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Words of wisdom

Monday, Aug 26, 2013

* I couldn’t agree more with Chris Mooney

[Gov. Pat Quinn’s] political obituary was half written twice in 2010 before he narrowly won difficult primary and general elections.

“You would think that an incumbent with his low approval level would be toast,” said Chris Mooney, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “But every election is not about ideals, it’s about choices.”

Too many pundits characterize elections as “referenda” on incumbents or the party in power. They’re not. Elections, in the end, are almost all about how the choices are defined between the candidates on the ballot. Pat Quinn’s job approval rating was just 24 percent in a late September, 2010 Public Policy Polling survey and 28 percent in an early September, 2010 Tribune poll. He still won, mainly by defining his opponent as potentially even worse than he was.

Never forget that.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


20 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:19 am:

    “Here endeth the Lesson.”

    Brady was “defined”, out-worked by those most fearing how Brady was defined, and Quinn had the pulse of the voters, and what they would NOT want.

    Great lesson, but will anyone take that to heart THIS time?


  2. - Cassiopeia - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:21 am:

    I think you also need to keep in mind that his election in 2010 was a miracle and you usually don’t get two of those.

    Additionally, the negatives against Quinn have hardened significantly in the past 3 years.


  3. - Bill White - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:21 am:

    As Winston Churchill said:

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”


  4. - langhorne - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:27 am:

    mooney is a thoughtful guy, w good insights. he has also had several years in state to observe our politics, so i always consider his observations.


  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:27 am:

    I never thought Pat Quinn could win a big one.

    I didn’t think he would beat Hynes.

    And I absolutely did not think he would beat Brady in a historic GOP year, with the economy in the tank and Blago a fresh memory.

    I, and many others, were way wrong. You’re supposed to learn from that.


  6. - OurMagician - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:28 am:

    Voters should remember these wise words…”I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee that says, ‘Fool me once, shame on … shame on you. Fool me… You can’t get fooled again!’”


  7. - dave - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:30 am:

    **I think you also need to keep in mind that his election in 2010 was a miracle and you usually don’t get two of those.**

    Miracle? It wasn’t a miracle. The primary was just a matter of Hynes running out of time (and making some poor strategic decisions). The general was simply a matter of Brady being a less attractive alternative to Quinn. That isn’t a miracle. It is just reality.

    **Additionally, the negatives against Quinn have hardened significantly in the past 3 years.**

    According to what?


  8. - overcooked - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:31 am:

    Has Pat Quinn ever been the favorite in any race he has won? Never count him out because he is Pat Quinn and he will say anything to get elected.


  9. - Cassandra - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:46 am:

    Incumbency, the attendant name recognition and the power to dispense state cash for (and take credit for) projects attractive to particular voters-all are such huge advantages that it’s a wonder anybody defeats an incumbent.

    Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised, but I don’t see it, either in the primary or the general.


  10. - The Dot Connector - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:51 am:

    Quinn’s decision to choose a well-liked candidate as his Lt. Governor from among one of the heavily-populated collar counties will be “the magic” that gets survivor Pat Quinn re-elected. Quinn’s choice will have to be known as “a union guy” so that Quinn can win back those union rank & file votes that he has alienated. If Quinn gets “a charismatic back-slapper” (aka. a “people person”) for his partner who is well-regarded by the union vote as well as the minority vote in a heavily-populated collar county, then Pat will squeak through another Primary and General election as the political “survivor” that he has come to be known to be. I look for a former state legislator who is a Pro-Pat Quinn-loyalist who is currently serving in a heavily-populated collar county, who is popular, and who has always had the union’s support to be the “perfect fit” for Governor Quinn. Look for Pat Quinn to give the nod to his friend and loyal political backer Will County Executive Lawrence Walsh. He would be an excellent fit as Lieutenant Governor for Pat Quinn and the Illinois Democrat Party. As Forrest Gump once said, “It would be like peas & carrots” coming together on the Democrat ticket.


  11. - Skeptic - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:53 am:

    And also it’s rare that a candidate’s election amounts to a “mandate” no matter how much he/she thinks of herself.


  12. - Hank - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    I didn’t think he would beat Hynes.

    Once Hynes was branded a racist for using the Harold Washington video that was negative of Quinn it was over
    Now that Lisa is staying put, Quinn wins easily


  13. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 10:12 am:

    Hynes wasn’t branded as “racist” for using the Harold Washington video. But it did remind people who was aligned with whom back in the Harold Washington era.

    Today, Democratic activists who were aligned with Harold Washington and proud they were aligned with HW. Do you here people who were active against HW brag about their role in that fight?

    Do you see why Hynes took a risk bringing HW into the discussion?


  14. - steve schnorf - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    As a very wise man in Springfield told me almost 40 years ago, every election is “compared to who?”


  15. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    ==Never count him out because he is Pat Quinn and he will say anything to get elected.==

    What’s the basis for saying Quinn is more dishonest than the other candidates who aspire to replace Quinn?


  16. - overcooked - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    Didn’t know there was a political dishonesty scale. Pat Quinn has always been a survivor and he wears that underdog label well.


  17. - RNUG - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 11:58 am:

    Chris Mooney is on target; it’s always about the choice in that election. In 40 some years of voting at all levels, I’ve rarely had a candidate I enthusiastically voted for. In most cases, I was voting for the (perceived) lesser of two evils.


  18. - A guy... - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 3:24 pm:

    PQ’s brand in the eyes of the voting public is that he’s an honest, hard-working man who won’t wind up in jail. I don’t think you ever count him out. The circles he travels in includes fewer insiders and more regular folk. They identify with him. Call him a bumbler or anything else, but he connects with real people. Real people vote.


  19. - A guy... - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 3:26 pm:

    AND…he’s always a dangerous guy because he runs like he’s got nothing to lose. That’s because he’s got nothing to lose. Unless he wants to run for President of the US, he’s reached the goal he cares most about. Now he only cares about being a people’s guy. This is coming from a guy in the other party.


  20. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Aug 26, 13 @ 7:41 pm:

    Amen–to Mr. Mooney and our BlogMaster’s subsequent remarks…!


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