Politics The Illinois Way

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Illinois politics has always had a rather corrupt and colorful flavor about it.  Sort of Louisiana with bad winters.  Two examples:

1.    Alexi Giannoulias is the Democrat nominee for Obama’s old senate seat.  As the bare knuckles Republican ad above indicates, Giannoulias has been alleged to have substantial mob ties due to Broadway Bank , a Bank owned by the Giannoulias family and which made substantial loans to Chicago crime figures.  A comprehensive look at Mr. Giannoulias is here.

2.    Scott Lee Cohen, a wealthy Chicago pawnbroker, won the Democrat nomination for  Lieutenant  Governor on Tuesday.  Immediately after he won, it came out that in 2005 he was arrested for allegedly holding a knife to the throat of a former girl-friend, a woman who was once convicted of prostitution.   The woman failed to show up at a subsequent hearing, and the charge was dropped.  One might ask why none of his opponents brought this scandal up prior to the voters going to the polls.  I have no answer.  Governor Quinn, the Democrat nominee for Governor, has stated that Cohen must step down.  Cohen has indicated that he has no intention of stepping down.

Ah, the Land of Lincoln.  We may be the most misgoverned state in the Union, but I do believe we get good entertainment value from our politicians!

Update I: From my co-blogger, and fellow Illinoisan, Elaine:

The Cohen debacle is literally getting worse by the minute.

Not only do we have the domestic battery charge from ‘05 — which he did actually admit to in an interview nearly a YEAR ago — his divorce papers and other documents have been made public, and they allege 1) steroid abuse and ‘roid rages against his wife and kids, 2) attempts to rape his wife, 3) harassing messages written in lipstick on his (now ex) wife’s mirror, 4) failure to pay child support for his four kids while he was spending $2 million or so on running for lite guv, 5) numerous lawsuits against him, including his OWN BROTHER suing him for $200K (haven’t found out what for yet).

On top of all that, his major endorsers and campaign contributors included…. wait for it… Planned Parenthood and Personal PAC (a PAC known for endorsing only the most radical pro-aborts it can find). Even some liberals are shaking their heads at the irony of an allegedly “pro woman” PAC donating to the campaign of a domestic abuser and deadbeat dad!

Illinois politics, better than any novel!

20 Responses to Politics The Illinois Way

  • The Cohen debacle is literally getting worse by the minute.

    Not only do we have the domestic battery charge from ’05 — which he did actually admit to in an interview nearly a YEAR ago — his divorce papers and other documents have been made public, and they allege 1) steroid abuse and ‘roid rages against his wife and kids, 2) attempts to rape his wife, 3) harassing messages written in lipstick on his (now ex) wife’s mirror, 4) failure to pay child support for his four kids while he was spending $2 million or so on running for lite guv, 5) numerous lawsuits against him, including his OWN BROTHER suing him for $200K (haven’t found out what for yet).

    On top of all that, his major endorsers and campaign contributors included…. wait for it… Planned Parenthood and Personal PAC (a PAC known for endorsing only the most radical pro-aborts it can find). Even some liberals are shaking their heads at the irony of an allegedly “pro woman” PAC donating to the campaign of a domestic abuser and deadbeat dad!

  • “One might ask why none of his opponents brought this scandal up prior to the voters going to the polls.”

    1. They didn’t think he would win — although anyone in the state who wasn’t blind and deaf could see that he had the best funded and organized campaign, the most yard signs, mailers, etc.

    2. Some of the more conspiracy minded Illinois political junkies think it’s all part of a plot by all-powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan to insure that a Republican gets elected governor AND gets saddled with all the blame for the difficult fiscal and other decisions that MUST be made in the next four years, thereby clearing the way for his daughter, AG Lisa Madigan, to run for governor four years from now.

    If that’s the case, methinks that may not be quite going according to “plan” either, since the currently presumptive GOP nominee, Bill Brady, is (mirabile dictu!) an unquestionably conservative downstate legislator, who was almost completly ignored in the Chicago media market, and not expected to win. Most people’s bets were on the more “moderate” Kirk Dillard or cash-loaded Andy McKenna.

    I may be getting way ahead of myself here but (continuing the comparisons to Louisiana) I think if anyone has the potential to be the Bobby Jindal of Illinois, it’s Brady.

  • Elaine, I truly think that people who do not live in the Sucker State have no idea how truly bizarre Illinois politics can get! This may give them an inkling!

  • To borrow Franz Werfel’s famous quote about Lourdes, for a much more profane subject… for those who live in Illinois, no explanation is necessary; for those who don’t, no explanation is possible.

    The only thing more amusing than trying to figure out Illinois politics, is watching national pundits and talking heads try to figure it out. Of course they are seeing everything through (Scott) Brown-colored glasses right now.

    I do have a couple of cosmetic quibbles with the Alexi G. You Tube clip: Chicagoans call it “The Outfit,” not “The Mob”, and the narrator’s accent sounds more Noo Yawk than Chicaguh to me. (SNL made the same mistake in their Blago sketches last year.) But it’s pretty good otherwise.

  • …and the narrator’s accent sounds more Noo Yawk than Chicaguh to me.

    I probably wouldn’t have picked up it without you mentioning it, Elaine, but now I can’t listen to it without thinking how silly it sounds in the context of Chicago.

    As to Chicago politics, it’s not hard for us outsiders to understand just how corrupt it is. Sure, some seemingly innocuous things may actually be loaded with negative implications that only locals would get, but it’s enough for us to just know it exists. After all, it’s not like the politics of my hometown of Detroit isn’t rotten too. My complaint with Chicago is actually with those who came before you. I can’t figure out why the dead always vote for the most corrupt politicians, you’d think they would have a better judge of character!

  • Yes isn’t it interesting and now the GANG is running the country..Where is Elliot Ness when we need hin.as the old saying goes there is a sucker born every minute and several million were taken in by the Pied Piper last Novenber and followed like good little lennings to the cliff..and the spending goes on and on til finaly the presses break and lend lease wwill be back only this time it will be from other counries to bail us out and the GANG will return Chicago fat happy laughing all the way with our momey in their pockets…LOL

  • I don’t know. I think Louisiana, California, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, and DC can all make good cases for “most bizarre local politics.”

    I’d like to nominate my state of NY. With names like Rudy Giuliani, Vito Fossella, and Joey Bruno you know there’ll be trouble. Forgetting colorful characters like Nelson Rockefeller, just in the last 10 years we had:

    1. The daughter of JFK, who secretly campaigned for appointment to the Senate seat vacated by a carpetbagging former first lady only to be rejected by a blind governor who admitted to having an affair and who only became governor because his predecessor was caught hiring a prostitute.

    2. A mayor who liked to dress in drag, had a messy divorce while in office, then became the Republican frontrunner for president. This mayor was replaced by the 17th richest man in the world, who switched parties while in office, increased his own term limits, and set the record for most spent on an election campaign anywhere, ever!

    3. A police commissioner who withdrew his nomination to head Homeland Security after it was revealed that he hired illegal immigrants. He was then convicted of ethics violations. Now he’s awaiting sentencing for tax fraud.

    4. A conservative Republican US congressman who had a secret second family in Virginia. When he decided not run for reelection, the GOP nominated a guy who’s estranged son decided to run against him. The father died before the election and the seat was won by a Democrat for the first time in 30 years.

    5. A state comptroller who plead guilty to defrauding the government and who spent $800,000 to get an incumbent state assemblyman to step aside for his son.

    6. Two Democratic state senators who switched parties, giving the Republicans a majority. One then redefected leaving 31 Republicans and 31 Democrats. The lieutenant governor then becomes the tie-breaker but because the governor resigned, we had no LG. The president of the senate, a Republican on trial for corruption (he’s since been convicted and is now awaiting sentencing), becomes acting LG when the governor is out of state, so the governor refused to leave the state. Both parties claimed the senate leadership. We literally had two senates in the same room going about business as usual as if the other party didn’t exist. Senators yelling over each other. The governor appointed a new LG but the state AG said that was unconstitutional. The crisis ended when the other defector redefected to the Democrats in exchange for the majority leader seat.

    7. State Assembly members over 65 who collect salaries and pensions at the same time. They “retire” on New Year’s Eve then get sworn in as freshmen the next day.

    8. A lesbian city council speaker and the nation’s only pagan politician.

  • restrainedradical, I must stand up for Illinois! Illinois has had three governors go to prison and one I think who will eventually land there. Unless a state can boast at least three governors in the pen I don’t think it is even in the running.

  • You know what they say:

    Illinois- “Where Our Governors Make Our License Plates”

  • Elaine K.,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it was Saint Thomas Aquinas who said the alleged quote from Franz Werfel.

  • I’ll have to look that up Tito. Thanks for the tip.

    If the truth be told, I’m sure bizarre politics exist, or can exist, anywhere, since we live in a fallen world; but the odds of such increase exponentially the more people there are — hence, big city “machines” like Chicago, New York, et al. generate the most spectacular and frequent examples.

    Still, even God’s Chosen People themselves, and Holy Mother Church, have had leaders that were nothing to brag about (Kings Ahaz and Manasseh, the Borgia Popes) and who make Blago, Spitzer, Sanford, et al. look like rank amateurs in the corruption department.

  • Regarding dead people “voting”, G.K. Chesterton once wrote that:

    “Tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.”

    Of course, GKC didn’t have Chicago politics in mind when he wrote that :-)

  • My best friend used to live in Chicago. When he and his wife bought their first house, they went to vote for the first time. The two guys they bought the house from had already voted! In fact, they voted in every election as long as my friends lived there.

    Now my friend is the mayor of our city in Oregon. He’s been to some National League of Cities meetings where he’s met the alderman from the area where he used to live. He told the guy, “Hey, I voted for you!”

  • Ah yes, Chicago politics, where our president learned his craft via the democratic machine. My favorite was counting the number of city alderman who got indicted. Isn’t it over 100?

  • Update II: Cohen is now said to be seeking a “dignified” way out of his situation — according to some reports, he is willing to resign from the Democratic ticket but only under certain conditions which haven’t yet been made public.

    Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend apparently has hired none other than Gloria Allred (noted celebrity/feminist wacko attorney) as her lawyer, and issued a statement through Allred that Cohen “is not fit to hold any public office.” Allred’s other clients include the family of Nicole Brown Simpson and one of Tiger Woods’ alleged mistresses.

    Well, I think the “dignified” way out is pretty much shot at this point.

  • Update III: As if Gloria Allred didn’t have enough on her plate, she’s also in the news right now for her claims that Tim Tebow’s mother is lying about the circumstances of his birth (because she allegedly would never have been told to have an abortion when abortion is supposed to be illegal in the Phillippines.)

    To top it all off, in 2003, Allred stated in a TV interview concerning the Scott and Laci Peterson murder case that “there are two individuals that are dead there, Laci and Connor (her unborn child).”

    http://www.lifenews.com/nat5943.html

  • Update IV: He quit.

    http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/02/speaker-madigan-met-with-cohen-urged-him-to-quit.html

    “Scott Lee Cohen, the pawnbroker whose surprise victory in last week’s Democratic lieutenant governor primary was followed by scandalous revelations about him, quit the race tonight at the urging of party leaders.

    “Cohen made the tearful announcement at the Hop Haus tavern on the Far North Side.

    “For the good of the people of the state of Illinois and for the Democratic party, I will resign,” an emotional Cohen told a crowd of supporters and reporters.

    “I hope and I pray, with all my heart, that I didn’t hurt the people that I love so much,” Cohen said, choking up. “All I ever wanted to do was to run for office and to help the people, not to cause chaos,” he said, clutching his 11-year-old son, Jacob.”

    ****

    If he didn’t want to “hurt the people (he) love(s) so much,” he should have thought of that sooner… like about 5 years ago… but I digress.

    The Illinois Democratic Central Committee will choose a replacement candidate sometime in the next month; that person will replace Cohen as Gov. Quinn’s “running mate” for the general election.

  • That was a lot quicker than I thought it would be Elaine. I wonder what type of pressure they put on the pawnbroker. After dropping two million dollars of his own money on the race, I’m surprised he goes so tamely.

  • Well, perhaps all the pressure he needed was Mike Madigan telling him that there was no bleeping way he would ever take office.

    If Cohen had stayed on the ticket, Quinn would probably have done what Adlai Stevenson III did in 1986 when he got saddled with a LaRouchie running mate in a similar primary election debacle: form a “new” political party with slated candidates and try to convince Democrats to vote for that party instead of the actual Democrats. It didn’t work for Stevenson and probably wouldn’t have worked this time either.

    Speaking of Lyndon LaRouche, I assumed he was either dead by now or safely residing in the “Where Are They Now File,” but apparently, he’s still alive and kicking at age 87. He served 5 years in prison for mail fraud and conspiracy in the early 90s. At one point he had televangelist Jim Bakker as his cellmate; Bakker later said of LaRouche that “to describe him as a little paranoid is like saying the Titanic had a little leak.”

  • Jim Bakker and Lyndon LaRouche cellmates! There is a great comedy masterpiece waiting to be made about that.

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