Monday, August 22, 2011

Emanuel and Quinn: Nucky Thompson and Knuckle-head Smiff

"We all need to decide how much sin we can live with." Nucky Thompson from Boardwalk Empire
Paul Winchell: [trying to teach Knucklehead some basic arithmetic] Put one finger up. What do you have?
Knucklehead Smiff: One.
Paul Winchell: Now put another finger up. What do you have?
Knucklehead Smiff: Eleven.
Stop! Look! and Laugh! 1960

From this morning's assessment by the Chicago Tribune's Rick Pearson:

Emanuel, a feisty and decisive political strategist, is pursuing a more aggressive agenda in the Statehouse that requires him to deal with Quinn, whose positions can migrate from one side of an issue to the other as he pledges to listen to the will of the public. . . .

What Quinn backers call deliberation over issues, however, is labeled indecisiveness by frustrated Emanuel supporters. It's a new dimension for a mayor with a history of all-out efforts to get his way.

"Remember, (Quinn) said he wouldn't sign higher than a 1 percent tax increase and did. He campaigned in support of the death penalty but signed its repeal," said one Democrat in the Legislature's leadership who did not want to be identified as taking a side.

The difference between the two political office holders is the difference between HBO's semi-fictional Nucky Thompson, a Cassius-like, complex and intellectually energetic Machiavellian political in-fighter and Paul Winchell's son of the dense Bonehead Smiff -Knucklehead Smiff. Unlike Emanuel and Nucky Thompson, Knucklehead Smiff and Governor Pat Quinn required the words, wit and wisdom of the ventriloquists -Winchell for Smiff and the collective voices Dawn Clark Netsch, the methuselian Quentin Young, Terry Cosgrove for Planned Parenthood, Ralph "Pie Charts" Martire and the ghost of Paul Simon coming out of the mouth Governor Quinn as the case, issue and controversy occassions.

Or so it surely seems.

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