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Jim Edgar on his party, the pandemic, vaccinations and 2022

Monday, Nov 29, 2021

* There’s more to this Mark Maxwell interview of former Gov. Jim Edgar, so make sure to read the rest

“Yeah, we’re a year-and-a-half in, but a lot of these decisions had to be made very quickly, because nobody knew what the impact was going to be,” he said, adding that he doesn’t fault Pritzker.

“Now, we can have a debate about what we could and couldn’t have done differently. And I think there should be once we’re done with the pandemic,” he said. “I don’t think we’re quite done, though. I think we’re getting close. If people would just get vaccinated, I mean, this thing could be behind us. That’s the thing that just I cannot understand.”

“I mean, I grew up in the era of polio,” Edgar said. “I mean, we rushed as kids down to get vaccinated and they hadn’t tested that thing. But we wanted vaccinated. We didn’t want to get polio. And so I have a hard time today — maybe I’m just too old. I just don’t understand this hesitancy to get vaccinated, but a lot of people haven’t, so we still have the pandemic hanging around.”

“I do think once it’s done — and I hopefully it’ll be done sooner than later — you take a look at what is the right procedure,” he added. “I don’t begrudge some of the things that Governor Pritzker had to do. You never want to have to… That would have been a terrible thing to have to deal with. Saying that, there is no doubt there is fatigue.”

Edgar says Pritzker could be defeated in the upcoming 2022 election, but only if his party picks an electable candidate who can appeal to a statewide audience beyond the primary.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

36 Comments
  1. - Civil Commenter - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:02 am:

    Mr. Edgar is only 75… wonder if he has it in him?


  2. - Jibba - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:03 am:

    Love it when he expressed surprise at the repeal of parental notification, yet he understood and even restated the reasons that the Dems did the repeal, rather than simply demonizing them as evil or wrong. That’s a politics I’d prefer to go back to.


  3. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:09 am:

    Edgar is reminiscent of an older GOP who was pro-science, when Americans didn’t deny vaccines and our health and science institutions. That GOP is gone.


  4. - Norseman - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:10 am:

    Said by a reasonable person who couldn’t get elected dog catcher in today’s Trumpian GOP.


  5. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:16 am:

    Sorry, but Edgar not understanding vaccine resistance in today’s GOP negates his opinion that Pritzker could be defeated if the GOP nominated someone with statewide appeal.

    The two are mutually exclusive.


  6. - Levois J - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:22 am:

    I feel like in reading this excerpt that Edgar is thinking of a different era than today polio vs. coronavirus. There is a reason for vax hesitancy and perhaps there wasn’t as much hesitancy over taking a polio vax. I’m sure someone of that era could say whether or not there was some hesitancy over taking the polio vax and why that is.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:28 am:

    === Said by a reasonable person who couldn’t get elected dog catcher in today’s Trumpian GOP.===

    Too much honesty right there.

    Can Pritzker be beaten? Yes.

    Can one the field of announced candidates be the one to do it? No

    Is there one that can get through a primary and then hold a coalition together to beat Pritzker? Dunno.

    There’s a bud difference in the words “can” and “will”

    You *can* do anything

    *Will* you succeed?

    Right now, that crop of candidates won’t cut it. Nope.


  8. - Pundent - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:29 am:

    =There is a reason for vax hesitancy and perhaps there wasn’t as much hesitancy over taking a polio vax.=

    The polio vaccine was seen as a modern science miracle. The Covid vaccine is often viewed as a tool of the left for a virus that many believe to be an overblown hoax based on media reports, (social and otherwise) political opportunists, and grifters.


  9. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:37 am:

    Throw in support for a graduated income tax and Edgar is a bondafide socialist in today’s ILGOP.

    Funny ole world, ain’t it.


  10. - lake county democrat - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:44 am:

    Edgar was willing to cut deals with the Trumpists of his day (e.g., Pate Philip - you have to read Steve Neal’s old columns to get the full extent of what a segregationist he was), but back then the Trumpists weren’t in control of the party. Today one wonders whether he’d be a Kinzinger or a Jeff Flake/Susan Collins type (lot of talk, no action).


  11. - Bruce( no not him) - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:44 am:

    ==Edgar says Pritzker could be defeated in the upcoming 2022 election, but only if his party picks an electable candidate who can appeal to a statewide audience beyond the primary.==
    I think he’s right. But…I don’t see that type of candidate getting through the primary.


  12. - Arsenal - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:52 am:

    One thing Edgar is doing in discussing the Republican field is setting his terms. He’s telling ILGOP that if they nominate Bailey or Rabine- or if someone else ends up acting like Bailey or Rabine to get the nomination- he’s gonna peace out on them.

    Sullivan and Schimpf? He might help out. Unfortunately they seem behind right now.

    Of course, Dillard is an X-Factor. He’ll be all in for Dillard.


  13. - Saluki with a Job - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:57 am:

    Edgar reminds us of what we miss in statewide leaders and that, frankly, we may not see for another generation. I got my start working in the first Edgar administration. He surrounded himself with smart, competent doers and managed to build bipartisan support even with a democrat-held house for 6 of his 8 years.


  14. - Medvale School for the Gifted. - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 9:58 am:

    Pendent,
    It would be interesting to see the anti-vaxxers crowd into a convention hall and see if they could develop a coherent platform.


  15. - Dr. Jerry Graham - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 10:09 am:

    Is Jim Edgar still in the Illinois GOP? I heard he has supported Democrats recently. So , it is very confusing to hear him talk politics.


  16. - Pundent - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 10:19 am:

    =see if they could develop a coherent platform.=

    They’re dying to own the libs figuratively and literally.


  17. - ChicagoVinny - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 10:22 am:

    The worst year for Polio in the US was 1952, with over 3000 deaths. We’ve had days in this pandemic where that many Americans died. Yet people still won’t get vaccinated.


  18. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 10:25 am:

    “There is a reason for vax hesitancy”

    There are “reasons” for everything. Every single “reason” I’ve heard for not getting the covid vaccination is based on ignorance and/or selfishness.


  19. - JS Mill - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 10:36 am:

    =Of course, Dillard is an X-Factor. He’ll be all in for Dillard.=

    I have commented on Dillard here before. He is much like Edgar in many ways. Back when Edgar was running I usually voted republican. But he cannot win in today’s ILGOP unless there is a huge turnout in the suburbs during the primary.

    =So , it is very confusing to hear him talk politics.=

    It is called voting your conscience, give it a try if you have one.


  20. - levivotedforjudy - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 10:45 am:

    It’s pretty sad when the thoughts of a reasonable man seem so foreign and almost downright odd.


  21. - Arsenal - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 11:07 am:

    ==But he cannot win in today’s ILGOP unless there is a huge turnout in the suburbs during the primary.==

    I’m not sure he *can’t*, but the path he’d have to walk is very narrow. And he wasn’t exactly an all-star campaigner even before he took an 8 year break from running.


  22. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 11:10 am:

    Are there any Republicans with statewide appeal?


  23. - City Zen - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 11:32 am:

    ==wonder if he has it in him?==

    Edgar having to work on the back-end of his own pension ramp would be fantastic.


  24. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 11:34 am:

    ===would be fantastic===

    lol

    Agreed. But he’s retired. People need to move on.


  25. - Huh? - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:03 pm:

    “There is a reason for vax hesitancy”

    Could it be that a former president and his administration declared that covid was a hoax and worked tirelessly against the vaccination?


  26. - Bogey Golfer - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:19 pm:

    Back in the 1950’s the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare opposed the mass vaccination for polio saying it would lead to socialized medicine. President Eisenhower asked for, and received her resignation.


  27. - Turkey Coma - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:30 pm:

    - worked tirelessly against the vaccination? -

    Lol, the vaccines were created under the trump administration, give it a rest.


  28. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:33 pm:

    === the vaccines were created under the trump administration, give it a rest.===

    Then why are Trumpkins so adamant about not getting vaccinated?

    They know FoxNews commentators are vaccinated, right?


  29. - thisjustinagain - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:42 pm:

    Former Gov. Edgar is right; the Republicans could theoretically beat J.B. But they have as much of a chance with the current candidate-wanna-bes as a snowball in a microwave set on “high”. And that a person could be of one political persuasion, yet vote for another party’s candidate should be of no surprise. Some of us never vote straight party ticket, believing that no party has all the answers all the time. But I hope for Edgar’s sake he remains retired; he has served the people of the State well and should not subject himself to today’s politics trying to fix what’s been done since he was in office. He would find it unbelievable and maybe unworkable even with his skills.


  30. - Arsenal - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 1:17 pm:

    ==Then why are Trumpkins so adamant about not getting vaccinated?==

    I’ve spent some time thinking about this. Trump clearly wants credit for the vaccine, and has even told people to take it. So why are some of his biggest fans against it?

    Well, first of all, understand that we’re talking about a small population. 80% of adults have taken at least one dose. Only 13% of the country says it will probably never get the vaccine. So, most Trump voters have taken the vaccine. The rest are outliers, and, as such, you might expect their thinking to be a little idiosyncratic. But I think the basics is that taking the vaccine is a sign that you’re taking COVID seriously, and taking COVID seriously has been coded to them as being anti-Trump. Additionally, they just plain dislike the loudest voices telling them to take the vaccine (and in all fairness, some of those voices *are* plenty unlikable).

    This…isn’t really logical. But it is what it is.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 1:31 pm:

    - Arsenal -

    That’s restaurant quality.

    It’s also… it is what it is.

    Be well.


  32. - DuPage - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 1:31 pm:

    Edgar as governor was competent, honest, and a moderate republican. Very few, if any candidates have all 3 of those qualifications. I am not even sure the republican party of today would even let him into their tent. Their tent moved way over to the right, pushing most moderates out.
    It is too bad that Edgar did not run instead of Rauner. Illinois would be a lot better off today.


  33. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 2:29 pm:

    ==It is too bad that Edgar did not run instead of Rauner. ==

    Or if he decided to make his comeback for the 2006 election instead of being undecided all the prior year about whether or not to run again. Maybe it could have spared us two more years of Blago, not to mention maybe Quinn and Rauner?


  34. - Shytown - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 3:45 pm:

    Anyone can be beaten. The only question is who is the alternative to an incumbent on the ballot and will they have resources to beat a sitting executive. Same applies to Gov, Mayor, etc.


  35. - Sharia Capo - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 4:41 pm:

    I see a lot of retconning on this thread. After Trump, awfuls like Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and even Jim Pension Ramp Edgar look good. But at the time, how many of you prayed for their defeats?


  36. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 7:36 pm:

    == Jim Pension Ramp Edgar==

    Don’t forget MSI and Bill Cellini too.


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