Editorial | Quinn's petition drive is in motion

Editorial | Quinn's petition drive is in motion

Now, former Gov. Pat Quinn is taking on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

It's tempting to write that heeeeeeeeee'ssssssssss back.

But then, Quinn never really left. Further, it's a safe guess that he won't go away until he's expended the last breath in his highly political body.

It was just a couple months ago that Quinn ran a losing, but still close, race for the Democratic Party's nomination for attorney general. That run was just the latest in a long string of losing (U.S. Senate, secretary of state, governor) and winning (governor, state treasurer, lieutenant governor) races in which he's participated.

Now he's re-entered the political fray, this time in Chicago, where he's goring the ox of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, known as the "Rahmfather" for the tough-guy image he cultivates

Emanuel has always been a proud bully, someone who takes uncommon pride in his use of profane language and for whom political theatrics are always a top priority.

In that respect, Emanuel is the perfect target for Quinn, who's always taken the position that the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Quinn is leading a petition campaign, one of his standard techniques of drawing public attention to generate change, to limit Chicago's mayor to two terms in office.

That's hardly standard practice in the Windy City. Mayor Richard J. and Richard M. Daley each served for a generation, far more than the limit Quinn proposes.

Emanuel is looking to duplicate their tenure for a couple of reasons — it's a powerful and prestigious post, and he's got nowhere else to go.

Quinn said that he's seeking "at least 100,000" signatures by the Aug. 6 deadline and that he's already collected about 50,000 of the required 52,000 signatures. He's wise to try to go far beyond the minimum because of the political games played in the petition challenge process.

If he's successful in getting this measure on the ballot and getting it approved by voters, Quinn said he's confident that it would prevent Emanuel from running for a third term in February. It's not wise to be too confident of anything when it comes to Illinois' highly politicized courts. But, at a minimum, a legal battle over petitions would make for interesting theater.

Time will tell on the petition front. It's a tough fight. But Quinn has never shied away from the big fights that animate his life in the arena.

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