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Take the cases of Barack Obama and Pat Quinn. It wasn’t all that long ago that these were the sitting president and Illinois governor, respectively. It would be expected for them to have their every utterances recorded for posterity.
THEY’RE NOW BOTH in political retirement – Obama because he served his two-term maximum allowed for any individual to be president, and Quinn because even with the advantages of incumbency, he couldn’t even beat Bruce Rauner for governor come the last state government election cycle.
But they’re both the subject of idle chit-chat amongst people who wish to think they’re saying something intelligent about our political structure.
For Obama, who’s living along with former first lady Michelle out in the District of Columbia, he’s going to have a return to our local scene. For the Obamas still own their home in the Kenwood neighborhood and maintain local voter registration – along with driver’s licenses.
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Which means that Obama’s name is in the pool of people who can be called upon to serve on a jury. The exact circumstances of which have occurred.
OFFICIALS ARE GOING out of their way not to let it be publicly known when Obama will return to Cook County to do his day of jury duty, although the former president is trying to appear as regular-guyish as possible in saying he won’t try to get out of such duty.
He’ll show up, watch that decades-old film of one-time WBBM-TV news anchor Lester Holt explaining the way the court system works, and will be kept in seclusion from the criminals who pervade the halls of the county courthouses, to see if he gets picked to be on a jury.
Which most people would think is a long-shot. I suspect any attorney trying to put together a jury to benefit their client (or a prosecutor seeking to nail his hide to the wall) is going to view Obama as a distraction. Something that could draw massive amounts of attention to an otherwise-trivial case.
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BUT WHEN IT happens, Obama’s presence will cause a political circus – even though county officials say they’ll get him into and out of the courthouse in a way meant to draw as little attention to himself as possible.
Which is just the opposite of former Gov. Quinn – who in coming months is going to want to draw as much attention to himself as possible. He says he’s going to be amongst the many Dems wishing to run for Illinois attorney general.
Not that it’s surprising Quinn would try to seek a state office after losing his governor’s post in 2014. Quinn previously served as Illinois treasurer from 1991-95, and I lost track of the number of political posts he ran for unsuccessfully until he finally became lieutenant governor following the 2002 election cycle.
“The Mighty Quinn” isn’t really satisfied unless he’s running for office and using his campaigns as forums for making political statements about what he thinks is for the good of our society.
AS FAR AS why attorney general, it’s because the post is open; what with Lisa Madigan saying she won’t seek re-election in next year’s cycle. With some half-dozen or so Dems expressing interest in the post, perhaps Quinn thinks he could win a primary with some 25 percent voter support.
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Although I’m skeptical he could even get that much. But it is a wide-open primary, meaning anything screwy could happen.
I have to admit it would be odd if Quinn were to wind up being the Democratic nominee running against possible GOP challenger Erika Harold. Could the man who gave us the cutback amendment and reduced by one-third the size of the Illinois House of Representatives compete against a one-time Miss America?
I’m sure Harold’s campaign is going to portray herself as an ultimate political outsider out to instigate change – yet one could argue she’d be taking on the ultimate political pain in the derriere who doesn’t care much what the political insiders think of him.