Sunday, June 11, 2006

Personal Asides: Complete the Poem…Why Some Partisans Shift Sides on the Governorship…Brady a Possible Candidate for the U. S. Senate?

brady bill

Finish this children’s poem which you probably heard from kindergarten: Birdie with a yellow bill/ Hopped upon my window sill/ Cocked his shining eye and said…Said what? I doubt that this is one you can cheat on as I wouldn’t know where it would be published…

Partisans Shifting Sides.

It’s becoming quite obvious that House Speaker Mike Madigan is not in Gov. Blagojevich’s corner any way, shape or form. Leaks on the governor are spilling into the news, including a popular usually pro-Democratic newsletter and Blog. At the same time, polls show Judy Baar Topinka is suffering from severe GOP base disaffection. Thus we have an anomaly. I notice it the most when I go to Springfield and occasionally in the Green Room, talking privately with Democratic and Republican guests before the Sunday broadcast. Many of the Speaker’s Democratic allies are plugging for Topinka to win the governorship although they don’t say so. Many of the normal supporters of the GOP are hoping for Topinka to lose and Blagojevich to win—although they don’t say so. The funny thing is, as a realist, I can see the point for the pro-Topinka Democrats, the pro-Blagojevich Republicans and Topinka herself.

Why would some Democrats want Topinka to win? Easy. Blagojevich gives every indication that he would willingly bargain away the state in the next term while he moves on to what he hopes are bigger and better things. Those Democrats remaining to pick up the pieces would very likely have to recommend a tax increase to fill a chasm in the budget. That would be fatal for the career of Lisa Madigan or anyone else who might follow the current governor.

For Democrats, the logical answer is to have the 62-year-old Topinka elected for one term only, pass a tax increase and exit with a unpopularity and spare them the job of hiking taxes. (That’s why you have Steve Brown, the Speaker’s press guy, whispering sedition to the media and the media picking it up). For Republicans, the logical answer is to have Blagojevich continue to twist and turn and wrangle with his party for another four years, exiting in chaos and unpopularity. These Republicans believe this: If Topinka gets in and pushes through a tax increase, the onus will fall on the party and mar the prospect for success in the near future. (That’s why you don’t see many Republicans worrying about Topinka’s sparse fund-raising or her declining polls).

For Topinka, personally, the prospect of a tax increase would not be all that bad. She feels as a former suburban newspaper reporter, she’s very lucky to become governor at all, so what’s to complain about if she leaves after one term at age 66: a former governor, praised by liberals for her “courage” in recommending the tax increase? The media will give her the kind of serenade they gave Dick Ogilvie: a flinty man of courage etc. That’s why you don’t see Topinka shrinking away from the prospect of a tax increase: she referred to it in “last-resort” terms the other day; her words impel more Democrats to support her. From Topinka’s standpoint, one who never really had much hope in becoming governor, the future is not all that bad: getting elected as the first woman governor of Illinois who probably wouldn’t want to run for a second term anyhow at her age…pushing through a tax increase and getting saluted as a stateswoman of courage by the liberal media…moving on to corporate board positions in private life and some big bucks like Jim Edgar earns. Why should she complain about that?...

Brady for Senate?

State Senator Bill Brady now is thinking about running for the U. S. Senate against Dick Durbin in 2008. He told me the other day at lunch—yes, we had lunch at his behest and expense—he feels no responsibility for supposedly splitting the social conservative vote, depriving Jim Oberweis of winning and giving the nomination to Topinka. He argues that his vote from downstate was largely a personal testimonial and that had he not run, many of the folks who voted for him would probably have voted for Topinka. We could quarrel about that until the cows come home, but I reminded him that money was hard for him to raise during the governor’s primary.

It would likely be triply hard to raise for the U. S. Senate where the rules prohibit corporations giving, the rules insist that individuals can only give a very limited amount (like $1,000 a person). How would he fare? I have always felt, even when I was mad at him, that Brady has great talent for campaigning but it seemed to me he made a bad mistake in not pulling out of the governor’s race and running for another state office. If he had, can you imagine what he’d be now? He’d be the golden boy of Republican politics, one who thought more of the party’s chances than his own ambition. He could have the base’s support for Senator in a New York minute, hands down.


  1. Lovie's LeatherJune 11, 2006 at 8:05 AM

    would you consider an endorsement for a Brady Senate campaign? Just wondering....

  2. Tom-
    I did not attend kindergarten, so was ignorant as to the birdie rhyme.

    You certainly underestimate GOOGLE, however. It coughed up "Ain't you shamed you Sleepy Head," at the speed of light. FYI


  3. Tom,

    You're right on the money about how neither party really wants their candidate for governor to win the election. The only thing I'd add is that Madigan's ambitions for his daughter may also be playing a role as well in his not very subtle campaign against Blagojevich.

  4. I know of no one who would support Brady for dog catcher anymore.

    But if taking a suicide mission against Durbin gets him out of politics - he should go for it!

  5. ..if he wants to take on Durbin. That would be a noble cause.

  6. I think that McCain-Feingold changed the individual limit to $2,000.00 per person. Of course, this has no impact on the validity of your point: he'd still have a tougher time raising money, thanks to our incumbency insurance laws.

  7. I'm ticked off about what Brady did in March but I'd support him against Durbin. I agree he will have a tough time raising funds to compete against an sitting Senator who is second to only Obama in this state in the media's eyes.

    Brady's only hope is a very good presidential candidate on the GOP side that he can ride in on his coattails. Mister we can use a man like Ronald Reagan again.

  8. Tom,

    I think you are right on in pointing out the absolute dissatisfaction of BOTH parties in their candidates. However, I think you were absolutely remiss in not mentioning the fact that Stufflebeam is running for governor and could be the solution that the voters of Illinois are looking for. It would be a whole lot more appealing to have a former Marine in office than either of the other two.

    Why don’t you all start getting behind Stufflebeam? It’s obvious that it really doesn’t matter which of the other two make it. So what do we have to loose in trying to get him in office?

    Patriotic Jones