Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Recall measure could drag down Quinn legacy

I’m going to tick off a lot of people with this statement, but I have always considered the concept of a “recall” election to be one of the most Un-American things permitted in U.S. politics.

I always took a bit of pride in my home state of Illinois for not succumbing to the silliness of allowing people to un-do the results of a perfectly good electoral system.

Now, the people who couldn’t defeat Rod Blagojevich on Election Day in ’02 or ’06 want the possibility of ambushing the Illinois governor with special elections at their whim to try to undo the will of the majority of Illinoisans – who actually voted for this goof to be guv.

The Chicago Tribune is trying to throw the muscle of its editorial page behind the concept, which doesn’t surprise (or concern) me all that much. What really bothers me is that the lieutenant governor, Pat Quinn, is giving the ridiculous recall concept his backing.

He is supportive of the measure pending in the General Assembly that would allow for people to call for new elections, if they could get significant support on petitions. It also would provide for an immediate replacement election (so no, Pat isn’t calling for a recall, just so he could move up to the gubernatorial post).

I will be the first to agree that there is a high level of discontent with the political performance of Blagojevich – more so than just the usual malcontents who want to “throw the bums out of office” regardless of whom the bums actually are.

But I honestly believe the American Way of doing things would be for these people to focus their attention on the next Illinois government elections in 2010. Get yourself organized and put up a credible candidate who can challenge Blagojevich.

If the level of discontent with Rod is truly as high as they want to believe it is, they should be able to defeat him. If they can’t, then they should quit whining like sore losers.

All too often, the people in states where recalls are permitted who screech the loudest are the sore losers who are just too miffed that a majority of the public didn’t agree with them on Election Day.

And in the cases where a government official turns out to be a political mope, I happen to believe that people tend to get the quality of public officials they deserve. Maybe the majority of us who voted for Blagojevich (including myself, both times) deserve this.

My observations are that the people pushing the hardest for a recall provision in Illinois law are those Republican followers from rural Illinois who have seen how the Land of Lincoln has turned Democrat in recent years. They want to come up with another way to get rid of a states chief executive who won’t cater to their demands over those of the bulk of Illinois.

With the condition the Illinois Republican Party is in now (virtually brain dead), I’ll be the first to admit that Blagojevich’s chances of winning re-election to a third term in office in the 2010 election cycle are excellent.

Even when they had a respectable candidate in 2006 (Judy Baar Topinka), the Republican political mechanisms have become so rusty they were unable to do anything significant to help her. A tainted Blagojevich was able to beat her easily.

Now some people are going to bring up (probably, they have been screaming all through reading this commentary) about the sleazy details that will come out of the federal corruption trial of Antoin “Tony” Rezko, who helped Blagojevich raise funds for his political campaigns and who helped pick some of the people who got government appointments during the Blagojevich era.

There have been people who for years now have insisted that Rod will wind up facing his own criminal charges for political corruption, and could someday wind up doing time himself in a federal penitentiary.

To my mindset, that is not a good enough reason to whack the people of Illinois with the concept of a recall election. If it turns out that Blagojevich truly has done something seriously illegal, Illinois law already contains provisions for impeachment.

For those people who will argue that the standards required to impeach and convict a public official to remove him from office are too high, I say, “So what?”

It is supposed to be hard to remove a public official from a government post. The burden of proof ought to be on the accuser, not the politico. This is a Democracy we have in Illinois, where the results of an election of the people, by the people and for the people (remember the Constitution?) ought not to be cancelled out just because a few individuals in our society are sore losers.

Just think of how ridiculous the spectacle would be if all the malcontents of our society were to decide to want a recall of President Bush. It serves us right for voting for him twice (or voting for him once and allowing the Supreme Court to pick him the other time).

Actually, we don’t have to imagine how pathetic the concept of recall elections are in actual practice. We saw for ourselves a few years ago in California, when voters there got worked up by the malcontents and went along with the whim of dumping Grey Davis.

As if replacing him with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t silly enough, we got to endure the spectacle of a special election with more than 100 candidates – and not a single legitimate pick in the batch. If I had been a Californian back then, I may very well have voted for Gary Coleman just as a protest of allowing electoral politics to devolve into a circus.

Yet this is the direction that Quinn would like to take our fine state. Here’s hoping that the Statehouse observers are correct in saying that the recall measure will never come up for a vote in the Illinois Senate. If true, then Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, will have performed a great service on behalf of all the people of Illinois – even though some will be too blind to realize it.

Quinn is among the blind. During an appearance earlier this week on WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight” program, the lieutenant governor insisted that a recall measure is necessary to ensure good government. In reality, it is more likely to cause chaos by making it easier for a disgruntled minority to wreck havoc on the majority.

What is sad is that Quinn is the man who already has earned his place in the Illinois history books for leading the effort that slashed the Illinois House of Representatives from 177 individuals to 118.

That move benefited politics by eliminating excess politicos, particularly those who were only managing to get elected because state law required every district to have officials form each major political party (Republicans in Chicago, Democrats or Independents in rural Illinois).

The people who got dumped from the Legislature in the “cutback amendment” were those who didn’t have the support of the constituents they allegedly represented. The old way of compiling a Legislature created the illusion of bipartisanship, whereas the current way is probably more honest to the feelings of the people.

By pushing for a recall, Quinn threatens to undo the good he accomplished back in 1981. Pat needs to quit while he’s ahead, or else he threatens to reinforce the image that political observers joke about – the egomaniac who just loves to have press conferences while standing in the shadow of the Statehouse statue of Abraham Lincoln.


Originally posted at


Pat,  4:36 PM  

Recalls are good things.

Calling HDO bad or saying you should not have ties to them if you are in law enforcement is not racist.

Your postings are pretty stupid and grow tiresome.

Anonymous,  5:15 PM  

Gregory Tejeda is a real clown.

Anonymous,  9:12 PM  

"...a perfectly good electoral system."

Kind of hard to believe or even trust anything you say after that.

Illinois' election laws were ruled unconstitutional recently as it was found our election laws violated the civil rights of people not affiliated with one of the two power parties. We haven't had an independent candidate on the ballot for the GA in more than a quarter of a century. Our ballot access laws are among the worst of any democracy in the world.

Perfectly good electoral system in Illinois? Only a Blagojevich loyalist, corruption enabling, Madigan worshiping, anti-democratic elections supporting sheep that doesn't believe in fair elections would think a thing like that.

Frank and Lou,  9:44 PM  

That is the same thing that people said about Pat Quinn when he got rid of the 2-1 legislative system.

That is what Mayor Daley said about Pat Quinn when Daley supported George Ryan for Secretary of State over Quinn, the Democratic nominee in 1994.

Pat Quinn's legacy is solid just on his tax stuff and for veterans he is a hero.
I hope they repeal Blagoyacrook.

Mad Conservative 9:03 AM  

Wow, someone actually MADE AN ATTEMPT TO ARGUE how horrible the California recall of Gray Davis was and that Illinois should avoid it at all costs. Well even though 100 people filed to be candidates JUST to have the title of "former candidate for governor" there WERE legit candidates and guess what, the "pretend" candidates didn't get the votes. Arnold did get more votes than everyone else, and guess what, he's been a pretty good governor. And no one has mustered a challenge to oust him from office in a general election yet.

Kevin Highland,  12:19 PM  

The majority of voters in Illinois did not re-elect Rod Blagojevich. He had less than 50% of the votes registered! So don't tell me the majority deserves this current Governor.

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