The [Tuesday] Papers
You know what? No one paid attention to Pat Quinn when he was winning the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor twice either. Few politicos took him seriously and he certainly wasn't Rod Blagojevich's choice, but the lieutenant governor's office has pretty much always been a joke.
And when Quinn took office after Blagojevich was impeached last year, he looked like a deer caught in the headlights.
Yet, the political establishment - for some strange reason - lined up behind Quinn once he became the putative incumbent.
There are two reasons for that.
First, Quinn rushed to embrace the hoariest of Machine creatures, indicating (slobbering?) that he was willing to play ball. (He's embarrassed by Scott Lee Cohen but not Joe Berrios?)
Second, the good old boys saw that Quinn could be rolled.
The latest case in point: Quinn says he'll defer to Michael Madigan and the 38 members of the state Democratic central committee to choose his running mate. Way to show leadership, Pat.
It's not that Quinn doesn't have a preference; he's reportedly pushing for Tammy Duckworth, who isn't remotely qualified to be governor. It's that he's ceding the choice to Madigan, who is notorious for backing losers in races beyond those involving his own chamber.
But that would just be like Democrats, who tend to overstrategize themselves into defeat. You'd think maybe they would just pick second-place finisher Art Turner, a state representative from Chicago whom Madigan backed anyway. Picking from the other candidates who were bested by both Cohen and Turner would be a farce, no?
(The Sun-Times notes that Rep. Mike Boland of Moline, who finished fourth in the voting, barely edging out an electrician from Elmhurst, is still interested in the job and that his wife is on the central committee.)
The only other justifiable pick would be Quinn's barely defeated challenger Dan Hynes, but Hynes has already put the kibosh on that. (Or Kirk Dillard, the likely barely defeated Republican challenger who has bragged about his ability to work across the aisle. How about a bipartisan unity ticket that officially sanctions the Combine?)
The lieutenant governorship came into vogue after so many folks who have toiled so long in Springfield watched Quinn's ascendancy to the big chair from the little chair.
"[H]alf the people here want to be lieutenant governor," state Senate President John Cullerton told the Tribune.
I wish someone would have asked Cullerton why. I suspect the reason is that it's an easy paycheck.
Meanwhile, the media's irresponsibility continues. "Shocking details emerged last week in the wake of Cohen's win, including an allegation that he once held a knife to a live-in girlfirend's throat."
An unproven allegation made by an accuser who failed to show up when the case went to court and who refuses to explain her charge. Cohen, on the other hand, is taking all questions.
Why favor the one account, then, over the other?
According to ProQuest, Turner has appeared in just two Tribune news articles since 1985.
"I don't believe that would be the way to go," Quinn said. "Offerings. The answer is no."
Geez, Pat, the least you could do is give Cohen some advice about how to earn interest of his campaign fund.
Right. If he had failed to pay taxes, though, he'd be good to go.
"Cohen argued that his lack of payment was a misunderstanding, but a parent who doesn't pay court-ordered child support is not fit to run for public office in Illinois."
But a columnist who writes about court cases without knowing the facts is fit to pick up a paycheck every week.
It may turn out Cohen has totally screwed his ex-wife and kids, but unless or until we actually know the parameters of the case, who are we to make that assumption? After all, the ex-wife just appeared on TV supporting the guy.
"Unfortunately, Cohen, a wealthy pawnbroker, was able to buy his way to the top with no questions asked.
And Alexi Giannoulias was able to buy his way to the top with no questions answered.
"State Sen. Rickey Hendon, who took third place in the lieutenant governor's race, is proposing legislation that would limit the use of personal and family wealth."
Unless the money was funneled to Rickey Hendon, I'm guessing.
The madness goes on and on, but I can't; Mary Mitchell just makes me tired.
"Police weren't responding to anything involving steroids or a domestic dispute - topics that led to Cohen withdrawing Sunday night as Gov. Quinn's running mate."
Oh stop, you're killing me!
"Instead, police came because of a missing full-length woman's mink coat valued at an estimated $5,000."
Because, you know, Cohen hangs out with the type of people who would steal a mink coat.
"[Accuser Cecili] Tomlin said Monday she's aggravated not only because the coat remains missing but because she felt hotel staff and Cohen workers weren't taking her seriously."
Huh. I wonder why.
"She also was perturbed by an offer from Cohen's brother, Randy, to sell her a mink coat from a Cohen-owned pawn shop.
"'I'm not sure she really had a coat there, but I offered to take care of her because I felt bad,' Randy Cohen said."
Methinks the paper should have waited to see a police report on this one. Unless, you know, you couldn't resist piling on with more inference and innuendo.
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Posted on February 9, 2010
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