It's not 'sour grapes' to harrumph about the prior association. Please. I am certain that there were a great many applicants for the Circuit Court appointment (Justice Theis uses a committee to screen judicial wannabes) who were at least as qualified and capable and smart as Ms. Quish. And who'd do as good a job in office, too.
On the other hand, when your sink backs up, do you call the plumber who fixed your hot water heater last year? Or do you ignore that good experience and pick a name out of the phone book? You might ask your neighbors who they've used -- and your neighbors probably know some excellent plumbers, too -- but (in Chicagoese) if you've 'got a guy,' why would you look elsewhere?
Human nature is hard to overcome. We tend to rely on those we know, those we've met before, those with whom we have some 'history.' (This, I think, is the true value of diversity programs -- these help us meet people we'd not otherwise have met and find we share things in common we would otherwise never know. Our list of 'who to call' -- or who might call us -- grows.)
One of the anonymous comments (they're all anonymous, of course; only an idiot blogger gives his name) was signed "The Guy Nobody Sent." Another, after venting about Ms. Quish, added, "please do not get me started on the Mikva appointment to the Appellate Court. If the Mikva name sounds familiar to anyone with respect to Democratic Politics, it should."
Yes, the name Abner Mikva is familiar... former State Representative, former Congressman, former Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Former White House Counsel (during Bill Clinton's first term). Mentor to a then-young Barack Obama. The ultimate insider.
Except... on my bookshelf is a book, yellowing slightly now with age, by the late Milton L. Rakove, titled We Don't Want Nobody Nobody Sent (Indiana University Press, 1979). It's an "oral history" of the Daley years (that's the Richard J. Daley years for you young people out there). Think Studs Terkel, only Professor Rakove was interviewing politicians, not war veterans or people along Division Street.
Here is Abner J. Mikva, quoted by Professor Rakove (p. 318):
I guess I had always an interest in politics. The year I started law school, 1948, was the year that Douglas and Stevenson were heading up the Democratic ticket in Illinois. I was all fired up from the Students for Douglas and Stevenson and passed this storefront, the 8th Ward Regular Democratic Organization. I came in and said I wanted to help. Dead silence. "Who sent you?" the committeeman said. I said, "Nobody." He said, "We don't want nobody nobody sent."Abner Mikva may be as much of an "insider" as anyone can imagine... now. But he was the original nobody that nobody sent.
Things change. Today's outsiders may be insiders tomorrow. I don't pretend to know what alchemy or magic spell converts an outsider to an insider. But history shows that it happens. Sometimes.