Bill Daley: …[I]t’s too bad that there wasn’t strong leadership [by Gov. Quinn] months ago to make [concealed carry] the priority in the legislature along with pensions, to drive it through and marriage equality and get all three things done, that’s what a Governor does.
Paraphrasing his old boss’ [President Clinton’s] campaign slogan in 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid,” Bill Daley seems to have settled on his 2014 Democratic Gubernatorial Primary theme, “It’s leadership, stupid.” Whether it is state employee pension reform, concealed carry legislation mandated by the courts or marriage equality, Bill Daley argued yesterday morning at a press availability prior to a July 4th Celebration at the Chicago History Museum [1601 No. Clark] that Governor Quinn has been failing because he doesn’t know how to lead.
Going directly to the electorate on Concealed Carry
Former U. S. Commerce Department Secretary Bill Daley said Governor Quinn should be winning over legislator support for reform legislation by winning over the public, who would then press legislators to support Quinn. On the Concealed Carry legislation that Quinn vetoed this week, Bill Daley implied Quinn should have been much more engaged and much earlier in the process, both in trying to shape the legislation with legislators and in rallying the electorate to press legislators to shape much less permissive concealed carry legislation than was passed by the State House and State Senate.
Daley argued that 90% of the Illinois electorate favor universal background checks and major restrictions on the size of ammunition clips, and that Quinn should have been engaged in intense persuasion of Illinois residents to press their legislators to support those items.
State employee pension reform legislation
Similarly, Daley argued he has supported the Madigan state employee pension reform legislation consistently but that Governor Quinn has expressed pension reform ideas that were all over the map, sending a confused message to the electorate and to legislators.
Daley also threw in a dig at Quinn’s lack of leadership on the marriage equality legislation, arguing essentially Quinn has achieved the equivalent of the hockey hat trick, displaying failed leadership on concealed carry, state employee pension reform and marriage equality.
Bill Daley: …Mike Bloomberg has been a leader on gun issues, so I’m proud to have his support and he’s a leader that really gets things done and that’s what we need in Illinois...
Jeff Berkowitz: Secretary Daley, given the strong majorities in the house and senate that supported the bill initially, it is clear [Governor Quinn’s amendatory veto of the Concealed Carry legislation] will be overridden [this Tuesday]…, what specifically would you have done with that legislation that you think could have passed the state house and state senate.
A consensus on Concealed Carry
Bill Daley: I think …if the Governor had put a plan out that included reasonable background checks, obviously concealed carry and the ammunition magazine thing, early on, and fought for it and built a consensus in the public-- not just worrying about the legislators…in order to move the legislature, you have to move the public, and at a time after Newtown when the nation was struggling with this, I think we missed a tremendous opportunity to build a consensus—it is a very diverse state on this issue, and lots of different ideas, but 90% of the people in this state, I believe, support background checks-- that’s to stop illegal guns… not honest owners…
Jeff Berkowitz: What would your concealed carry [legislation] have looked like—that would have been different?
Bill Daley: You would have background checks and the magazine limitations in it, those are the two biggest things
Mike Flannery: Has the Governor been a leader on this, or has he not been a leader?
Bill Daley: No, not at all, he has not been a leader and that’s unfortunate because a Governor is supposed to put the idea forward after building a consensus and getting it done, not waiting for the legislature to come home…and five days before a special session, vetoing it with the high expectation that it’s going to be overridden.
Mike Flannery: So, what is the lessons voters should draw if this veto is overridden?
Bill Daley: That it’s too bad that there wasn’t strong leadership months ago to make this the priority in the legislature along with pensions, to drive it thru and marriage equality and get all three things done, that’s what a Governor does.
Mike Flannery: It looks like the General Assembly is not going to meet [the Govenor’s] timetable on pension reform.
Bill Daley: Another disappointment and example of the lack of leadership and a dysfunctional Springfield.
Jeff Berkowitz: What would your state employee pension reform look like?
Bill Daley: I’ve said repeatedly that the House bill [Speaker Madigan’s bill] is the only one on the table right now that goes very far to solve the problem. The Governor, who has had his own, been for Cullerton’s, been for the House bill, been for everyone—over the last three weeks, I don’t know what he’s done to get more votes for the House bill, not fewer votes.
Jeff Berkowitz: So, that’s what you would have done [to promote state employee pension reform], pushed harder for the Madigan bill?
Bill Daley: Yeah, for months.
Mike Flannery: But, [the Governor] says that’s not his job. He says his job is to sign bills-
Bill Daley: He’s the only one elected statewide. He’s the No 1 person in the state, he is the Governor, that’s what governors do. That’s what presidents do. I saw President Obama do [that]. You lead. You put a plan out and you drive it and you build consensus for the public, not just say, “I’ll wait and see what they do and I’ll tell you if I like it or not.” That’s not leadership. That’s following the band and a Governor is supposed to lead the band, not follow it. Okay?
Jeff Berkowitz: Thank you, Secretary Daley.