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The never-ending MJM fascination

Thursday, Aug 14, 2014

* Umm

It’s Democrat Day at the Illinois State Fair.

On Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers congregated in Springfield for a brunch (and photo-op) that attracted about 1,400 people. Afterward the group descended upon the fairgrounds to continue a show of solidarity with Quinn, who’s facing a tough re-election challenge from GOP nominee Bruce Rauner.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was there. So too were U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth and Quinn running mate Paul Vallas, who addressed the string of corporate scandals related to Rauner’s former private equity firm, GTCR.

Conspicuously absent? Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. He didn’t show up last year, either.

The Springfield ringmaster — who’s viewed as a shadow governor of sorts, the real power broker running the show — is also the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Given his high rank, you’d think Madigan would be there with bells on, the first to arrive and the last to leave. His no-show carries a whiff of possible tension with Quinn.

First of all, yesterday was Governor’s Day, not Democrat Day. And a couple of years ago, after being loudly and roundly booed by AFSCME members, Madigan grew tired of the sideshow atmosphere and handed the event to the governor’s office.

* More

And other democrats who made the trip to Springfield wondered why their state party chairman, powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, did not attend the events during a year with six statewide offices on the ballot.

ABC7’s Charles Thomas: “He’s the party chairman and he’s not here?”
Quinn: “Well, everybody in, nobody left out in my book, yeah.”

“He’s the hardest-working party chair the state has,” said Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
ABC7’s Charles Thomas: “So he’s not here, does that mean anything?
Lisa Madigan: “Apparently, it does to you. So you can comment on it.”

* The explanation

A Madigan spokesman said the party chief was away fund-raising, and Democratic officials knew he would not be at the fair.

“He’s been raising campaign funds out of state. He’s been doing that all summer,” said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown, predicting: “We’re going to be badly outspent.”

Brown said they’re keeping the fund-raising location close to the vest.

For appearance purposes, he probably should’ve been there. But Madigan isn’t one who cares much for optics, as his horrific approval ratings clearly demonstrate. And yet, considering those ratings, maybe it’s best that he stayed away.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


24 Comments
  1. - PublicServant - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    ===We’re going to be badly outspent.===

    Well, seeing as how Bruce’s goal is to buy the election with his payroll tax-free “earnings”, and the other hedgies are piling on financially too, we’ll soon see whether a governorship can be bought.


  2. - Norseman - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    Keeping with the high brow campaign season this year, methinks Steve Brown’s nose grew a little bit with that one.


  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 10:28 am:

    Some in media are obsessed with MJM because he doesn’t appear to respect them or play the interview game. That sticks in the craw, I think.


  4. - pundent - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    Why would MJM show up at the State Fair? There’s nothing to be gained by making an appearance. His power is bestowed upon him by his party not the people of the State of Illinois. The overwhelming majority of us have never cast a vote for him and never will.


  5. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    Did anyone else notice Natasha and Dave updated their story Jesse White’s comments at 6:40 pm yesterday? The new version completely scrubs the quotes Rich had posted yesterday, including the condescending parts about “T-Shirts”.

    To the post, is “fund-raising” a code word for “vacation”? Where is Chuck Goudie when you need him?


  6. - A guy... - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    I did not read about his counterpart, the Senate President being in attendance either. I have no idea if this is a crack in Solidarity or they wanted to let the Gov have his day in the sun. My basic thought is that they just don’t care too much for the guy and Lisa only showed up because she’s on the Statewide ticket. Wonder how long she stuck around?


  7. - anon - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    Not sure this is related to MJM not being present at the fair on Governor’s Day but even at his own fundraiser’s MJM is not there for the long haul. After the receiving line and some introductions he usually splits.


  8. - Tough Guy - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    The Speaker’s and the Senate President’s attendance has always been infrequent at the State Fair. It is just not their thing. As a point, a lot of people who live in Springfield don’t even go to the fair because it is not their thing either. I wouldn’t read too much into this. By all accounts it was still a large turnout.


  9. - ok... - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    I don’t blame him for not being there, it wouldn’t have been productive. Plus Rich is right, it was Governor’s Day so who cares. But the media has every right to go after him.


  10. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    Michael J. Madigan is an old man. Most people his age aren’t trying to run a state. Expecting him to show up at the State Fair and act as though he is twenty years younger is ignoring reality.

    He is an old man. Be happy he is still vertical and remembers his name.


  11. - Tom Joad - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    If you people would have watched the White Sox game in San Francisco yesterday, you would have spotted the Speaker in the stands when the camera was on him. Like Obama, he is entitled to a vacation too.


  12. - Tom Joad - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    He was the guy wearing the Sox hat.


  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    VMan, your chronic display of ageism is quite misanthropic.

    What age do people stop being of value to you? What fuels that hatred? And just what have you accomplished in your life that allows you to display that contempt so openly?


  14. - A guy... - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    VMan, before answering, ask WS how old he is. Then you can give him the right age answer. lol.

    He’s having one of those days today. Hope he’s smart again tomorrow. I like that guy better.


  15. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 2:16 pm:

    VanillaMan is not a real person. It’s a random comment generator Rich invented to keep the comments coming and “eyeballs on the page” as they say. The more obtuse and inflammatory VM’s comments are, the more passionate the responses to him. Rich Miller, Evil Genius.

    It took me some time to figure it out, but once you know it’s all a gag, it becomes much easier to ignore.


  16. - the Patriot - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    Outsent. Maybe in one race, but lets see where it ends across all races.

    Madigan did not seem to be too worried about buying an election when Rod was doing it.


  17. - bored now - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    i realized that lisa’s exposure to state party chairs is quite limited, and she *might* have been correct if she meant that her father is a hard-working person who just happens to be a state party chair, but if she thinks michael madigan is the hardest working person who represents and advances his or her party in their state as its party chair, she would be horribly mistaken.

    there is no doubt that madigan works hard to advance his own interests and that of his legislative body. but a state party chair normally advances the entire political party (and that of its entire ticket), and in this regard, madigan doesn’t stack up against the 49 other state party chairs in the democratic party.

    her claim, as it stands, is laughable — even if understandable as she feels the needs to defend her dad…


  18. - walker - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 3:22 pm:

    Word: Your jab about Evelyn being “drafted” to run, made me laugh. A bit hard to pick up, sharp for those paying attention, and hit the corner.

    A guy: Having trouble with the curve?

    [I’m just stirring the pot for no good reason — which is probably despicable. But we can laugh.]


  19. - A guy... - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    Walk, you devil you.


  20. - low level - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 4:51 pm:

    When are people going to learn that in the post Shakman / Rutan world that the very office of Chair of State Party (on both sides) is largely an anachronism? Before, when there were jobs to dispense and party slating (or lack thereof) this job really meant something.

    Now, they control some funds and have a postage deal to mail at bulk costs. Replacement of candidates on statewide ticket if vacant for some reason. Big deal.


  21. - low level - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    Put another way - will one vote even be gained because there was a change in the GOP State Chair not that long ago? Will even one vote be gained or lost because Madigan didn’t attend Governor’s day at the State Fair?

    I’m quite happy Madigan is out raising money. Against Billionaire Bruce, Democrats are going to struggle just to try and close the gap.

    For me, the story should be, why is Bruce trying to buy the Office of Governor?


  22. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 7:29 pm:

    When does fascination become obsession?


  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 15, 14 @ 12:17 am:

    (Tips cap to - 47th Ward -, Thursday, Aug 14, 14 @ 2:16 pm)

    To the Post,

    ===For appearance purposes, he probably should’ve been there. But Madigan isn’t one who cares much for optics, as his horrific approval ratings clearly demonstrate. And yet, considering those ratings, maybe it’s best that he stayed away.===

    Argue any point you wish, but until you can honestly refute these sentences, any excuse is a distant second to these number one reasons.


  24. - Late to the Party - Friday, Aug 15, 14 @ 7:58 am:

    == “He’s been raising campaign funds out of state. He’s been doing that all summer,” said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown, predicting: “We’re going to be badly outspent.” ==

    Not only can elections be bought, they can be bought by people not allowed to vote in an election.


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