Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Quinn ought not be quiet in coming day

It will be interesting to see just how Gov. Pat Quinn chooses to go on the attack against his opposition; now that he has a real opponent and not just the token “Anybody But Pat” option that passed for the name “Tio Hardiman” on Tuesday’s Democratic ballots.

QUINN: Hard-hitting, or wimpy?
If I were a part of the incumbent governor’s campaign staff, I’d already be striking back as hard now as though it were late October.

THE POINT OF doing something now, perhaps starting right as the early vote tallies came in Tuesday night, is to do something to inflate the momentum of the newly-appointed Republican nominee. Which is what justified the airtime the Quinn camp purchased in the Chicago and Champaign-to-Springfield television markets for last night.

Because momentum is what the GOP challenger to Quinn has right now. In these early hours of the general election cycle, it is a case where the Republican nominee has been in full campaign mode for months.

The adrenaline is still flowing, even as the winner goes about Wednesday morning making the traditional appearances at commuter stations and restaurants to shake the hands of people who voted and thank them for their support.

While also making an early plea to “Vote for Me!” again, one more time come Nov. 4.

LET THIS MOMENTUM continue to flow, and it builds strength. It builds the candidate’s character. It lets him think that he’s a “Winner!!!!!” It makes him think he’s invincible.

This really is a case where perception will become reality, if Quinn and his campaign is inept enough to allow it to happen.

Which is why I’m wondering if all these months of silence by the Quinn campaign were really just that campaign prepping itself to come out with (I apologize for the cliché) guns ablazin’ with a takedown attempt on the new GOP nominee for governor.

Hit him hard and point out something flawed to the degree that by week’s end, the sense of invincibility is shattered. The GOP nominee becomes nothing but a mortal. Heck, if truly successful, you’d have the Republican primary voters wondering by Friday what they could have been thinking when they cast their votes on Tuesday!

VAN PELT: Did early blast help?
A PART OF me still remembers Patricia Van Pelt Watkins. She’s a state legislator now, but I remember Election Night of 2010 when she was one of the fringe candidates with fantasies of running for mayor in 2011.

She came out with a string of Election Night ads (when most people were wondering if William Brady could actually overcome Pat Quinn and if Alexi Gianoulias had a political future) that made her name so prominent I honestly believe it is the reason she got serious consideration for a legislative post in the future – rather than just becoming yet another of the perennial names who get their names on the ballot to keep getting 1 percent of the vote every time they run.

Hitting hard now reinforces the idea that Quinn is serious (the Democratic Governors Association issued a statement Tuesday citing his political strengths) and that his opposition is not invincible. If he doesn’t act now, I’d argue he’s bringing his defeat eight months from now upon himself.

This could be an election cycle that has a serious momentum shift by Friday.

IT ALSO HELPS that Quinn has had so much time, and didn’t need to focus any attention on a primary opponent (what’s the difference between losing 64-36 percent, or 98-2 percent, which could have happened if Quinn had thought Hardiman opposition was essential).

He’s had time to prepare. There’s also the fact that he’s put together a campaign team of experienced operatives. These guys aren’t going to play nice. They’re going to go for the victory.

I’m waiting to see what they have dug up. Let’s only hope it’s not a better-funded take on the organized labor attacks of recent months against Bruce Rauner.

RAUNER: What will we think on Friday?
Those wound up doing little more than making Rauner look like an all-powerful pol out to crush a scared, whimpering weasel of labor union interests. I suspect those broadcast spots  made the unions look ridiculous, while inadvertently bolstering Rauner – like the yellow sun for Superman. Does Quinn have some Kryptonite??!?

NOW I REALIZE it’s a long campaign season. There are nearly eight full months of time to campaign before Nov. 4. Any specifics spouted out now will be long forgotten by then.

But this is more about perception. Either Quinn does something now to show us that his challenger is just a political dreg. Or that he’s just a doofus who sat around all these months during the primary because he had nothing worthwhile to say.

In which case, it will be a long eight months while he sinks lower and lower until he winds up getting consigned to political retirement.


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