Monday, October 16, 2006
What a Lucky Cuss Pat Quinn Is Change in the Roosevelt U Lineup: State Senator John Cullerton (D-Chicago) to Replace IMAs Greg Baise (State Senator Kirk Dillard Still On Board) Jim Baker is Wobbly (Big Deal) Denny Hasterts Breach of Security.
Since he first went into politics as a supposed wide-eyed reformer (these days his wide eyes have to be kept wide by propped up toothpicks), Pat Quinn has been a lucky cuss. He was an early Ralph Nader consumer protection type, always good at getting on TV. He passed an amendment to the state constitution that made legislature smaller but which strengthened the hands of the Big 4 and made it less democratic. He was an absolute bust in the Harold Washington regime as a cabinet officer and got fired. Yet his decades-long quirkyness made Illinoisans tend to think of him as an independent. Hes got elected several times: state board of (tax) appeals, state treasurer. He ran for secretary of state against George Ryanand Ill give him this: he was right about Ryans corruption but couldnt raise enough money to get his story out.
But for the last several years, theres no doubt Pat Quinn is a lucky cuss. Getting nominated for lieutenant governor with Blagojevich meant that he hasnt had to raise campaign funds, just shut up and hang on for the ride. Blagojevichs campaign paid for the ride in the general election of 2002 and has paid every penny for the ride in 2006. Now with the possibility that Rod Blagojevich will be reelected despite the doubts many voters have about him because (a) of his massive lead in amassing campaign dough and (b) the inability of Judy Baar Topinka to make a case due to her own ineptitude and inability to appeal to her partys base, Quinn gets reelected free.
Tying up with Blagojevich was good for Pat. Because if reelected in 2006, the odds are that in 2007 Blagojevich will be indicted. If so he will have to step down to prepare for his trial. That will make Quinn the governor. And he will have become governor on Blagojevichs tab without having to go through the blood-bath of raising a ton of money and enduring severe criticism from the media and reformers. The dirty dough Blagojevich raised help elect Quinn and he didnt have to take the heat for it.
As governor, itll be much easier building a war-chest than as a lonely consumer protection crusader. And Quinn can probably raise clean money, too and make a good deal of noise about it. So he will be ready for reelection on his own in 2010 with if his luck holds and he keeps his nose clean purportedly a clean, albeit liberal, administration attuned to Pats manic preoccupation: getting him face time on TV. Will Democrats who have always hated him have to take him like him or not?
Now, while Blagojevich dodges the media who are asking about Tony Rezko and Topinka is trying to skirt clear of Bill Cellini, Pat Quinn is basking in great media by fighting to block electric rate hikes and citing the huge salaries Commonwealth Edisons top four executives get: over $40 million. Hell be in great shape for a media honeymoon when he takes over. And what will happen to the aspirations of Lisa Madigan then? Give me your scenario. In any event, let it not be denied that Pat Quinn is a lucky cuss.
Cullerton for Baise.
Theres a change in the lineup for next Thursday October 19 Roosevelt U class: State Senator John Cullerton (D-Chicago) possessor of one of the most famous and historic surnames in Chicago politics replacing Illinois Manufacturing Association president Greg Baise. Cullerton will lecture at 6 p.m. to be followed by Senator Kirk Dillard at 7 who is also chairman of the DuPage Republican committee. Both men are co-chairs of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will chip in on each others presentation. Greg Baise ran into an unalterable schedule conflict. Well have Greg at a future time so it works out fine. I wont be there next Thursday but Dr. Paul Green, witty impresario and ranking intellectual, world traveler, bon vivant and prominent socialite, will preside.
The fact that former U. S. secretary of state Jim Baker is wobbly about Iraq is not news: it would be were Baker decidedly firm about anything. In the few times I have been with him starting when he was the campaign manager for a successive of wobbly people: Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush in 1980 before moving on to handle the campaign of the man he opposed, Ronald Reagan he has been so pragmatic as to have entertained very few absolutes. In fact, Baker has no real absolutes except that he will adjust his views to the ones that are popular at the time. He is a pro-choicer because it squares with the tone of the media he has always solicited he was fervently anti-Israel as secretary of state and pig-headedly didnt understand the full intensity of the Palestinian hatred, believing they could be negotiated into a settlement. With Reagan, his spine wavered with the tax cuts and catching the old man in a weak moment got him to agree to a temporary tax hike to purportedly shrink the deficit. The tax hike didnt but Baker got some positive press as the one person in the Neanderthal Bush White House who thought realistically. Now he is questioning the Iraq War and wants to bug out. Typical. The question is why this insubstantial, inconsequential and non-intellectual hireling lawyer with no absolutes even heads a private commission on Iraq.
The other day I committed a Republican heresy one of many in my life for questioning the fitness of my old student (at the now moribund Taft Public Policy Institute held for a summer session at Loyola of Chicago in 1978) to be number three in line for the presidency. It seems that Illinois chauvinism demands support for Dennys perspicacity. Well, put me down as a serious doubternow more than ever that the Sun-Times Lynn Sweet has told us about his getting snookered by a self-promoting evangelical who suckered Hasterts staff to let him get inside the Speakers Plano, Illinois home. It starts with one Dennis Ryan, a hustler publicist friend of one K. A. Paul, an Indian evangelist in Houston. Ryan was an advance man for Paul, described by the Houston Post as an egomaniac with a doctored past. Ryan was eating in a Plano restaurant last Monday night en-route from South Bend, Indiana where Paul had been conducting an evangelical meeting.
Ryan is munching a small filet when in walks Denny Hastert for dinner surrounded by Secret Service. Ryan gets up, goes over to Hastert and convinces the Speaker that K. A. Paul was a fan and asked if the evangelist could visit Hastert the next day. Hastert said sure, not knowing anything about Ryan or Paul. Neither the federal security detail nor Hasterts supposed crack staff made a move to interfere with this quirky chance meeting. Crack staff is right.
The next day Paul shows up at the appointed hour with an Associated Press reporter, spends an hour with Hastert and 40 minutes praying over the Speaker. The AP reporter was not allowed in with the two. Paul had a pal take photos of him with Hastert in aq cozy cove in Hasterts home. Then Paul left and told the media outside Hasterts house that he, Paul, asked Hastert to resign. Hastert who never did get Pauls purpose, says he disagreed with Paul whose background he never really understood. It helped Paul get great pressthe main story in the Sun-Times with a huge photo op of him consulting with Hastert.