By Alex Brown, National Journal
Rust Belt Republicans aren’t the only governors facing labor heat, and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s no good, very bad week could be an indicator of long-term problems if the unions who helped elect him continue to feel antagonized by his pension proposals.
Quinn has made pension reform his signature issue, and he spent significant political capital this week in hopes of meeting a self-imposed deadline on finding a solution. Instead, his plan wasn’t even called to a vote in the state legislature, and union leaders lashed out at his proposal to create an eight-member pension commission. Among labor’s descriptions of his plan: a “desperate Hail Mary,” a “clearly unconstitutional delegation of power” and a “sad attempt to get something done.”
Quinn will, of course, try again with the newly sworn in Legislature, but it may take some time to regather traction on the issue. While the governor licked his wounds this week, former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley was hiring a polling firm to test the waters on a possible primary challenge. While Daley has his own rocky relationship with organized labor, even a drop-off in support — if not a switch to an opponent — could be a serious blow to Quinn.