Dan Hynes 2.0

Faster, less buggy

Let's call it Invasion of the Political Body Snatchers Part Two.

First, an alien from another world inhabited the body of gadfly-reformer Pat Quinn and turned him into a mushy muddle of mediocre flip-floppery.

Now, an alien from another world has inhabited the body of Quinn challenger Dan Hynes and turned him into a sharp, smart and even savage political player who is actually "keeping us awake this time."

In Illinois politics, wonders never cease.

The sleepy comptroller who had the party's nomination for U.S. Senate in 2004 but stupified audiences on the stump while state Sen. Barack Obama was turning on the charm has come alive.

So far in their Democratic primary battle, Hynes has seemed one step faster and two parts smarter in the rhetorical fight over budgets, taxes, the University of Illinois and leadership in general.

Quinn is on the defensive.

Granted, it's early.

And it's not as if Hynes has morphed into Elvis.

"Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes solidified his reputation as plain mashed potatoes when he kicked off his campaign for governor Wednesday morning," veteran political writer Kristen McQueary of the SouthtownStar writes today.

McQueary, by the way, thinks that's a good thing. A return to normalcy, if you will.

But Hynes has been better than plain mashed potatoes so far.

Mick Dumke of the Reader wrote on Wednesday that "a reporter asked Dan Hynes about Governor Pat Quinn's proposal to increase the state income tax, and Hynes responded with a flash of sardonic wit.

"'When you were talking about Pat Quinn's plan, were you talking about version one, two, or three?' Hynes said."

Now we're thinking the same thing about the new and improved Hynes.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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