It's been five days since every media in the state of Illinois and beyond began to notice the very sordid past of Scott Lee Cohen became an endless and ever expanding story. On Monday, he was barely known. On Tuesday, he was the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor. On Wednesday, he was notorious. One thing is clear from that set of events, there's plenty of blame to go around. Everyone is pointing their fingers at everyone else: the voters, the media, and the Democratic establishment.
The reason that Cohen's past went entirely unnoticed until after he was elected is two fold: 1)no one thought he could win and 2) no one cares about the Lt. Governor. In fact, the Lt. Governor is now on a ticket with the Governor. That makes that office a part of the ticket for the top executive job in the state. So, it's hard to understand why no one cared about its election. Of course, Cohen won so it's even harder to understand why no one thought he could.
Both the Tribune and the Sun Times were totally asleep at the wheel. Both papers barely noticed that there were in fact Republicans running for office. They each spent plenty of time covering the Cook County President's race. The Sun Times did a profile of each Democratic candidate. The Tribune counted down to the election.
I'm not to blame because I didn't vote for him. Still, had he been a Republican running on a tax cut and smaller government platform it, it's highly unlikely I would have dug too deep into his past.
Worse than all of this, Cohen was honest, if not coy, about his past. Everyone simply ignored it. This really comes down to apathy. The media had apathy. The Democratic leadership had apathy, and so too did the voters. It's why the voter turnout was in the neighborhood of 25%. No one cared. That's why a guy with a big rap sheet, tax liens, and a steroids problem is the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor. Of course, everyone cares now but it's a little late.
Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"