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Question of the day

Thursday, May 29, 2014

* Greg Hinz

In the latest issue of Crain’s, I asked whether “Magic” Mike Madigan still has his good stuff and whether he remains the all-powerful speaker who can conjure up votes for just about anything he wants to pass.

We now have an answer: No.

Like an aging pitcher who’s been kept on the mound an inning too long, Mr. Madigan’s handling of the state budget this week and whether to extend the “temporary” income tax increase has been anywhere but on target.

Much of the painful, arduous work of recent years to get Illinois back on the path to fiscal stability is being undone, at least temporarily. Taxpayers are being tossed a mess they don’t fully understand and asked to make choices that won’t work for them. Kicking the can has replaced sensible governance, just like in the bad old Rod Blagojevich days.

* The Question: Has Speaker Madigan lost his touch? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


free polls

- Posted by Rich Miller        


75 Comments
  1. - Diogenes in DuPage - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    No. He is just more patient. He is more comfortable playing the “Yoda” role with his caucus. “Patient, I am. Learn, see, you will.”


  2. - Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    Patience…this General Assembly has not yet adjourned sine die and that means the game remains afoot.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    Medical Mary Jane
    Conceal Carry
    Pension Bill
    Same Sex Marriage

    Lost his “touch”?

    Nope


  4. - Ace - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    The dance has just begun (and partners have not been chosen yet). We’ll have to wait until November for that.


  5. - Norseman - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    I don’t want to answer yes or no. He’s hit a few bumps on a very rough road so there is some diminishment, but he still appears to be the biggest dog in the State House.


  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:39 pm:

    No. I reject the premise that he was ever “all-powerful.”

    You only hear that from the pundits who spun the Grand Lisa for Governor Conspiracy for 12 years.
    Never got any explanation from those wizards on how they were so profoundly wrong for so long.

    He picks and chooses his fights. I don’t think it’s terribly surprising that he’s not twisting his members’ arms for a tax increase going into an election.

    Still, he put both conceal-carry and gay marriage over the goal line when no one else could.


  7. - Befuddled - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    He’s had some bad losses this year. Maybe he has “temporarily” lost it.


  8. - MOON - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    NO.

    It is always difficult to herd the kittens. With an election on the near horizon it makes sense to defer the tax issue until after November

    I believe if needed he could have gotten the votes but why put is majority at risk.

    Wait until the election is over and then decide is it Madigans problem or Rauner and the GOP’s problem.


  9. - 4 percent - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:43 pm:

    No. Unless Mr. Hinz can show that the Speaker actually put the full court press on his members and failed. I think he was publicly supportive of the Governor while understanding the political reality of November elections.


  10. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    No one wins every battle.
    I am unwilling to concede that Madigan has lost his leprechaunian touch.
    Primaries are over and this is the one period in every two-year election cycle that the mushrooms see a little daylight.


  11. - Hamilton - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    Patience is the name of the game. As is being smart, strategic, and disciplined.


  12. - Walter Mitty - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    Yes. by design…You pass a temporary tax…Fail to make it permanent. Super Majority. He as either lost it, or as I said since pension reform passed and he named Rauner by name while 2nd or 3rd… He has either lost it, or wants Rauner to win to pin it on him…. Because MJM is all powerful…


  13. - overcooked - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    No, his touch has always been about winning elections, not governance. If the legislation will be disruptive for re-elections, what makes you think he really wants to pass it?


  14. - Sunshine - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:55 pm:

    He has helped on some issues but the gorilla in the room is the budget and state of financial affairs in Illinois.

    When one spends their time fighting to win the battle and prove they are in charge, sometimes that becomes paramount and the good of the state takes a backseat. Appears that way to me….and others.


  15. - Anon - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    “Yes” is winning in the poll, but only 1 (and a half) explanations?

    I say no. I think he could pass the tax increase if he wanted, but he’s playing things tighter than that.


  16. - Nonplussed - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    Before the 98th GA was seated, Madigan said the toughest time he had as Speaker were the years he had a super-majority. So…


  17. - archimedes - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    The touch is more delicate and persuasive, by necessity, now. Less obvious. Sometimes your subjects have to learn through experiencing their mistakes.


  18. - East Central Illinois - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    Ask this same question four years from now. Crystal ball says that Lisa Madigan is the Democratic nominee for Governor in four years. Either she picks up the bazillion broken pieces that Gov. Quinn has left or she picks up the bazillion broken pieces that Gov. Rauner has left. Either way, she is the next Governor in four years. His (MJM) legacy is then given to her. This is all just pretense to giving his daughter the keys to it all.
    Has MJM lost his touch? Hardly, he’s just 4 to 5 steps ahead of everyone else.


  19. - Mighty M. Mouse - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    No.

    ===No, his touch has always been about winning elections, not governance. If the legislation will be disruptive for re-elections, what makes you think he really wants to pass it?===

    I agree, but besides that, despite popular opinion, he’s really “merely” the speaker, not the dictator of the House. It just seems that way an awful lot.


  20. - Steve - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:04 pm:

    I voted no. There’s no real proof he’s lost his touch. When you’ve rammed through a 67% state income tax increase during a weak economy and you are still in charge: you are still the Boss. After all, this is the stagnating state of Illinois. Plus, Mike Madigan is a very rich man: nothing but sunshine.


  21. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    Yes.

    He has lost his “touch” or “feel” for the electorate. If not “lost”, then it is certainly “diminished”.

    This is supported by his accumulating string of highly visible failures and bizarre judgment calls, as well as the fact he is either unwilling or unable to adapt his approach of brinksmanship after so many years.

    His “worst” is still better than most other politicos “best”, but it is not what it once was.


  22. - Willie Stark - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    The Speaker doesn’t control the weather, and he doesn’t control the political weather. He’s operating at a moment of maximum anti-tax hysteria (funded by the absurdly named Americans for Prosperity, and furthered by Rauner and his billionaire buddies), in an off-year election, in a lousy economy, with a stressed out middle class, and a VERY weak governor at the top of the ticket who can’t do anything to get votes or help House members who stick their necks out for him. The Senate Dems have two contested races, whereas all House seats are up. Greg Hinz manages to ignore all of these factors and wants the Speaker to ignore them, too? Focus on the short-term instead of the long play? When has the Speaker EVER done that? And, why, oh why, would the Speaker want to give phony Rauner a solution to his problems if he becomes governor? Four years of railing against a Dem legislature that won’t do the “right” thing and repeal the tax increase while happily spending the revenues the higher tax rates bring? What’s the sense in that?

    If anyone has lost a few MPH on his fastball, it’s Hinz with shallow analysis like this.


  23. - Responsa - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    overcooked has it exactly right. If one’s expectation of the Speaker’s role and purpose (any House Speaker’s role and purpose of either party) is to oversee and help facilitate the governance, legislation and problem solving for the benefit of the citizens of the state then Madigan is and has been –Fail.

    If one’s expectation is that Madigan’s main “job” is to elect more democrats and use his title and power to do so, then he’s been doing and continues to do a fab job.


  24. - Coach - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:09 pm:

    Hey Mike while your at it lets put SB1739 on the ballot for a vote in November so it can show a 62 % approval! I don’t get it the one bill that will bring in revenue and jobs the Democrats won’t bring it up! Then you wonder come in November why so many Democrats won’t come to vote or just switch to the other side this is why! I have talked to a lot of democrats like myself who are fed up and this is what we will do to show our frustration. For once call the SB1739 to a vote on Friday and lets pass something that the Democrats can say hey we saved jobs and an industry like horse racing, we created jobs, we are giving money to education, we are allowing a portion to pay off the debt, we are giving money to the state fair for the repairs, we are giving money to county fairs for its programs, gee what a novel idea that would be! Instead lets just drive the Democratic Party to the ground and bring back the GOP of the Edgar Years!


  25. - Walker - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:12 pm:

    No.

    First: he never was as all-powerful as his myth portrayed him — which myth he uses to his advantage when he can.

    Second: he spent more time with the press this year than in the previous few years — which raised undue expectations. If anything was a shortcoming, it was his paying attention to the press at all.

    Third: He got a lot of tough bi-partisan bills through.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    ===Ask this same question four years from now. Crystal ball says that Lisa Madigan is the Democratic nominee for Governor in four years. ===

    The Madiganistan Conspiracy!

    Just look at SSM;

    The Senate can’t count votes, the Speaker and Greg Harris can…

    Questions?


  27. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    I voted no. Madigan can’t help that not everything is politically viable right now. He couldn’t pass the tax increase, millionaire tax or minimum wage increase at this time. He’s going to keep some of those issues alive and try to score political points from them. Good for him.

    I think Hinz is being unfair to Madigan. Who is kicking the can down the road, Madigan or the other GA members who won’t vote for any revenue that put “llinois back on the path to fiscal stability,” as Hinz puts it?


  28. - Wensicia - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    ==I think he was publicly supportive of the Governor while understanding the political reality of November elections.==

    I agree with this and also voted no. I didn’t feel Madigan was really gonna press on permanent tax increase during an election year when he needs his majority to stay intact.


  29. - Steve - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    Mike Madigan is one of the greatest political entrepreneurs of the last 50 years. He got into politics to be a financial success.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gy_AV5xlt8k


  30. - Walker - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    Walter Mitty: LOL. Great sarcasm.


  31. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    I would suggest he began losing his edge a few years ago, but it is becoming readily apparent only now.

    He chose this particular moment for the tax hike to expire. He had 4 years to plan, prepare, resolve any issues, and position our state and his party for success right now. How did he use that time?

    We are roughly 48 hours away from close of session, and the best solution he has to offer is a trip back in time to copy Blago’s terribly destructive budget “plan”.


  32. - Phenomynous - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    No. He is slow playing the Gov. Race. Quinn wins, the tax is permanent and Madigan wins. If Rauner wins, the budget is toast from this years borrowing and no tax. Services are then cut, and Rauner gets bbq’d for 3 more years and then….prime time for Lisa to run. Speaker retires and a Madigan is still in partial control of Illinois.

    How can he lose?


  33. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    The question assumes that Mr. Michael J. Madigan has a touch and controls events within Illinois to an extent that he doesn’t need to work for results within a system he has created and maintained.

    The problems here is not Mr. Madigan, as it is the inability of the system he is the master of, to do the job it used to do.

    A state government cannot continue functioning with the kind of situations Illinois has been facing over the past decade and yet remain stable enough politically for any master politician - even a Michael J. Madigan. Mr. Speaker cannot stop the global market from sapping our state’s businesses and finance. No master politicians can keep placing stability and order within an unstable environment.

    The Great Depression lasted a decade. We’ve been struggling here in Illinois longer than that. Expecting Michael J. Madigan to handle our state’s situation isn’t realistic. He is now over a decade older when these fiscal and economic problems began.

    The question assumes that a single person can handle what Illinois has been facing since George Ryan got hauled off to prison. No.

    As some point we needed a functioning governor. Blagojevich wasn’t just dysfunctional, he was criminal. Quinn wasn’t just unaware of what was happening in the governor’s office while Rod was trying to loot it, Quinn still seems unaware after getting the job.

    You can’t solve problems with nobody, and over the past decade - we’ve had worse than nobody. Expecting Madigan to be the only adult in Illinois while Daley quits and packs up, Obama leaves for DC, Jones quits and packs up, and there is nobody left in the GOP, is too much.

    Illinois has come undone. Magic political touches can’t fix it.


  34. - jake - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    I started to feel that with his handling of the pension issue. He would have had a much more united caucus with the pension bill that originally passed the Senate, and a better chance of surviving the constitutional challenge. I also feel that, even with the need for a supermajority, he might have pushed through the graduated tax amendment more readily than appears to be happening with the extension of the 5% flat tax. Also, there was room for innovation within the flat tax structure, for example exempt the first $100,00 of all incomes and then do 11% on the increment above $100,000. That would have given the great majority of taxpayers no state income tax at all, an even greater majoriy (up to $160,000) a lower bill than a flat 3%, and raised more revenue than the flat 5%. I still see smart tactics from the Speaker on particular short term political moves, but I do not see any smart leadership on the big issues.


  35. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    For all those still desperately clinging to the Lisa Conspiracy, you did see that bit last year where she said she could not run for governor because he was still speaker?

    And he effectively said, too bad, Lisa?


  36. - Da Moat - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    How is that different than being Attorney General when your father is speaker?


  37. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:31 pm:

    A quote from January 8 2011

    == “Never doubt what Madigan can do when he puts his mind to it,” said Rep. Joe Lyons, D-Chicago. “When we mere mortals don’t think it can get done, he gets it done.” ==

    Either claims of Speaker Madigan’s skill have been grossly exaggerated over the years, or Speaker Madigan’s skill has diminished.


  38. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    –The Great Depression lasted a decade. We’ve been struggling here in Illinois longer than that.–

    That’s just silly. Until the housing crash, most of the state and the country were humming along just fine.


  39. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    ===have been grossly exaggerated over the years===

    In much of the media and in most of the pundits’ minds, MJM has become a one-dimensional cartoon character. And that’s by design because he carefully built that very reputation.

    Something has definitely changed, but I wasn’t able to vote on my own poll.

    lol


  40. - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    Something has definitely changed…
    He has gotten older and the state has gotten worse.

    That’s just silly. Until the housing crash, most of the state and the country were humming along just fine.

    CapFax has a nice archive. Take a gander back to the end of the Ryan administration and the first couple of years under Blagojevich and you will read hundreds of stories about our economic problems in Illinois. Illinois has not had it good for a long time.


  41. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    Maybe this(?)

    MJM is not the “Nth” Degree Chess Master Champion…

    But all MJM needs to be… is a typical Master Chess Champion in a building of novice Checker players…

    MJM could be like Michael Jordan too…

    Comparing MJ pre-retirement to 2nd or 3rd comeback; was still better than most NBA players, but not the MJ of old, so do you compare Comback MJ to MJ in his Prime.

    Not fair to either MJ, not fair to MJM in the same vain too.


  42. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    == I wasn’t able to vote on my own poll ==

    lol, the random frustrations that come with being the “boss”. Small comfort, but at least you get to pick the questions! (seriously though, how can you let someone create a poll only to prevent them from voting on it? that just seems wrong… like some sort of “Easy Polls” mental torture lol)


  43. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    VMan, I think I’ll deal with actual facts.

    From Feb. 2006 to May 2007, the state unemployment rate was under 5%, going as low as 4.4% for months at a time.

    Dr. Friedman would call that “full employment,” as I’m sure you know.

    How does that fit into your very windy and confusing Great Depression model?

    If you didn’t notice the construction and consumer spending booms going on before the crash, your eyes weren’t open.

    Also, since I know you’re of the opinion that governors pull the strings regarding states’ economic health, I guess we can thank Blago for those good years, right?

    http://ycharts.com/indicators/illinois_unemployment_rate


  44. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:59 pm:

    It’s still not smart to gamble with or goad the man.

    Speaker Madigan’s “touch” may not be what it once was, but even his “worst day” is better than many other’s “best day”.


  45. - democrat Grrrl - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    The system that MJM used to work in, with Republicans and Democrats working together to solve the state problems and make the tough votes (remember structured roll calls?) is GONE, GONE, GONE. A miracle worker couldn’t begin to fathom how to work with the Republican party as it exists today. Madigan is able to accomplish much, but people expect him to solve every problem and excoriate him when nothing works as it used to.


  46. - dupage dan - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    === - overcooked - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    No, his touch has always been about winning elections, not governance. If the legislation will be disruptive for re-elections, what makes you think he really wants to pass it? ===

    This makes as much sense as anything I have read here or elsewhere.


  47. - DuPage Dave - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    I voted no, Madigan still has a huge degree of power in state government. He’s gotten bills passed that required his specific skills and experience as many above have noted. But the problems this session are too much even for his skills.

    The tax issue is intractable and even a wizard could not have compelled members to vote against their perceived self interest. The tax issue is tied to the budget issue and you can’t have one without the other. There’s nothing Madigan or anyone else could do to make magic happen.

    I think the big problem was making the tax increase sunset during an election year, particularly an election that includes the Governor’s office.

    The other big problem, as noted above, is the change in the character of the Republican party, both in Illinois and nationally. They are simply against everything. Let government fail, they say, what do we care? You can’t reason with that type of thinking.


  48. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 3:18 pm:

    I voted no, but like Word and others have said already, most of his “magic” was always a myth.

    This movie isn’t over yet. We’re past intermission though, and someday in the not-too-distant future the credits will roll on the Mike Madigan Story. I suspect it’ll be a heck of a thing when it’s all over and we can look back on it in its entirety.

    For good or for bad, Madigan has put his stamp on Illinois for four decades and counting.


  49. - In the Middle - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Hinz’s take is so juvenile. Madigan magical? All-powerful? Keep spinning the narrative. It’s so childish and worn out.

    Madigan is a great politician with much influence, but the man has his limits. Quit thinking about the narrative and start thinking about reality.


  50. - Upon Further Review - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 3:36 pm:

    If it is a matter of enriching himself, his family, friends and supporters, the answer is “No.” If it is a matter of providing sound leadership and stewardship to benefit the State of Illinois and its residents, the answer is “Yes.”


  51. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    The “myth” is a little strange, the idea that a leader in one chamber of a bicameral legislature could be “all-powerful.”

    I don’t think Edgar or Pate thought of Madigan as “all-powerful.” Or Thompson or Ryan, for that matter.

    It really got kookie with the Lisa Conspiracy, though. That was just bizarre and continued year-after-year despite all evidence to the contrary.


  52. - Weenie Caucus - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 3:45 pm:

    Red rover, red rover, let the targets and Jack Franks and Carol Sente come over.


  53. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 3:45 pm:

    Math?

    1/6th of all Government is not equal to all powerful.

    It’s a bit embarrassing to play victim to a Leader of 1/2 of 1/3 of Illinois Government.


  54. - Weenie Caucus - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    I voted No.


  55. - downstate commissioner - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 4:03 pm:

    okay, I read the comments first, now it won’t let me vote no. Agree with others that this has been a strange year, and Madigan is best at protecting his party, rather than protecting taxpayers, so he may not be actually interested in passing a budget.
    But as a followup to Word @ 3:42, the “all powerful” label probably really didn’t stick until Blago came along. Madigan stood up to him and all the rest of the leaders to stop some of the more outrageous stuff that was going on. In my mind, that is when he became “all powerful”.
    And if Rauner does not pay attention to that, then we will again have a one-term governor.
    p.s. Think Willy’s comparison to Jordan is very accurate. Retired Jordan could probably still whomp a bunch of the younger kids today, and an older Madigan is still in control.


  56. - Hey There - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 4:03 pm:

    NO. He is not all-powerful, but he seems to do his best persuasion in the weeks after an election versus the weeks or months leading into one.


  57. - logic not emotion - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 4:24 pm:

    His focus continues on what it has always been - strengthening or maintaining his democrat majority and leadership. Nothing else matters as much. In this environment, he has allowed some in his party to not vote his way in order to help preserve that.


  58. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    The fact this is even a serious discussion serves as an indicator of how things have shifted and where they now stand.

    Some years ago, the poll would be running 90% “no” to 10% “yes”, with most of the comments asking variations of “Are you crazy, man?”

    The Speaker surely has a few more rabbits to pull out of his hat, possibly even this week. But the overall trend will be that of a normal, 72 year old human being losing a step or two after 30+ years of constant work. Time eventually catches all.


  59. - Norseman - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    Word, I for one am not saying that Madigan is the all powerful Wizard of Oz. There is a limit to his powers. State pension reduction for current employees and retirees showed the limit as several years passed before something was passed. Conversely, that same issue showed his prowess as well when he oversaw the passage of a more onerous bill than the one pushed by the Senate. “His touch” in my interpretation goes to who is the best tactician and most successful in the General Assembly.

    You point to Edgar, Pate, Thompson and Ryan as folks who didn’t think Madigan was all powerful. True, but they were powerful folks in their own right - unlike the current crop of leaders. I’d add Phil Rock to the list of folks on par with Madigan. Thompson and Ryan were players who knew how to cut deals to their mutual benefit. Edgar had the blessing and curse to have Pate as a counter-balance to the House. Rock also provided some balance when Madigan’s leadership was young. Since I made an earlier reference to the great wizard, my only wish is that the wizard had bothered giving the Speaker a heart.


  60. - Quiet Sage - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 4:41 pm:

    Yes and no. He’s not as quick and agile as a few years ago but is operating at an unprecedented depth of political savvy and understanding. Follow him closely for the next few years, we won’t see his like again at the Statehouse for a long, long time.


  61. - Upon Further Review - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 5:23 pm:

    @Wordslinger:

    I will agree about the other political leaders that you referred to not considering MJM all powerful, but that was in a different era. Those former leaders are all in retirement now. Their successors did not wield nearly the same power or influence.


  62. - Soccertease - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 5:48 pm:

    I voted yes. However, it still seems like he calls all the major shots. Back when times were better financially for the State, Madigan wasn’t scrutinized as much as he is now. I agree with some other commenters too, that it’s all about maintaining power for MJM rather than doing what is best for IL.


  63. - Louis Howe - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 6:16 pm:

    As Speaker of the House, Madigan’s power comes from two sources: one, his management and support among House Democratic Members; and two, his ability to stop legislation. He seems pretty firm in both those departments. However, the problem for Madigan is that he is operating in a power vacuum created by Quinn— the most impediment governor is Illinois history—and the former juvenile delinquent governor—Rod Blagojevich.
    The real test will be if Rauner is elected, and the focus shifts to the executive branch to make things happen. Madigan can return to his natural power base as Speaker and let the proposed reforms come to him.


  64. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 6:22 pm:

    – Their successors did not wield nearly the same power or influence.–

    UFR, if that’s the case, how does it relate to the question?


  65. - Anon - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 6:26 pm:

    Soccertease, politics is always about maintaining power for the politicians rather than doing what is best for state or country. MJM is just doing it more successfully than everyone else.


  66. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 8:04 pm:

    (Tips cap to - Downstate Commissioner -)

    ===Their successors did not wield nearly the same power or influence.===

    That’s like saying the Cardinals winning the Division some years was only predicated on the teams in the Division.

    Still gotta win, still haveta know how to win.

    One year the Cards had the lowest winning percentage of all the teams in the Playoffs and won the World Series.

    The question at the end of the day is, “Did you win?”

    Madigan’s power and/or influence is the question here, not his competition, then or now.


  67. - Silent Majority - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 8:44 pm:

    I vote no. Those that say that he had failures assume that he wanted something and didn’t get it done. No one really knows what he really wants regardless of what he says. Show me one bill that he worked his caucus for and pulled out the stops for and failed? There isn’t any.


  68. - east central - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 9:07 pm:

    Yes, although primarily due to external factors. He has had two not-entirely-rational governors with whom to deal.

    Unfortunately for the party MJM chairs, a Republican will likely become governor and will substantially reduce the power of the Democrats over the coming 8 years.


  69. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 10:23 pm:

    –Unfortunately for the party MJM chairs, a Republican will likely become governor and will substantially reduce the power of the Democrats over the coming 8 years.–

    I think you put too much stock in the concept of “party power,” like it’s a unified team.

    Madigan and Blago/Jones were at each other’s throats for years. Madigan has been quoted, I believe, that he like working with Ryan the best.


  70. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 10:30 pm:

    If you believe the end game on the pensions was to end up with a tax increase to fund pensions blamed on the ISC, then not passing a income tax extension / increase (pick your term) at this time is consistent with that game plan. So it may be MJM has not lost his touch, he is just following his plan for winning this year’s three dimensional chess game.


  71. - RNUG - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 10:32 pm:

    Thought I had it fixed; apparently not.

    Anonymous - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 10:30 pm was also I …


  72. - RNUG - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 10:40 pm:

    - VanillaMan - Thursday, May 29, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    Actually, the Great Depression lasted more than a decade and didn’t really end until the economy was boosted by the federal government spending for WW II


  73. - Northern Light - Friday, May 30, 14 @ 2:57 am:

    I think the image of him scurrying down the back stairs of his office, running away from a Chicago reporter says it all…he’s not toast yet, but he’s definitely burnt!


  74. - Elder - Friday, May 30, 14 @ 7:43 am:

    I agree with those who wrote that MJM is hanging Rauner out to dry. The Gov. has been very clear he supports the tax increase, so he cannot be accused of cowardice. Rauner will not give a straight answer on the cuts he will make or his proposed budget. I think MJM is smoking out Rauner, and if Quinn loses it is ALL on Rauner’s neck.


  75. - Tommy Paycheck - Friday, May 30, 14 @ 7:03 pm:

    When the little guy cannot pay anymore, the greed of the state and corporations will be more evident as time goes on regardless of who is in the Speaker of the house position no matter how much decision making is done. Without Mr. Madigan we all would be in deeper economic woe. This is merely an opinion.


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