Sunday, February 07, 2010

On the Lt. Governorship: Scott Lee Cohen edition

Well after spending almost a week after the election with the revelations against Scott Lee Cohen occurring during the years before he became the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, we have seen Cohen drop out of the race. It was a very interesting ride while it lasted, it seemed for a while that he had no intention of stepping down and would continue to draw out whether or not he would leave the race.

It seemed this time that the pressure brought to bear on this man actually worked. We had others who probably should have let go in the best interest of Illinois and they wouldn't. Yeah I would point to Rod Blagojevich and his Senate appointment before his removal from office Roland Burris.

I will give Cohen credit for his attempts to bear (link to Chicago Tonight video 15:38) through the pressure. He even attempted to be honest, but his PR initiative seemed to have gone flat. He expected some of the women in his life, especially, the one who he had allegedly assaulted and threatened with a knife. Unfortunately that fell flat too when she declared him unfit to be Lt. Governor.

Well the point of this post wasn't to discuss the whole story. Honestly I can't say I have no interest. Cohen was elected by the people to be the Democratic nominee, although hey he was certainly less than ideal. Besides part of the problem in this was that he was largely unknown. Yet he was able to win in essentially a low turnout election. He had some money to spend on TV ads, yet another allegation against him was his failure to pay child support.

Even worse there are charges that the state party didn't properly vette him. Yeah someone was asleep at the wheel, especially the man who really should worry, Gov. Pat Quinn. Gov. Quinn, himself a former Lt. Governor who found himself as Governor after the removal of Rod Blagojevich, had barely squeaked out a win in the recent Democratic primaries. He especially should have been concerned about who may run with him this year.

This only leads to the next purpose in talking about the Lt. Governorship of Illinois.

You know I could've sworn that on the CapFax blog a commentor said that there will be a move by the state Democrats to abolish the office of Lt. Governor. The commentor reasoned that if Cohen won this election they would really make the attempt. Someone knew something most of us didn't know!

FTR, I don't agree with such a move, however, I can certainly agree that some changes needs to be made as far as the state's No. 2 position. In Illinois the position are elected as a ticket in the general election, however, in the primaries they run separately and brought together by chance in the general election. If you think there are moments where these two individuals may conflict you are right! Even if they are supposed to be in the same party.

It was said that because of the cloud around George Ryan, his Lt. Gov. Corrinne Wood put some distance between here and Gov. Ryan. The same for Blagojevich and his Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. Especially when stalemate and corruption became the rule of the day in a Blagojevich administration.

Anyway I have no problem with the ticket concept, but when a Governor wins a primary he (she) should be allowed to select their own choice for Lt. Gov. It can be in a similar fashion to how the President can select their Vice President on the federal level.

My only other problem with the current state of the Lt. Governorship is that it's not very significant. Prior to the ratification of the 1970 constitution, the office also was the presiding officer of the State Senate. Another similarity with the federal Vice Presidency. I would say return this position to it's former signifiance.

Hopefully in this way we can avoid a reoccurance of a Scott Lee Cohen.

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