In moments when he’s feeling overshadowed by Rahm Emanuel, Pat Quinn is rumored to pound his desk and shout “I’m the governor!”
Well, he proved it this week, by sabotaging the gambling bill that Emanuel hectored the General Assembly into passing last spring. To show off his authority, Quinn bashed the bill at a Thompson Center press conference, carried live on the state’s website. How often does a politician hold a press conference just to veto a bill? Quinn may as well have worn tights with a “G” on his chest.
I have a feeling Quinn doesn’t care one way or another whether Chicago gets a casino, or whether racetracks fold because they can’t install slot machines. In fact, I think he’s taking a stand on no slots at racetracks because he knows that will kill the bill. What Quinn really cares about is letting everyone know who runs the state, especially because he’s competing for influence with a House speaker plotting to install his daughter as governor and a nationally-known politician capable of raising far more money than he is. New York and Illinois are the only states where the big-city mayor outranks the governor. Quinn has nothing but his veto, and this was his opportunity to flaunt it. The mayor may be the Rahmfather, but the governor is Don Veto Quinnleone.
“The bottom line is, I’m the goalie,” Quinn said after threatening to veto the bill. “I have the final word, and we’re not going to have a willy-nilly gambling bill in Illinois that is not protecting integrity, that is way too big and excessive, and doesn’t provide adequate revenue for education.”
OK, Pat, you’re the governor. But you’re proving it by refusing to compromise. And refusing to compromise is refusing to govern, governor.
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!