Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

GOP'ers on Simon: "Nobody Who's Interested in Business"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It's Monday. Republicans are saying not-nice things about Sheila Simon's selection, but wow, they think she's just a swell gal.

    “Wonderful person, great life story, and her father was one of the most respected politicians in Illinois history,” said GOP party chairman Pat Brady, who attended law school with Simon at Southern Illinois University.

    BUT…

    “This is consistent for Democrats,” Brady said. “They don’t tell every kid ‘You can grow up to be governor.’ They tell them, ‘You have to have the right name.’”

    Oh, you mean like the Romneys? Or the Bushes?

    Brady also criticized the Democrats’ tournament-style selection process, in which they invited ordinary Illinoisans from across the state to apply, then picked a candidate with a famous pedigree. It was like rush week at a sorority where only the legacies get a bid.

    “The Internet questionnaire and the interviews, it was just a big show,” he said. “Pat Quinn is going to pick who he’s going to pick. He got who he wanted, which is certainly an improvement on Scott Lee Cohen.”

    Besides Pat Brady's kvetching about nepotism, several Illinois biz execs are none too pleased with the Simon choice either. Full disclosure: the names below were supplied by Bill Brady's campaign. Ward Room called them on the off chance they would slip up and endorse Simon. No luck.

    “He picks someone from Downstate, but nobody who’s interested in business,” said Michael Carson, VP of the Heavy Company in Moline. Heavy moves factories -- sometimes out of Illinois. “Quinn, his background is in law. Simon her background is in law. Brady comes from business. Jason Plummer worked in the family business.”

    Meanwhile Habeeb Habeeb, president and CEO of Benefit Planning Consultants in Champaign, believes Simon will simply be a cheerleader for the governor’s proposed 33 percent increase in the state income tax.

    “I’m disappointed because the pick doesn’t really change the reality of tax increases before doing surgery for spending,” Habeeb said. “It doesn’t change the equation. She’s not going to change his mind about a tax increase.”

    Habeeb prefers Brady’s plan for a 10 percent across-the-board cut in state spending.

    “If a person is in financial trouble and goes to their parents, the parent doesn’t tell the kid to make more money,” Habeeb said. “They tell the kid to cut spending.”

    Or maybe they tell the kid to go into politics. It works -- if the kid has the right name.