Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan speaks to reporters during a news conference of the Illinois Association of Realtors Monday, April 15, 2013, in Springfield Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman) ORG XMIT: ILSP102
Updated: July 18, 2013 6:13AM
Waiting, waiting, waiting. They are anticipating, instigating, speculating, but mostly, waiting. Waiting for Lisa.
Illinois’ entire political intelligentsia, and not-so-intelligentsia, are waiting for the Illinois attorney general to decide.
Will Lisa Madigan run in the March 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary? A gaggle of political careers and aspirations hang in the balance. Boldface names who might seek higher office. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, State Sen. Kwame Raoul and House Minority Leader Tom Cross, to name a few.
Everyone is waiting. Except Bill Daley. Last week Daley finally got off his tarnished dime. He announced an exploratory committee to take on Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.
His campaign slogan: “We can’t wait.”
Daley’s on-again, off-again candidacy is so cold it must have freezer burn. Since late last year, he has been considering a run. He did polling. He made calls. He dropped hints to reporters.
Then in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, a web video went up to announce he would “run.” No flags draped at the podium, flanked by multi-hued faces. No fanfare or folderol.
Just a man and his Internet.
“We can no longer stand idly by while our pension debt bankrupts our schools and robs our children of a better future,” he announced, in his trademark Sout’ Wes’ Side of Chicaw-guh’ accent. In the two-and-a-half minute video, he pronounced: “From the stinging injustice of inequality to the painful toll of unemployment, the people of Illinois are paying a perilous price for political failure. We need solutions. We need action. We need leadership that gets things done. And the people of Illinois can’t wait.”
No, he can’t wait.
The “exploratory” label is a dodge. Daley is trying to smoke out Madigan, test her resolve to run, and get out ahead. He’ll still have wriggle room to change his mind and drop out, if the polls and dollars don’t fall his way.
Madigan has 4 million reasons she can afford to wait, at least a tad longer. She has amassed $4 million in her political war chest. Daley, not so much.
Daley’s hired mouth says he’s for real. “He’s in, period,” strategist Peter Giangreco told the Chicago Sun-Times last week. “He’s totally committed. He’s 100 percent in.”
On paper, Daley brings a top-shelf political resume. He was Commerce secretary to President Bill Clinton, a big shot at JP Morgan Chase, chief of staff in the Obama White House, high-status fundraiser. And, of course, the Daley name.
Six months ago, I wrote that Daley is a paper tiger. Sure, he can bring in the bucks from his old buds on the corporate circuit, and the media never tires of touting him.
Yet, while he specializes in coveting political office, he has never held one. To win the Democratic primary, he’ll need serious sway with the African-American vote. Not happening. And the Daley name is dead on arrival downstate.
Daley didn’t listen to me back then. He’s not listening now. (Can you believe it?)
No matter. A three-way Democratic gubernatorial primary would be a dream for political junkies like me.
I can’t wait.