If you want to know what Pat Quinn and Bill Daley really think of each other, there’s no need to wait for the negative ads that are sure to appear after New Year’s Day. The Washington Post gave them an opportunity to bite into each other -- and both men took it.
The article, entitled, “In Illinois, a family feud in governor’s race,” was written by Dan Balz, a native of Freeport and graduate of the University of the Illinois.
“The contest for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Illinois is everything you would expect in a state known for its tough politics and colorful personalities. It’s already a brawl, and it’s just getting started,” Balz writes. “Incumbent Pat Quinn (D) is one of the most embattled governors in the country. He leads a state with a badly tarnished reputation (the two previous governors were convicted of crimes and sent to prison), the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation and a government with massive fiscal problems due to unfunded pension obligations of roughly $100 billion.”
But that’s not the entertaining part. Asked to respond to criticism of the state’s jobless rate, Quinn instead criticized Daley for his role as Midwest chairman of JP Morgan Chase.
“Did this come from a banker who was with an institution that wrecked the American economy? Ran it into a ditch, as President Obama said?” Quinn said. “An institution that has engaged in improper mortgage practices found by the attorney general, caused hardship, ruined the housing industry. People are going to judge who’s on their side when it comes to jobs, and we’ll see how they judge.”
Daley responded thusly: “Pat doesn’t have a vision. But I will say this: I do not underestimate Pat. Pat may not be a very good governor . . . but as a politician, he’s a campaigner. That’s all he does, all day every day.”
The Post was so focused on the animosity between Quinn and Daley it barely mentioned the possible third wheel in the race: state Sen. Kwame Raoul, who says he will decide in the next 10 days whether to run for governor.
The Sun-Times’ s Laura Washington is dismissing Raoul as a spoiler whose only role will be to siphon off black votes from Quinn. But Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller thinks Raoul could win the primary, because Democrats are not hep on either Quinn and Daley. According to a Capitol Fax poll, 43 percent are satisfied with candidates for governor, while 48 percent are dissatisfied.
“Quinn is despised in Downstate and Daley isn’t trusted there,” Miller writes. “A Downstate running mate for Raoul as well as assistance from his fellow state Senators could help him put together the plurality needed to win.”
If Quinn and Daley keep sniping at each other, the dissatisfaction -- and the opportunity for a third candidate -- will only increase.