You don’t normally hear anything positive about an elected official on the news – and historically, when it comes to the office of Illinois governor, that’s especially true.
That’s why I thought I’d give a little credit where it’s due tonight: to Pat Quinn.
He’s not running for anything right now, but he was certainly winning over the folks in southern Illinois recently.
By the time news cameras reached tornado ravaged Harrisburg, Illinois, Governor Quinn had already been on the scene. There was something about his demeanor that seemed different from the usual politician making speeches at the site of a natural disaster.
Not slick, but it seemed real. After the cameras went away, Quinn stayed.
It wasn’t on the news, but the governor was in the stands in the gym at that weekend’s Harrisburg Bulldogs high school basketball game. He talked to the players at half-time.
The governor said he was proud of the people in Harrisburg and southern Illinois - the strength, love and spirit of service they showed during that week.
With Rod Blagojevich reporting to federal prison Thursday, giving our state the distinction of having two former governors in prison at the same time, at least we can feel some pride in the way our current governor conducted himself.
His critics will tell you they’re not happy with the way he flip-flops on issues, especially the state income tax.
But like Gerald Ford after Richard Nixon, he has brought a much needed sense of honor back to his office. I think that deserves a mention.
And I think Bob is right. Too often, we’re just too harsh on our leaders. There’s nothing wrong with criticism. I do it all the time. But, hey, every now and then a lighter touch is warranted.
I think most people knew what we were getting with Pat. He is a decent, honest guy. Organized, not necessarily; willing to listen to a broad base of opinion from staffers, legislators and the public, not so much…etc. We find ourselves at an interesting time in this state. After the last couple of governors we needed, a good, decent, upstanding and honest governor, and Pat has succeeded in that role, to me with an A grade. I think he gets a D grade though for coming to terms with the economic realities of the state and what needs to get done. He has come around a bit lately, so maybe there is hope to improve his standing on the later point.
I agree with much of what Niles said, but I don’t fault the governor for the fiscal situation. In fact, he has led with his chin, proposing a tax increase in an election year, initiating pension reform, and cutting spending every year that he has been in office (though spending has actually increased due to pension obligations and medicaid). I think his move this year was needed. The GA has played politics with the budget for the past few years. Each time the governor proposed cuts that will reign in spending, particularly facility closures, the GA has fought to block in typical NIMBY fashion. I think putting the onus on the GA is smart. HE has made the tough cuts over the past few years, only to be undercut by the GA. This year, let the GA lead the way.
As for Quinn the man, he is a caring, compassionate individual. He does things off camera, which is a big tell for any politician. Great post, Rich.
Quinn works up to the maximum of his ability,I guess you can’t fault him for that.I also think
that he’s getting the hang of being Governor. Quite a change from the guy on his way to prison.
He makes me feel good about being from Illinois.
This Governor is a genuine good guy, he is very passionate about veteran issues, education and just fighting for the little guy.
- CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Mar 13, 12 @ 8:12 am:
PQ is what he is and Sirott hit the spot
A better question for the haters is to give us their vision of a “good governor” — and let’s begin by stipulating that it wasn’t Edgar becuase it will get about a 1,000 words on MSI, internet betting, horses, literacy grants, etc. etc.
Bob Sirott and Mike Flannery drank the Kool-Aid when they went to work for FOX. Since Sirott went to work for Rupert Murdoch and News Corp his One More Thing commentaries have become less than hard hitting. The nice things he said about Governor Quinn follow down that path.
Mike Flannery has been searching for stories that will appeal to his bosses, but he still has not figured out how to be right wing. He is working on that.
Bob is right that we overlook the good things. But the suggestion Quinn is winning favor in southern Illinois is just insane.
Quinn would not have gone to Harrisburg with such speed - if at all - had he not royally screwed Brandon Phelps by just spending 20 minutes on the ground in Marion (John Bradley’s district) last spring when a large portion of Phelps’ district was under water. Quinn may look like a celebrity going to help the poor, impoverished, starving children in a third-world county when he goes to southern Illinois to Bob Sirott. But if anything this MAY level the score.
I imagine FEMA’s denial of funds and a slow recovery period will easily outweigh the administration being on the scene quickly.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Mar 13, 12 @ 9:34 am:
Pat Quinn is not your typical governor, for better and for worse.
I think the good outweighs the bad by a long shot.
“For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being president of this country was, to a certain extent, about character, and although I have not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I’ve been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character.”
Quinn came in at a bad time, and I still credit/blame his cutback amendment for much of the problems we now have, but his motives are good, and he seems to be a caring person, as honest as a full-time politician can be. I like the comparison to Gerald Ford, who I feel was the most un-appreciated president we have ever had.
He seems to be the most common, approachable governor we have had, since Jim Thompson. I didn’t vote for Quinn, probably won’t in the future, but I’d rather have him, than some slick guy with all the (?)answers.
“I will be generous with my love today. I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go. I will do this knowing that my words are like seeds and when they fall on fertile soil, a reflection of those seeds will grow into something greater.”
I was going to say that the Governor probably had the above-referenced quote on his “to do” list that weekend, and while that would have been sufficient for the task at hand, I’m guessing it would not have been accurate. I’ll bet he doeesn’t need that reminder, but instead lives his life that way.
Honor is due.
- The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 13, 12 @ 11:25 am:
Sorry. 11:21 was me.
- Let's get real - Tuesday, Mar 13, 12 @ 12:29 pm:
Gov Quinn may have a big heart but that’s it. As an insider, I can tell you that his mouth says he loves the vets, but look at who’s getting hired into the state jobs. Only those connected. Ex streets and san guys, relatives of pols, ex pols that need favors, can you say John A Rice, etc. are hired each week into jobs that never get posted and, therefore, never get offered to vets. All this is being done while Quinn and the unions look the other way. Somebody should do a FOIA and look at the IDOT hires recently.
- Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Mar 13, 12 @ 12:49 pm:
- Somebody should do a FOIA and look at the IDOT hires recently. -
Last I checked anyone can submit a FOIA request. If you’re so sure of this accusation based on your “insider” knowledge, why don’t you just go ahead and file one? Until then it just sounds like Jr. High “Seriously, I know, believe me” nonsense.
I was at the Harrisburg basketball game when PQ arrived. When he was introduced to the crowd to speak, the boos drowned out the applause. I did not vote for Quinn and I think he has done and contiunes to do a poor job governing the state. But on that day I was embarassed at the conduct of my fellow Southern Illinoisans.
Booing the governor of the state who has come to a region hit with a disaster is very low class. You don’t have to like the politician but we should at least respect the office. I give credit where credit is due. And my hat is off to Pat Quinn for handling the situation with honor.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Mar 13, 12 @ 6:45 pm:
@Southern Illinoisan -
As a general rule, I advise all candidates and elected officials to attend but never be announced at a sporting event.
High school sports are a religion in rural Illinois, you just don’t mess with them. Sit next to the mayor and just enjoy the game.
- Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Mar 13, 12 @ 6:52 pm:
You did us proud, Governor. God bless you. Now let’s win that “vigorous” appeal–call the PRESIDENT if you must–to help those poor folks, through ALL of us, the Taxpayers, who FUND U.S. Agencies like FEMA!!!