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The Mechanics
« Now What? Taking on the Southwest Side Machine On the Lt. Governorship: Scott Lee Cohen edition »

IL-GOV Sun Feb 07 2010

So Now Who Gets To Be Lt. Governor?

Now that Scott Lee Cohen is officially out, there's an immediate opening for the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor. Rich Miller explains what happens now:

The state Democratic Party will make the appointment to fill the Scott Lee Cohen lt. governor vacancy. So, I asked Steve Brown, Speaker/Chairman Michael Madigan's spokesman, about what was next.

Brown said that Madigan intends to work with the state central committee, Gov. Quinn, Senate President Cullerton and others to find a replacement for Cohen on the ticket. Brown claimed that Madigan would not act "heavy-handed," as the media has constantly portrayed him.

Stay tuned.

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RAStewart / February 8, 2010 11:33 AM

"Brown claimed that Madigan would not act 'heavy-handed,' as the media has constantly portrayed him."

Uh-huh. I'll stay tuned. Without holding my breath, thanks.

Ugh / February 8, 2010 1:48 PM

It's ridiculous that yet another representative of IL (assuming a democrat win) is the result of an appointment rather than the result of a fair and free election.

These are the types of dealings that one associates with banana republics, not US states!

Daniel / February 8, 2010 4:13 PM

I disagree. Although electing the Lt. Governor is more democratic than not, having him appointed isn't outrageously undemocratic. It's actually not very different than a presidential candidate picking a vp nominee.

Ugh / February 8, 2010 5:47 PM

You miss the larger point completely.

Roland Burris is not who the people of IL elected to represent them in the US Senate, and he has been, to a large extent, a failure...

Quinn was not elected by the people of IL to be governor (Lt. Gov, yes, and following established protocol he became Gov) but we find ourselves with another failure of a politician...

You can make the argument that Todd Stroger was hoisted upon the city without the writ of the voters, and he was an absolute disaster...

Scott Lee Cohen was elected by the people to represent the Democratic ticket in the Nov election, but that candidate will now be chosen by a party committee...

Do you sense a trend? Do you sense that your vote doesn't really count in IL? For all the talk of disenfranchisement over the recent past, this deserves appropriate attention.

Daniel / February 8, 2010 5:58 PM

The core of your argument is that Quinn is a failure but that doesn't help your point: that he was undemocratically elected. He was though. As you say, he was elected to be lt. gov and part of that job is that if the actual governor is removed, the lt. governor will step in. That's what voters must accept when they vote for a lt. governor. They decided that Quinn was fit to be lt.governor and governor should Blago be removed. And Quinn fulfilled part of his duties by stepping up after Blago. That's part of the job. A job he got through the democratic system. Therefore it's democratic.

My point had nothing to do with Burris who, indeed, undemocratically won his office. That is a very different situation from Cohen or Quinn. Nobody voted for Burris to step in should Obama become president. But Cohen and Quinn were voted into a job that made them second in line to a different office. That was democratic. The fact that the proper vetting didn't happen for Cohen is not because of the specific corruption of Illinois, it could have happened in any state. What that shows is that democracy is an imperfect vetting system.

You don't have to like Quinn or Cohen to see that that's what happened.

Ugh / February 8, 2010 9:26 PM

No offense, but you are confusing democratic with procedural.

You still miss the point, especially about disenfranchising the people who voted for Cohen, but thats ok. Thats machine politics.

Daniel / February 8, 2010 9:31 PM

No offense but it's clear you don't have an argument but that's okay. :)

Ugh / February 9, 2010 9:12 AM

Yes, blatantly ignoring the will of the 209,511 democratic voters who chose Cohen is not having a point. (and your blaise attitude about this really underscores the point)

Pointing out that popular representation is on the wane in IL is not having a point.

Maybe you'll understand the point a little better when the committee (made up of machine insiders) serves up yet another machine candidate for the post and we're treated to more cronyism and inefficient representation a la Stroger, Quinn, Burris, et al.

Daniel / February 9, 2010 9:18 AM

You're still not making any sense. Your original objection was that it's ridiculous to have an appointment rather than someone democratically elected but Cohen was elected and he stepped down. Hello.

Which brings me back to my original counter argument. The system is still democratic. Voters can still choose to vote for the Democratic ticket or not. This is the same as when a presidential nominee picks a running mate. Would you consider that undemocratic?

Ugh / February 9, 2010 9:49 AM

Seriously, man, are you dense?

...even the morons at Tribune get it:

"The unusual selection process is fraught with peril for Democrats. They are essentially substituting their judgment for those of the voters...",0,2656972.story

And Cohen stepped down voluntarily? Please. No one is going to buy that garbage.

Daniel / February 9, 2010 9:56 AM

That still doesn't make it different than ay other substitution process in any state. You really aren't making any sense still and that doesn't change when you quote a tribune article or call someone dense.

re: stepping down voluntarily

Who has the power to say to Cohen "You simply have to step down There will be no consequences but you have to?"

Look, I'm trying to see your side of the argument but it's just not there. The problem is not the system's design, the problem is the culture of corruption in Illinois that takes advantage of the system. You say that this will result in corruption because it's not a democratic process but how is it that substitute candidates in other states aren't nearly as corrupt as some of the politicians that the voters ELECT in Illinois?

Daniel / February 9, 2010 10:00 AM

And also, think realistically here. There's simply no time or money for a special election. It would be nice if there was but there isn't.

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