Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Someone finally calls out Quinn

For the first time I can remember, someone in the Illinois media pointed out the stunning hypocrisy of Illinois Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn.

This is from the lead paragraph of a David Mendell story in today's Tribune. Mendell is an excellent reporter who regularly writes a straight, tough story. He wrote the best Barack Obama book out there, From Promise to Power, which should be required reading for anyone interested in this year's presidential campaign.

When his own re-election was on the line 18 months ago, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn steadfastly defended Gov. Rod Blagojevich even as a federal investigation swirled around the governor's administration.

These days, Quinn has reversed course dramatically, heaping criticism on Blagojevich to help spearhead an effort to give voters the option of recalling a governor from office.

For those not familiar with Quinn's history, he has been a 20-year critic of Republican corruption. When he was elected Lt. Governor alongside Blagojevich, his enthusiasm for reform was put on hold. He shut his mouth and benefitted from Blagojevich's dirty fundraising to get re-elected on his ticket in 2006. Now that Blagojevich is dead meat politically, Quinn has found his "voice" once again and is inching back into the public spotlight with criticisms of his former benefactor.

The difference between fall 2006 and today?

Quinn said that recent developments in the federal investigation of the Blagojevich administration have altered his thinking.

"I am disappointed in him over the past year," Quinn said. "After some of the things we are hearing at the trial from Mr. [Stuart] Levine, I don't think he should have ever, ever been appointed to anything. And I think the governor owes the people an apology for that."

In typical Quinn fashion, however, he is pointing the finger at Levine, not Rezko, who was one of Quinn's largest campaign contributors. Those are hollow, misplaced words. The only people who knew Levine was dirty at the time of his reappointment was the Blagojevich inner circle consisting of Rezko and indicted cohort Chris Kelly.

So again Quinn escapes the larger, more relevant question: Why did you remain silent in 2005 and 2006 when it was obvious to anyone who was paying attention that the $57.8 million Blagojevich fundraising operation was the dirtiest in Illinois history?

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