Monday, August 9, 2010

Quinn accentuating positive, burying negative this summer

Gov. Pat Quinn is spending the summer polishing his image for voters this fall. He's toured jail cells, navigated rubble at construction sites, met with dental students and even shared the podium with his Yorkshire terrier, Bailey, all while signing routine bills into law.

Quinn's not the first governor to accentuate the positive. For Quinn, the steady stream of carefully orchestrated, TV-friendly events allows him to conserve campaign cash and appear gubernatorial. They provide the public with a can-do view that contrasts with Quinn's inability so far to pass the major tax increase he covets and make enough cuts to balance the state budget.

Republican foe Sen. Bill Brady questions Quinn's approach, saying it's a concern that the governor is using state resources to stage elaborate bill signings when he can just as easily take action from the comfort of his office.

As the Nov. 2 election nears, the issues Quinn seizes on are just as telling as those he lets quietly slip by, said Kent Redfield, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

"Mixing business with politics is as old as the Republic," Redfield said. "How you handle these things is going to depend on whether you can use them for your advantage and gets you coverage in terms that are generally favorable for the narrative you're mapping. And other issues, you do them late on a Friday because you want to minimize the coverage and you don't want the attention."

Redfield's comments were featured in a August 8, 2010, article in the Chicago Tribune.

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