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Feb. 5 2010 - 6:02 pm | 139 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Why nominate a knife-wielding, hooker-chasing, roid-raging hothead for Lt. Governor? Why not?

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The latest scandal in Illinois politics might be a doozy — and really, it is — but it fails to jolt the needle on my Outrage-o-Meter.  It’s juicy, sure, with hookers and brawls and steroids, and I enjoy watching the current Democratic officeholders get their undies in a bunch about it.

To be outraged about damage done to an office, the office first has to be seen in high regard.  But the office of lieutenant governor is a sham, open to anyone who can buy enough advertising, and the office of Illinois governor has become so tainted in the past 10 years that only the lame or deranged would seek it.

For those needing a brief recap:  Scott Lee Cohen, after spending $2 million of his own money, emerged from a pack of five candidates to earn the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.  It was only after the fact that it became known that he threatened his hooker-massage therapist-girlfriend with a knife, threw her against a wall, and was arrested.  There are plenty of other weirdness popping up, which both Cohen and his ex-wife insist do not disqualify him for office.

Why did all his bad behavior go unnoticed?  Reporters around the state are kicking themselves they didn’t unearth all this dirt.  But there were a lot more things for voters to be paying attention to, and screaming about, in Tuesday’s election besides an unknown candidate for a do-nothing post.

1.  The choices for governor on the Democratic side were so bad that the Chicago Tribune refused to endorse either candidate.  Governor Pat Quinn or Comptroller Dan Hynes spent most of their time arguing about how was to blame for the scandal at Burr Oak Cemetary.

2.  The Democratic choices for US Senator were a clout-heavy banker with questionable ties to underworld activity, a former spokeswoman for Blagojevich, and a former Chicago inspector general who didn’t raise enough money to be a serious challenger (though he came close to an upset win).   We now have the chance to watch a slow-motion train wreck as Alexi Giannioulias tries to wash the stink off himself while running for President Obama’s old Senate seat.

3.  Illinois has a $13 billion budget shortfall, the third worst in the nation per capita.  And it has shown absolutely no inclination to get its financial house in order.  As far as I can remember, not a single candidate has any firm idea of how to do it, or the political clout to make changes.

4.  The voter turnout was a miserable 21%, but what do you expect in a closed primary, in the middle of winter, a full nine months before the general election?

So enjoy the entertainment while it lasts, but realize that Scott Lee Cohen is only a headache for Pat Quinn and the Democratic party.  (To find out why this electoral arrangement is their own doing, check out the Tribune’s Eric Zorn.)  And after the election in November, whoever wins, the state of Illinois will still be spending way more than it’s bringing in, losing jobs, stiffing its universities, and cutting social programs that have been proven to work.

Hey, maybe instead of public properties being leased outright (the Skyway, the parking meters, possibly the state toll roads), maybe they could just be put in hock with a pawnbroker?  Is that what Cohen is positioning himself for?  If so, it’s about as sound a plan as any I’ve heard.


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  1. collapse expand

    I know you’re going over the top to be funny, and to get hits, and to make the point that Illinois is so screwed up it barely matters whom we elect to office. I get it.

    That said, it is wrong to dismiss violence against a woman because of her sexual history. It is the oldest play in the book, and it is low.

    Maybe you can’t get outraged about someone holding a knife to the throat of “a hooker.” I can. And thankfully, a lot of other people can too: http://tinyurl.com/ygrf2cx.

    • collapse expand

      The “scandal” I was referring to was that a bozo like this could get so far in the election process that these facts and allegations didn’t come to light. It was a scandal of politicians and reporters not doing their job.

      I’m sorry if it looked like I was making light of the problems of Amanda Eneman at Cohen’s hands. That’s more a crime and a tragedy, rather than a scandal, and I do feel for her.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    RE:Illinois has a $13 billion budget shortfall, the third worst in the nation per capita.

    The states have plenty of money…just like california has twice as much tax money as it did ten years ago…..the problem is ever escalating wages for the bean counters in the governments, and their fat unions….no one will take a pay cut, even though they make 2, 3, 4 times more than the average private sector workers….

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    I'm a writer and performer in Chicago. My most famous book is Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, which was an international best seller. I'm also the author of its two sequels, Once Upon a More Enlightened Time and Politically Correct Holiday Stories, as well as Apocalypse WOW! and Recut Madness: Classic Movies Retold for Your Partisan Pleasure. I'm also in charge of the baseball poetry website, Bardball.com.

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