Where's old Pat Quinn?
Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune
From The Change of Subject archives, September 22, 2006:
I’ve covered Lt. Gov.Pat Quinn as a reporter, as a columnist and, every so often, as an opponent on the basketball court, for about a quarter of a century. I haven't always agreed with the positions he's taken, but I've always admired his tenacity and integrity.
His crusades against arrogant lawmakers, uncaring bureaucrats and heartless corporations on behalf of taxpayers, consumers, veterans and other assorted "little guys" have always seemed animated by selfless conviction, boundless energy and political fearlessness.
And so I’m disappointed, even surprised, by Quinn’s response to the My Big Fat Birthday Gift scandal currently dogging the re-election campaign of his running mate, Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“The governor says that money was not connected in any way to official business, and I believe him,” Quinn told me Friday, echoing what he’s said in other media accounts about questions and concerns over a $1,500 check made out to Amy Blagojevich on or about her 7th birthday in 2003. “In all my interactions with him I’ve found him to be an honest person, and I believe he’s telling the truth.”
The old Pat Quinn -- the impertinent, independent populist who demanded action and accountability from the power elite -– would not have been satisfied by the partial and evolving answers the governor has supplied to questions about the seeming connection between that check and a state job for the wife of the friend who wrote it.
The old Pat Quinn -- the champion of ethics in government who was one of the first to sound the alarm about hints of corruption under George Ryan when he was Secretary of State -- would have been summoning reporters to Sunday news conferences and orchestrating protest stunts in an effort to force the governor to tell the whole story and clean up his act.
The new Pat Quinn -- next in line to lead the state should he and Blagojevich win a second term in November-- says he's “satisfied" by the explanations Blagojevich has offered to date about the considerable hints of corruption swirling around him.
(Though Dan Curry suggests here that Quinn's response to My Big Fat Birthday Gift suggests that Quinn has been a mere partisan agitator all along. Thus concludes Dan Curry Week at Change of Subject.)
But Quinn said no, he remains true to his principles: “I never made accusations against people unless I knew concrete facts.”
I dunno, I told him. The old Pat Quinn I remember so fondly wouldn’t have stopped asking questions until he got those facts.
P.S. Here's Dan Curry, Reverse Spin back in 2006 before this governor was re-elected. The name John Wyma comes up.