* One wonders if Jim Edgar is gonna keep this up all year. Sure looks like it…
Former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar said Thursday his party’s candidate for governor is wrong on Illinois’ budget crisis and made the case for hiking taxes - the main plank of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s platform. […]
Asked after the speech if Brady’s budget plans - cutting taxes and services to balance the budget - were realistic, Edgar said Brady needs to “flush out his budget policies” more.
Edgar has previously called Brady’s plan for a 10 percent across-the-board cut “naive,” which he conceded Thursday led to angry calls from Brady backers.
“I know that upsets their camp when I say that,” Edgar said to laughter from the students, teachers and residents.
The former governor also whacked the current governor for his frequent flip-flops, saying Gov. Quinn needs to think things through before he says things.
* My Sun-Times column today is about how Quinn appears to be doing what he can to lose this thing to Brady…
Gov. Pat Quinn is one odd duck.
Forget about the 30-year-old briefcase he calls “Betsy.” Or the constant references to his Super 8 VIP card to stress his frugality, even though Super 8 discontinued the VIP card program years ago. Or his penchant for blue-and-purple-striped ties.
That’s just quirkiness. Some of it is even endearing. Quinn also has a very big heart, and I know for a fact that he’s a decent man in private.
But he’s odd, man. Really, really odd.
Five straight polls in the past month have shown Quinn trailing conservative Republican state Sen. Bill Brady by an average of about 10 points. That’s the 100 percent pro-life, pro-gun, anti-gay rights, anti-union, proud Chicago-bashing Downstater who won the Republican primary by 193 votes and who almost never set foot in Cook County Bill Brady.
Ten points. In “blue” Illinois.
And what has Quinn been doing about this impending disaster? Well, for one, he has all but shut down his campaign. Two months since he barely won a primary that he should’ve walked away with and the guy has no campaign manager.
Dawn Clark Netsch did the very same thing after she won the 1994 Democratic gubernatorial primary. It’s not like she would’ve won anyway; 1994 turned out to be a Republican landslide. But it sure did confound a whole bunch of people when she did it.
Quinn and Netsch haven’t gotten along in decades, so you’d think the governor wouldn’t be following her ‘94 playbook during yet another off-year election of a Democratic president’s first term. Yep. Odd.
Quinn has not yet addressed the one issue that almost lost him the primary. In fact, he has made things worse. The governor stubbornly refused to fire his Department of Corrections director for concocting a secret plan to release hundreds of violent felons from prison. That single issue nearly destroyed Quinn and catapulted Dan Hynes into serious contention.
Instead of fixing the problem, Quinn swept out of the department people who had — get this — argued against the director’s early release program. And then a week ago, as if to spit in the eyes of the political gods, Quinn pardoned 147 convicted criminals in one, fell swoop. It’s a veritable Oddapalooza with this guy.
Two polls have shown Quinn’s job approval rating at a George Ryanesque 25 percent. In order to get back into the game and win some hearts and minds, he’ll need to raise a ton of campaign cash. But his staunch support for a sweeping public employee pension reform bill last month has infuriated the unions — the single largest source of campaign money and volunteers a Democrat has.
This week, Quinn sat down for a meeting with a bunch of union leaders at the Chicago Federation of Labor’s headquarters. After being excoriated by the leaders of Service Employees International Union (which contributed almost $2 million to Quinn’s primary campaign), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the teachers union, Quinn finally had enough. If you can’t convince your members to vote for me over Brady, he reportedly said, then fine. He rose to make a grand exit, but accidentally walked into the kitchen instead. He was forced to make yet another grand exit through the proper door. It was like a bad movie.
Odd, that one.
The governor is doing what he thinks is right. And he may actually be correct on the merits. But being right doesn’t always win elections, and at the moment it looks like he’s doing everything he can to lose. It’s one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen.