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Monday, December 15, 2008

A Great Way to Turn Illinois from Blue to Red Is...

...for the Democrats to choose the next Illinois Senator rather than allowing a vote for Obama's old seat.

First, let's lay out some demographics, history and politics in Illinois. Prior to Blagojevich's election in 2002, the Illinois Governor was a Republican non stop from 1972-2002. In the 1980's and into the 1990's, the State was generally red. It voted both times for Reagan and it voted for Bush in 1988. Furthermore, geographically it is mostly red. Most of the state is red, however the Chicagoland area is very blue. I say all of this because while it is solid blue right now that is not static. This state turned blue in 2002 because of the scandals surrounding then Governor George Ryan. Most of this state is rural, traditional and Conservative. The city is overwhelmingly liberal. Yet, the overall state could go either way given the right set of circumstances. Blagojevich has set those chain of events in motion. Now, the Democrats are trying their damnedest to turn this state red.

Right now, it appears that those in power on the Democratic side are beginning to balk at the idea of setting up a special election. Let me explain how shockingly politically tone deaf this is. What the Blagojevich scandal has done is put the sort of smoke filled room back room deals into a new stunningly more negative light for Illinois voters. The Democrats will have enough trouble running away from Blagojevich next election. It will be even more of a problem if they are seen as using the scandal for political advantage. Right now, Lt. Governor, Pat Quinn, is balking at the idea of holding a special election. Quinn would become Governor if Blagojevich is removed.

Quinn said he is considering legislation that would allow for a temporary appointment to the Senate to fill the Obama vacancy until a special election could be held. That’s somewhere between his first position in support of a special election and his second position that he should make the appointment if Blagojevich resigns or is tossed out through impeachment proceedings in the legislature.

Quinn is also a product of the Chicago political machine and the Illinois GOP has wasted little time attempting to tie him to the same sort of corruption that engulfs Blagojevich. They have created the new site, Friends of Blago, and the only politician spotlighted besides Blagojevich is Quinn himself. They have also put out this ad.

If Quinn happens to pick the next U.S. Senator, the Republicans will spend the next two years picking apart his real and perceived corruption and tying that to his pick.

The Republicans are already likely to spend the next two years analyzing ad nausea the political machine in Chicago, Cook County, and Springfield no matter what. Patronage, bribes, and friendly contracts will take on a whole new meaning, and every Democrat involved will be targeted. If Quinn, or heaven forbid Blagojevich, happened to pick the next U.S. Senator, that would reinforce every single thing the Republicans say about the corruption in the Democratic party. The Democrats would be wise to 1) remove Blagojevich ASAP and 2)call for a special election ASAP. The political terrain for the next several years will be difficult enough for the Democrats in Illinois. They don't need to make it anymore difficult by handing the Republicans another issue by appointing a tainted U.S. Senator rather than having the voters decide.

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