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The Madigan complex

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012

* Check out this Daily Herald endorsement of Sen. Dan Duffy

The race for the 26th Senate District features two candidates who both say they are independent voices and haven’t received funding from their respective parties. Incumbent Republican Dan Duffy, a small-business man from Lake Barrington, faces a challenge from Democrat Amanda Howland, an attorney and College of Lake County board member. […]

Howland ran for state representative without Madigan’s help in 2006 and is doing so again.

Howland is running for the state Senate, so why would she be getting help from Speaker Madigan?

* With that editorial, the Daily Herald has pretty much jumped the shark on the Tribune/GOP “Fire Madigan” program. The Northwest Herald is also firmly on the bandwagon

Republican David McSweeney is running for election to Illinois’ 52nd State Representative District. The seat currently is held by Kent Gaffney, who lost to McSweeney in the Republican primary. Gaffney was appointed to the position after the death in June 2011 of longtime state Rep. Mark Beaubien. […]

McSweeney’s opponent, Dee Beaubien, is the widow of the late Rep. Mark Beaubien. She did not run in the primary, getting her name on the ballot afterward as an independent.

She says she is a fiscal conservative, but she has accepted financial and campaign help from Madigan. This will make her beholden to him if she is elected. In an interview with the Northwest Herald’s Editorial Board, she would not commit to not voting for Madigan for speaker.

Voters in the 52nd District have a clear choice. That choice should be McSweeney.

* And speaking of the Tribune and Madigan, here’s that paper’s take on His Royal Highness in its own endorsement editorial today

22nd District: House Speaker Michael Madigan was first elected to the Illinois House in 1970 and became speaker in 1983. He’s controlled the House for all but two years since then. In short, he has presided over nearly every bad decision that brought Illinois to its current mess, chasing employers away with higher taxes, watching its credit rating plunge, squeezing money out of valued social services. He is running against Robert Handzik, a 13th Ward denizen who faithfully voted in Democratic primaries until this year when he mysteriously filed to run as a Republican. He’s one more Madigan plant to protect the speaker from the fuss of a real election. Voters have no real choice. No endorsement.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - reformer - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 9:41 am:

    The Daily Herald has endorsed a number of Democrats running for the House. Rep. Crespo, Rep. Mayfield, Mayor Moylan and today, Rep. Mussman.

    They’ve also endorsed a number of Democratic senator candidates including Bush, Howland, Kotowski and Noland.

  2. - The Captain - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 9:43 am:

    Sun rises in the east.

  3. - Been There - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 9:47 am:

    ===so why would she be getting help from Speaker Madigan?===
    Well he is the State Party Chairman also. But it doesn’t appear they sent any money her way either even though they could. But then again they spend most of it on house races anyway.
    I shouldn’t have even brought this up because I agree 100% with your thinking on this issue.

  4. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 9:52 am:

    Madigan certainly deserves his share of the blame, but none of these candidates these papers are endorsing are doing anything serious, unless you consider whining to be serious work.

    “Fire Madigan” is just the latest flailing search for relevance by declining newspapers which few pay attention to for politics. And they’re really going to look powerless when the House Dems pick up more seats in 3 weeks.

  5. - Esquire - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 9:57 am:

    The Chicago Tribune ran an almost identical endorsement in 1988 when it endorsed Ed Kucharski over Mike Madigan. It should come as no surprise that the newspaper still dislikes him.

    The Speaker has been around nearly as long as Sidney Yates, but has wielded much more power, sometimes quite badly. He has done well for himself and his legal clients, but not for Illinois citizens generally. After forty years, many people are tired of him.

    It is Madigan’s great fortune that he has never had to run for a statewide office. Outside of his base, he would be lucky to match Quinn’s popularity.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 10:14 am:

    The reality is that …

    1) MJM in close races, usually pulls them out more times then loses them.

    2) Campaigns are won and lost in the precincts, and especially on Election Day.


    3) While all the “contacts” that are being touted by the ILGOP and the H&SGOP, the reality is that dinging MJM, and identifying all these voters … how are they going to run a better Election Day than MJM?

    Why is “3)” so different? Are there enough voters out there against MJM in these specific districs, and is the GOP going to be able to get them physically to the polls? HIstory and Conventional Wisdom is on my side when I say “No”.

    You can say “Fire Madigan”, you can say, “Quit Quinn”, heck you can say “Cancel Cullerton”. Say it. Put it on the t-shirts, “tweet” it, what have you. Voters. Voters to the polls, voting. That is what is going to matter and the GOP has shown we are not good at that.

    Yes, I dismissed the endorsements and the verbage and the parroting. Why? Endorsemnets are great and can indeed sway, but to factor in the “Fire Madigan” mantra as the catalyst, when many times voters are still asking outside the polling place, “who is he/she running against?” So thiking that the motivated voter “no matter what I vote” is going to factor in remembering MJM was the reason for or against a vote is a bit naive when talking about REAL number of voters, coming out in droves, because of endorsements in the newspaper, railing on MJM.

    When the GOP have our bad Election Day, and blame the “distircts drawn” and “President Obama” and “the money the Dems spent against us” and “dirtiness in the precincts” … as the Cover stories are beginning … remember how the GOP is going to tout “Fire Madigan” … and ALL the contacts … and ALL the newspapers, and the endorsements … just remember.

    This is a slow train wreck, being encouraged by … the Tribune, the Daily Herald… and the lemmings who think those things matter, as the Dems get voters to the polls, vote their “pluses” and win the day. “But …what about Madigan?”

    What a shame.

  7. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 10:18 am:

    ===Voters have no real choice. No endorsement.===

    No soup for you!

  8. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 10:57 am:

    The Daily Herald also endorsed Skippy so ya really gotta wonder who is running that nut house these days. Tribbies have pouted since they did not get the blank check for lights at Titantic Field. They grew an extra set of lips when their precious names came up on the tapes and got used in the Blagoof impeachment.

    BTW let’s ask one more time what does IL look like without Madigan or the post Madigan era?
    Pensions paid up? Taxes lower? Bills Paid? Kids Smarter? Air Cleaner?

    Any simpleton can blame especially from the vantage point of Monday Morning QB +2 decades.
    What about real time solutions that can be supported by legislative majorites in TWO chambers, a governor and the courts

  9. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 11:03 am:

    If only the Tribune had been able to influence politics and government in Illinois, in even a small way, over the last 165 years.

    Alas, just a lonely voice in the wilderness.

  10. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 11:10 am:

    The Daily Herald editorial board have appeared remarkably ignorant and stupid about Madigan in recent years, and have ignored or repudiated the intelligence available from their own reporters in Springfield.

    On the other hand, they have been able to see the strengths and weaknesses of various candidates and made some good endorsement choices, when they’ve removed their “Madigan blinders.”

  11. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 11:52 am:

    I would post a comment, but it is much too dangerous. The Speaker might send his minions after me. Scary!

    I guess that if the opposition has no clear policies, they have to after the boogie man.

  12. - Liandro - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 12:18 pm:

    What’s to say? Madigan is the most powerful person in Illinois, and has been for a long time. As such, he holds more responsibility for the state’s problems than any other person. Saying people or organizations have a “Madigan complex” is, in my book, roughly the same as saying they have a “remove bad leadership complex” or “insist on competent problem-solvers complex”.

    The problem isn’t that these groups have too much of a “Madigan complex”, it’s that not enough Democrats do, and are more than willing to continue running Illinois poorly via Madigan as long as they are sure he can keep them in power. Blago wasn’t dumped because he was incompetent, he was dumped because he was a political liability. That’s all they care about.

  13. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 1:21 pm:

    - Blago wasn’t dumped because he was incompetent, he was dumped because he was a political liability. -

    I’m not really sure what the point of your post is, but are you trying to say Madigan and Blago were buddies until the Feds came on the scene? Might want to brush up on your history if that’s your position.

  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 1:44 pm:

    Liandro, while I don’t disagree with your first paragraph, I think your sentence highlighted by STL is a bit odd. What idiot ever said Blagojevich was dumped because he was incompetent? He was impeached and removed from office because he was arrested by the FBI for public corruption. Yeah, there were other charges, but none of it was about incompetence. It was about venality and anti-constitutional actions.

    If incompetence could get you removed from office, Pat Quinn would’ve been gone long ago.

    Also, politics is our system. You may prefer something else, but then that would be dictatorship, which your ilk claims Madigan is doing. So, I’m not sure what your point is.

    Feel free to explain.

  15. - Liandro - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 2:02 pm:

    Ya know, STL, I get genuinely tired of responses like yours–I would accuse you of twisting my words, but you don’t even get THAT benefit of the doubt, since nowhere in my post do I say, or even insinuate, that anybody is buddies with anybody. Let’s walk through it:

    Point of first paragraph: Madigan has done a poor job of fixing Illinois’ problems despite plenty of time, and as such it is understandable that there is a growing movement to remove him.

    Point of second paragraph: Democrats, especially the elected variety, value power over good government and will support/protect him, unless he becomes a political liability. (Note: you could insert “politicians” for “Democrats”, and I wouldn’t object)

    Point of the whole post: MORE people should have a “Madigan complex” if we truly cared about accountability. If the Bears finished 5-11 every year, I’d be calling for Lovie’s head, and so would everyone else.

    If you disagree with those points, feel free to explain why, but if your best response is an obnoxiously over-used “brush up on your history”, you are just inviting an equally obnoxious, and equally over-used response such as “learn how to read”, or perhaps the classic “it’s called reading comprehension, look into it.”

    But then we’d just start a flame war, and it would be kinda pointless, eh? Ball’s in your court. Go Bears.

  16. - Liandro - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 2:05 pm:

    Rich, that was exactly my point: Blago was NOT dumped because of incompetence, and never would have been. Likewise, Madigan will never be dumped by his own party, no matter how incompetent Illinois government runs.

    As such, it is perfectly understandable that a “Madigan complex” forms among independents, Republicans, Liberterians, non-participants, etc, due to their frustration that Madigan is not being held accountable, either by his own party or by the voters.

  17. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 2:52 pm:

    Liandro - I appreciate the fleshed out explanation. My only comment is that politics isn’t magic, and voters aren’t robots. Maybe the Ds haven’t done everything right, but apparently the voters don’t like everything the Rs are selling. Perhaps your party leadership needs some looking into *cough Pat Brady.

    Also, about 2/3 of Madigan’s tenure was presided over by Republican governors, and anyone that thinks all the trouble started in 2003 really does need to brush up on history.

  18. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 2:56 pm:

    Liandro, c’mon on man, get over the victim complex.

    We’re all a victim of what, exactly? The government we elected? The separatoin of powers?

    Madigan might be a lot of things, but incompetent ain’t one of them.

    He’s a very conservative, Irish Catholic from Midway and the smartest dude in the room.

    He has power, but he’s not all-powerful. He’s certainly not Liberal, by any definition.

    He’s a player, maybe the best ever, someone who will try to bring folks together, when possible, get something done, and come back and do more later.

    He and Cross have worked together in recent years in setting spending limits with a structured roll call.

    When Cross, irresponsibly, wouldn’t put votes on the tax increase, he rammed it through. Because it was the smart play, for the state.

    Madigan never rolled Big Jim, or Edgar, or Ryan, or Blago, or Pate, or Emil, or Daley. He couldn’t. He’s the Speaker, not the King.

    There’s a Senate, a governor, and a Supreme Court. Separation of powers. Savvy?

    Only goofs like Kass and Dold think he’s a dictator. They work in the same Zell Tower.

  19. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 3:10 pm:

    If you need, in the absence of any detailed knowledge or understanding, a symbolic figure to hold accountable for the shortcomings of Illinois Government, then the mythical Madigan can serve.

    The problem is that this a distraction from any real solutions.

  20. - Liandro - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 4:51 pm:

    On those points, STL, I’m not really going to disagree with you. I didn’t vote for George Ryan and couldn’t believe he got nominated–did a lot of destruction of the brand, that one. Don’t get me started on Alan Keyes, etc. Heck, most of my battles have been with party bosses that have (R) next to ‘em rather than a (D). At the same time, my point holds: Madigan deserves to be held accountable. He is an absolute top-notch party boss, but obviously that hasn’t translated to helping Illinois.

    Word, I agree that he’s smart, experienced, and very effective at holding and using power. I also don’t think I’ve ever called him a liberal, to the best of my knowledge, because I agree that policy-wise he’s really not.

    However, he’s also not the type to put principle above political gain, and it has cost Illinois immeasurably over the years. Sure, he rammed the tax increase through, but he did so knowing he had the remap locked down iirc. And while all the people you listed hold some of the blame, none of them are here anymore, and he is.

    The bottom line is, as much as you respect him, the state is doing very poorly, and there is no currently elected official that holds more responsibility for it than him. If that isn’t cause for holding someone accountable, nothing is. At some point, problem-solvers have to be judged by their results, and he is long past that time. He needs to go.

  21. - Anon - amiss - Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 7:31 pm:


    Your points makes me wonder who the “leaders” of tomorrow will be that will be charged with solving these issues. Any thoughts?

    Sounds like a Q of the day, Rich!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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