The [Tuesday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
Pat Quinn is a schmuck.
That was my overriding reaction to last night's joint appearance by Quinn and gubernatorial primary rival Dan Hynes on Chicago Tonight.
Also: rude, whiny, disingenuous and grating.
Not that Hynes is a picnic. He was stiff, awkward, even seemingly ill-prepared. He did not parry Quinn's absurd attacks well.
Now I know why the Tribune editorial board punted when it came time to making an endorsement in this race.
While Hynes did a poor job defending himself against Quinn's ridiculous attacks, Quinn looked like the kind of career politician so desperate to hang on to his job that he'd say - and do - anything. Is the big reason to vote against Hynes really his office's handling of Burr Oak?
"Quinn's own task force on the scandal concluded in September that confusing 'regulatory disjunction' created gaps in the system - the comptroller's office was keeping an eye on the books of for-profit cemeteries and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation was exercising jurisdiction over funeral directors and embalmers," Eric Zorn has noted.
"Just last Sunday Quinn, to his credit, signed the Cemetery Oversight Act to fill those gaps and put the entire after-death industry under the purview of the Financial and Professional regulators, though the Comptroller's office will continue to track burial and funeral trust funds. It's been churlish and opportunistic of Quinn to suggest that the comptroller's office - basically a paper-pushing agency that many think should be combined with the state treasurer's office - should have also served as the grave-robber police."
If that's all Quinn's got . . .
But it's not. Quinn also attacked Hynes because one of his employees improperly used a state computer.
Again, if that's all Quinn's got . . .
And I didn't see Quinn balking at appearing with walking conflict-of-interest and race-monger Bobby Rush - or declining to seek Richard M. Daley's endorsement.
Mr. Manners - "My father taught me to be nice" - looked wild-eyed and crazy interrupting nearly every answer Hynes attempted to give to moderator Carol Marin.
He looked like he was going to start crying when Hynes - sensibly - suggested eliminating Quinn's former office of lieutenant governor.
"Paul Simon, Neil Hartigan and Pat Quinn," Quinn said, naming the luminaries that have held the post. "I think it's a good office."
Because it can be a platform, he explained, giving credence to the complaint voiced by the late Mayor Harold Washington that Quinn is simply an incompetent grandstander who uses any office he holds to advance Pat Quinn.
Quinn accused Hynes of wanting to eliminate the lieutenant governor's office out of a "fit of pique."
Um, it's not always about you, Pat.
Finally, when asked to name one quality each admired in the other, Hynes cited Quinn's devotion to veteran affairs. Quinn whined some more about Hynes.
You have no class, Pat Quinn.
Quinn: "His father's a double-dipper. I don't think that's right."
Hynes: "I think Pat Quinn has become disoriented. He thinks he's running against my father. I know you've been in politics 30 years, but my father retired 15 years ago. Maybe you should, too."
"There's no denying the Washington videotape speaks directly to legitimate issues in this election about Quinn's competence as an administrator," Mark Brown writes. "It's just that it's an awfully hypocritical card to play for someone named Hynes who would never have been comptroller in the first place if not for his father's political muscle."
I'm not sure what one has to do with the other. No one has questioned Dan Hynes's competence. Besides Pat Quinn, that is.
Quinn: "You and your father opposed Harold Washington. They were against him every step of the way."
As has been noted here and elsewhere, Dan Hynes was a freshman at Notre Dame at the time. This is not only scurrilous, but an obvious attempt at trying to generate racial animosity toward an opponent who has never done anything to deserve it. Nice, Pat.
"Harold Washington continued to be an unlikely focal point in the Democratic gubernatorial race Monday as Gov. Quinn trotted out a 28-year-old endorsement from the late Chicago mayor," the Sun-Times reports.
"Quinn's move was designed to counter a devastating campaign ad rival Dan Hynes debuted four days ago that features Washington, in one of his last televised interviews, expressing strong regrets for his 1986 appointment of Quinn to head the revenue department at City Hall - a move Washington characterized as 'perhaps my greatest mistake in government.'
"On Monday, Quinn's campaign distributed a 1982 press release from then-U.S. Rep. Washington, endorsing Quinn for a spot on the Cook County Board of Tax Appeals. 'Though I do not always agree with Patrick Quinn, he fits the bill superbly and will make an outstanding member of the Board of Appeals,' Washington said.
"The press release demonstrates Washington's true feelings toward Quinn, campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Austin said.
"'The point we're making is, in fact, Harold Washington did have a very high opinion of Pat Quinn, and [Washington] also was known for occasionally making intemperate remarks that reflected his mood at the time, not his long-term opinion about a person or an issue,' Austin said."
Elizabeth Austin, you are Today's Worst Person in Illinois.
The Washington endorsement is for a seat on the county board of tax appeals - and it came four years before Washington ripped Quinn. Of course he had a high opinion of Quinn then; he named him the city's revenue director, for godsakes. And then he fired him.
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Posted on January 26, 2010
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