The 2014 Republican primary for governor is going to feature the most intense display of pent-up political ambition Illinois has ever seen. The Republicans will have been out of the governor’s mansion for 12 years -- their longest period of exile since the Republican Party was founded in 1854. Gov. Pat Quinn’s approval rating is 42 percent. Any nominee who doesn’t come off as a right-wing boob -- as the Bradysaurus did in 2010 -- seems guaranteed to win.
Rep. Aaron Schock appeared on Fox News Sunday to talk about his ambitions to become Illinois’s first metrosexual governor. As host Mike Flannery noted, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, “you couldn’t walk across the room without running into a would-be governor: Kirk Dillard, Dan Rutherford.”
The Bradysaurus is also rousing himself for another attempt to take Illinois back to 1,000,000 B.C.
Here’s what Schock had to say about his plans:
“I’m focused on 2012 election, and helping Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan get to the White House, and we have five targeted Congressional races in Illinois. I appreciate the fact that people are focused on 2014, which is over two years away, and I’ve said that I’m not going to rule anything out. I’ve not been quiet about talking about the need for a change in leadership here in this state, and so after the November election, once the dust settles, I think many of us who are looking at potentially doing something in 2014 different than what we’re doing today are going to have a make a decision.”
Schock accused Quinn of lacking “the ability to make the necessary changes to heal the state financially, to restore the confidence that Illinois is a good place to invest.” Illinois’s 9.1 percent unemployment rate is the highest in the Midwest. Oriscom Construction, an Egyptian company, recently decided to build a fertilizer plant in Iowa, because it feared our state would raise corporate taxes to close its budget deficit.
Schock refused to be specific about how he would repair the state’s pension program, but said, “we have to get away from making promises we can’t fulfill. Many of those lobbying groups have asked for benefits outside the actuarial projections.”
Schock also talked up the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan (he got his Men’s Health abs by doing P90X every morning with Ryan in the Congressional gym). A Romney victory would hurt a Republican’s chance of becoming governor, but like Dan Rutherford, who is chairing Romney’s campaign in Illinois, Schock has to be a team player to impress donors.
The question Illinoians have to ask themselves, especially after Schock's modeling gig for GQ: do we need another fashion-obsessed governor? Rod Blagojevich was so desperate for money because he’d spent over $200,000 on shirts and suits at Oxxford Clothes. Pat Quinn, on the other hand, dresses like he’s never passed up a sale at Men’s Wearhouse.
This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $9.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.