Sunday, September 5, 2010



The Chicago Tribune’s Sunday, 9/5/10 edition reported on its poll that showed Bill Brady and Pat Quinn (no relation) running statistically neck and neck in the Illinois gubernatorial race. Such polls are mildly interesting but very fickle and hence get more play than they deserve. A genuinely interesting portion of the poll, however, dealt with neither Mr. Brady nor Mr. Quinn (no relation). It dealt, rather, with Scott Lee Cohen, the businessman (Mr. Cohen is in the business of pawn brokering. During the primary campaign, Mr. Cohen’s opponents, and the media, spoke derisively of his profession as if that were the flaw on which voters should be focused. Such treatment of Mr. Cohen’s trade is indicative of the media’s hostility toward business and, combined with its inability to turn up the real dirt on Mr. Cohen until after the election, laziness. This slovenliness is especially salient when one considers how much the media like dirt of the type that turned up on Mr. Cohen. But I digress.) who won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor and then resigned from the ticket when it was discovered that he displayed proclivities toward physically abusing his “massage therapist” girlfriend and a complete absence of proclivities toward paying child support to his ex-wife for the benefit of his own children while spending millions on his campaign of self-aggrandizement that we call modern elections. This story was, as one might guess, all over the news.

The Tribune poll showed that 42% of respondents have never heard of Scott Lee Cohen. Think about that. Perhaps the biggest, and certainly the most titillating (and we know how much the American people love titillation), story to come out of the primary that took place only six months ago was Scott Lee Cohen’s nefarious escapades and his subsequent dropping out of the race for lieutenant governor, only to come back to launch an independent and quixotic race for governor. And yet 42% of the poll respondents have never heard of him! Another 34% have no opinion of Mr. Cohen. That might be almost as surprising until one considers that 40% of the respondents have no opinion of GOP candidate Senator Bill Brady and 30% have no opinion of sitting Governor Pat (no relation) Quinn.

What can we conclude from 42% of the registered voters never having heard of Scott Lee Cohen and 34%, 40%, and 30% having no opinion of Messrs. Cohen, Brady, and Quinn (no relation) respectively?

--As I tell my kids, whenever one says “I’ve never heard of (insert just about anything or anyone),” one is saying a lot more about one’s self than about the object of one’s ignorance.

--A substantial portion of our state’s (And probably our nation’s; Illinois is unique in many ways, but this isn’t one of them.) potential voters are, to put it nicely, inattentive and have no grasp of the concept of self-government and the duties involved therewith. Apparently, there are too many other urgent priorities, like Jersey Shore, Lady Gaga, and Kate Gosselin, for people to bother to keep up with what the politicians are doing to them. Frighteningly, these people all get to vote. And they will inevitably continue to complain about the “culture of corruption,” or whatever the latest catch phrase is, in our state while placing none of the blame on themselves.

--Note that Mr. Cohen consulted with Illinois House Speaker and Democratic State Chairman Mike Madigan before both dropping out of the lieutenant governor’s race and tossing his hat into the governor’s race as an independent. One of the voters in this state who is decidedly NOT an idiot is Mike Madigan. Perhaps his estimate of the attention span of the typical voter is similar to mine. He realizes that people will be looking for an alternative to Pat (no relation) Quinn in this election. If Madigan and his minions can make enough noise, and broadcast enough distortions, about Bill Brady’s conservative social views, and enough voters are sufficiently obtuse to have never heard of Cohen’s character flaws, perhaps Cohen can siphon enough of those “anybody but Quinn” votes away from Brady to give Quinn another term.

One thing is reasonably certain: If we see a round, or several rounds, of anti-Cohen ads as the general election comes closer, they won’t be financed by the Democrats.

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