11/01/2010 02:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Illinois Liberal Voters Will Determine if Governor Pat Quinn Marks a Progressive Era or Historical Footnote

At the moment, Illinois progressive voters--better known as liberals--hold Governor Pat Quinn's fate in their hands. If Quinn falls on Tuesday, it won't be the Tea Party types who did him in--it will be progressives.

According to new poll data buried in the cross tabs, 7% of likely liberal voters are still, amazingly, undecided in the contest between Quinn and his ultra-conservative GOP rival State Senator Bill Brady from downstate Bloomington. That's twice the 3% of conservatives who are undecided, according to a October 21 poll by Rasmussen Reports.

Meanwhile, as those 7% of liberal voters are still playing coy another 7% are throwing their lot with steroid-popping, child support-skipping, and knife-wielding Scott Lee Cohen, whose chief claim on progressive sympathies is, apparently, not thrusting that knife into the throat of his ex-prostitute girlfriend, according to his 2005 arrest records.

Finally, 69% of self-identified "liberal" voters were backing Quinn while, staggeringly, 14% of liberals are playing footsie with Brady, favoring him over longtime progressive Quinn.


Yep. Perhaps it would be helpful to remind progressive voters of the records and platforms of the two candidates on issues which liberals have long embraced.

On the question of abortion, Brady opposes a woman's right to choose even in cases of rape, incest, and when a woman's health is at risk. Quinn supports a woman's right to choose.

Regarding equal rights for all Illinois taxpayers, including those who happen to be gay or lesbian, Brady has sponsored multiple bills to amend the constitution to ban civil unions and gay marriage and has voted against a law to protect Illinois gay and lesbian taxpayers from hiring discrimination. Quinn supports civil unions and opposes employment discrimination against any Illinois taxpayer.

To help Illinois school children to meet the challenges of the technology revolution in the 21st century, Brady supports teaching creationism in local school districts. Quinn supports teaching evidence-based, scientific methods in schools.

On the issue of climate change, Brady has rejected the findings of the overwhelming body of scientific research that the phenomenon is produced by human activities. "No, I don't accept that premise, and it is wrong," he said at a Tea Party rally on November 9, 2009. Quinn is hailed as the "Green Governor" by the Illinois Sierra Club.

Ok, you get the idea.

To be fair, Brady has not been campaigning on an right-wing social agenda. In fact, he has claimed that his top priorities will be balancing Illinois' wildly unbalanced budget and energizing Illinois' wildly anemic economy.

Additionally, Brady, a 17-year legislative veteran, has pushed back on some of the Illinois Tea Party's harsher and loopier positions. Brady has loudly embraced immigration reform to the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, recognizing a growing economy requires a growing work-force.

Moreover, he repudiated the intolerant ravings of a tea party member at an October 2 Illinois Tea Party rally in Springfield.

According to the State Journal-Register, Springfield realtor Stacy Barnett, a rally speaker, said "we are a Christian country," and that the country's problems are "because we took God out of our country. I rebuke socialism in the name of Jesus."

In under-reported remarks, Brady rejected Barnett's line.

The United State was "...founded on God and the principles of God, but we're a nation of multiple religions. One of the reasons this nation was created was to protect ... an individual's right to worship as they see fit," said Brady.

Virtually all Republican politicians have stood idly or have sat silently at endless Tea Party rallies where vapid, virulent, and intolerant rhetoric, the lingua franca of those events, has praised but ignorantly mauled the U.S. Constitution's founding principles into unrecognizable, undemocatic forms.

Brady spoke, on this occasion, constitutional truth to the mob.

Despite Brady's admirable remarks, it is important to note Pat Quinn was not at that rally in the first place. Not his cup of tea.

If progressive voters get their act together and vote for Quinn, they will be guaranteed a 21st century progressive era taking root in Illinois. If they fail to do so, they will be guaranteed that Quinn's term marks a historical footnote.