Chicago’s lakefront

By John Ruberry

“Decent people shouldn’t live here. They’d be happier someplace else.”
Jack Napier/The Joker in Batman.

Often, I’m asked, “Why is Chicago so corrupt?” The short answer? It’s always been that way.

Now let me expand a bit.

Earlier this month the Department of Justice released a report that excoriated the Chicago Police Department for use of excessive force, slipshod training, and soft discipline within its ranks. The report was produced because of the shooting in 2014–with sixteen bullets–of an unarmed teen black Laquan McDonald by a white Chicago cop.

But the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass noted a significant omission in that report: Chicago’s corruption culture.

It wasn’t the Chicago cops who shaped the police culture. The political corruption and cynicism of politicians over decades in a one-party Democratic machine town shaped the culture.

Kass adds that it was City Hall that sat on the damning police video of McDonald getting shot. It was released over a year later–seven months after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was releected. Kass, without mentioning his name, reminded readers that longtime CPD chief of detectives, William Hanhardt, was placed in that position by his political friends. Hanhardt, a mob cop, ran a jewelry theft ring while he was chasing select other bad guys.

But why is Chicago so corrupt?

Chicago, like other Midwestern cities, was settled first by New Englanders and upstate New Yorkers, white Anglo-Saxon protestants mainly. But Irish people fleeing the Potato Famine and seeking work on such projects as the Illinois & Michigan Canal, along with Germans, were the first wave of immigrants to Chicago. My great-great grandfather, another John Ruberry, was part of this wave. But the Irish already knew English and the arguably more numerous Germans initially did not. Which meant that the Irish were able to qualify for government jobs. Then some of them made the logical next step–run for political office.

The eighteenth-century Irish were unwilling subjects of the British Empire–they viewed government as an alien force and many didn’t see anything wrong with stealing from that government. Old habits are hard to break–and many Irish-Americans saw public service as an opportunity to stuff their pockets with bribes and kickbacks–and to place their friends and relatives in other government positions. Or to offer other friends and relatives government contracts, who might reward their patrons with “gifts.”

So Chicago’s culture of corruption was born.

Other immigrants followed–many with similar backgrounds. Poles didn’t have their own nation for the entire 18th century, the majority of Chicago’s Italian immigrants came from southern Italy, and there was no love between them and the Italian royal house, which emerged from the northern half of the peninsula. The Czechs and the Croatians were part of Austria-Hungary.

Abandoned South Side home

Even newcomers to Chicago who were Americans fit the bill.

Until the mid-1960s blacks who came to Chicago as part of the Great Migration were subject to Jim Crow laws and could not vote. Clearly local government was not their government. Puerto Rican corruption is even worse than that of Chicago.

You can make the same argument about Mexico, the latest source of mass-immigration to Chicago.

Another Chicago newspaper columnist, the legendary Mike Royko, often quipped that Chicago’s official slogan should be “Where’s mine?”

Roughly once every 18 months a Chicago alderman is sentenced to prison. One of Chicago’s dirtiest secrets is the coziness between politicians and street gangs.

My point is not to demonize any group but to explain how Chicago got to the unhappy place where it is. For instance, my father, another John Ruberry–he went by Jack–once told my mother, “I’d like to work in politics.” She replied, “That will never work out–you are too honest.” My dad was 100-percent Irish-American. And yes, my mother was right–and my father never ran for public office. This decent man moved his family out of Chicago in 1968.

Meanwhile, Chicago, and yes, the rest of Illinois is a cesspool of cronyism and corruption.

Oh, you WASPs, particularly Republican ones reading this post–I’m coming for you.

Much is made of Chicago not having a Republican mayor since 1931. But that mayor was William Hale Thompson, a Boston-born Protestant who was probably Chicago’s most corrupt mayor. Thompson was a protector and sponsor of Al Capone. Thompson, a crook, was able to reap dishonest benefits from a crooked bureaucracy that was already in place. After his death two safe deposit boxes containing nearly $2 million were discovered. Although Thompson’s successor, Czech immigrant Anton Cermak, founded the modern Chicago Democratic machine, he was a better mayor than Thompson.

I began with a quote from one Batman movie and I’ll end this post with a quote from another, this time from Batman Begins.

The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. We sacked Rome, loaded trade ships with plague rats, burned London to the ground. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence, we return to restore the balance.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Chicago is clearly in decline. Payoffs to public-sector union members, pensions that weren’t properly funded, gave Chicagoans–including of course the decent ones–their largest property tax hike ever two years ago, followed by more tax increases last year. No serious person believes there won’t be more soon. Last year more Chicagoans were murdered than those killed in New York City and Los Angeles–combined.

Chicago is at its lowest population in one hundred years, coincidentally, that was when Chicago was still a boom town and William Hale Thompson was mayor.

While there is no League of Shadows, Chicago is long overdue for a check against human corruption.

Where is Chicago’s Bruce Wayne?

Or its Bruce Waynes?

And no, I’m not calling for bubonic plague in Chicago. The city is emptying out just fine on its own.

John Ruberry, a decent man who moved his family out of Chicago in 1999, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. 

Chicago’s Grant Park, where Obama gave his victory speech

By John Ruberry

On the Sunday after the 9/11 attacks, Jeremiah Wright, then Obama’s pastor, bellowed, “God d–n America” and “America’s chickens are coming home to roost” from the pulpit of his Chicago church.

Two nights from now President Barack Obama will give his farewell address in Chicago, his adopted hometown. The Hawaii-born 44th president moved to Chicago a year after graduating from college where he worked, with at best mixed success, as a community organizer on the Far South Side. It’s an area still beset by violence and poverty with no hope of a turnaround thirty years after Obama left that post so he could attend Harvard law school.

Ayers and Dohrn Chicago home

It was in 1996 Chicago where Obama launched his political career. One of his first campaign stops–perhaps his first–was at the home of his friends, unrepentant Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. Eight years later another Chicagoan, state Senate President Emil Jones Jr, put Obama’s name on some key bills that bolstered his liberal credentials. Obama scored a surprise win in the Democratic US Senate primary, and after the Republican nominee imploded, he easily won in the general election.

You know the rest of the story.

However, Obama was not a slam-dunk in the 2008 presidential election against John McCain–what we now call the Great Recession sealed the deal–and America elected its first black president.

Chicago is still recovering from the ’08 economic collapse. Of the nation’s 35-largest cities, Chicago has the largest percentage of underwater home mortgages.Two years ago Chicago enacted its largest property tax hike in history, the impetus for it was to pay for underfunded municipal pension funds. What does this have to do with Obama? Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931, Obama is the most hyper-partisan president in memory. Along the White House ride for Obama was Valerie Jarrett, his senior advisor and “Berlin Wall,” the former slumlord was a deputy chief of staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. It’s Daley, not his successor, former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who bears the responsibility for the Chicago pension debacle. But Chicago’s generous municipal pensions are political payback for public-sector unions, who’ve been an arm of the Democratic Party in all but name for decades.

Obama has always been very cozy government labor unions. 

Two years ago–under Emanuel’s watch–Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s bonds, and those of Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District to junk. Other rating services haven’t followed suit yet, but they absolutely don’t view Chicago favorably.

Chicago’s population is at it lowest level in 100 years.

Chicagoans pay the nation’s highest sales tax rate.

Chickens.

Last year at least 762 people were murdered in Chicago–an appalling 57 percent increase over the year before. Chicago suffered more killings than New York City and Los Angeles–combined. One of the reasons cited for the soaring murder rate was Rahm Emanuel’s inept handling of the shooting of unarmed black teen Laquan McDonald–with sixteen bullets–by a white cop, all of which has compelled Chicago Police officers to use less aggressive law enforcement tactics. Chicago is a hotbed for Black Lives Matter activists. The outgoing president has been supportive of this radical group, which deems racist the statement All Lives Matter.

Near where the Facebook attack occurred

That leads to last week’s racist atrocity in Chicago, the torturing of a white special needs man–thirty minutes of which was streamed live on Facebook–by four blacks in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side. The victim was bound, gagged, beaten, slashed, forced to drink toilet water, and coerced to say “F–k Donald Trump” and “F–k white people.”

Two months earlier in another West Side neighborhood a white man was pulled from his car and brutally beaten by four blacks. That attack was captured on video, the assailants screamed, “You voted Trump” and “Beat his a–.” While the victim was indeed a Trump voter–yes, there are a few in Illinois besides me–he told authorities that there was no way the thugs could have known that. There was no Trump bumper sticker on his car–he was white and that was enough provocation for these creeps.

Obama’s chickens–and those of Chicago Democrats–have come home to roost.

Our collectivist president has practiced identity politics for his entire adult life. which for the most part means race politics. Us versus them. And as a collectivist Obama has appointed himself as the savior to put the pieces back together.

Chicago’s Northwest Side

But breaking things is much easier than putting them back together.

Some final thoughts.

As a public service I am recommending that if you are planning to attend Chicago’s McCormick Place address, please use public transportation. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit 45 of our 50 states. With the exception of Detroit, the worst-maintained streets and roads I’ve encountered are in Chicago. And while you’re driving around potholes and crevices, please beware of Chicago’s ubiquitous red light and speeding cameras. An astounding 1.9 million traffic camera tickets were issued between 2010 and 2015. Chicago has 2.7 million or so residents. Most of those tickets were written while Emanuel was mayor.

The former administrator of Chicago’s traffic camera program is serving a ten-year prison sentence for accepting bribes.

Someone needs to come up with a misery index for big cities like Chicago, which should include such items as corruption, low high school graduation rates, unfunded pension obligations, red light cameras, crumbling infrastructure, population loss, taxes, and yes of course, crime.

John “Lee” Ruberry

Perhaps Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s amiable pal who is an economics professor at the University of Chicago, can absolve himself of leftism and get to work on this much-needed project.

Thank God I left Chicago for the suburbs nearly two decades ago.

And Obama, at least for now, won’t live in Chicago after he moves out of White House next week. He’ll probably only return to visit his presidential library.

John Ruberry is a fifth-generation Chicago area resident who writes the Marathon Pundit blog. The Chicago Convention and Tourism Board had no input in composing this blog entry.

moldy-orangeby baldilocks

Most civilians would be surprised to discovered how many liberals and even hard leftists there are in the military. Further, I’d guess that 30-40 percent of those who have served in military intelligence capacities are liberals or leftists. Be advised that I’m going by the political persuasions of my old Air Force intel friends and acquaintances with whom I’ve had contact on Facebook. The latter have long ago cursed me out, then blocked me or quietly unfriended me.

And those who remain connected with me—who are my true friends–are very quiet about the Clinton email scandal, and I understand why. They know beyond any equivocation that any one of us who would have committed even the tiniest fraction of Clinton’s crimes would have done time. We have all seen it actually happen.

Anyone who has been a part of the intelligence community knows that the method in which Hillary Clinton handled classified information during her tenure in one of the highest political offices in the land is criminal. Every member of the DOJ and FBI knows it as well, from Lynch and Comey on down.

I understand why my friends who are liberals would not want Donald Trump to ascend to the presidency. Believe me, I do. Heck, the events and revelations of the past few months are emblematic of the reason I decided to wait until Election Day to make my decision! My friends find themselves between the proverbial rock and hard place regarding next week’s final decision, assuming they haven’t voted already. It’s a place which many conservatives were deposited months ago. Welcome!

And here’s something I don’t see many people discussing: the reason that Clinton was allowed to set up a server in her home in the first place and pass classified information through it. That no one blew the whistle on that is much bigger than who we will have sitting in the Oval Office in January.

How many people knew about this server? What about the technicians? Was there anyone who understood the magnitude of what they were doing? Anyone who had taken an oath and who was willing to hang his/her body on that oath?

Apparently not.

Trump/Clinton…and Obama are/will be figureheads for a deeply rotten government which we give permission to speak for us and to handle our business.

And that is something which all of us—conservatives and liberals who believe in liberty and in the rule of law–need to file away in the back of our minds in order to prepare for the future.

RELATED: Two Weeks Left

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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Grixdale
Grixdale

By John Ruberry

Type “Detroit revival” or “Detroit comeback” into your Google search box and you’ll collect a lot of hits and discover glowing yarns about the turnaround of what was once one of America’s greatest cities. Here’s one from Forbes just last week. There is even a Pure Michigan TV commercial about Detroit.

But as John Adams once famously wrote, “Facts are stubborn things.”

Yes, there is a Detroit bounceback underway but it is centered in downtown and the neighborhoods that border it. That’s it.

Then there are the facts.

The fiscal year for Detroit Public Schools ends on June 30. On July 1 there is no money for summer school or physical upkeep, unless the state rushes in for a rescue. Such a rescue should not be confused with a proposed $720 million one that will deal with DPS’ long-term debt.

Adding an exclamation point to the problems of DPS last week was a former school principal who pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks from an allegedly crooked supplier. A dozen other DPS officials, most of them former principals, have also been charged with collecting kickbacks.

Abandoned Detroit school
Abandoned Detroit school

When I visited Detroit last summer I ventured into the neighborhoods outside of its downtown ring. Places like Grixdale. This is a typical 21st century Grixdale block that in 1950 that had twenty homes each with wage earners with fat wallets: Two occupied homes, two abandoned homes, the rest are rubbished filled vacant lots with coarse weeds.

Detroit has some millstones that will impede its recovery. Its commercial property tax rates are the highest in the nation and city services are substandard. Detroiters are burdened with a municipal income tax and possible future Detroit residents who want to dip their toe in the Motor City water by taking a job in the city are subject to a commuter tax. And Detroit is still a very violent city.

Just last week a study was released that discovered that Detroit has the least storefront concentration of any big city.

Look for the Detroit comeback, such as it is, to proceed very slowly.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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Illinois BlagoBy John Ruberry

Another politician has shamed the Land of Lincoln.

Prosecutors in the bank fraud case against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert filed documents late Friday outlining his sexual abuse of four male students while he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in rural northern Illinois.

One of the victims collected over $1 million in hush money from the longest-serving Republican speaker in history, and it was Hastert’s shifting explanations for his cash bank withdrawals that led to his indictment last year. Hastert pleaded guilty last fall and he’s awaiting sentencing.

Among the revelations from the filing is that the coach sat in a La-Z-Boy chair while watching his wrestlers shower.

LaSalle Lock 16
Illinois & Michigan Canal

So many Illinois pols have disgraced Illinois. I’ll name just a few.

In 1856 Governor Joel Matteson discovered unredeemed scrip that was used to pay Illinois & Michigan Canal contractors when the state ran out of cash after the Panic of 1837. He cashed that scrip.

Len Small was governor for most of the 1920s. He was indicted in 1924 for embezzlement and money-laundering charges that dated back to his time as state treasurer. Small was found not guilty but eight of the jurors on his trial later received state jobs. He was accused of selling pardons too.

While Small was governor Chicago Mayor William Hale Thompson was essentially the political arm of Al Capone.

Other Prairie State governors who went to prison include Otto Kerner, who was convicted on mail fraud charges related to the illegal gift of racetrack stock, George Ryan, who ran a scandal-plagued office during his two terms as secretary of state, and Rod Blagojevich, who attempted to shake down a children’s hospital and tried to sell a US Senate seat, among other things.

Another secretary of state, Paul Powell, directed Illinoisans writing checks for license plate or driver’s license renewals to make the checks out to him, not the secretary of state’s office. What could go wrong with that? Powell died in office in 1970 and a few days after his passing over $800,000 in cash was found in his Springfield hotel room, including some in a shoe box.

US Rep. Mel Reynolds of Chicago didn’t even serve a full term in Washington but he still found himself in legal trouble in the 1990s for sexual assault, child pornography, and bank fraud. His prison sentence was commuted in one of Bill Clinton’s midnight pardons of 2001.

Reynolds is in legal trouble again for alleging not filing income taxes.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Some of these “public servants” were Republicans. Some were Democrats.

And roughly once every 18 months a Chicago alderman is convicted of a crime. Sandi Jackson of the 7th Ward, wife of fellow jailbird US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is only the latest one.

John Ruberry, a lifelong Illinois resident, writes the Marathon Pundit blog.

By John Ruberry

Zimbabwean president and kleptocrat Robert Mugabe celebrates his 92nd birthday today with private ceremonies, but later this week a much more lavish affair–previous birthday celebrations have cost $1 million–will be held at the Great Zimbabwe archaeological site.

A state-run newspaper, the Sunday Mail, has plastered the nation with yellow-and-black posters that proclaim “Mugabe’s birthday is like that of Jesus Christ” to draw attention to a 16-page supplement about the man who has run Zimbabwe into the ground during his 36-year-long reign of terror and error.

Oh, Mugabe claims to be a Roman Catholic.

The southern African nation is in the midst of drought that has forced three million Zimbabweans–about a quarter of the population–to be dependent upon international food aid. But why let brutal reality ruin a great party?

Zimbabwe is considered one of the most corrupt countries on the planet and Mugabe’s racist–he has driven many of his nation’s productive white farmers from their legally purchased land–and socialist policies have devastated the nation.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Can things can worse? Of course they can. Despite allusions of divinity Mugabe will die and probably pretty soon. Demagogues typically stunt the next generation of leadership and Mugabe is no exception. Already there is squabbling among members of his Zanu PF party because there are many men who look into the mirror every morning and see who they believe is the person who will succeed Mugabe and most likely, continue the plunder, and perhaps, compare himself to Jesus too.

And the unhappy people of Zimbabwe will continue to suffer.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The Obama with Jammeh and one of his wives.
The Obamas with Jammeh
and one of his wives.

By John Ruberry

The world has a new Islamic republic. On Friday Gambia’s strongman president, Yahya Jammeh, declared the impoverished west African nation that is almost completely surrounded by Senegal, a Muslim state. Other such nations are Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Mauritania–none of which are well-known for freedom or prosperity.

Jammeh promises freedom of religion to the citizens of Africa’s smallest non-island nation.

Jeffrey Smith, a senior advocacy officer at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights told Al Jazeera that day, “Gambia is not a country of laws but is rather ruled by the whims of Yahya Jammeh.”

Jammeh seized control of Gambia in a bloodless coup in 1994 and while there have been elections since then, of course in the African tradition he has won each with resounding majorities.

What of those whims that Smith mentioned?

Jammeh detests gays. In speech given earlier this year the despot warned them, “If you do it [in Gambia] I will slit your throat,” adding, “if you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it.”

In 2007 Jammeh announced that he had developed an herbal cure for AIDS, sometimes he even administers his crackpot treatment to the afflicted.

Freedom of the press is limited in Gambia and the nutjob’s opponents often “disappear.”

Jammeh claimed in 2010–without citing evidence–that both the first Atlantic flight and the first Eastern European flight ended in Gambia.

Despite the dictator’s eccentricities and his terrible human rights record, President Obama welcomed Jammeh and one of his wives to the White House last year.

Is Jammeh Gambia’s answer to Idi Amin?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Illinois signBy John Ruberry

Back in the 1990s, former US Rep Mel Reynolds (D-IL) was described as a one-man crime wave.

Until his suicide on September 1, Fox Lake, Illinois police lieutenant Joseph Gliniewicz, was a similar felonious phenomenon.

Until last week this was the narrative of the cop nicknamed “GI Joe.” The veteran police officer, who was scheduled to retire in two weeks, was murdered after he chased three men into a wooded area. On Labor Day crowds lined his 18-mile long funeral procession, held signs, and gave salutes as Gliniewicz’ hearse rolled past. GI Joe was portrayed as a selfless volunteer with the Fox Lake post of the Police Explorers, a group that mentors young people considering careers in law enforcement.

For several days after Gliniewicz’ death national media reported from Fox Lake, their helicopters flew over Fox Lake as it showed cops scouring the woods and wetlands outside of Fox Lake as they searched for evidence and the suspects.

Last week Lake County officials revealed that Gliniewicz’ death was an elaborately staged suicide so it would look like a murder. Taking one’s life is sadly somewhat common among police officers, but this Fox Lake suicide revealed a different malady–Illinois-style corruption.

Fox Lake administrator Anne Marrin was investigating GI Joe for embezzlement of Explorers funds; Gliniewicz was allegedly using that cash to make mortgage payments, adult web site subscriptions, vacations, and health club memberships. Text messages from Gliniewicz suggest the he may have been considering framing Ferrin for drunk driving or cocaine possession. And it can’t get worse, can it? It can. GI Jerk was considering contacting a motorcycle gang to put a hit on Marrin.

The creepy cop had a mistress–there is nothing illegal about that–but investigators are now looking into the possibility that Gliniewicz arranged a phony marriage between that woman and his son, who was in the army, so she could fraudulently collect military benefits.

In 2003 it was revealed that Gliniewicz served a thirty-day suspension for sexual harassment.

Yes, GI Joe was a one-man crime wave.

Well, at least for now that is the situation, because there are reports Gliniewicz’ wife and one of his sons are under criminal investigation. And it’s hard to believe that at least some members of the Fox Lake police department didn’t at least suspect that GI Joe was a crook.

And with corruption so rampant among Illinois government, it’s possible that some of his co-workers just threw their hands in the air and exclaimed, “That’s the way it is Illinois and there is no way to change it.”

However…

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” Edmund Burke once said.

And there is plenty of nothing going on in corrupt Illinois.

One more item: As bad as Illinois is, nearly all police officers are honest here.

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Illinois resident, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Illinois BlagoBy John Ruberry

Yes, there is a corruption tax in Illinois. It’s not an official levy, however–in other words, bribes to public officials aren’t taxed. It they were perhaps there would not be a $7 billion backlog of unpaid bills in the Prairie State.

What does the corruption tax cost per person?

The Northwest Times of Indiana has the answer:

Now new research by an Indiana University professor has found residents of the most corrupt states literally pay a steep price for crimes committed by their elected officials due to artificially inflated state spending that’s typically tied to public corruption.

John Mikesell, IU professor of public and environmental affairs, and Cheol Liu, assistant professor of public policy at City University of Hong Kong, determined that the 10 most corrupt U.S. states — which includes Illinois, but not Indiana — would have spent 5.2 percent less between 1997-2008 if they had only an average amount of corruption.

That translates to a corruption tax of $1,308 per person in those states.

That my friends is a lot of money.

Let me explain it differently. Let’s say you are living in a condominium where the landscaping firm, the laundry machine vendors, and the snow removal service company are paying kickbacks to the condo board members. Across the street is another condo that is run honestly. All things being equal, the monthly assessment for the second condo building will be less.

Blogger at Dixon, IL
Blogger at Dixon, IL

Although no one has been charged with a crime, a couple of new corruption stories broke in Illinois last week. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, went on paid-leave after it was revealed that a no-bid $20.5 million principal training contract with her former employer is the subject of a federal probe. West of the city, the College of DuPage, a community college, is under federal investigation over alleged misspending and a $763,000 severance package given to the president of the school.

But there is some good news. Longtime Dixon, Illinois comptroller, Rita Crundwell, embezzled an astounding $54 million from the town of 15,000 that is best known as Ronald Reagan’s hometown. Her crimes are now the centerpiece of two Illinois college courses.

Perhaps Illinois is finally ready to learn from its mistakes.

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Illinoisan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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Illinois BlagoBy John Ruberry

In his 35-year public career, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has carefully developed a persona as one of the few honest politicians in a state that has seen four of its last eight elected governors serve time in federal prison.

When he faced the voters four years ago, Quinn, who twice was the running mate of jailbird Rod Blagojevich, encountered daunting odds as he sought to earn a full term as governor. He utilized that persona to deflect the Blago stench. But the Great Recession hit Illinois harder than most of the other states–as it does now, the Prairie State had billions in unpaid bills.

Quinn’s 2010 GOP opponent, downstate state senator Bill Brady, ran a weak campaign and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory–losing by 30,000 votes, even though otherwise it was a fabulous year for the Illinois Republican Party, flipping four congressional seats and snatching Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.

Gov. Pat Quinn,  (D) Illinois
Gov. Pat Quinn,
(D) Illinois

But “Mr. Clean” Quinn had a couple of jokers in his 2010 deck of cards. The Chicago Democrat lied about the rate of the income tax increase he favored, and as I explained in a prior post on this blog, one month before the election, Quinn commenced the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, an anti-violence program that turned out to be nothing more than a political slush fund to drive up the November vote for Quinn in heavily Democratic areas such Chicago and parts of its Cook County suburbs. Cook was one of four counties that Quinn won in 2010, Brady prevailed in the other 98.

The NRI is now the subject of a federal criminal investigation.

And not only did Quinn lie about the rate of the income tax jump he sought to pay off the old bills that I mentioned earlier, but he said the hike enacted would only be temporary–now the phony-reformer now wants to make that increase permanent. The Democratic supermajorities in the General Assembly, which exist only because of the grotesquely gerrymandered 2011 remap signed into law by Quinn, balked at Quinn’s expensive request this spring.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

As for the 2014 race, Quinn has managed to find a couple of more joker cards. He signed into law an Election Day registration bill that applies only to the November general election. The same legislation dispenses with the need for a photo ID for early voting. Illinois has a long history of vote fraud, most of it involves Democratic politicians. And playing to the White House’s imaginary War on Women by conservatives, Quinn approved an advisory referendum asking voters if they believe employers should cover birth control in their employee health insurance plans, which is nothing more than a fawning attempt to drive liberal activists to the polls.

Yet there is one card that Quinn can’t use with voters this time around–an honest reputation.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.