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Quinn’s disturbing pattern of silence

Friday, Jun 13, 2014

* Lots of people covered Gov. Quinn’s campaign press conference with some ministers, but WBEZ was one of the only outlets to report this angle

An outspoken Chicago pastor connected Republicans to the Ku Klux Klan and suggested that GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner stands for “evil,” as he appeared next to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday to give the Democrat his endorsement.

Um, what?

* Listen to the raw audio

* Back to the WBEZ story. The minister in question was speaking of registering voters, including “unlikely voters”

The governor remained silent as the Rev. Walter “Slim” Coleman, a long-time left-wing activist, spoke at his side during a press event where Quinn accepted the endorsement of several mostly African-American clergy members. […]

“That’s an unlikely voter that began way back in 1961 and ’62 with the Ku Klux Klan, that grew up through the militias, that came outta the militias and, and, and – came in to call themselves conservatives, and then came in to call themselves Republican,” Coleman said.

“That’s a movement that brings an evil that we have got to stop,” Coleman said, as the crowd began to clap. “Our fight – our fight is not – our fight is not with flesh and blood. Our fight is with powers and principalities. And there’s an evil – there’s an evil that a candidate may seem that he’s harmless is gonna raise up in this state and we’re not gonna let it happen!”

* The minister later backed away

Reached by phone after Thursday’s event, Coleman told WBEZ he does not believe Rauner is evil. He said he was referring instead to the “hatred and prejudice and white supremacy” he believes are represented by the conservative Tea Party movement, which he said gets political cover from the GOP.

“We’re not suggesting that Rauner is a member of the Klan or that there were any Klansmen involved in his campaign or anything like that,” Coleman said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon. “We were just saying that the forces that are unleashed by the - the current day Republican Party are very dangerous forces and very racist forces, and that we don’t want them to take over in Illinois.”

* But the state GOP chairman was justifiably outraged at the governor’s silence

“It is unacceptable and outrageous for a sitting governor to stand by silently and condone comparisons to the Ku Klux Klan,” [ Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider] said. “Governor Quinn owes the people of Illinois an explanation for why he stood by and said nothing.”

* The Quinn campaign’s reaction

“We couldn’t disagree more strongly, and the Governor believes this rhetoric has no place in politics,” Anderson wrote in an email.

* The minister apologized, so I’ll leave it at that. What bugs me about this incident is that it isn’t the first time Quinn has remained silent while one of his supporters went off on one of his Republican opponents. Remember this from 2010?

A West Side get-out-the-vote rally Saturday backfired for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn when the governor was forced to quickly distance himself from racially charged criticism about his Republican foe made by the man who introduced him, Chicago mayoral candidate state Sen. Rickey Hendon. […]

“Let me tell you a couple things. I’ve served with Bill Brady. I’ve never served with such an idiotic, racist, sexist, homophobic person in my life,” Hendon told the crowd. “If you think that the minimum wage needs to be $3 an hour, vote for Bill Brady. If you think that women have no rights whatsoever except to have his children, vote for Bill Brady. If you think gay and lesbian people need to be locked up and shot in the head, vote for Bill Brady.”

Quinn stood silent and didn’t speak until after a reporter asked him about Hendon’s remarks.

Governor, that’s just not acceptable.

* Related…

* ADDED: Two ministers backing Quinn got money from troubled state program: Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn received a robust re-election endorsement this week from dozens of Chicago area ministers, including at least two whose religious organizations got money from a much-criticized state anti-violence grant program.

* Our Cold Civil War Intensifies

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Not that it matters, but are you sure Slim Coleman is African-American?

  2. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    –“We couldn’t disagree more strongly, and the Governor believes this rhetoric has no place in politics,” Anderson wrote in an email.–

    But the guy saying it has a place standing next to the governor?

    Slim Coleman has been a well-known commodity for decades. Quinn and his peeps shouldn’t have been within 100 yards of that guy. Nothing but bad news.

  3. - Cassiopeia - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:04 am:

    This is a much more important story than the chickens from yesterday. The real issue is how many of the pastors have economic ties to the Quinn administration.

  4. - A guy... - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:06 am:

    There’s no better way to chase people in the middle of the political spectrum away from you than by calling them “evil” or “racists”. This is the group that abhors those kinds of policies. They resent it more than anyone. To let them just spew this crap while standing by (and worse) getting introduced by them is a horrible association for you.

    John McCain discredited an introduction in Cincinnati a few years ago when the buffoon went too far. That’s the example to follow.

  5. - Ahoy! - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    Serious Question, what should a politician do when they are on stage with some lunatic making those kinds of rants?

  6. - OneMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:07 am:


    Fairly sure he isn’t…

  7. - RT - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    Slim Coleman is white…a life-long bomb-thrower.

    Rich, thanks for that “Cold Civil War” link to Andrew Sullivan…good stuff.

  8. - Frenchie Mendoza - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    The real issue is how many of the pastors have economic ties to the Quinn administration.

    Probably the exact same number that might have economic ties to a Rauner administration.

    I’m not seeing an issue here — other than money corrupts.


  9. - Wally - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    Brady should have dropped Rickey. I’m sure he wanted to!

  10. - Goooner - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:23 am:

    This goes to the core of Quinn.

    He’s simply not a leader.

    He will not stand up against this sort of stuff, because it is just not how he is.

    Quinn is OK when he’s putting out press releases trying to tear down those in power or when he’s in room figuring out who best can get a job or a contract to keep him in power.

    When he actually has to play the role of the leader himself? He’s just not up to it.

  11. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    I grew up hearing these kinds of statements from my African American neighbors, churches and at schools and colleges. I have witnessed good old fashioned Kennedy liberal professors blindsided by fellow students who were furious at suggestions that there had been progress made in low income Chicagoland neighborhoods. I have heard political science and history professors fall silent with open mouths as their worldview was thrown back into their faces by outraged educated African American students from my neighborhoods.

    I have seen for over twenty years, an entire generation of South Chicagoland African American ministers turn their podiums into an emotional mix of anger, disgust and conspiracies to why their congregations are filled with violence, gangs, poverty and single mothers.

    The whole thing has been heartbreaking. This kind of dialog destroys any possibilities of compromise, bipartisanship, cooperation and positive action necessary to address the problems found throughout Cook County today. The abandonment, disillusionment, entitlement and depression of many Chicagoland neighborhoods, villages and suburbs has become places of despair. Not only for the local governments, volunteers and citizens, but it seems to have today infected their pulpits as well.

    What Quinn is witnessing is what happens when good government intentions over a period of generations, fails those who are then trapped into perpetual victimhood. We are seeing an entire population who no longer believes in the dreams of social progress brought to life fifty years ago. I have never seen such a huge divide between the races back in my old neighborhoods, as I do today.

    The Reverend isn’t saying anything that hasn’t been shouted out from Sunday sermons in this part of Cook County ever single week. As a man with roots going back decades in Chicago, Quinn has to be just as blindsided by this kind of talk, as are my well-meaning, lifetime liberal college professors, when they hear it.

  12. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    Remember during Council Wars when Ed Vrdolyak got into it with Slim? Good times.

  13. - Demoralized - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    I don’t know why politicians put themselves in these situations. Quinn had to know the kind of stuff this guy could say. You create un-needed headaches for yourself when you share the same stage as people like this.

  14. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    VMan, Slim Coleman is white.

    But that’s quite a history lesson and quite a broad brush you’re painting with there.

    I’m sure you’ll be calling on Rauner to stop speaking at black churches and seeking the support of black ministers.

  15. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    I know that.
    I have heard this from pastor of both races who lead these parishioners.

  16. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    No - I am encouraged by the outreach Rauner has been attempting.

  17. - A guy... - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    V-Man and Demo, part of the reason we’re not making enough progress is that any foray into the subject on either side is meant with a charge of “racism”. How in the world can we ever gain a better understanding with each other if the first thing that gets mentioned is “you don’t know what it’s like to be ___” The conversation needs to move beyond that. I’m not black (or African American) depending on who we’re speaking with, but I know and love many people of this race who I’ve worked with, been neighbor’s with, done business with, volunteered with, celebrated with, etc. I don’t ever use the “N” word and wouldn’t. It eats at me when, in the name of riling people up, this is a method of choice. It sets us all back.

  18. - A guy... - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    Word, I’m with V Man. I’d encourage him to continue speaking in any circumstance (church or otherwise) where he seeks support of people of all groups and faiths. Would you advise Bobby Kennedy not to? Didn’t think so.

  19. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Poor Vanilla Man. His heart is broken.

  20. - Amalia - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    I miss the old days, Helen and Slim, Slim and Helen. Now Helen Shiller is a lobbyist, but Slim is now a preacher. And still good copy.

    speaking of copy, hoping Dr. what’s his name sees this thread as total proof of the fair nature of Rich Miller.

  21. - Tom Pliura - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    Now you boys….don’t you act likes you’ze tryin’ to be fair an’ balanced…’cause I ain’t fallin’ for it…but you’ze all knows the dangerous waters the good preachers creat’d ….so somebody sure’ly gonna need to sit the “holy men” down…. And kinda’ reign ‘em in…’cause they soundin’ like that Farikan cellar…So the smart guys know that’s a fast road to nowhere….so they’ll shut ‘em up quick…les’ they drop a’nuther 5 points in the blink ‘a the eye….Glory be, Glory be….change it is ‘acomin…

  22. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    –…cause they soundin’ like that Farikan cellar…–

    It’s five o’clock somewhere.

  23. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    This article explaining why evangelicals abandoned Carter and embraced the right-wing has been making the rounds for the last few weeks (A: race).

    Though I’m sure that’s impolite to mention and we’re all supposed to play nice and avoid demonizing the other side with fact.

  24. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    Pliura, I certainly hope you enjoyed writing that comment, because it’s your last one.

  25. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    part of the reason we’re not making enough progress is that any foray into the subject on either side is meant with a charge of “racism”.

    Nope. You are dead wrong about that. We’re talking about millions of Illinoisans who believed that their governments would finally step into their distressed neighborhoods and make a difference. There were no charges of racism growing up there. There was a feeling of unity and purpose. There was a belief that together, using the government as a foundation, their children would not be shot at, would not be fatherless, would have jobs, would get a good education, would marry and raise their own families.

    The streets would be clean. The housing would be safe. The street lights would stay on during the night, and the rolling gates locked into place in front of each surviving business would be lifted.

    When government failed, these people gave up hope. They believed in big government. So what happened? They believed that Ronald Reagan and the GOP’s drive against Big Government had put an end to that dream.

    When Big Government fails, those dependent upon it are hurt, angry and see political enemies.

    It wasn’t charges of racism that ended it.

  26. - Demoralized - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    Mr. Pliura:

    There’s a reason you can’t win and election.

    Just sayin . . .

  27. - Demoralized - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    “an” election. English is hard.

  28. - Toure's Latte - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    So between chicken man and the silent chicken the race to lose the governor’s mansion is officially in full swing? Where are the so-called professionals running both these campaigns? Are they taking the summer off?

  29. - Demoralized - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    ==these people==

    ==When Big Government fails, those dependent upon it are hurt, angry and see political enemies.==

    Um, VMan, I think these two statements contain a wee bit of racism. I don’t think you are a racist at all. But I think it’s this kind of unfortunate choice of words that takes us all down the racism road.

  30. - Wumpus - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    Does Pflager have new competition?

  31. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    I grew up in a desegregated community, schools, churches and neighborhoods.

    When I refer to these people, I am not seeing race. I am seeing everyone living between Kankakee to the South Loop. These are MY people.

    Sorry if that offends some folks who don’t know what it is like to grown up in this part of Illinois.

  32. - silence dogood - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    Sticks and stones…

  33. - corvax - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    Enough hand-wringing. Coleman isn’t totally off-base. In private ‘off-the-record’ conversations among ny fellow whites, I still hear the resentments against blacks, ‘illegal’ immigrants, Jews, etc. and I bet most of you hear it. too, when only the ‘trusted’ are listening. I just heard it a few nights ago among attendees at a fundraiser for a politican you have all heard of (NOT from that politician). It’s naive to think elements of the right-wing aren’t playing to those sentiments. Coleman may not have done Quinn any political favors, but he’s not full of gas. We need to shed light on this darkness.

  34. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    A Guy, after you sound out the words, try to read for comprehension. I was referencing VMan’s windy history lesson and conclusions, including:

    –I have seen for over twenty years, an entire generation of South Chicagoland African American ministers turn their podiums into an emotional mix of anger, disgust and conspiracies to why their congregations are filled with violence, gangs, poverty and single mothers.–

    Given that blanket condemnation, I’m curious as to why he would encourage anyone to “reach out” to them.

  35. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:17 am:

    This is a saddening thread. Quinn needs to listen to what is being said and respond in opposition to such divisive language. Surprised no one has mentioned how “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion” cost James Blaine the presidency.

  36. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    –Surprised no one has mentioned how “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion” cost James Blaine the presidency.–

    You beat me to it, lol. Can’t get that James Blaine off my mind these days.

  37. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    Know how I know Rauner is a crummy businessman?

    He apparently can’t buy a better comment machine.

  38. - Responsa - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    Maybe “endorsements” create more problems than they are worth for politicians–both in the “promises” that are made to secure them, and the verbal competence (or lack thereof) of the often grandstanding people announcing them. I agree with Bull Moose that this is a saddening thread. Is any advance work ever done before the Gov. and other pols stand next to known fire breathers? Where’s Grant Klintzman and or Brooke Anderson?

  39. - bill smith - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    I’m the kinda guy that if you tell me I gotta sit down…then I’m gonna stand up…all day if I have to…

  40. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    I’m curious as to why he would encourage anyone to “reach out” to them.

    You cannot drive through these neighborhoods without demanding that something be done for the people stuck there. When the blue collar jobs left during the late 1970s - 1980s, the whole place unraveled. Anyone who could move out, did. If you believe in making the world a better place, you don’t turn your back on these parts of Illinois.

    Hopkins Park, Dixmoor, Phenix, Robbins, St. Anne, Ford Heights, these towns were the only places where non-whites were allowed to live and still get to the factories where they did the work. When those factories closed, these poor places got worse. Then the middle class began leaving Harvey, Markham, Chicago Heights, Kankakee, Joliet, Calumet City, Riverdale, Dolton, Roselawn, Pullman, Blue Island and many other little industrial cities and towns.

    These places went down when Jimmy Carter did to Ronald Reagan. Whatever hope was had during the 1960s and 1970s, got hit hard. When the economy bounced back, it skipped this part of Illinois. That has been the situation ever since.

    Then look at who we had in Congress? Savage? Reynolds? JJJ? Except for Halvorson, our congressional representatives have been poor. We’ve been leaderless, except for the clergy.

    You don’t ignore the millions living between Roosevelt Road in the Loop south to Kankakee. You reach out and make a difference.

  41. - lake county democrat - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Anyone remember Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer” about how people on one extreem often wind up on the exact opositte extreme? Coleman’s a perfect example - he used to be in a skinhead gang or some such racist thing. Anyway, I think it’s part that Quinn is slow on subjects not in his a-priori brain and part that he’s polite and doesn’t want to take on an ally speaking for him. No excuse, just best guess.

  42. - dupage dan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Quinn stands next to Slim Coleman and is surprised by what comes out of Coleman’s mouth? Really?

  43. - Norseman - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 12:02 pm:

    James Blaine - missed that one. Interesting story and certainly is apropos here.

  44. - wordslinger - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    VMan, try to follow your own posts.

    No one is talking about the neighborhoods.

    You made a blanket condemnation of a “generation” of South Side ministers, yet think Rauner should seek their support. Doesn’t make sense.

  45. - DuPage - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    Both parties seem to be polarizing. No moderates, no middle of the road.

  46. - the Patriot - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    Ministers on both sides, need to get back to taking care of their flocks and stop pandering to politicians. Conservatives blame homosexuals for all the world’s problems. Liberals blame the conservatives. Christians need to stick to teaching the Bible. If our families were run on Biblical principles and not political ones, homosexuality and the challenges of these Chicago neighborhoods would dramatically decrease.

    2000 years of world history that says it works.

  47. - OneMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 1:59 pm:


    Having lived in Dolton when that change began there, you are right on the money. It was never the north shore and if you wanted to ‘get out’ you went and got a college education (unless you were a teacher you wouldn’t generally come back if you got an education). It was safe, it wasn’t fancy but if you had a blue collar job you could own a home and feed your kids.

    Those jobs are not around anymore and that has in large part destroyed those places.

  48. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jun 13, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    Overall, Quinn’s disturbing pattern of silence isn’t really about what the good Reverend said, as it is really about the disturbing pattern of silence the governor has had regarding the entire South Chicago region.

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