Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Mighty Quinn

Over the last several years, I have had countless conversations with people asking me about the dynamic between Gov. Blagojevich and Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. As anybody familiar with Illinois politics can tell you, Pat Quinn is a populist's populist. He historically was never one to shy away from taking on a fight on behalf of the citizens.

And at the same time, over the last four+ years, there have been countless issues emanating from the Governor's office that one would think would have Quinn champing at the bit to comment on.

Which is exactly why some folks have been at a loss figuring out how and why he had been relatively quiet since becoming Lt. Gov. Was he cajoled, brainwashed, drugged? Worse yet, had he just lost the fight in him?

Now don't get me wrong, I am hardly saying that Quinn has not been active. Quite to the contrary. Illinois veterans do not have a more sincere friend in our state than Pat Quinn, who has solemnly, and unfortunately, attended countless funerals for fallen soldiers - without fanfare or grandstanding.

Furthermore, he is always one ready to weigh in on a panoply of issues. Some have argued that God invented Sundays to give Quinn a day for his press conferences :)

But on the big ticket stuff, Pat just hasn't been, well, Pat.

That's definitely been changing of late, and people are taking notice. Chris Wills from the AP has a story out about the resurgence of the Old Pat.
After four years of playing down any disagreements with Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Quinn is suddenly speaking out, resurrecting the populist approach that originally brought him political success.

"If you overemphasize being on the inside, then when something is just haywire you don't speak out enough," Quinn said in an interview last week with The Associated Press. "My view is that it's time to speak out because there are a couple of things that are haywire."

He called Blagojevich's proposed $7.6 billion business tax "the absolute worst way" to increase state revenues. He accused the governor of standing by while skyrocketing electric rates hit working people.

And he said Blagojevich should be doing more to fight government corruption, especially now that he has won a second term.

This is the stuff that people want to see when they elect Quinn into office. A guy with an opinion, a guy ready to take on the powers that be. Well, most people at least.

But in a recent interview with WBBM-AM, Blagojevich didn't seem to take Quinn seriously. He insisted Quinn isn't part of his administration, although the governor and lieutenant governor are elected as a team.

"Lieutenant Governor Quinn is known as a gadfly. That's one of his charming qualities," Blagojevich said.

I wouldn't be so dismissive of Quinn if I was the Governor. Pat has an uncanny ability to connect with the public and if I had to pick having the approval numbers of one of the two of them, I know whose numbers I'm taking.

Furthermore, as I was quoted saying in the article:

"It's a welcome re-entry to the political arena," Fritchey said. "Media, pundits, politicians alike often look at Pat's agendas as being somewhat quixotic, but I think history has shown that much more often than not, he has been on the right side of the issues."

Hell, just last week a Tribune commentary proffered Quinn as a guy to help end the game of Springfield Roulette between Blagojevich, Jones and Madigan. Not sure that I see that happening, but it would seem to reinforce the notion that Quinn is seen as a guy capable of being above the fray.

We independently elect our Gov. and Lt. Gov. candidates, and in so doing, we are entitled to expect independent leaders with unique perspectives. Good to see we're starting to get what we bargained for. Welcome back Pat.


At April 11, 2007 at 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And that is why I love your blog. And Pat Quinn. Good piece.

At April 11, 2007 at 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's about time the Quinn that's in office started acting like the Quinn that I voted for.

At April 12, 2007 at 3:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, but it is too late for Pat to resurrect his political career.

There are too many youngsters champing at the gubernatorial bit--Alexi, Lisa, Dan. Brady over in the other party And Pat isn't mainstream enough to successfully run (or even be appointed) for senator.

In addition, the present guv is likely to marginalize him even more if expresses any dissatisfaction with the current game plan. Under Blago, you have to be in lockstep with the guv to
get favor. Very similar to the current Bush administration actually.

At April 12, 2007 at 9:02 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Quinn has always been a voice for ordinary people . Unfortunatly, on the budget issue, his alternative plan of merely closing corporate loopholes, while a step in the right direction, is woefully inadequate and, like HB 750, fails to address the health care issue and the ongoing state pension funding crisis like the Governor's proposed budget does.
It is easy to criticize and stage protests like mailing teabags. It makes for a good press opportunity. A real leader would be working with all parties involved to arive at a compromise budget that addresses these real problems in our state. There are more than two sides to the budget story and we need to reach a consensus. I am counting on you,John, and your colleagues in the GA, to play a major role.

At April 12, 2007 at 3:45 PM, Anonymous Rastaman said...


Are you saying the Quinn only does what he does for a press opportunity? What about Rod? His whole time in office has been one big press release.

It is unfortunate that he doesn't have more of a voice in the running of the state. He seems a bit more grounded than the Guv.

As for the whatever tax GRod is proposing, it is just another fantasy proposition that already has suburban Mommies saying how great the results from it will be.

I just wish Quinn would speak up more and tell the public these programs are just smoke and mirrors.

To date, how many people have been helped by Blago's socialistic multi, multi-million dollar programs? Not many.


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