Whomever orchestrated Gov. Pat Quinn's new campaign ad deserves props for pulling off the seemingly impossible feat of making a political spot seem refreshingly upbeat.
Like no other ad in this bitter governor race, "Cutting"—which shows Quinn mowing his lawn while vowing to "fix the mess" that is Illinois—blends zippy editing with a gimmick as appealing as it is unabashedly corny. It takes a strategically positive approach rather than the gloom-and-doom format typically employed to illustrate a candidate's character flaws. (See: Quinn's pre-Labor Day attack on Republican foe Bruce Rauner for initially discouraging a minimum wage hike, then changing his mind amid voter backlash.)
The incumbent Democrat—adopting a "Mr. Fix It" persona not unlike Rauner with his promise to "Shake Up Springfield"—makes no mention of his rival in the 30-second spot, released Tuesday, wherein he counters the Winnetka businessman's accusations of wasteful government spending by listing off a series of fiscal achievements.
"When I became governor, state government needed to be cut," he boasts. "Just like my lawn. So I got to work. I cut state spending by $5 billion, cut over two million square feet of office space, closed 50 state properties and we're selling nine state airplanes. I suspended legislator's pay, along with my own. We balanced the budget in a fiscally responsible way. I'm Pat Quinn, I'm working to fix the mess and I'm not finished."
Calling pants on fire, Rauner's team responded with a "Quinnocchio Alert" that parsed Quinn's claims to knock the governor for overseeing an unbalanced budget, raising taxes by $25 billion and slashing education funding by $500 million. Sniped the candidate's representative, Mike Schrimpf: "Taxes in Illinois are a lot like the weeds in Pat Quinn’s yard – out-of-control and hurting his neighbors. The only thing Pat Quinn knows how to cut is education funding to the tune of $500 million."