The [Monday] Papers
"Gov. Pat Quinn launched a four-city fly-around Monday to talk up the latest Illinois Lottery ticket benefiting veterans, a move he said was intended to honor those that serve but one that also displays the benefits of incumbency as he runs for re-election," the Tribune reports.
"[Quinn] scoffed at suggestions that his [taxpayer-funded] tour of the state doubled as a campaign effort, saying he's held events to promote the veterans lottery ticket for the past decade.
"I've done this over and over again over the last decade," Quinn said. "I think it's important on Veterans Day to find ways - each and every one of us - to honor our veterans. That's exactly what I'm doing."
And if it helps me get re-elected, that's just a happy coincidence!
"The Democratic governor began the day at a veterans home in the city's Humboldt Park neighborhood, with planned Downstate stops to follow in Peoria, Milan and Rockford."
Because those are the places that most need encouragement to buy lottery tickets.
Seriously, I'd like to see someone FOIA all documents pertaining to the planning of this particular jaunt, just to see what political considerations went into choosing these locations. If only we could FOIA political strategists too.
It's a timeworn strategy, but that doesn't make it right; it just makes it cynical. Our system should make it easier, not harder, to challenge incumbents.
"It also highlights the gubernatorial candidate's regular practice of tacking political events onto official government travel funded by state taxpayers."
I would be inclined to frame it the other way around: It also highlights the gubernatorial candidate's regular practice of tacking taxpayer-funded official business onto political events.
"Most politicians go to great lengths not to publicize when they switch between government and campaign work - even in Illinois, where experts say ethics laws separating them aren't as specific as the federal government's rules.
"Rutherford, however, uniquely broadcasts even the most mundane details of the trips through Twitter, a catch-all for his personal, government and campaign activities.
"'Just arriving to the DuPage Township Republicans Sunday Brunch fundraiser where I will be the guest speaker,' Rutherford tweeted one Sunday last fall. Hours later, he posted that he was speaking at a Joe Neal for Illinois Senate event and at a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling.
"Those fundraisers came during his stay in the Chicago suburbs to promote the I-Cash program, which reconnects Illinois residents with financial property they misplaced. While the costs were hardly exorbitant - he stayed at a Red Roof Inn for $70 a night - the reports that Rutherford filed with the state don't mention the political events but justify the expenses for 'performing duties as state treasurer.'"
Give AP props for using Rutherford's twitter feed to track his wherefores and whereabouts. And while I wouldn't want to give credit to a smoother politician who would a better job covering his tracks, this is yet another example of what the Beachwood Bookmaking Bureau has to say about Rutherford:
Dan Rutherford wins GOP nomination: 30 percent. Down five ticks; cementing reputation as a bumbler.
(The Bookmaking Bureau, by the way, has the day off; the Political Odds will be updated on Tuesday to reflect recent developments, such as the injection of Paul Vallas into the race.)
In fact, this sort of "perk" is exactly the reason why someone like Rutherford becomes state Treasurer in the first place; it's not like he had a lifelong dream of treasuring.
It's the same reason why Tom Cross is running to replace Rutherford - and sending out e-mail blasts like this one:
"Another session has concluded and Springfield has failed yet again to lead on a critically important issue to Illinois families: stabilizing and securing the nation's worst funded pension system. Each day of inaction costs taxpayers and drains state funds for critical services like education, healthcare and public safety. I am running for state treasurer to take on big challenges . . . "
You know, Tom, or should I call you former House Minority Leader, if you were running to take on the big challenges you'd be running for governor. The duties of the treasurer's office, while important on a bureaucratic level, are among the narrowest among public offices anywhere in the state. We should just appoint a CPA to the job and be done with it.
"Illinois state Treasurer candidate Tom Cross is launching a three-market radio buy today - a day after the Republican made a switch and voted in favor of same-sex marriage legislation in the House," the Sun-Times reported last week.
"Cross switched positions after his campaign told the Sun-Times just three weeks ago that he remained opposed to same-sex marriage."
Huh. That's weird.
"[H]is Democratic opponent - state Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) - was calling on Cross to support same-sex marriage. 'I am proud to be one of only two Downstate Senators to co-sponsor and vote for both marriage equality and civil unions,' Frerichs said then."
"Cross's vote neutralizes what could have been a contentious issue in a general election."
That's typical mainstream media framing - give the credit for "neutralizing" a contentious issue instead of calling him out for his dishonesty.
"Cross released a statement on Tuesday night saying he made the change after months of soul-searching."
Really? Months of soul-searching? Perhaps, but we can't interview a statement. Then again, nobody seems to want to.
Frerichs is no better. He's the one who injected gay marriage into this race because, well, there's no sense in debating the "issues" in a state treasurer's race. There don't seem to be any.
I wonder if any reporter asked Frerichs why it mattered if the treasurer was for gay marriage.
"While Quinn does normally mark Veterans Day by promoting various veterans programs, it's unusual for him to travel the state to do so."
How unusual? I think he does it about once every four years.
Assignment: See if sales of the Veterans Cash Specialty Ticket go up in the markets Quinn visited.
Also: How many buyers of said tickets are desperate veterans who could perhaps use more dependable state assistance?
"Quinn has been a vocal supporter of veterans, often attending the funerals of service members killed in action and visiting injured troops in Germany during the holidays."
Which is great, but loses a bit of its sincerity when it seems like it's always brought to our attention through Sneed.
Which isn't to say Quinn isn't sincere. It's to say that his Machine-like performance as governor means he no longer gets the benefit of the doubt.
"He's also sought to increase the number of state contracts going to veteran-owned businesses, though a Tribune report found that since 2011 just $32 million of roughly $13 billion in work has been awarded to those businesses - less than .25 percent."
Because the Tribune won't even link to its own story, I will:
"Surrounded by flags, lawmakers and Veterans of Foreign Wars members, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill two years ago that called for Illinois to award 3 percent of state government contracts to businesses owned by veterans," the paper reported last month.
"The program, however, is off to a slow start. So far, only about 50 businesses have been certified as veteran-owned, a number bolstered by a recent surge of approvals following scrutiny and criticism. In the last budget, only $32 million in work went to such businesses out of a state pie of $13 billion or so - less than 0.25 percent.
"Even those pulling for the program to succeed say the Quinn administration should be 'highly embarrassed.'"
Maybe if Quinn Skyped a statewide pep fest for lottery tickets he could've stayed home and worked on those contracts he promised.
Esprit de Corps
This one is by Jonathan Hancock. Click through for more.
NSA's Chilling Effect
The Weekend In Chicago Rock
The Beachwood Tip Line: Abdicate.
Posted on November 11, 2013
© 2006 - 2017, The Beachwood Media Company