siding with the idea that religious bigotry should not be permitted to prevail in this instance.

Quinn couldn’t hear what was being said? Is Quinn that clueless? Because the Pat Quinn of old who has made so many enemies among people of all political parties, including his own, would have been the first guy to lead this particular attack, not try to repel it.

QUITE FRANKLY, I find it unbecoming of a public official when they say what they think a certain group of people will want to hear from them. Because I happen to think most people are intelligent enough to see through the charade.

I don’t see what the governor thinks he gained, because I don’t think any of the people in Illinois who are most worked up over this issue would have been inclined to vote for The Mighty Quinn under any circumstances. They will see through this rhetoric.

All Quinn has done is caused people who were already wondering “what’s the point” of bothering to show up to vote on Nov. 2 to think their hesitancy is justified, especially when Brady comes off (by comparison) as the candidate whose faculties have a grasp on reality.


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