In an effort to emphasize his political relevance here in Illinois, Pat Quinn is said to sometimes pound his statehouse desk and shout, “I’m the governor, dammit.”
Quinn is going to need to pound harder and shout louder for the next year, because he’s already one of the lamest ducks in political history.
Although he holds the title of Illinois’ chief executive, Quinn is, at best, the third most important officeholder in the state, after Mayor Rahm Emanuel and House Speaker Michael Madigan. His power slipped significantly when both Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton achieved veto-proof majorities for their caucuses. Now, the legislative leaders can pass whatever they want, without worrying about Quinn’s opposition.
And now, members of Quinn’s own party are talking about running for governor, as though Quinn -- who has said he doesn’t plan to change his job title in 2014 -- is still a placeholder governor who can be brushed aside in the primaries by a real leader.
Former Commerce Secretary and mayoral brother Bill Daley was the first to do it. Now Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who has been talked about as a candidate for governor ever since she was elected to statewide office in 2002, may finally be ready to run.