What the election changed in Illinois: Nada, rein, nothing

If you live, work or run a business in Illinois, look out below. You'll face higher taxes and more borrowing at higher rates (when everyone else is paying less).

If the numbers for the governor's remain the same, and it looks like they will, Pat Quinn will remain governor. And House Speaker Michael Madigan will remain king.

Thumbnail image for madigan.jpgremain king.

Bill Brady, the Downstate GOP candidate who, the polls said, was in the lead going into the election, trails by only a few thousand votes. Of course, things could change once the military and absentee ballots are counted, but Brady would have to pick up a disproportionate share of them to win.

In an election when conservatives around the country, backed by a Tea Party uprising, may have halted, if not reversed the direction of the Obama liberal agenda, Illinois will remain in the grip of the same folks that through the state down the mineshaft of corruption and incompetence will remain in charge. Even more emboldened.

What happened? How do you explain that the tens of thousands of voters who gave Republican Mark Kirk his win over Alexi Giannoulias in the Illinois Senate race deserted Brady in the governors race?

The full answer must await further analysis of the detailed voting results, but some things offer a possible explanation:


  • Labor unions. Organized public employees are frightened that they'll pay for the state's problems with lay-offs, salary cuts and loss of a number of cushy benefits, including out-of-sight retirement checks. Illinois long has been and remains a captive of public employee unions that have been empowered to threaten to cut vital services--police, fire, schools, public works--if they don't get their way. Their money and organizing was directed to the race that counts--not for some distant Senate seat hundreds of miles away, but for what really counts, the goodies within reach.
  • Political extremists on the left, who successfully persuaded voters to be scared to death of the social conservative Brady. Within days after the election, television ads began appearing painting Brady was the enemy of women by, among other things, stripping away the right to have an abortion. It was a dishonest campaign in that Brady, as governor, would not have a remote chance of doing the horribles.Brady never really ignited the Tea Party-like conservatives in Illinois like GOP senator-elect Marco Rubio in Florida or Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey.

So, what now? My gut feeling is that faster than you can blink, Madigan and his Democrats will unveil their financial plan, the one that they had formulated long ago in case of a Quinn victory.

Quinn, now will owe even more to the public employee unions and left-wing social extremists, so the man who already has demonstrated that he has little spin will, after a proper show of resistance, go along with whatever destructive course that Madigan will take us. Higher taxes, more borrowing and let's-pretend economies.

Our only hope for reform now rests with the various civic and good government groups. Instead of discouraged by this defeat, they need to become more energized as a political force, to press on Illinois the changes that are needed.

Until then, voters have spoken, so as I said: Look out below


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  • Your second bullet point comes close to the situation.

    You previously had posted whether Kirk was in trouble because he was too moderate. While Kirk's count started slow, like Brady's, he was able to make up the gap by 11:00 p.m. On the other hand, Brady never made up the gap, and most commentators said that it was because he did not pick up enough votes in the collar counties, especially DuPage. Now, maybe the DuPage problem resulted from 6 candidates from DuPage cannibalizing themselves in the primaries, but a more logical explanation was the Brady was too much to the right for their voters, while Kirk was not.

    As far as lighting up the conservatives, apparently Kinsiger and Hultgren did, but Brady did not.

    Since Brady's only consistent theme was the deficit and taxes, and he didn't have an announced plan for dealing with them, that probably also hurt. Of course, a conservative couldn't focus on all the mentally ill and disabled affected by Quinn's funding cuts.

    On the subject of taxes, Madigan was always against Blago's tax proposals, but we will not have to find out if he was a fiscal conservative, or just anti-Blago.

    In any event, it isn't as simplistic as you indicated, or as the Editorial Board indicated with regard to Claypool. Also, I certainly doubt that Andy Shaw and Cindy Canary are going to pull the fat out of the fire. After all, Quinn was one of theirs.

  • In reply to jack:

    corrections, "that" for "the" before "Brady" at the end of the second paragraph, and "now" for "not" in the fifth. Why can't Chicago Now have a proofing window?

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