Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady's refusal to take specific stands on key issues facing the state was a common thread of his campaign this summer. On the budget crisis, time and time (and time again) we've heard Brady take a pass at articulating how he'd solve the state's $13 billion deficit without raising taxes and where in the budget he would institute cuts.
Brady's tendency to take a trust-me approach to solving thorny policy challenges extends to the state's prison system. Michael Randle, head of the Illinois Department of Corrections and the controversial MGT Push early release program, is resigning, and Brady's campaign used the news to attack Gov. Pat Quinn. But proposals and details about how Brady would reform a prison system that costs $1.5 billion annually yet fails to rehabilitate many prisoners (the recidivism rate is 50 percent) simply aren't yet in sight. This is getting tiresome, and opinion makers are noticing. Check out the editorial published last night by the Tribune:
Brady has hammered Quinn for endangering the public, demanded Randle's ouster and, on Thursday, complained that Randle was allowed to resign without a reprimand. It all shows the Quinn administration is "a revolving door of reckless ineptitude," a Brady spokeswoman said. We get it. But when is Brady going to stop thundering about Quinn's ideas and share some of his own?
And over at the Sun-Times, the paper's editorial board takes Brady to task for previously trying to "make political hay of Randle's programs even before he had the facts in hand."
Perhaps this style -- attacks and generalities -- shouldn't be surprising in an election year said to be bad for incumbents, and particularly incumbent Democrats. But it doesn't offer voters a substantive debate. And political hay won't solve the state's enormous problems.