Thursday, April 23, 2009

Personal Aside: A Thought While Shaving--Pat Quinn the Hitchhiker. What’s So Hard About Admitting a Mistake?


Those of us who worked for Richard Nixon never had trouble acknowledging the character defects, the shriveled personality, the obsequious Uriah Heap nature of this character. As a matter of fact, I’ve benefited from being fired by him…its risen higher on my resume as the years go by. Despite being canned at age 41 with four kids to support, I landed a job at the Peace Corps and worked my way back to my old corporate job—a sadder but wiser man. I can still say, on reflection, that Nixon for all his lying, performed nobly at foreign policy and was indispensable in enabling this country to make a positive turn in the Cold War: crafting an agreement with China which took advantage of the Sino-Soviet split. In fact at my new job in the Peace Corps, as its number 3, I was a foreign service officer who took advantage of it to learn a good deal about international relations.

No, it’s not hard saying I worked for Nixon n an urban program he advocated in the 1968 campaign that turned out to be bogus since it involved lying and misrepresentation on his part. I’m sorry I was so dumb I believed him and quit a good private sector job to do it: discovering too late that the entire act was a masterpiece of duplicity on his part. So I confess, I was hoodwinked…but looking back on it now, I think the experience in working for he who later on became known as the Burglar-in-Chief was salutary.

I’ve known others who make no bones about having been conned. I was both conned and canned by the same guy. One of my best friends at the time I was fired was John Sears, an original Nixon strategist, who was fired by John Mitchell the same day I was cut loose by Maurice Stans. We had lunch together in celebration that day and for a time every year we’d get together to memorialize our firing. John went on to run the Reagan campaign for president in 1976 which nearly toppled incumbent president Gerald Ford…and to run the Reagan campaign once more for part of 1980 until he was fired again—this time in mid-campaign by Reagan. Other than being falsely identified as Deep Throat (which he decidedly was not) he’s made out pretty well as a prosperous international lawyer.

Those of us who worked for Nixon can share the same laugh. Bob Dole who was not just a Kansas senator but also chairman of the Republican National Committee laughs that the Watergate break-in happened on his day off. Dole admits he was conned and then canned as well. He went on to become the party’s 1996 presidential nominee: not too shabby.

Why, then, is Pat Quinn…he of the supposedly incorruptible mien…afraid to apologize for his earlier support of Rod Blagojevich as “an honest man”? I’ll tell you why. Because there’s more to it. Quinn actually has more to apologize for than faulty judgment. He benefited politically from his association with Blago. As a half member of the ticket from 2003 to 2009 he didn’t have to raise money for himself at all as a candidate for lieutenant governor—but was given a free ride on the corrupt fund-raising that his boss engaged in. Quinn wouldn’t be where he is today without Blago. As a relatively junior player in the Democratic hierarchy he couldn’t hardly blow his nose in the fund-raising department. He bludgeoned his way onto the ticket and kept his mouth shut at the mouth nefarious goings-on in the first campaign…but worse, in the second campaign where he again free-loaded himself.

Sure he broke with Blago when it became untenable—but never enough to resign: the largesse and the cushiony funding for a job he could never have done by himself were irresistible. The same goes for Mike Madigan who endorsed Blago twice, for Richard M. Daley who endorsed him twice and for Lisa Madigan. But at least…at least…they weren’t parasitically sucking nourishment out of Blago the way Quinn was as his lieutenant governor.

Quinn’s sanctimoniousness is hard to take. The thought of him having benefited from Blago but not having the manhood to at the very least apologize for riding along as a hitchhiker with Blago makes Quinn a repugnant creature to me. A moocher who sucks up at High Table and then when his benefactor gets tossed and Quinn benefits doesn’t have the manhood to at least apologize for the fact that (a) he was either taken or (b) knew how crooked Blago was all along and decided to ride the gravy train for his own personal aggrandizement.

He’s only a slight second-tier to Blago so far as I’m concern. Pat Quinn the Moralist. Pat Quinn with hypocritical eyes upraised to heaven as the reformer. Pat Quinn the hustler who got the amendment passed to the state constitution that changed the 3-member district concept… under the rubric that fewer representatives would save the state money. Not only didn’t it do it, it insulated the Top Four and made everyone else mushrooms…in the dark and covered with manure…so that Illinois got worse representation than it had before.

Honest Pat Quinn.

I know why he can’t apologize. It would lead to too many questions about his errant opportunism…questions that would be asked when he runs again as the craven political weasel he is. A political bloodsucker, sucking the nourishment out of a host body and then raising his eyes to heaven in righteousness.

He makes me sick.


  1. John Thomas Mc GeeanApril 23, 2009 at 2:51 AM


    It sounds to me like you will not be running for President of the Pat Quinn fan club.

  2. The Grammar PoliceApril 23, 2009 at 9:31 AM

    "Couldn't hardly blow his nose"? I hope you have a ghost writer. I'd hate to think you wrote that, Tom.