LIVE session coverage...
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
From “James Bond” to media hound in less than a year

Monday, Apr 14, 2014

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

A long time ago I asked Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan why he never golfed at his golf outing fundraisers.

Madigan explained that he was a terrible golfer (he’s since improved, I’m told) If people saw him embarrassing himself badly on the golf course, they might take a dimmer view of him as a leader.

He has applied this lesson to just about everything he does. He examines every angle before he acts. He hates mistakes and almost never acts precipitously or impetuously.

For example, Madigan and his staff gather a few times a week to read through every bill and every amendment to those bills to look for flaws, hidden agendas or to discuss strategies. He always wants to be as prepared as possible.

As a result, he rarely fails.

But something else has been happening over the past year or so.

Madigan has become a media hound.

The Speaker has never really sought media attention. He does what he does, and then he goes home, or, more likely, back to his office. A Republican friend of mine calls him “James Bond.”

But after getting royally hammered by the Chicago media over how he asked Metra to give one of his loyal patronage workers a raise, he’s seemed to change. Nowadays, he seeks publicity, and credit.

It started after the House passed the gay marriage bill. It wasn’t an easy task by any means and Madigan publicly took the credit for its passage. A few months later, he took the lion’s share of the credit for passing the long-sought pension reform bill.

Then, earlier this year, out of the blue, he proposed a 50 percent cut in the corporate income tax rate. He got a ton of media coverage, but he hasn’t yet followed up on it. It looked like a “press release bill.” Legislation unveiled merely to generate media interest. It might yet resurface, but as of now it has been disappeared into the ether.

Madigan was also working behind the scenes this spring with the Senate Democrats on a constitutional amendment to impose a three percent surcharge on income over a million dollars. But then Madigan went ahead with his own announcement of the proposal. It was referred to in pretty much all media reports as “Madigan’s millionaire tax.”

At the time of the unveiling, Madigan said he’d done his homework and had talked to his members before announcing his proposal. The constitutional amendment required a three-fifths super majority, so Madigan would need every single one of his Democrats if he couldn’t lock down any House Republican votes.

Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat who prides himself on never voting for tax hikes, offered tentative early support, but his support was tied to allowing the 2011 income tax hike to expire. Just days later, Madigan publicly supported keeping the tax hike permanent.

Rep. Franks says he told the Speaker that he couldn’t back the proposed constitutional amendment a couple weeks ago. Madigan asked for time to try and find GOP votes. In the meantime other Democrats went off the reservation, including Rep. Scott Drury, who issued a press release last week announcing his opposition. The momentum was going too fast the other way, so the plug was pulled.

Madigan, through a spokesman, blamed the Republicans for the proposal’s defeat. But Madigan had surprised the Republicans with his plan’s unveiling, instead of finding some GOP support in advance.

As it turns out, Madigan simply bit off more than he could chew. His proposal failed, but he sure got a lot of publicity about it, much of it favorable.

And, hey, lemons into lemonade. Pro-business groups like Americans for Prosperity Illinois offered up praise for Rep. Drury, who faces a Republican opponent in November. Drury and Franks, “should be commended for siding with taxpayers and small businesses by taking a courageous stand against this proposal,” said AFP Illinois State Director David From via press release. That’ll surely make Drury more palatable to tax sensitive business owners in his district.

And the proposal put Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner in a difficult spot. Rauner flatly opposed the tax, while leaving open the possibility that he could favor taxing retirement income and services. It didn’t make him look good.

Maybe this is all part of some grand scheme. But right now it sure looks like James Bond has gone tabloid.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


26 Comments
  1. - DuPage - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 9:45 am:

    He is being watched and written about in the press anyway, so he makes the stories about him look as favorable as possible.


  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 9:49 am:

    I think Madigan might have given his public image a re-think after the ridiculous spectacle he made of himself last summer ducking Chuck Goudie outside his home and at his district office.

    I understand why Madigan would be honked at the “ambush” interview tactic, but, c’mon, I think he can match wits with Chuck Goudie.

    Madigan’s actions made him look silly, and it was self-inflicted.


  3. - Walker - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 9:50 am:

    This was a smart move.

    But it’s value for PQ will be diminished by election day.


  4. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 9:53 am:

    Madigan’s increase in public pronouncements predates marriage equality.

    He was actually pretty outspoken about his role in passing pension reform.

    I also don’t think it has much to do with Metra. Madigan’s long career has been sprinkled intermittently with such “scandals.” They always fade, and he never altered his public role before.

    Madigan seems to have simply realized that his leadership requires a media dimension. Durkin, Rahm, Cullerton, Radogno are all more media savvy than their predecessors.

    Blago could govern, was awful at politics, vacuous when it came to policy, but one thing he was pretty good at was getting his talking points out there.

    Madigan has been pretty content to allow others to define him, as long as he was still able to achieve his policy and political objectives, but no more.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    To the Column,

    Michael J. Madigan, in the past, has made Stealth technology look like hiding behind a poster board in the middle of an intersection at rush hour compared to his “Stealth” way. It was never about the visuals, but the result. When anyone focuses on results and focuses less on the visuals, results seem to come more frequently.

    With the Speaker becoming more of a “visual” leader, sometimes the optics aren’t too good when leading by Press Release or Press Conference. The Speaker knows this, the Speaker preaches this by actions, not words, until these recent events.

    In any industry, if you can use the media to get across and idea, a message, you try to angle the message for the maximum impact. However, that is not MJM’s wheelhouse, nor is it the manner Speaker Madigan goes to without knowing “the score” before the game is played.

    If it’s part of a grand scheme, maybe a few more moves on the chess board wil reveal the end game. I get the ideas and premise of the driving voter turnout, or “protecting” the fininte member group of Drury, and giving Franks a nice push, but usually that is done with the “cover” of direct mail, in the precincts, not in a media strategy under the guise of helping Illinois.

    I am probably missing “something”, that is the one thing I know is true, but before I question too much the strategy, I better question what is the end game first.


  6. - One of the 35 - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    Perhaps, in the twilight of his career, Madigan, like many men, is thinking more about his legacy.


  7. - A guy... - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    It’s impossible for me to think of it as anything more than a strategic scheme. I’m not sure if it’s ‘grand’ yet, but time will tell. Like you said, he’s not impetuous, nor are his inner-circle. It’s always for cause. Now it’s time to look for effect. I’m disappointed in myself for not seeing it yet. Something’s going on. Good column.


  8. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:02 am:

    @One of 35:

    Folks have been talking about the twilight of Mike Madigan’s career for a long, long time.


  9. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    There are two Fair Tax amendments in each chamber. The Senate version is further along in the legislative process. Both amendments have lots of sponsors.

    If the Senate version makes it to the House, we shall see what if anything Madigan can do to get support for it and get it put on the ballot.


  10. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    Why take the constant pounding from the likes of the Tribbies, Kass, Chuck Goudie, etc., when you have a story to tell?

    In addition to gay marriage, Madigan made sure everyone knew that he got c-c over the goal line with a veto-proof majority.

    He also popped the balloon on the alleged grand conspiracy, 15 years in the making, to “install” Lisa in the governor’s office. He made a lot media deep-thinkers look pretty stupid there.


  11. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:12 am:

    I agree w others on the legacy angle. Madigan is the longest serving state house speaker in the country. Maybe ever. But what is the lasting impression? A style? Use of power? Or solid accomplishments?

    He isnt anywhere near ready to walk away, but he has to be thinking the horizon is getting closer. Makes me want an apple. Or chicken w peppers at saputos


  12. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    Great column!

    Is he starting to care more about his legacy, and he knows that the major media will help review that legacy?


  13. - Bill White - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    It sure seems to me that Madigan is “net ahead” after proposing and pulling the millionaires tax, including the following highlights:

    = [This episode made] Drury more palatable to tax sensitive business owners in his district. =

    And, while November is still a long way away, I suspect the Speaker is just getting warmed up . . .

    and

    = [T]he proposal put Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner in a difficult spot. Rauner flatly opposed the tax, while leaving open the possibility that he could favor taxing retirement income and services. =


  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    ===He also popped the balloon on the alleged grand conspiracy, 15 years in the making, to “install” Lisa in the governor’s office. He made a lot media deep-thinkers look pretty stupid there.===

    Actually, that has been the most fun I have gotten with the MJM media front opened by him. I guess all those theories ran out of “dots”?

    The “golf” reasoning by the Speaker I have heard from many people in my life;

    “If we went out and even played 9 holes, your image of me would be ’shot’, so no.”

    Some paly on Election Day, and they could play really well on a really good course, but the image of just “being there” on that day doesn’t cover the 39 you shoot on the “front side” *cough* Tom Cross *cough*

    Solid column, Rich. There is an irony of MJM not wanting to looked upon badly for badly playing a sport, …and looking at the last few months, and looking at MJM, playing, … “out of character” … in his chosen sport.


  15. - MrJM - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    Perhaps I’m a cynic, but I view Mike’s change in tactics only through the lens of Lisa’s (soiner or later) run for governor. When she runs, the press will do stories about her dad, this way the Madigan’s have more control over the tone and content of those inevitable pieces.

    – MrJM


  16. - MrJM - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    (Did I mean to type “soiner”? Why, soitenly!)


  17. - OneMan - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    It’s hard to look at any of this without the underlying thought that so often enters at least my mind anything Madigan does something out of the ordinary…

    “He is a really smart and clever guy and must have a plan that I am not seeing”

    I also don’t see him worried about legacy, because he has never struck me as a guy who cared too much about that, well not nearly as much as keeping control.

    So is this part of some plan to try and beat back term limits, showing what control and long serving legislators can do?


  18. - Langhorne - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:23 am:

    I agree w the legacy angle. Madigan is the longest serving statehouse speaker ever. Maybe nationally. But what is his legacy? A style? Use of power? Or specific accomplishments?

    He was quiet for years, esp north of I-80, bec thats what you had to do in the daley years. Ask paul vallas.

    He is not ready to walk away from the speakership, but the horizon is getting closer. Makes me want an apple.


  19. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    ===So is this part of some plan to try and beat back term limits, showing what control and long serving legislators can do? ===

    There’s no stopping that term limits train, man. Even he has to know that.


  20. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    I did a quick Google search and couldn’t find anything, but I wonder if voters in any state have ever defeated a real term limits proposition. I say “real” because one went down in California back in ‘08, but it grandfathered in current incumbents.


  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    Mr.MJM….you can never go wrong invoking The Stooges…..Bwwooobbb, Bwoooob, Bwwooob, Bwooob..


  22. - Living in Machiaville - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    So who’s the heir apparent to the Speakership? Franks, Nekritz, Ford, Mautino? Oh that’s right, he who reigns ain’t ready to hand over the reins. But it’s always worth gossiping about.


  23. - Quiet Sage - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    He’s taken stealth to a whole new level. Incredibly, people here are now analyzing and debating the real, hidden reasons the Speaker is now acting in a more open manner. After a string of misseps last year in which many commentators pondered whether the Speaker had lost a step, he has adjusted his game to match current political realities and is now operating on an ethereal level few, if any, politicians have ever reached. It must always be kept in mind, however, that the Speaker is a political genius, not a policy genius. He is not a Lincoln.


  24. - VanillaMan - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 2:11 pm:

    Watching Madigan with his Millionaire Tax was like watching your favorite great uncle at a wedding, get drunk and then try to break dance.

    His proposal only excited those who still think we can tax our way into prosperity. While they applauded and cheered, everyone else was covering their mouths and racing for the exits.


  25. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 4:51 pm:

    VanillaMan:

    No one was “racing for the exits.”

    Illinois is only one of eight states where millionaires only pay a flat tax.

    In fact, in your beloved state of Wisconsin, the upper tax rate applies to individuals making $225,000 or more.


  26. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 14, 14 @ 5:44 pm:

    YDD, don’t try to bother VMan with facts. “Facts” to VMan are Fred, Wilma and Dino at the drive-in in Bedrock.

    VMan, who’s living on Park Avenue, Michigan Avenue, in Beverly Hills, Belgravia, Singapore, Zurich, Tokyo, etc., these days?

    A bunch of drunk uncles, too drunk to flee the tax man?

    “Can’t tax your way into prosperity.” Wow, never heard that one before! Thanks for the insight!

    It’s true, you can’t. But you also can’t be an ignorant fool and insist on a certain level of services without paying for them.

    And a graduated income tax has been pretty standard in the civilized world since, oh, it got civilized.

    For crying out loud, why does anyone show up here to regurgitate stupid cable TV talking points? Is that supposed to impress? Who?

    Life’s a little more complicated, don’t you think?

    That nice Mr. Walker has a reasonable thing going with a graduated income tax up in Madison. Some folks down here think he’s the bee’s knees — but they never mention that graduated tax. It’s “progressive.” Bad word. Can you dig it?

    The Gates boys in Washington seemed to think it was a good idea, and I hear they have some money.

    They lost, but Old Man Bill had this to say about the “soak the rich” argument.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayCmNlo80a4


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* That's probably the ballgame
* Chris Crane: New Plan Will Help Ensure Reliable Power
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Heroin bill to survive political bickering
* Durkin threatens caucus with "consequences"
* 7 dead, 45 diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease at Quincy veterans' home
* Emanuel demands Rauner "re-evaluate" child care slashes
* Today's number: $1.18 billion
* The most romantic thing I've ever seen
* Protecting Wall Street, while exposing local employees
* Illinois Credit Unions – Actively engaged in the communities they serve
* *** LIVE *** Overtime session coverage
* AFSCME bill override roundup
* Caption contest!
* Dave McKinney lands at Thomson Reuters
* Governing ain't easy
* Good morning!
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Apple iPhone 7 tipped to get back to display tech roots for possible resolution upgrade
        * Philips Launches Brighter, Expandable 'Hue Lightstrip Plus'
        * Moto 360 and Huawei Watch now ready for pre-order, shipping later this month
        * Huawei launches Mate S, shows us what “Incredible Touch” is all about
        * Hands on: Lenovo’s YOGA Tab 3 PRO brings projector goodness
        * SmartThings Unveils A New Smart Home Hub
        * Sony UK reveals prices for Xperia Z5 trio, T-Mobile US gives the phones the cold shoulder

        * Rodon sharp over 6, but offense falls flat
        * White Sox arms of the future up to the task vs. Sano
        * Rodon sharp over 6, but offense falls flat
        * Montas returns with a much-improved slider
        * Back at short, Saladino looks to find niche with Sox
        * Samardzija looks to get back on track vs. Twins
        * White Sox paying David Robertson a lot, but getting a lot

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        September 2015
        August 2015
        July 2015
        June 2015
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * EXCHANGE: Schaumburg teen's dental visit changes state law
        * Former Woodstock middle school principal accused of theft
        * Chicago sprays for mosquitoes to fight West Nile virus
        * Wheaton lawyer accused of bilking estates of clients
        * Will County seeing record year for wildlife with rabies
        * Rauner wins labor fight; Illinois House fails override
        * Illinois authorities searching for escaped prisoner
        * The Latest: Child care restoration fails in Illinois House
        * City of Peoria, creator of Twitter parody settle lawsuit
        * Officials begin process of dissolving Belleville Township

        * Illinois House comes up 3 votes shy of overriding union arbitration bill
        * Bill to stop Illinois State Museum closure advances in House
        * Override effort on union arbitration bill fails in House
        * Legionnaires' disease cases rise at Quincy veterans home
        * Union arbitration override fails in House
        * Illinois House Democrats seek to override Gov. Rauner on union arbitration
        * Veto override vote looms in Illinois House
        * All Democrats present as veto override vote looms in Illinois House
        * Illinois House faces crucial vote on union arbitration bill
        * United Way advance keeps Helping Hands shelter open as state budget impasse continues

        * Mattress startup Casper takes aim at Chicago
        * Motor Row Craft Beer & Wine Fest, a fringe theater fest and more
        * How to succeed in manufacturing
        * Rauner wins labor battle as Madigan's veto override fails
        * Chicago attorney architect named CEO of DuSable Museum


          * Police respond to 'suspicious circumstance' in Lake County
          * Emanuel set to call for largest property tax hike in modern Chicago history
          * Security ushers Emanuel away as Dyett protesters take to stage at budget hearing
          * 6 people shot dead, including 16-year-old boy, since late Tuesday in Chicago
          * Rauner prevails on major labor bill as Madigan fails to muster votes
          * Pope Francis comforts Chicago high school student over loss of her father
          * Crowds mourn 'heartbreaking' deaths of Lindenhurst dad, daughter


          * Our Opinion: Panhandling deserves a community response
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Ex-Schock aide says he saw red flags
          * Norbert Brauer: Trans Pacific Partnership a secretive, one-sided deal
          * George Will: The blood-stained Indian Child Welfare Act
          * Eugene Robinson: Digging a hole to build a wall
          * Illinois House comes up 3 votes shy of overriding union arbitration bill
          * Bill to stop Illinois State Museum closure advances in House
          * Legionnaires' disease cases rise at Quincy veterans home


          * Illini roundup: Small finishes strong
          * Daniels' Big Ten wrap: Will Buckeyes survive upset bid?
          * Tate: Cubit's living in the moment
          * Wednesday's prep highlights: Central volleyball sweeps
          * HS Volleyball: Danville vs. Westville 2015
          * Week 2 football storylines: Broncos will look to build off big game
          * Thieves sought in string of car burglaries in DeWitt County
          * Bill to keep state museum open clears house committee
          * 2015 Week 1 prep football statistics
          * Steering committee recommends Champaign County Historical Museum be closed


          * Former Woodstock middle school principal accused of theft
          * Slain cop's wife to hundreds at vigil: 'My world got a little bit smaller'
          * The Latest: Police say lie prompts Illinois police response
          * Ohio State-Virginia Tech matchup highlights ACC's Week 1
          * LEADING OFF: Latos tries again for Dodgers, Braves skidding

          * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
          * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
          * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
          * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
          * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
          * CBD Oil, and politics
          * Simon considering state Senate bid
          * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
          * Shutdown? State may not notice
          * Rep. Bob Dold

          * Northerly Island Park opens Friday on Chic......

          * Sen. Kirk calls attention to International......

          * Newly Installed Parking Meters In Kenwood Outrage Some Residents
          * “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
          * Clerks' duties are sacred, not holier-than-thou. They sometimes forget that
          * Trump brings bad name to people who want to lambast ‘politically correct’
          * AUSA Carrie Hamilton appointed to 12th Subcircuit vacancy
          * Edward J. King campaign website launched
          * Illinois House Reverses Rauner's Changes To Anti-Heroin Bill
          * Illinois House Reverses Rauner's Changes To Anti-Heroin Legislation
          * Judge Rules Against Holding Illinois In Contempt Over Disability Payments
          * Happy Labor Day From Progress Illinois


          * Legionnaires’ Disease Cases in Quincy
          * Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak at Illinois Veterans’ Home-Quincy Update
          * Governor Bruce Rauner Proclaims Workforce Development Week
          * Veteran Spouse Ada Ruth Cripps Honored As The IDVA Volunteer of the Year
          * State-Teamsters One Step Closer to Finalizing Agreement




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller