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Blistering reaction to Quinn’s speech

Thursday, Jan 14, 2010

* The Tribune editorial board didn’t quite get it right in an editorial blasting Gov. Pat Quinn’s State of the State address…

Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno summed it up perfectly: “Warm and fuzzy, but woefully lacking in details.” A campaign speech, in other words.

If that was a campaign speech, then it was the worst campaign speech I’ve ever heard, except for some student council races back in the day.

This last graf, however, was far more accurate…

The State of the State is disastrous. What’s Quinn going to do about it? We’ve gone over and over our notes, and we can’t find it.

We have all these gigantic problems, yet we heard not one single proposal from the governor about how to solve them. The SOTS is supposed to help guide the spring session and demonstrate that the governor has a plan. Quinn could offer no guidance because he has no plan. He’s adrift, just like the state. Rep. Rosemary Mulligan was spot on

“If you want to enlighten me on how I can help you and not be in a partisan fashion, then give me some idea of where you’re going to lead before you ask me to follow,” said state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Des Plaines Republican. “It was lacking in content that would solve problems.”

Senate President John Cullerton didn’t speak to reporters after the speech, but he released his own mini State of the State address via press release.

We are going to invest in the people of Illinois

Illinois must help small businesses through tax incentives to keeping and creating jobs.
We will invest in Community Colleges to help Illinois workers gain new skills and training.
Illinois must find innovative ways to help families pay their bills and stay in their homes.

We are going to build upon our economic strengths

We must modernize job creation tools for Illinois communities.
Illinois should reduce fees so businesses can keep and create jobs.
We must promote key industries to grown our economy and create jobs.

We are going to protect the pocketbooks of taxpayers

We must stop government fraud through greater oversight.
We need greater budget transparency and accountability.
Illinois must ensure that banks invest in small businesses to help keep and create jobs.

While lacking in details, at least Cullerton showed he has some ideas and direction.

* The AP’s lede was harsh

Handed a chance to lay out his election-year agenda, Gov. Pat Quinn delivered a 72-minute speech Wednesday that wandered from traffic statistics and soybean paint to jobs and taxes.

* Bernie pointed to a silly speech line in his own well-written criticism

“My nickname is Soy Boy,” [Quinn] added.


* The funniest line of the day wasn’t in the State of the State address and was completely inadvertent

Apparently not knowing the mic was still hot, [Speaker Madigan] said he was told Quinn’s speech would be 40 minutes long. He then pointed to the clock, remarking that it was 1:21 p.m.


Second funniest goes to Justin Kaufmann, the Web editor at Vocalo

Is it me or did Pat Quinn sound like the principal speaking to a mandatory assembly?

Third funniest goes to the two guys I was sitting next to during the address. Their conversation went something like this…

“OK, that’s seven times he’s said ‘Land of Lincoln.’”

“No, it’s three.”

“It’s seven. I’ve been keeping count.”

“Oh, I guess I fell asleep.”

* This is pure rhetoric

Quinn ended his speech with a tearful tribute to his now-deceased, 93-year-old father, which evolved into a treatise on the governor’s leadership style and a not-so-subtle jab at Hynes for a series of harsh campaign commercials as their primary enters the homestretch.

“We’ve got terrible challenges, the toughest we’ve probably ever had in our lifetime. And we can play politics and call each other names. We can kind of avoid the problems. But that’s really not what our service members do when they get a responsibility. It certainly wasn’t what my father did in life,” Quinn said.

“He taught me always to work hard, treat people with dignity, don’t call people names, be honest and trustworthy. That, to me, is what Illinois is all about, our state, the Land of Lincoln. The people of our state, they’re the best of the best. We’re the pride of our nation. We can accomplish great things if we work together.”

He regularly refers to Dan Hynes as an “ankle biter,” is running a TV commercial right now that pretty much flat-out lies about his own record and distorts reality about his opponent, and yet everyone else is supposed to play nice.

* More reaction. Sen. Kirk Dillard

Sen. Bill Brady

Rep. Jim Sacia, via Illinois Statehouse News….

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Skirmisher - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 10:45 am:

    How cna you comment on nothing? I didn’t expect much given the upcoming primary, but I was horrified to get less than nothing. My wife’s only comment was “We were better off with Blago. At least he knew he was a phony and we all understood that.”

  2. - Middle of the Road - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 10:47 am:

    Everyone talks about cutting spending. Lets pay our obligations NOW. Any thinking person knows we will need to raise taxes. The problem is with the General Assembly use the money to fix our problems or go off and spend it on new feel good programs? Lets go back to a six month session every two years. Less damage can be done. Thus endeth the reading of the word.

  3. - Stones - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 10:47 am:

    Pat Quinn might be the Democratic nominee but he has proven over the past year that he is a better campaigner than Governor. Unless something dramatic happens between now and November, I think there is a better than 50% chance that the Republican nominee will be our next Governor.

  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 10:47 am:

    You don’t have to read from a teleprompter, but you should at least have some structure and theme to your remarks so people can follow along.

    We’ve all winged it at one time or another, with similar results. But you probably shouldn’t do that for this speech.

  5. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:03 am:

    Oh please, Mr Wizard, I don’t want to be an Illinoisan anymore. Can I wake up from this nightmare in Kansas? Should I not pay attention to that man behind the curtain? Oh, Prunella. What an ultra-maroon. Be vewy vewy quiet - I’m hunting wabbits, er, voters.

    Sorry - I am reduced to cartoon babbling at this point.

  6. - Judgment Day Is On The Way - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:10 am:

    Actually, Pat Quinn just did all of us a favor. He gave all the political types a new metric (standard of measurement) for political speechmaking.

    In the future, such masterful performances could be known as “Giving a Quinn…”

    As a btw, I wonder who’s going to start posting as “Soy Boy” here on CapFax…

  7. - Lee - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:11 am:

    There is probably a reason Quinn ran for statewide office a number of times and was rejected by his party and the voters.

  8. - Will County Woman - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:13 am:

    Skirmisher you wife is right! The S.C. state legislature had the good sense to just censure Governor Sanford. He was term-limited out anyway, so no use in shaking the apple cart and getting a Lt. Gov in only for him to make matters worse.

    Blago should have been stripped of all of his “real” governing powers and kept on as a whipping boy. That way we could have had a more robust field of gubernatorial candidates, particularly on the democratic side. No doubt Quinn would have run for governor and been able to remain true to himself and his brand.

    I blame the “bleepin golden” IL Dems on this. They happily put up with Blago for six years, so what was two more? Two more years would not have killed them if they had politically emasculated him properly. Jones was gone, so no one would have been able to stop the emasculation.

    The only reform that Quinn and the Collins Commission should have pushed for was term-limits for governor. Laura Washington recently reported that Quinn is on record as being in favor of term-limits for governor, but I don’t recall him pushing for that last year? He had ample opportunity to do so. (If I’m wrong and he did, then someone please correct me)
    For the life of me I can think of a reason why the GA would have blocked Quinn on a reform like that.

    Obviously reform in Illinois government was going to have to be done incrementally anyway, why Quinn did not realize this is makes no sense. He wasted his time and everyone else’s time getting half a loaf of nothing.

  9. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:19 am:

    My fellow citizens: Our state is in a financial mess. I will fix it by taking proposals from both parties:

    1) Yes, I’ll raise income taxes, as I’ve proposed.

    2) I can’t do anything about old pension plans, but for new state hires it will be drastically less. I’m betting I can still hire quality people, especially in this economy.

    3) A Chicago casino and maybe one in Lansing and Waukegan. Enough losing money to our neighbor states. And I’m loosening anti-smoking laws so they can have a smoking indoor bar (with high-tech air cleaners) - same reason.

    4) I’m also hiring private auditors to cut 5% of administrative costs across the board in state spending with an instruction to avoid service cuts. I’ll go blago on any legislator who tries to stop them from being voted on up or down.

    5) I’m reforming medicaid — yes this is controversial, but if I have to pick a generation, I’m picking the kids.

    6) To my reform commission: I’m sorry, give me one more chance. I will do a Bill Clinton and shut down the state before I let Mike Madigan make serious cuts in your proposal, and I will end gerrymandering this session.

    7) That’s my plan — vote for the other guy if you think his is better.

  10. - Leroy - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:20 am:

    “We are going to protect the pocketbooks of taxpayers”
    “We are going to build upon our economic strengths”
    “We are going to invest in the people of Illinois”

    When haven’t these been goals for Springfield?

  11. - Levois - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:22 am:

    Cullerton should run for Governor. :P

  12. - Will County Woman - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:24 am:

    Prior to Quinn’s speech yesterday, some speculated that he would in effect say “we’re better off with me as governor than we would’ve been had Blago remained.”

    But surprisingly Quinn didn’t make a comment to that effect. I wonder why?

  13. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:34 am:

    It was incredible!
    I saw the locomotive pulling at least one hundred coal cars plowing straight ahead at about, maybe, fifty miles per hour.

    Then I heard a train horn blowing off on the horizon and saw another coal train on the same track! At first I didn’t think I was seeing it correctly. I thought the other train was on the parallel track, not the same one!

    I began to hear the trains locking their brakes. Man! Was that loud! Squealing! Sparks!

    But with all those coal being shoved behind the engines, neither train seemed to slow down.

    I turned and ran down the road, away from the street crossings, and I saw about a couple of hundred well dressed men and women, doing the same as me, running as fast as they could away from what we all new would be an incredible train wreck.

    When I saw John Fritchey, I realized that the people who were all high-tailing it away from this disaster were Illinois legislators. The guys I thought were hoboes, were state reporters. I think I saw Rich Miller taking photos with a cell phone, or maybe a video.

    Then can this incredible sound like the collapsing and total destruction of both trains. I think I did see out of the corner of my eye, one of the train engineers throwing himself out of his train and rolling to safety. I don’t know about the other guy, but I did notice that his engine had “Soy Boy - YeeHaw!” painted on it.

    The smoke was incredible! The coal cars were jack-knifing and flipping over like toys. Mountains of coal just lifted up into explosions like black shiny fireworks!

    When everything stopped, I noticed that the state legislators started running back towards the wreck. I thought they were going to help out anyone injured in the train wreck we just saw.

    But they were carry boxes and bags, and started fighting over the spilled coal.

    It was horrible!

  14. - Fed up - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:42 am:

    I had low expectations for Quinn when he backed intoyhe Gov. Job. He has done much worse then I thought he would. The pathetic handling of the Burris fiasco his cowardly handling the clout mess at U of I backing down to Bobby Rush. His flip flops on the budget. He has shown he is no leader. This state has real problems and Quinn surely isn’t the answer.

  15. - A.I. - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 12:15 pm:

    I think all of this is way overboard. Quinn didn’t give a great political speech, but he isn’t like most Illinois politicians. I think it was brave of him to go off notes alone rather than a pre-packaged speech. This was clearly a human being talking, not some political robot programmed to garner votes. Just shows how different Quinn has been from his dirty predecessors.

  16. - Champaign Dweller - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 12:31 pm:

    I am convinced that our enemies have slipped something in the water in Illinois–otherwise, I can’t find anything that would explain the Kabuki theater that is now Illinois politics.

  17. - Montrose - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 12:31 pm:

    “I think it was brave of him to go off notes alone rather than a pre-packaged speech.”

    That is not brave, that is unprepared.

    Brave would have been challenging the leaders of both parties and the rank and file to put fixing the budget and raising new revenue above election year pandering. Brave would have been giving specific, substantive plans even if it meant they might be used as fodder for a campaign attack ad. Brave would have been taking full accountability for the prison release program rather then saying “I am accountable, but really it is Randle’s fault.” Brave would have been him acknowledging that he has not been the leader he wants to be to date.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like Pat Quinn. I like his style. We are on the same page on almost all issues, but not adequately preparing for his State of the State address is not brave.

  18. - Rubbernecker - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 12:40 pm:

    A.I. — As the old saying goes, “Discretion is the better part of valor”.

  19. - Bill - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 12:50 pm:

    ==…“we’re better off with me as governor than we would’ve been had Blago remained.” But surprisingly Quinn didn’t make a comment to that effect. I wonder why?==

    Maybe he decided to tell the truth for a change.

  20. - Will County Woman - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 12:51 pm:

    You may think it was “brave,” “quaint” and “refreshing”.

    But, the people who may disagree with you are probably saying it was unprofessional. Making things up as you go or speaking off the cuff was not appropriate for the business that he needed to conduct yesterday. As some have suggested his presentation yesterday illustrated his leadership style over the last year. So, hopefully that will help you to understand why and how his presentation yesterday has been widely panned by pundits etc.

    Instead of inspiring confidence in his vision or plans for the state his speech had the opposite effect. There is a time and place for the type of speech he gave yesterday, but yesterday was neither the time nor the place.

    I am personally very worried about Quinn wanting more time to craft his budget. He asked for more time a few months ago, and I didn’t like the idea then either. I understand that several months ago he got a new budget director. But, since the passage of the stopgap budget I’ve had the feeling that the FY11 budget has not exactly been a top or pressing priority for Quinn. He’s had no sense of urgency about it over the last 5-6 months. I get the feeling that after Feb 2nd they’ll be a fast and furious push to get a budget done. I read a news report the other day that Quinn is going to try to lobby for tax increase votes before his mid-March budget address. When he first asked for more time to craft the budget, I thought it was a play for time. I just get the sense that the primary is his main concern.

  21. - Ghost - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 12:53 pm:

    Word, and you were expecting….?

  22. - Bill - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 12:57 pm:

    The budget address is just going to be more of the same. Quinn’s “strategy” is to spend so much and borrow so much that the GA will have no choice (in his mind) but to pass his pathetic tax increase which will solve about 1/4 of the deficit. Can you imagine playing playing chicken with Mike Madigan? Soyboy has a screw loose.

  23. - Ghost - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 1:08 pm:

    === Can you imagine playing playing chicken with Mike Madigan? ===

    You mean imagine somone other then Rod doing it?

  24. - showmethemoney - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 1:28 pm:

    not many are up to the pressure of being the chief executive of the state. especially this particular state at this particular time. me thinks the accidental governor is in way over his head. in his world the pressure is in fact building quickly and unfortunately something is likely to break. does not look good.

  25. - Payraises for Unions!! - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 1:52 pm:

    Pat Quinn didn’t address the 2% payraise all union employee’s got again this January. That makes for 3.5% this year, not including the additional 4% people who can move up a “step” will get.

    How can he keep letting the state provide these pay increases under a contract that was negociated with an crook!

    Oh yeah - he needs the union votes.

    He’s so brave!

  26. - dave - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 2:17 pm:

    **How can he keep letting the state provide these pay increases under a contract that was negociated with an crook! **

    Hmmm… lets see. Can you show me the law that says any contract is null and void if it was agreed to under a Governor who would later be impeached?

  27. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 2:49 pm:

    It was not a speech for a State in peril. No urgency, just a nice meandering self congratulatory stroll through memory lane.

    Things are so bad the pols want to change the constitution to collect more $$, but apparently there is no hurry.

    It seems to me that it is more important to maintain the status quo than to fix what is wrong. Ergo, I will support no tax changes or increases.

  28. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 2:53 pm:

    Brave, not so much.

    We’ve got big problems here, and we’re going to have to deal with them in some very unpleasant ways, one way or the other. Welcome to the NFL.

    Cullerton’s response was no better. I think it’s possible, in some ways, to give business incentives through the tax code and fee reductions. In and of itself, that’s fine.

    But within context, we owe money all over town. My Main Street Illinois upbringing won’t tolerate that. You pay the folks you already owe, first. Then you talk about what more you want to do later.

  29. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 3:02 pm:

    What did you people expect? I’m listening to the “speech” right now, and it is classic Pat Quinn. He goes over the past year: what he did & why he did it. He comes across as an honest, regular guy, and people love it. If he keeps this up, he will win by a wide margin in November.

    The budget is a mess, everyone knows it, and for Quinn to go on and on about it would serve no purpose I can think of except give Dan Hynes more to complain about.

    Reading comments from a group of people who are pretty astute, I’m surprised to see that everyone seemed to expect some sort of inspirational oration that would cause the GA to rise up and pass a tax increase with no dissent and carry Quinn out on their shoulders!

    Please explain to me what in this speech deviated from expectation.

  30. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 3:07 pm:

    How is he going to protect the pocketbook of the taxpayer by pushing for a fast choo-choo and an airport that no airline wants?

    Note todays news reports that Las Vegas’s monorail is declaring bankruptcy. “revenue was sufficient to cover operations, it was never sufficient to service debt” Why will it be different in Illinois. Public transportation is not capable of operating without huge subsidies in the US.

    NBC made Illinois famous last week for a report on the boondoggle at Mid America Airport where hundreds of millions were spent to build another airport no one wanted. How will the new airport be different?

    Protecting the taxpayers packetbook? Nope, just pandering for votes.

  31. - Leroy - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 3:14 pm:

    “Note todays news reports that Las Vegas’s monorail is declaring bankruptcy”

    I think this is an unfair comparison to the CTA. The monorail was financed and built from the ground up over the last 10-15 years. That was *very* expensive to build.

    The CTA infrastructure has been in place for a century. I’ll never understand why someone can’t make money running trains at crush capacity from Evanston in to the Loop, when most of the stations are nothing more than railroad ties & iron girders….

  32. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 3:21 pm:


    What are you drinking? Are you looking at different polls than the rest of us? You are slipping a few gears. Homey and folksy ain’t gonna get it. You and SoyBoy are living in a dream world. Come to think of it, maybe YOU are SoyBoy.

  33. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 3:27 pm:

    Talk about unfair!

    Senate President Cullerton offers a Republican agenda in response to the State of the State address?

    Are the Democrats in Springfield all going to pretend they are Republicans now?

  34. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 3:38 pm:

    He said “Land of Lincoln” only seven times? I had 10 in the pool.

  35. - Ghost - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 3:45 pm:

    anyone else notice that the knot on Quinn’s tie was titled to the left, and the one on Madigans tie was titled to the right?

  36. - The REAL Anonymous fka Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 6:46 pm:

    I did, Ghost. I ALWAYS notice things like that.

  37. - Emily Booth - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 9:17 pm:

    Lake County Democrat’s Quinn parody got it right! That’s Quinn’s FY11 budget in less than 100 words.

  38. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 10:41 pm:

    “Homey and folksy ain’t gonna get it.”

    It works pretty well with the general electorate.

  39. - Richard Afflis - Thursday, Jan 14, 10 @ 11:35 pm:

    If this were a press conference, going up with notes would have been fine. This is the State of the State address. This is part of history.
    I think just like a year ago, the governor had a chance to guide history and has squandered it. If he had a vision, he could have articulated it. It almost appears the only vision he has is getting elected.
    This is a shame because I think we all know this governor to have a heart to serve and make a difference. While the democratic bosses who used to hate him have embraced him, the public who used to benefit from him have gotten far less than he is capable of and quite frankly, this great State needs better.
    If he does get elected to a full term, I hope he has learned from the gross misteps of the last year. Illinois Government needs to work for the people of Illinois. We need courage, conviction, and answers to problems.
    Compare what we have in Illinois to Washington DC. Whether we agree with the actions President Obama is taking to fix the problems of the country, at least he has articulated specifically what he is doing, why he is doing it, and what he expects to accomplish. Whether or not it works, no one will be able to accuse him of sitting idly by or not having a plan.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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