(Chicago, IL) — October 14, 2010. The Illinois gubernatorial debate tonight among Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, Republican State Senator Bill Brady and Green Rich Whitney was not even close. Whitney won hands-down.
And he won it in first few rounds.
Whitney, who attacked the budget balancing plans of Quinn and Brady as “Fantasy Economics”, clearly demonstrated the most intelligent, articulate and comprehensive command of the Illinois budget situation of the three debate participants, and he was the only candidate that identified a concrete plan to close the $13 billion structural budget deficit.
Whitney boldly announced that his budget plan included the passage of stalled House Bill 750 that would increase the Illinois income tax, hauling in $7.352 billion. Additionally, he would propose levying a miniscule tax on the trading of futures, options and interest rate products, which he referred a true “gambling tax”, that would raise $4.5 billion.
Quinn danced around a future balance budget plan with generalities and anecdotes of past budget cuts. Brady failed to even grasp and acknowledge that half of Illinois’ $57 billion budget is either federal pass-through money or bond payments, and he babbled on about cutting waste, fraud, abuse, blah, blah, blah. Nickles and dimes.
Despite Whitney’s masterly command of the budget deficit and a thoughtful strategy to eliminate it, he will win no credit from voters. In fact, he will scare the bejeezus out of them. Those fears will drive them to embrace the Quinn and Brady budget fantasies and feel-good, which means the implementation of Whitney’s plans is, thus, fantasy. Oh, well.
No doubt Whitney wins debating points–no votes–but debating points. Hey, it’s something. But he’s electoral toast.
As for Quinn or Brady, they will have swayed no new voters to their sides. Their partisans will be still frothing at the lips and pumping their white-knuckled fists, but undecided voters will be still stewing in their undecision.
Undecided or not–all voters are in a surly, sour mood–and there is no doubt or debate about that.
That’s not good news for Pat Quinn.