Every Democratic activist I’ve been talking to the last few days says it is time for Madigan to step up or step out. […]
But blaming the press does not excuse Madigan. Most party chairmen would have started caring about the viability of the top of the statewide Democratic ticket — no matter if Quinn or Comptroller Dan Hynes were to be the eventual nominee — once Cohen started pouring huge sums of his own money into his race. […]
The Cohen episode demonstrates that Illinois Democrats could use a real state party leader. Even if Madigan did not want the party to endorse anyone, usually a chairman would at least try to make sure the least-electable contender does not get the nomination.
“In any other state, campaigns or interested parties would have gone to the state party chair and aired their concerns about Scott Lee Cohen’s candidacy,” said Kitty Kurth, a Chicago-based Democratic consultant. “The state party chair could have asked Cohen to step down for the good of the party. If Cohen said no, then the party chair could have stood up in the press and said to voters, ‘Vote for any Democrat, but not this one.’ ”
She made a lot of good points. Madigan didn’t do anything except try to kick Sen. Rickey Hendon off the ballot. However, Kurth’s comment rings somewhat hollow since nobody went to Madigan. The Madigan people claim ignorance of Cohen’s background.
House Speaker Michael Madigan faced a rare public rebuke Sunday for his stewardship of the state Democratic Party from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who questioned why the party failed to properly vet pawnbroker Scott Lee Cohen before his stunning primary win last week.
“I think that Chairman Madigan needs to have a much better process in place so that we know the backgrounds of all candidates as they put themselves up to be Democrats,” Durbin said after announcing his chairmanship of Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias’ U.S. Senate campaign.
“I would say to [Madigan] and to every member of this party at every level: We have a special responsibility to make sure it never happens again,” said Durbin, who also laid blame on himself and the news media for Cohen’s election.
Attempting to rebut criticism that the Illinois Democratic Party should have done more to prevent Scott Lee Cohen’s nomination for lieutenant governor, Brown said earlier today that Madigan met with Cohen on Friday and urged him in a “very direct and very frank” way to drop his candidacy.
Brown was unable to characterize Cohen’s response to Madigan during the meeting in Madigan’s Chicago law office. He said the meeting had previously been kept under wraps to avoid the appearance of backing Cohen into a corner.
But Brown said he believed the meeting should be publicized after Madigan has become the subject of criticism for failing to do background checks on the candidates for lieutenant governor, including Cohen.
Larry probably had it right about the Friday meeting…
Generally, the most intimidating thing the Speaker can do is glare at you. Even if he did speak I imagine it was something like the glare and “get out, now.”
About 90 minutes after telling the Sun-Times that he was not quitting the race Sunday, Cohen received an afternoon call from House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, the state Democratic Party chairman.
According to Madigan spokesman Steve Brown, Madigan called because he heard Cohen was dropping out of the race and wanted to confirm it.
Cohen spokesman Baxter Swilley said Madigan made it clear to Cohen that stepping aside was the best course of action for his personal life and his career and that if he did so, he would have a chance to rehabilitate his image.
Notice that Castillo won many of the Metro East and southern Illinois counties? Do you think voters thought he was related to Jerry Costello? [ADDING: Castillo finished second in Madison County by 59 votes - buttressing the theory.]
Also, note that Rep. Mike Boland won all of the Quad Cities area, even though Congressman Phil Hare endorsed Terry Link, who did not exactly run a great campaign.
Considering all that, the Daily Herald editorial is pretty spot on…
Widespread apathy and disinterest were the unfortunate winners Tuesday, and to say that is not necessarily a knock on Cohen or Plummer. Either could have been anywhere from history’s worst candidate for office to history’s greatest. That’s not the point. The point is, they were elected without many people having any idea where they fell on that scale. They were elected, mainly, because nobody cared.
That is the hard truth.
And it is an indictment of everyone - of the electorate, the news media, the political parties, even most of the candidates running for governor (only Andy McKenna, who endorsed a running mate for himself, gets dispensation here).
None of us cared enough to go beyond the most cursory exploration to find out who these candidates were.
And that is leading to many editorial pages to call for eliminating the office or reform the selection process. Southtown…
Reformers for years have called on lawmakers to revise Illinois’ goofy running-mate system in which candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in the primary and get paired for the general election - reinforcing that old saying about politics making for strange bedfellows.
Reformers for years also have called for the elimination of the lieutenant governor’s office altogether which costs about $2 million annually to operate - the same amount that Cohen spent to try to attain it.
The most important lesson, though, may be that, since the story broke Wednesday evening, Illinois has been in a tizzy because of a statewide office that doesn’t need to be. Lieutenant governors sit around waiting for governors to die or be impeached and ousted. Doesn’t happen much. Why not change our order of succession so that the attorney general or president of the state Senate is next in line? The lieutenant governor’s budget isn’t huge, but spiking this office pronto would free up some money and real estate for a state government that needs every dollar it can save.
So let’s thank Scott Lee Cohen for forcing all of us to focus on the office of lieutenant governor. Let’s wish him well. And, now that he has shuffled off the stage, let’s hope both major parties see an opportunity to cross this office off the state’s organization chart.
Not trying to be argumentative, but I’ve been waiting for something to be brought up.. Perhaps I’ve missed something addressing this- but why aren’t these ed boards or reporters looking in mirror? Do Illinois political reporters have no responsibility to investigate the background of candidates for statewide offices?
Sorry to question the veracity of the Dem Party poohbahs, but every Republican hack in the state knew Cohen was shady. They just didn’t think the Dems were completely ignorant and were actually going to sit by and watch this guy buy the nomination. Dem leaders have to take all the blame for this because they either didn’t know about Cohen or didn’t care. Either way, they screwed the pooch.
How on earth can Madigan and Quinn claim absolution on this? The state party chair and the candidates for governor MUST do their due dilligence on everyone on the ticket. If the don’t it is a dereliction of duty.
Madigan knew he wanted to prevent Hendon from getting the nomination and rightly so since he would have been poison on the ticket. I am astounded that a man who covers every angle and has a plan for everything let this one slip by.
- Ravenswood Right Winger - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 10:40 am:
If the General Assembly passed a law abolishing the office of Lite Gov, and Quinn signed it, say before the end of the spring session, could that law abolish the office in time for the fall election? Or does there have to be some sort of “lag time” before the office is abolished?
I’m going to blame Madigan, but in a more indirect way.
I have come to the conclusion that legislators in Springfield have few responsibilities, but they become convinced they are important people.
How many people have spent time in the Illinois General Assembly and then run campaigns that were substantially less effective than they should have been?
1. Art Turner
2. Terry Link
3. Mike Boland
4. Julie Hamos
And there are many other examples.
Members of the General Assembly mistake having the deck stacked in favor of incumbents for genuine connection with the people and actually being popular.
And Madigan and the other legislative leaders have the members of the GA right where they want them. The legislators have big egos. And they think they are very important people. But few of them actually have the skill set to go on to something bigger without a political machine doing the heavy lifting.
Legislators who are weak, but arrogant are easily manipulated by party leadership. That’s the way Madigan wants them to be.
How pathetic was Terry Link saying he brought the information to the campaigns of Quinn and Hynes? Link actually believed Quinn or Hynes was supposed to go negative against Cohen.
Link’s behavior reflects years of conditioning that he has to work through bosses, not make decisions and take action by himself.
===a member of the IBEW and had support within the building trades. ===
If he did, it didn’t show up in his campaign financials. He issued no A-1s and his D-2 showed he spent just $14,196.79 during the last six months of 2009 and had a negative $1,284.16 funds balance at the end of the year.
Yes, I have seen blame placed all over. Though the impression I’ve got, is that it’s seems more expedient to call for abolishing the position or blaming the Speaker. I’d cite the Pantagragh, Daily Journal, and yesterdays Sun Times editorial. I do not, in anyway, absolve party leaders from their glaring role in this debacle.
My question- how did SLC’s background get missed and how can we make sure this doesn’t happen again?
Most of all, I blame voters. They get easily bought off by a couple million in ads, especially for meaningless offices that should not exisit. I met SLC once at an event. The vibe was clear as day to me.
My vote? A large amount of the blame falls squarely on Senator Terry Link. It would be a HUGE mistake to even think of naming him as the Lt. Governor candidate now. He is actually LINKED to this Cohen scandal because he ran around town Wednesday calling papers saying “I tried to warn Quinn and Hynes about this.”
Reasons why Link should be blamed:
#1 - He is a Democratic County Chairman. He has a responsibility to the party, not just to win the county for himself (even if only by 4,000 votes).
#2 - He was a candidate for the office himself. Candidates have an un-official obligation to inform voters of their opponents’ flaws. Like it or not (I’m speaking to you goo-goos) but attack ads and contrast / compare ads serve a public purpose (even though the concept is abused sometimes). If you are a candidate for office and you know something very damaging about your opponent that would cause voters to not like that candidate - and it is factually true — you have an OBLIGATION to your campaign, your supporters and to the voters to tell the world. Why did you just tell Quinn (did you?) and Hynes about SLC’s record? A lot of good that did. They had their own campaigns to run. You should have done the deed yourself.
Not a peep from Link’s campaign. He was a terrible candidate and he is at least partially to blame for the SLC fiasco.
#3 - Also to blame. Tribune. They had more of this info prior to Tuesday’s primary. They claimed (to you Rich) that they didn’t want to “interfere” in the election? Excuse me? How much money did they spend on legal proceedings related to unsealing Jack Ryan’s divorce papers. And yes, they started that whole investigation actually before the primary date - even thought it wasn’t unsealed afterwards.
Even though there are other AA’s on the Democratic ticket already, Art Turner still has the “late in his career” factor going for him which you discussed in the Fax today.
We have to replace Cohen with a Jewish candidate? That is the most laughable thing I’ve ever heard. Maybe that argument would make sense if he had strong ties to the community or he raised a lot of money from Jewish leaders, but he used all his own money and he was virtually unknown prior to Tuesday - so that’s a ridiculous basis for advocating for a Jewish candidate.
Madigan and Cullerton are going to want a candidate who won’t cost them a seat and may help some of their targets. Quinn should go for someone either from the Suburbs or Central Illinois to eat away at Brady’s strengths there.
Sen. Michael Frerichs or Sen. Dan Kotowski
So the party that has served us up Blagojevich, Burris and Cohen are wondering what’s up?
Give us all a break!
The Party has a pretty poor record when it comes to nominating craptastic candidates. As I have been blogging for the past few years, each political party in Illinois is to blame for the poor choices facing Illinois voters. Instead of being a real political party interested in more than just power, the Democrats and Republicans have failed Illinois repeatedly.
The GOP didn’t reform itself after George Ryan. How else can you explain the fact that their former party chair used his position in the manner Andy McKenna did? Who decided that McKenna was qualified beyond having millions to spend? Where are these people’s heads? As a result, they have become as popular as the Whigs in this state.
The Democrats haven’t reformed themselves after having to impeach and remove their own political leader. Blagojevich wasn’t a one-off isolated incident. He was a corrupted unethical boob who they elected governor - twice. What were Rod Blagojevich’s qualifications for their honor? They thought he could win. That was the only reason they sold our soul to the Devil in 2002 and 2006.
Both parties just pretended that voters will just forget or hope that voters would just believe that their corrupted nominees were isolated mistakes. Voters end up nominating family members in the hope that perhaps a politician’s children would be a better recommendation that a nomination due to party support.
If critics want to go after one guy - again, and claim that that one guy is the reason for an entire party’s lousy nominating process, then they are also claiming that the political parties don’t represent their party, just A party leader.
Those who believe that the problem is the governmental position itself, well I have an even better solution along those similar lines. Get rid of the Lt. Governor position, and any other political position poisoned by a corrupted or unethical nominee. This approach holds that the problem isn’t the corrupted political parties, but the fact that there exists public offices that hurt the political parties striving to fill them.
Illinois is the corruption capital of the US because it has two corrupted political parties disinterested in cleaning themselves up enough to change Illinois.
Blame? How about nominating Grainger Terry for political team of the year. They got this guy elected! How can they not be considered the best campaign managers in the business? Just saying…
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 11:00 am:
No, Durbin was not “directly” responsible, but he was indirectly responsible. From the Rockford Register-Star:
“U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a figurehead among Illinois Democrats, is working to build his own Illinois voter database — a “voter file” distinct from the party’s central voter file, which is controlled by House Speaker Michael Madigan’s political organizations — as well as a new layer of the party’s grass-roots operation….Durbin is working through the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association to create this new database”
Cohen’s campaign records show that the Downstate County Chairmen sold Cohen the database for $15,000.
That enabled Cohen to spend more than $300,000 on direct mail prior to Jan. 1. I think that’s more than the TOTAL spending by any other candidates.
I’m not suggesting that Durbin was behind Cohen’s candidacy, BTW.
But I think its hypocrisy to fault the State Party Chair for not doing more to keep candidates out of the race in the 2010 election cycle when you were criticizing him for exercising too much control over the process in the previous cycle.
A note on the media sharing the blame and the attitude of voter carelessness: Two prominent Chicago media personalities who commented strongly on the Cohen mess admitted they both voted for Gov., but did not vote in the Lt. Gov. race. To me that is amazing. Members of the media who exhort us to be informed and to care about voting, who editorialize on politics, did not vote on this position. That’s just dippy beyond belief, no matter how they characterize it. Why don’t they just say, “I would like to comment on politics, but won’t because I didn’t vote on this one.”
As an admitted former long-tim member of the “Eliminate the Office of the Lt. Gov. Chorus”, I have a new thought. With IL’s recent record of Governors who limp to the end of their terms, if they make it at all, eliminating the LT. Gov Office entirely and placing the Attorney General second in the line of succession would require (1) a special election to replace the AG (expensive) or (2) appointment of a replacement AG (disenfranchising the electorate and potential bleepin golden opportunity for shenanegins). So, why not retain the office, with Gov and Lt. Gov running as a ticket in the primary and the general elections (or making the #2 vote getter in the primary the LT. Gov candidate in the general election, and wouldn’t that be fun to watch) AND give the office some actual duties, such as an agency head? If the LT. Gov had to step up due to impeachment or death of the Governor, replacement of an agency head could be accomplished without the expense of a special election or the afroementioned shenanagins of an appointment.
I kinda wondered if the pretty mailer down my way touting a small businessman with shots of bluecollar workers on it did not confuse some of the older voters down here into believing SLC was somehow connected to the old Cohen Furniture Store that was a big part of my community for like 127 years. Maybe not at all, but the thought crossed my mind when I received the mailer. No other Lt Gov runners that I’m aware of sent out anything around here. They might have ran ads, but if so I did not see them (though I don’t watch much tv I must admit)
- Richard Saunders - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 11:07 am:
Niles Township, good for you but honestly, most voters NEVER meet a candidate. I’m leaning toward thinking that we should have run-off system. When there are more than 4 candidates, anyone can squeak in. It’s a crapshoot. And if we don’t have a run-off system, then everyone, the press, the partys, candidates MUST be more informative. There must be better voter education provided.
- lake county democrat - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 11:09 am:
Madigan has time to run dummy candidates in districts to skirt the state “reform” law and make sure any real challengers are defeated, but he couldn’t, post-LaRouchies, do a simple court background check on one of the same races that ruined the Dems before?
Or just read Mark Brown? Or is that forbidden at IDP headquarters since Brown’s wife was on the reform commission?
The “credit” Rich wants to give him is only a soupcon of the blame he deserves.
===But I think its hypocrisy to fault the State Party Chair for not doing more to keep candidates out of the race in the 2010 election cycle when you were criticizing him for exercising too much control over the process in the previous cycle.
You are missing the entire point of why Madigan is partially to blame (there’s plenty of blame to go around, but the Party Chair gets some because he’s the Party Chair).
It’s not a binary choice to be involved or not involved. There are positive ways of being involved—screening out loons–which we have had problems with in the past–is one of those positive ways of being involved.
The negative ways of being involved include knocking out all candidates who aren’t his preferred candidate or just limiting the choice of Democratic voters beyond screening out for loons. He probably should protect incumbents within the party to a degree simply because that’s usually what a state party does.
Trying to paint involvement as either all in or all out is silly and it’s pretty simple to point out the difference between say Cohen and Alexi. The Republicans got this both this cycle and the last with Andy Martin. When Andy McKenna’s incompetence can even handle the difference, it’s not much of a stretch to say one of the smartest guys in Illinois politics probably can as well.
The whole thing is such a sham. No matter who he is Cohen got the votes to run in the General election. Now you have all these holier than thou Democrat heavyweights throwing in their two cents and you have all the media outlets making assumptions that he was elected because the voters didn’t care or do their homework. Once again all of these people show themselves for the imbeciles they are. Did they ever think that maybe he was elected because he was the only one talking about and DOING something about what the voters wanted, jobs? So we are uninformed because we didn’t vote for the candidates that didn’t have anything constructive to say, and instead voted for someone who was talking about the issues.
Where was all of this indignation and action to get someone to step aside when Burris was appointed? I know there was some, but it didn’t get to the level where they got rid of him. Cohen did not do anything that he could have been convicted for. Can the same thing be said about Burris? I know he hasn’t been convicted yet, but I think that is only because everyone dropped it and decided to just run someone against him in the next election. Then he decided not to run. The same could be done to Cohen.
I think you are going to see some backlash from voters on this. Cohen is going to be looked at as another victim of the Democratic machine. He is going to be another candidate who is shoved aside because the power bosses do not like him. Blago will have a field day with this. I am not a Cohen fan but I am more against the power that certain individuals have that they can control the policy, direction, and ultimate outcome of the State of Illinois. Now they can even control who our candidates are. And I thought this was a democracy. Cohen’s only crime was he did his things BEFORE he was elected. If he did them after he would just be a congressman.
Oh, man! Having the second vote getter as the Lt Gov would be awesome. I’d love to see the political calculus…do I release this damaging ad about my opponent, or hold it because she’ll be my Lt Gov candidate.
Agreed Cindy Lou. Again, the other other candidates share some blame too. Even if they didn’t have the money to do mailers or the organizational support to do door-to-door, at least they could have done some online advertising - but no. I saw none of that. They are to blame for running shabby campaigns. In a normal year, Art Turner’s radio ads would have been good enough to win if he wasn’t up against a self-funder, but he was already off the air by the time SLC’s media buys were starting.
If Cohen didn’t buy a voter file from the Chairmen’s association, he would have bought it somewhere else. He spent $2 million + for God’s sake! It’s not like this was some Rosetta stone he couldn’t get on the open market.
You are also ignoring the reason Durbin started developing an alternative voter file — which was because down ballot democrats (i.e., county level candidates and local judicial candidates with less resources) had no access to the state file without paying a very hefty fee — another example of how DPI has been distorted away from what is supposed to be its core purpose.
“I think that Chairman Madigan needs to have a much better process in place so that we know the backgrounds of all candidates as they put themselves up to be Democrats,” Durbin said.
This coming from the guy that sold SLC his voter file for $15,000 without vetting him so he could target Dem voters. Maybe the ILDCC needs to put “much better processes in place” Durbin was zzz at the wheel too and so were the neophytes responsible for distributing the voter file via the ILDCC … What a hypocrite…
[…] The Kiss Of Death Rich Miller has a huge roundup of the aftermath of the Scott Lee Cohen debacle, with all the finger-pointing and blame gaming. Along with all that, Miller includes a nifty map by the Chicago Sun-Times that shows which counties were won by which Lt. Governor candidate. […]
Help me understand your point here. Because Durbin wanted to make it easier for Democratic candidates to pay for access to the Party voter file, he’s the bad guy? Previously, only the Party Chairman made the voter file available to some (preferred?) candidates. Are you suggesting that was the better system?
Making the voter file available for purchase by any candidate(s) isn’t the problem here. The absence of anyone vetting Mr. Cohen once it appeared that his campaign was gaining serious traction was the problem.
Anybody that wants to buy the voter file should be able to. Anybody that wants to qualify for the ballot has that right. But not everybody ought to be able to fly under the radar and jeopardize the Democratic ticket.
I think you’re point of trying to get this to stick to Durbin is off base.
Irish, I believe that SLC could have been convicted for using a knife on a woman. I also believe that child support was mandated. Why no one tried to enforce that when he was spening like a drunk for these past months speaks to the problems with that system.
Since Durbin fashions himself a statewide Dem. leader, why didn’t HE investigate the candidates so he could make reasonable recommendations? I agree with Rich - Durbin can’t be blamed based on the voter file situation, but if he’s such a bigshot in the Dem. party (see Sneed gushing; good analysis Rich on sourcing speculation), why didn’t he do ANYTHING to help fashion a ticket??
SAP - I agree with you LG is a waste of money and should be eliminated. But by making it the #2 vote getter you encourage a bunch of weak Links and Bolands to get into the Gov. race with the hope of becoming number two. Not a great concept there.
Best way forward given the state’s fiscal condition and the opportunity that this SLC crisis presents to us: constitutional amendment to eliminate the office of the LG. Order of succession then becomes the way to go in case something happens to Governor.
I come at this from Apple’s perspective. MSM’s convenient, after-the-fact mea culpas don’t really cut it with me. The MSM is the first to bloviate about how they are the bulwark of democracy, keeping “the people” informed about public affairs and acting as a guardian by rooting out hypocrisy and falsehood among politicians who would otherwise deceive us.
But the reality is that the MSM wants to sell papers and air time. For decades that has meant that down ticket races get cursory, if any, attention in the news at all. Bottom line that if the public wants in depth information about candidates, the regular media is not the place to look for it. I wouldn’t be surprised that Grainger advised Cohen that he should feel free about bringing up the divorce/”massage therapist” girlfriend/abuse early on because his candidacy and the lt gov race would be widely ignored.
Due to the refusal of the MSM to devote sufficient resources to reporting on down ticket races, the MSM should not be so quick to hold itself out at such a stalwart guardian of honest discourse in politics.
===Since Durbin fashions himself a statewide Dem. leader, why didn’t HE investigate the candidates so he could make reasonable recommendations? I agree with Rich - Durbin can’t be blamed based on the voter file situation, but if he’s such a bigshot in the Dem. party (see Sneed gushing; good analysis Rich on sourcing speculation), why didn’t he do ANYTHING to help fashion a ticket??
I’m sorry, is Mike Madigan the Party Chair or not? And is that role different from being a statewide elected official? Because by this logic we have 8 Party Chairs and an official Party Chair.
Trying to pass the blame to a guy who has helped grassroots Democrats by making simple things like voter files available through a Democratic organization that is concerned with building the party is silly. A voter file didn’t win this election and it wouldn’t have taken much to derail this clown with just a little bit of publicity about his background.
That is a fair point. Durbin is as much to blame for not vetting Cohen as many Democratic Party leaders who sat silent while this guy bombed the airwaves with a pretty good message.
I hope we can spend today playing the blame game so we can get past this fiasco quickly. For Quinn and the Democrats, it’s game-on now. He needs to get a professional staff together asap, not the rag-tag gang that we saw during the primary. This is a completely different race, and his team needs to reflect that.
For all the Dems on this site, let’s try to get this out of our system today, learn from it and move on. We’ve got serious work to do before November or else 2010 will make 1994 look like a banner year for our party.
- Will County Woman - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 11:22 am:
I don’t know who is to blame, nor do I care. I’m not so sure that this is a “blame” issue anyway.
Not to entirely dismiss his past and the fact that SLC was a bit rough around the egdes, but for all anyone knows Illinois might have just lost a real advocate, friend and fighter. He just didn’t have the proper pedigree or last name to shield him the way others do. And of course he was an incovenience for our hapless Pat Quinn.
SLC was also stealing al of our Pat’s media attention, and of course our Pat just couldn’t stand it. He wasn’t going to put up with 9 months of someone else getting all the attention and spotlight he has coveted for his 30+ years in politics. True to form our Pat holds a press conference less than 24 hours after SLC announces he will withdraw.
Now come on…admit it…didn’t you enjoy the Pat Quinn-free past few days? :)
I do think Mayor Daley is the only real winner in all of this. I don’t know what he was doing behind the scenes to junk SLC, but his (public) words on Saturday were right-on!
Life is good and I trust things will work out in the end.
===Yeah, because there’s a huge constituency out there for alleged attempted wife-rapers and hooker knifers.===
No. Please understand that I am not condoning anything Cohen did and I am not saying I want him as my Lt. Gov.. However, given that the general public has become desensitized to this type of thing in politicians, and has become very angry with the inaction of those in power; I think they will be more angry with Durbin, Madigan, et al, than with Cohen. A candidate who they see spent his own money, got no help from the machine, was a real outsider, and was promoting jobs, gets tossed aside by the people who haved caused the situation we are in.
The whole reason Cohen won was because people saw his name a lot and they got in the booth and thought they had to vote for someone. If you want to take a bet on how many people are actually attached to the candidacy of SLC I’ll give you any percent above 3 in a poll of Democratic voters.
Who the heck is Kitty Kurth to be talking so tall about state party issues? Never heard of her.
So, for all the talk that Madigan has too much power, apparently he was supposed to use the heavy hand to bypass the voters, all other LG candidates the media all of whom had a direct responsibility and dropped the ball on this guy.
We don’t have slating anymore. He got on the ballot, campaigned when everyone else didn’t and accidently got elected. and this is Madigan’s fault for not being more heavy-handed? Hipocracy at its finest.
Any truth to the rumor I heard that Quinn’s operation was actually coordinating to help Turner in the primary?
Besides that Turner was 1st on the ballot, how else do you explain how well Turner did statewide? He didn’t have name recognition, and it’s not like his campaign caught on like wildfire.
Madigan was aware several weeks before the election that Cohen was in the lead. Thats why Turners ads cautioned the voters about ” a pawn broker was trying to buy the election.” What more can Madigan do ?
I am sure there is plenty of blame to go around! What I do not understand is why the media, voters and people like Durbin ( who sits on a pile of money that could have been used to inform the public through ads ) did not do more for the Dem. Party !
We need the old system where the lt gov could be from a different part :)
So Durbin is working on his own Dem databse to offset madigans; runnign hsi somewhat behind the scenes counter insurgency to madigan, and now questioning his leadership.
it looks like on the surface Durbin is try for a bit of a coup over control of the Dem party. Whetehr Durbin wants it directly or wants somone alligned with him is not clear to me. I wonder why Durbin is heading donw this path though.
- paddyrolingstone - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 12:23 pm:
“Every Democratic activist I’ve been talking to the last few days says it is time for Madigan to step up or step out.”
Let’s see, MJM was the only thing standing in the way of a complete GOP takeover in the 1990s (94-96, notwithstanding), under his watch the Ds have consistently won the House (of couse, no matter who draws the map), the Senate, all constitutional offices, and, to top it off, he was the only one who stood in Blago’s way when it became apparent that he was clinically insane and incapable of governing. No, I’ll stick with the Speaker, the SLC-debacle notwithstanding.
- Will County Woman - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 12:27 pm:
any chance he was dispatched into service by the White House? or, is he truly acting on his own?
You are hanging on by a thread here. Are you really suggesting that Cohen couldn’t afford $50,000 for a voter file (and truth be told, it actually would only have run around 30K) AND that a consultant wouldn’t have allowed him to buy one?
Pretty sure if Grainger Terry was willing to take $650K from Cohen, they would have taken a bit more and secured him a voter file.
_ Blame? How about nominating Grainger Terry for political team of the year. They got this guy elected! How can they not be considered the best campaign managers in the business? Just saying… _
Anon get a clue. This ain’t amateur hour. Progress Illinois, Talking Points Memo, the Sun Times, the AP, the Tribune WTTW and WGN all got the names of the people who worked at Grainger Terry on behalf of SLC. Those people at Grainger Terry ran an astroturf campaign, that paid kids to show up at astro turf job fairs, so they could issue a few press releases and shoot a crappy commercial. Yeah, they won. But those guys names are all well known by Democratic Chattering Class all over DC, Chicago and Springfield. In the next few days look for stories to come forward about who they were and what kind of campaign they ran. SLC could be facing state and federal legal action for tax evasion and issuing faulty campaign finance reports too and no, I am not making that up. The Grainger Terry crews days working on progressive democratic campaigns or for any progressive democratic candidates anywhere in the United States are over.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 12:59 pm:
try some humility -
If you think that’s a smackdown from Rich Miller, you’ve obviously never seen a smackdown from Rich Miller.
As for the name-calling, well, if you want to call me smug, fine.
But Durbin’s blowing this one just like he blew Roland Burris.
==Have you yet seen an editorial or column that doesn’t in part blame the media? If so, where? ==
The SJ-R editorial cited above, for one. They conveniently leave out the media in who they feel is responsible for voters not knowing enough about the candidate. If only there was some local public source of information voters could read to become informed about candidates…
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 1:08 pm:
Granger Terry doesn’t HAVE the voterfile, or they would have sold it to him.
There are less than a handful of vendors that you can purchase a good statewide file from, and they only work for one candidate per office.
Don’t get me wrong…you CAN build your own, if you really know what you’re doing. But you’re talking about 106 different files with more than 70 different data formats, a couple of counties that don’t even have electronic versions of their data, purchasing the raw data itself for several hundred bucks a pop from each of those counties…
I’m not saying there’s absolutely, positively no way he could have gotten the data. But the fact that so few candidates have it ought to tell you something.
The fact that Durbin felt the need to step in and make it available to candidates only further emphasizes the point.
Siriusly writes, “#3 - Also to blame. Tribune. They had more of this info prior to Tuesday’s primary. They claimed (to you Rich) that they didn’t want to “interfere” in the election? Excuse me? How much money did they spend on legal proceedings related to unsealing Jack Ryan’s divorce papers. And yes, they started that whole investigation actually before the primary date - even thought it wasn’t unsealed afterwards.”
How hard is it to get basic facts correct?
The fact of the matter is that the campaign manager for Gen. John Borling (one of Ryan’s primary opponents on the GOP side) was the guy waving around an “unredacted” copy of the divorce papers in the days before the 2004 GOP primary.
He had a copy because the divorce record had been public info up until Jack! decided to run for Senate at which point he went to California and asked Jeri and the judge to seal the papers. They agreed.
Borling fired the guy for doing it, by the way, but it wasn’t the Trib or even Obama that threw the first lob… It was a GOP primary opponent.
Did the Trib pick up that torch and go about obtaining the previously public records via legal means?
Did the Obama campaign push the story behind the scenes?
But, Siriusly, it was the Republican Borling campaign that made the first move before the March primary.
Will County Woman asks, “any chance he was dispatched into service by the White House? or, is he truly acting on his own?”
WCW, others on this board would know better than I but my hunch is that Durbin was acting relatively on his own here as a “senior statesman” in the state party.
He’s been pushing Madigan (vis a vis him being state party chair) for some time now on a few fronts. For instance, trying to provide a counterbalance to Madigan is one of the reasons Durbin was helping organize the county chairs into a more cohesive group (”trying” being the operative word).
No coordinated campaigns. Involvement in primaries that benefit only his House members (Turner only latest example). Use of DPI solely to benefit House members. No real party building outside of recruiting House candidates. No Web presence.
===Any idea WHY Durbin feels he needs to provide a counter-balance to Madigan?
===What’s the beef?
The County Chairs are pretty clear on the problem–their candidates can’t get voter files or other help from the party so they started to organize themselves. If Madigan doesn’t like it, he can work with them to grow the party.
But again, a voter file didn’t win it for this guy. A little bit of publicity on his background and he wouldn’t have won. The Republicans did it with Martin and you’d think after 1986 the Democrats would know the importance of paying attention to the others on the ballot.
If anyone wants me to name the names of who works at Grainger Terry and who did what over there on behalf of Scott Lee Cohen, I would be happy to. But I am going to let his play out for the next couple of days and let the so called “Main Stream Media” do their work. And no, this is no knock at you at all Rich. As you know, I am a fan of the blog and active participant in this total BS never-ending Illinois political circus. Maybe Zorn or Marin will take a shot at Grainger Terry and their astro turf stunts next.
Adding, Madigan was the only state party chair to refuse the DNC’s 50 State Strategy funding a few years back because he was unable to convince the national chairman to simply fork over the money to the state party.
The DNC directly hired a DNC-funded organizer or two in every other of the 49 states.
It’s not so much that Durbin has a personal beef with MJM (that I know of) but that MJM runs the state party as his own personal campaign fund/operation to do with as he sees fit.
Kinda leaves anyone not beholden to MJM in the dirt. (Could be why Quinn as Lt. Gov. candidate was “forgotten” on the 2002 campaign lit for statewide offices.)
== The SJ-R editorial cited above, for one. They conveniently leave out the media in who they feel is responsible for voters not knowing enough about the candidate. If only there was some local public source of information voters could read to become informed about candidates==
Exactly. There is blame to go around, but this couldn’t be more true.
“The day after he was elected — one day too late, unfortunately — reporters dug up documented accusations..” Sun-Times
You may not like what he posts, but at least his arguments are coherent and he writes in complete sentences.
Speaking of which, wonder when we’ll hear from CircularFiringSquad blaming all this on McKenna, Cross or George W. Bush. He may be too busy to post.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 1:56 pm:
Those are fair points.
Although to be fair, “coordinated campaigns” are only possible when they are perceived to benefit BOTH candidates.
House Democrats have coordinated with campaigns in those instances.
If you were a House candidate, would you have coordinated your campaign with Rod Blagojevich or Emil Jones in 2006?
House Democrats DID coordinate with other Democrats in other elections, but the fact is its pretty tough to coordinate with any other Democrats in most contested House races because those candidates are focusing on attracting independent voters and running against the Machine.
Finally, given Madigan’s track record in contested statewide Democratic Primaries, I’m not sure how big of a difference it makes.
McCarthy, McLaughlin, Kelleher, Mangieri….
The last one is particularly on point. Madigan on more than one occasion raised serious concerns about Alexi in 2006, and he was voted in overwhelmingly anyway.
In fact, while hindsight is 20/20, the only election that I can see where the state party’s failure to weigh in was in 2002, when there was no endorsement in the Governor’s race.
Who did Durbin endorse in the 2002 governor’s primary? No one that I can recall.
Apple, I will say, while not exactly falling on their sword, at least the Sun Times admitted some fault. I give big credit to those like Rich and a few others who genuinly admitted a mistake. On the flip side, those who do not, like the SJ-R (who supposedly take pride in their political reporting, and whom a lot of people go to become informed) should be called out.
Anon, I believe we’re on the same page. I appreciate members of the media that stepped forward to acknowledge mistakes made. That, most definitely, includes Rich. The flip side is what I find most objectionable.
To Rob N - That is fair, I really meant it when I said I haven’t heard of her, and I run in mulptiple political circles. It seems to me that Sweet uses her in the article as an example that multiple Dem insiders are blaming Madigan for SLC when she is, to my knowledge, not a known Dem player. So I did what you recomended. I googled her. Her own bio:
Kurth has served as a media consultant and general consultant for political races … including the role of Illinois campaign manager for Presidential candidate Paul Tsongas, national press and advance staff or the general election campaign of Governor Michael Dukakis and Illinois press secretary and spokesperson in the primary and advance person /organizer for Ron Brown’s campaign for Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Paul Tsongas, Michael Dukakis and Ron Brown. Yeah…I can see why she’s in a postition to criticize Mike Madigan’s state party leadership. Please
When you’ve finished laughing, consider that under his leadership, DPI actually had an office, and a telephone that wasn’t automatically bounced to the Balzekas Museum of Lithuania Culture. They used to have Democratic Conventions too, remember those?
I’m not asking Gary to move back, but there ought to be somebody Madigan and the Central Committee can appoint to be a full-time executive director. That’s not asking for too much, is it?
The issue of removing Cohen from the ballot is more nuanced than Rich makes it. While his distinction Rich between a primary (nominating) election and general election is correct, it is also true that primary elections have become a cornerstone of American democracy, and in many instances offer a more important choice than the general election. To overturn the results of a general election by fiat of party leaders is a very grave step. Furthermore, the Blagojevich comparison is a strained one, as criminal proceedings had been commenced against Blagojevich at the time of impeachment. Political consequences by an angered constituency over the events of the past few days are certainly possible, even for a candidate as flawed as Cohen. Having said this, there was obviously a ncessity to remove Cohen from the ticket.
YDD’s 1:56 post is spot on. The Madigan critics want it both ways. Do more! Do less!
Media and the other LG opponents dropped the ball. Even me as a voter. I told people not to vote for SLC, because I had a strange vibe that his “job fairs” were manufactured stuff. But I didn’t even google him or look up his background myself. Sorry to my F&F list.
Speaker was backing Turner, but his people were not running Turner’s campaign. Big difference.
For his part Turner hasn’t even said he knew about the record. But Terry Link has. Why aren’t more of you questioning why Terry Link an opponent for the LG race who is also a Democratic County Chairman and State Senator didn’t try to raise the issue?
Madigan may be somewhere on the blame list, but I think he should be number 4 or 5.
Corrected comment: The issue of removing Cohen from the ballot is more nuanced than Rich makes it. While his distinction between a primary (nominating) election and general election is correct, it is also true that primary elections have become a cornerstone of American democracy, and in many instances offer a more important choice than the general election. To overturn the results of a primary election by fiat of party leaders is a very grave step. Furthermore, the Blagojevich comparison is a strained one, as criminal proceedings had been commenced against Blagojevich at the time of impeachment. Political consequences by an angered constituency over the events of the past few days are certainly possible, even for a candidate as flawed as Cohen. Having said this, there was obviously a ncessity to remove Cohen from the ticket.
===Sure, because when Mike Madigan had bad things to say about Alexi in the 2006 primary, it changed the outcome of the election.
===Your kidding, right?
Well gee, in that case Madigan claimed he was trying to protect the ticket and vetted Alexi. A bunch of it was BS, but whatever.
Trying to compare Alexi to Cohen is kind of silly since Alexi was well vetted by the press and Madigan and Cohen was largely ignored. The only way people knew about Cohen was from his mailers and such. A little bit of publicity in a situation like this could have changed the four percent difference.
It’s not like gadfly candidates haven’t been a problem before…this isn’t something new.
The other candidates probably deserve the majority of the blame, but the Chairman of the Party does have a responsibility to know what is going on.
So tell me, how did Mike Madigan contribute to the large Senate majority? Or to our statewide office holders other than his daughter?
====YDD’s 1:56 post is spot on. The Madigan critics want it both ways. Do more! Do less!
No, it’s do your job. He is the Party Chair, not just the head of the House and the Dems house campaigns. As Party Chair his job is to watch out for exactly this sort of thing because we know what happens if you don’t–Fairchild, Hart, and now Cohen.
He doesn’t do the job of Party Chair. He uses the position for cheap postage and hangs the rest of the party out to dry. Democrats will still generally win because of demographics in Illinois, but that doesn’t mean anyone is building the party.
Meanwhile, Scott Lee Cohen hasn’t ruled out an independent run in November. Probably against one of the thugs that demanded he quit without taking any responsibility or respecting his prerogative, like Daley did and Durbin eventually got around to doing. This is far from over folks. Cohen is gone for now, but not all of the damage has been yet.
Can I gloat a little that finally someone is holding some fire to Michael Madigan’s feet?
This has all come up before. In 2004 the state GOP asked Jack! Ryan to step down and he did.
Are you saying Jack! should’ve stayed in and bucked state chair Topinka, etc. because the voters nominated him in the first place?
I’d be real interested in seeing a poll of Dem voters, esp. those who voted for Cohen on primary day, and how they felt once those “revelations” came out. Because in 2004 polling showed it was the very same GOP voters who nominated Jack! Ryan that then wanted him to drop out of the race.
(I also wonder, since she linked to Malkin’s post on the topic, if “Pam Harris” is also posting as “joshsmompam” over at Malkin’s site.)
Rob N–If you read my comment, I say that removing Cohen from the ballot was necessary. That does not change the fact that it was a grave interference with the democratic process, which may have adverse electoral consequences for the Democrats. Proper vetting before an election would eliminate the need for such untenable choices.
Rob N - again, fair. I’m not saying I’m in the know on all things in the state and city, I’m sure shes a fine person and we’d probably agree more than disagree on issues. I am wary of journalists using anyone with ‘consultant’ after thier name who create a fake narrative about backlashes that don’t exist. That was my only point.
47 - DPI has an office in Springfield and Chicago. If you were to call the office in Springfield during business hours, You would be greated by one of a few very nice staffers who I’m sure will be happy to listen to your whining about how they don’t ahve an office of phone number. Hating for the sake of hating sounds petty and cheap.
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 3:04 pm:
=== As Party Chair his job is to watch out for exactly this sort of thing ===
Um, AP, the Democratic Party didn’t endorse any candidate in this race, so what exactly would you have had him do?
Senator Link’s campaign is the only one I know of so far that says they knew about Cohen’s past, and while they say they gave the info to Quinn and Hynes, I haven’t heard them say they shared it with Madigan.
But even so, what would you have had him do with the info?
The gubernatorial campaigns were apparently unwilling to denounce him.
The press was unwilling to act.
Again, I take you back just four years to the Treasurer’s race. Madigan’s research raised concerns about Alexi. He found another candidate to run, engineered Mangieri’s endorsement, poured tons of resources into his campaign. And what happened?
Madigan is powerful. But he is not ALL-powerful. No state party chairman is. Nor should they be.
Finally, let’s put things in perspective.
Aside from Quinn, who is now Governor, I bet very few voters in Illinois can even tell you who ran for Lt. Governor in the last several elections.
It is, largely, an inconsequential office, and I’ll bet that nine months from now, very few Illinoisans will be casting their votes based on who is sitting second-fiddle.
- Pot calling kettle - Monday, Feb 8, 10 @ 3:12 pm:
YDD ==Don’t get me wrong…you CAN build your own, if you really know what you’re doing. But you’re talking about 106 different files with more than 70 different data formats, a couple of counties that don’t even have electronic versions of their data, purchasing the raw data itself for several hundred bucks a pop from each of those counties…==
Or, you can buy the whole list of registered voters from the state for $500
After that, you need to be able to use a database program like Access OR you can cut it into pieces and use a spreadsheet program like Excel. Sorting by primary voting habit and pulling addresses to label is pretty simple.
Andy McKenna was even able to muster that with Martin in 2008 and both Pat Brady and McKenna got their press releases picked up by the press. Now Martin in 2010 was already getting attention, but he wasn’t in 2008-that is what helped get the nomination to a non-loon.
Is it possible it wouldn’t have worked? Sure, but it also wouldn’t have taken much effort to get a few columnists to write about the guy and possibly get it on tv. Once a Party Chair attacks a candidate it’s news and in this case it probably would have been enough given the margins and that Cohen didn’t have a typical campaign to fight back.
And again, this isn’t something new. The Democrats tried to stop this kind of thing after the last time it happened.
I don’t blame Madigan for the whole thing (in fact I gave him credit for resolving it), but the Party Chair has some responsibility for checking for loons who might win.
The list is a bit longer than those three and includes Quinn and everyone else who did the same thing without getting the headlines those 3 got. Cohen certainly has a LOT more name recognition (albeit negative) than someone like David Miller does at this point. Name recognition is valuable. Negatives can be overcome or forgotten about (Bob Rita, Monique Davis, etc.) Not that he could win or anything but he could sure make this is an even bigger mess if the Democrats continue piling onto him like they have. There is a reason Cohen thanked Daley and Madigan when he quit. I’ll actually give Madigan credit for treating Cohen like a human being and respecting him enough to hear from him first hand, instead of acting like a thug making demands and insults without giving the guy any respect.
Who the heck is L.S.? :) BTW I have been working in Democratic politics since my first volunteer effort for Otto Kerner in my youth. I have been a public relations and political consultant for Democrats and NGO’s based in Chicago, working nationally and internationally, since 1985. I have worked on every Dem Presidential Campaign and Convention since 1988. I don’t put everything on my bio cause nobody wantsto read about me for 5 pages. I am quoted and asked to talk about Dem politics on TV radio and print more than I ought to be. But, L.S., I’m just another voter with an opinion.
The primary was an election. Sure it’s a partisan process but also an election.
When the GOP got Mr. Ryan to withdraw, I was an apathetic suburban mom voting straight Democratic.
It wasn’t until recently when I became the quid in a quid pro quo political deal that I pulled off the rose-colored glasses and looked at what was happening in IL: powerful IL Democrats making policy and decisions based not on what the people want but what will make them more powerful.
Call me naive, uneducated in IL political ways or even Independent. I represent a growing group of IL citizens who are fed up with status quo and are speaking up.
I’m learning as I go and Capitol Fax is one of only a handful of blogs where I am receiving my education.
Blame, hmmm. I know it sounds cynical but Scott Lee Cohen threw an awful lot of money at Illinois radio and TV stations to air his ads. Was their zeal to investigate and report on him in any way influenced by that? Like I said, I know it sounds cynical.