Monday, October 16, 2006

Personal Asides:

What a Lucky Cuss Pat Quinn Is…Change in the Roosevelt U Lineup: State Senator John Cullerton (D-Chicago) to Replace IMA’s Greg Baise (State Senator Kirk Dillard Still On Board)…Jim Baker is Wobbly (Big Deal)…Denny Hastert’s Breach of Security.

Lucky Cuss.

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. He’s got elected several times: state board of (tax) appeals, state treasurer. He ran for secretary of state against George Ryan—and I’ll give him this: he was right about Ryan’s corruption…but couldn’t raise enough money to get his story out.

But for the last several years, there’s no doubt Pat Quinn is a lucky cuss. Getting nominated for lieutenant governor with Blagojevich meant that he hasn’t had to raise campaign funds, just shut up and hang on for the ride. Blagojevich’s 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 party’s 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 Blagojevich’s 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 didn’t have to take the heat for it.

As governor, it’ll 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 Pat’s 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 Edison’s top four executives get: over $40 million. He’ll 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.

There’s 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 other’s presentation. Greg Baise ran into an unalterable schedule conflict. We’ll have Greg at a future time so it works out fine. I won’t 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 didn’t 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 didn’t 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.

Denny’s Breach.

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 Denny’s perspicacity. Well, put me down as a serious doubter—now more than ever that the “Sun-Times’” Lynn Sweet has told us about his getting snookered by a self-promoting evangelical who suckered Hastert’s staff to let him get inside the Speaker’s 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 Hastert’s 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 Hastert’s home. Then Paul left and told the media outside Hastert’s house that he, Paul, asked Hastert to resign. Hastert who never did get Paul’s purpose, says he disagreed with Paul whose background he never really understood. It helped Paul get great press—the main story in the “Sun-Times” with a huge photo op of him consulting with Hastert.


  1. The Occasional GadflyOctober 16, 2006 at 9:50 AM

    You're right of course that Pat Quinn is our next governor. I'm hoping he'll then seek to undo the worst damage he ever did: The Legislative Cutback Amendment. Turns out proportional voting really was democratic (small d). Even today, restoring three member House districts would erode the power of the Four Tops. And we'd have several Chicago Republicans and DuPage Democrats and not just the occasional exception to an otherwise hard and fast rule (Michael McAuliffe).

    Do you think Governor Quinn will still hold news conferences every Sunday morning after he takes office?

  2. Please re-think your prediction that Rod will step down to prepare for any trial.

    He needs his salary.

  3. If she's as bad as some claim, and she doesn't serve a full term, we get Joe Birkett.

    If not, she retires, and we get Joe Birkett as her successor.

    It makes perfect sense, unless you're not really for a conservative in the Governor's office.

  4. Wow, thanks for the laugh William. I needed that.

    Yes, Birkett's such a wonderful conservative he threw in with the pro-abortion, pro-gay agenda, pro-gambling Topinka.

    You are really out of touch. Don't you know that Birkett's held in even lower regard by activists because he's the Benedict Arnold? At least people knew where Topinka stood. She's more just a goof, instead of the traitor Birkett showed himself to be.

    Birkett's unelectable statewide anyway. Lisa Madigan showed that. Way too many shady deals and pay-to-play relationships in DuPage. And more since 2002 when he got beat by a girl.