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Doug Finke

Lisa Madigan’s ‘no’ has others saying ‘Yes!’

That giant sigh of relief you heard last week was from pretty much everyone who has designs on the governor’s office in 2014. Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan opted not to run for governor, which probably removed the biggest obstacle to any of the other candidates getting elected.

Democrat Bill Daley has to be happy he won’t have to split the anti-Quinn vote with anyone. Not splitting that vote should hurt Gov. Pat Quinn, but you have to think he’d rather focus on attacking only one opponent rather than two.

Running on his record may not be the best path to victory. Plus, a scary number of downstaters believe that Chicago is the root of all of the state’s problems. They may not see Daley, whose father and brother were longtime Chicago mayors, as their savior, even from the likes of Quinn.

The entire Republican contingent has to be relieved that no matter which of them wins the primary, they won’t have to square off against Madigan in the general election.

Interesting how one act can bring a ray of sunshine into so many lives.

No conspiracy?

Madigan’s decision not to run for governor let all of the air out of one of the big conspiracy theories that’s floated around the Capitol for months.

Under that theory, Lisa’s father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, was working to make sure no pension reform proposal got passed because he didn’t want to solve one of Quinn’s big headaches before the primary election. Now, people will have to come up with a new conspiracy if pension reform still stalls.

And if the pension conference committee develops a compromise that passes?

Probably to some that will just prove a conspiracy was there all along. The compromise wasn’t developed until after Lisa opted not to run, was it?

A compromise at this juncture also could leave Quinn claiming victory. Again, there was no compromise until after he cut lawmakers’ paychecks. The fact the committee had the framework of a compromise before the salaries were cut won’t enter the discussion.

He said it

n “I’m quite a bit different than Bill Daley. He has a better tailor than I do.” Quinn contrasting himself with his sole Democratic rival for governor and edging a bit into class-warfare territory.

n “I’m a people person. I interact with everyday people. I’m not going to be a champion of millionaires.” Quinn again crossing into that territory.

Butter up

There was news this week that the Iowa State Fair is going to feature a butter Abe.

Yes, Illinois’ neighbor is going to feature a butter sculpture of Abraham Lincoln to go along with the traditional butter cow. It’s supposed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Here in Illinois? We’re still just doing the cow. The Land of Corn is paying tribute to Lincoln through dairy products, but the Land of Lincoln isn’t.

How wrong is this? Lincoln supposedly spent all of 3 days in Iowa in his lifetime. We’re pretty sure he spent more time in Illinois.

Lincoln reportedly owned two parcels of land in Iowa, but he never visited them. He owned only one in Illinois, but he lived there. Yet, we don’t get a butter Abe.

So if you visit the Illinois State Fair this year and drop by the dairy exhibit to view the butter cow, just imagine what could have been with a few hundred more pounds of rancid butter.

State of integrity

The Better Government Association said last week Illinois ranks third among states on the Integrity Index, a measure of laws that help citizens fight corruption, like open records laws or whistleblower protections.

Bet you didn’t see that coming.

Alas, Illinois got third place with a 68.5 percent grade. Isn’t that something like a D+?

Doug Finke of the State Capitol Bureau can be reached at 788-1527 or

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