Certainly one of the strangest comments in recent Illinois politics escaped the mouth of Gov. Rod Blagojevich today.
According to our friend Gregory Tejeda at the Chicag Argus, Blago described himself Monday as a “homeboy” and “possibly the first African-American governor of Illinois.”
Just try and find a context for that one.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn stood “outside an event featuring Governor Rod Blagojevich, passing out flyers and urging the state Senate to reject automatic pay raises for lawmakers and top government officials,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
Quinn says he doesn’t have a ticket for the City Club of Chicago event Blagojevich is headlining. But he’s outside handing out information alongside a staffer holding a sign that reads “Vote Now, Vote No.”
Quinn says he wants Blagojevich to also urge a no vote by senators.
What a surreal afternoon in Illinois politics this must have been.
Handing out leaflets headlined “Stop Political Pay Raises Now!” Lt. Gov. Quinn and a few friends protesting outside the governor’s luncheon speech on the Near North Side didn’t impress Illinois Senate President Emil Jones. He said legislators need the 12% raise.
“I have members of my caucus who are single parents … who feel very strongly that they deserve a pay raise,” Jones said.
To avoid Quinn and reporters waiting at the front door, the governor snuck in a back door to deliver his speech. When cornered later, though, he criticized state senators who are blocking a floor vote likely to kill the unpopular proposal.
When someone gave the governor a coffee mug, he reflected on friends gained and the many lost since he took the state’s top job:
“Better a mug than a mug shot, right?” Blagojevich said. “This is such a tough job, you know, I think it’s fair to say I have fewer friends now than I had before I was governor.”
Calling Jones one of his most loyal friends, Blagojevich added, “Emil and I are homeboys, man. … There are times I consider myself the first African American governor of Illinois.”
What is this? Blago thinks he’s black because he has a black friend?