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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013

* I, for one, am happy that the governor is flying all over the state, despite his chopper mishap. It’s a good thing. Blagojevich could hardly be bothered to visit any disaster site outside the Chicago media market. So I’m not sure Gov. Quinn deserves this treatment

As floodwaters swelled last week, Gov. Pat Quinn hopped onto a state plane and headed for some of Illinois’ hardest-hit areas.

Five days later, the Democratic governor hasn’t stopped, continuing to visit flood-stricken towns, his office making sure TV stations can easily find the footage.

It’s not unusual to see politicians filling sandbags, consoling homeowners and declaring disaster zones. But couple the flood trips with Quinn’s recent uptick of appearances to herald the start of the summer construction season, and the governor might be mistaken for using the powers of his office to unofficially launch his 2014 re-election campaign.

Indeed, the politics of a natural disaster set up an almost no-lose situation for Quinn. With widespread public dissatisfaction over his job performance, the potential of a primary challenge next year and questions about his ability to govern in Springfield, the governor has used the flood as a chance to get outside the Capitol echo chamber in an attempt to show concern and confidence.

“In general, governors love this sort of crisis thing. Politically, it’s almost always a positive for them,” said Christopher Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “When you have these crises, it shows people the activity going on in government that they don’t normally see. And when the governor’s there, it shows the state is paying attention. To the people who are in crisis, that means a lot.”

Your thoughts?

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- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 12:43 pm:

    It’s a big state. Governors should be in constant motion, seeing what’s going.

  2. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 12:53 pm:

    I thought Paul Ryan was supposed to be some number guru. He was “told” that allowing states to declare bankruptcy “might” disrupt the bond markets? It doesn’t take a real genius to figure that out.

  3. - Dan Bureaucrat - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 1:05 pm:

    I agree. Quinn can’t be accused of doing something just because it is popular! And he is a diligent worker. Give him some credit.

    The reality is that the gov doesn’t need scarcely populated places for reelection anyway. He needs the Chicago media market.

  4. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    The gov has done an admirable job leveraging the state agencies and making sure the locals have the assistance they need. Much better use of time and money than traveling to other states on job poaching tours.

  5. - Mondo - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    Even Aaron Schock had compliments for Quinn on his handling of the flood disaster. He deserves credit for being visible and attentive in Chicago and downstate on this.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 1:19 pm:

    The one thing that can not be said about Pat Quinn, is that Pat Quinn does not care for the People of this state, or that Pat Quinn’s motives for consoling people are fake.

    A governor, any governor, that is traveling the state during a crisis is fulfilling the role of consoler, and letting those physically at the location, and the rest of us, through the media, that the governor is hearing the pleas, the governor cares.

    The governor wants that message delivered personally, and not by a Dopey press release.

    This is part and parcel of the job, and Governor Pat Quinn is doing his job. Others are cynical, specifically about this flood, and specifically to that, I don’t see that.

    It’s a bit unfair, but that too, is part and parcel of being governor, the criticism for any and all moves.

  7. - Belle - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 1:19 pm:

    It’s not that I am supportive of Quinn but he does interact with citizens instead of spending all of his time in Springfield.

  8. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 1:21 pm:

    I wonder if the helicopter pilot that got stuck in the mud was the same guy that flew in low over the Iranian desert during the hostage rescue?

  9. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 1:24 pm:

    With the office comes the perks. It is nonsense to criticize the Governor in this particular instance.

  10. - Dirty Red - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 1:25 pm:

    The Governor should be visiting these sites and traveling to disaster areas. You won’t hear criticism from me on this recent blitz.

    However I can’t help but recall how shocked we all were this time two years ago when the newly-elected Governor spent only 20 minutes in Marion to address media about severe flooding in Cairo and Olive Branch before jetting off without touring the affected regions. I don’t completely disagree with what this article implies.

  11. - Logic not emotion - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 1:45 pm:

    Think through this logically and not politically…

    Is it better for a politician to use precious state resources to visit disaster areas or to direct those resources towards helping the disaster? Is it better for the visit to consume local leaders’ time who should be coordinating efforts or for him / his directors to just be responsive to the local leaders’ requests for assistance?

    I would argue that it is a very politically popular misuse of funds and time that should instead be spent working on more long term issues.

  12. - Leave a Light on George - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 2:22 pm:

    = I wonder if the helicopter pilot that got stuck in the mud was the same guy that flew in low over the Iranian desert during the hostage rescue?=

    No it wasn’t. That “guy” gave his life in service to his country.

  13. - Say again - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    I agree with Belle. I do think connecting with the average citizen is one of Quinn’s strengths. You can’t blame Quinn, this time.

  14. - shore - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 2:53 pm:

    I’m sorry to disappoint political journalists and columnists who look at ever dollar a government spends on a pencil or pen and sees waste or every event an official goes to and sees campaigning but this is what they do in both parties and the public kind of likes to see their officials out there doing things and not just sitting behind closed doors emerging every 6 months to discuss legislation. I frankly thought it was great that quinn was in peoples basements under water and exactly what people thought they were getting with him which is someone who cares.

  15. - Cairo - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    I hate to bring this up. But Gov. Quinn during the 2011 flood, took a few weeks to visit Cairo. The state Senators,Representatives, US Representatives and Senators came to help. While governor Quinn visited his new IEMA director 50 miles to the north of Cairo.The governor took some criticism for not visiting Cairo. A week later the governor did show up and meet with local leaders.

  16. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    Logic, I would suggest in a time of crisis or disaster a governor should be boots on the ground fact-finding so he could best direct resources. Seems logical.

  17. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 3:40 pm:

    Doesn’t line #5 of every politician’s job description say show up at disasters, do the tour, meet the locals, praise the pros, work the mic, and then do something. Deval Patrick was a great example in Boston. The only downside: not showing up and doing nothing. No brainer.

  18. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 3:48 pm:

    He should be out there.

    The real myth is that a governor is needed back in Springfield to oversee his directors, etc. in time of crisis. Unless he hired the wrong people, they can execute just fine while he can let folks know help is on the way and that they are not forgotten.

  19. - Going nuclear - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 4:24 pm:

    I think it’s important for the Governor to be in the field during emergencies, especially when it involves a coordinated response from multiple agencies. It creates additional incentive for agencies to cooperate and work efficiently.

  20. - titan - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 4:26 pm:

    I think this is one of Quinn’s more endearing activities.

    Alas, the stuck helicopter does seem something of a metaphor for the administration - a nice guy, with good intentions, getting bogged in the muck that is Illinois politics

  21. - So. ILL - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 4:28 pm:

    Well for some reason since my comment got deleted with a link attached to it, I will reiterate sans hyperlink. Quinn is losing 30-15 in a recent poll to AG Madigan. He had better keep doing things like this, using the power of his office to enhance his profile, if he has a chance of competing.

  22. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 4:57 pm:

    This is the kind of thing that made Pat Quinn such a great Lt Governor.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 5:12 pm:

    - Chavez-respecting Obamist -,

    I hope you accepted my apology re: women & Lisa Madigan. I offened you, I am sorry.

    To the Post,

    Think of the outcry if Quinn didn’t go anywhere during this flood. It is what it is.

  24. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 5:14 pm:

    Hey, no problem OW.

  25. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 7:40 pm:

    Professor Mooney is right on in his assessment. Can we imagine how ticked people would be OTHERWISE if they thought Gov. Quinn could give a hoot and started up about something else entirely, like how he’s going to be working “day and night” to solve some OTHer Illinois problem, and just outright altogether IGNORE thousands of Illinois Resident’s abject suffering as a result of all of the horrendous flooding instead?! Holy moley–they’d maybe storm (pun intended) the Gov.’s Office WITH PITCHFORKS IN HAND at the State Capitol Building if they thought THAT was the case! No, Pat Quinn’s actions ARE considerate, practical politically, and actually wise, indeed…!

  26. - mokenavince - Tuesday, Apr 23, 13 @ 10:28 pm:

    Gov. Quinn would have made a great missionary, he has all the tools.He seems to be a real people person. To bad he can’t get anything done.

  27. - logic not emotion - Wednesday, Apr 24, 13 @ 2:52 am:

    I agree that it virtually required and a Quinn strength.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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