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Question of the day

Tuesday, Nov 28, 2006

Who do you think is the better legislative leader, Senate President Emil Jones or House Speaker Michael Madigan? Define “better” and explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

34 Comments
  1. - Woo Hoo - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 8:58 am:

    My definition of “better” is the one who can use the public’s resources to gain the most personal power & wealth.

    I think Madigan is clearly better.


  2. - Niles Township - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 9:17 am:

    Neither is a leader in the true sense of the word. Dealmakers for sure, but certainly not leaders. How sad for all of us.


  3. - PalosParkBob - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 9:17 am:

    I think Madigan is by far the better leader, perhaps BOTH in the House and Senate.

    A number of Dem Senators to whom have I’ve spoken shared that Madigan is far more in the mainstream with the Dem rank and file in their communities than Jones’ extreme agenda, and going against the MadMan has far greater consequences than breaking with Jones.


  4. - fedup dem - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 9:32 am:

    Perhaps it would have been better to have asked which one has wasted his leadership more. The answer to that question would clearly be Michael Madigan. The man has been Speaker for 22 of the last 24 years, but what are his legislative accomplishments, besides getting at least 60 House members to call out the name “Madigan” every two years in the roll-call vote to elect a Speaker? If you can think of any, let me know.


  5. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 9:34 am:

    Until Emil can run his daughter for..lets say, Comptroller or some other statewide office and win, despite a startling lack of experience, I’d say Madigan. Funny standards people have in IL.


  6. - Anon or face the wrath - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 9:37 am:

    Hmmmm let’s see…

    Has Jones ever limited the number of bills his chamber may introduce? No.

    Has Jones ever not allowed a bill out of Rules Committee because he has a “philosophical difference” with the bill? No.

    Has Jones ever refused to meet with trade associations and/or groups? No.

    Has Jones ever gone after one of his own members because the member voted against his bill in committee (remember Bugielski? No.

    Madigan may be more political savvy but a better leader? He is the 21st century Machiavelli.


  7. - swede - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 9:58 am:

    I definitely have to say Madigan. I like his leadership on the Com Ed Rate Freeze and his Predatory Lending legislation. I think Jones did a good job gaining senate seats this year, but the issue I have with Jones is that I have difficulty in undertanding what the heck he is saying when he speaks. At least for me he is real diificult to understand.


  8. - the Other Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 10:42 am:

    I’d say Madigan is the better legislative leader, defined by being able to run an orderly chamber and achieve the main objective of his caucus, i.e., retain majority control.

    Madigan is also, imo, a much smarter leader than Jones and has a far deeper understanding of issues facing state government.

    Jones, though, has the advantage in passion for an issue (i.e., school funding reform). And, I think Jones is far more liked by his caucus, especially after this last election.


  9. - Mike C - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 11:11 am:

    Mike Madigan, is the better leader by far. Any leader (Sen. Jones) who will not call the Com Ed rate freeze Bill for a fair hearing costing their cutommers millions of dollars is not much of a leader. Could it be follow the money ie:contributions to Senator Jones political fund? Don’t theese guys ever learn?
    Mike C


  10. - EMIL FAN - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 1:41 pm:

    Vision and a view for one’s own legacy are leadership qualities that far outweigh tactical abilities. These qualities are defintely stronger suits for Pres. Jones. Politically, he has now led the Democratic Party to the promised land–suburban areas of this state that are trending… and of course his ground breaking work in the areas of education and the criminal justice system are well documented.


  11. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 1:44 pm:

    Anon or face the wrath -

    Does Emil Jones give GOP bills a fair hearing? No.

    Is there a special interest Emil Jones doesn’t like? No.

    Has Jones twisted the arms of any of his members to cast a meaningless vote for a tax increase that cost them their seat, just to prove he’s big man on campus? Yes.

    And as for Emil never using his power to crush a bill in Rules, give me a call when CUB’s rate hike freeze gets it’s committee vote.

    Madigan is Machiavellian, but when it comes to issues like the rate freeze, or castrating the state board of education, he also has immutable principles. Jones is neither deeply principled nor politically shrewd.


  12. - Gregor - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 1:58 pm:

    Madigan… he has those dead eye, a doll’s eyes…you look into those eyes and it’s like he’s not even livin’… but then they roll back all white, and then oh, the screamin’…..I’ll never put on a page jacket again….

    Seriously, Madigan IS a shark; he gets it done quietly, without a big fuss, without a lot of noise.


  13. - Mike's Used Sports Section - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 2:06 pm:

    Emil finally had a good election for the first time in 14 years and he thinks he’s the greatest, clearly he has been drinking the Governor’s punch. I think this is a silly question.

    They are both good leaders in their own ways, but in Springfield might makes right and The Speaker is mightier.


  14. - Anon - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 4:07 pm:

    A great & timely question Rich.

    To me, there is NO contest.
    Madigan wins by a landslide, and the fragile egoed Jones is a baby who hates to be out-maneuvered by anyone else. Instead of appreciating the man who has kept a democratic majority in Illinois, Jones whines about groups who side with the speaker.

    Here are my reasons why the Speaker is a far better legislative leader:

    One of these leaders is a complete sell-out.
    One is not.

    One of these leaders has a huge chip on his shoulder from the days of being in the minority — he whines about it constantly & seeks revenge for slights he received while in the minority.
    Move on!
    The Speaker learned from it, and didn’t take it personally.

    One leader stands up and grandstands about helping the less fortunate(see all end of session speeches given by Emil). He gives hollow speeches about how HE is the only leader who cares about the working poor.
    The other leader really & truly passes legislation to help working families.

    One leader is reasonable & practical.
    One is not.

    One leader sells out to any and all utilities.
    One leader stands up to them — i.e. SBC, ComEd, etc.

    One leader’s staff is nationally known for kicking butts in democratic campaigns — the best of the best field operation. The Speaker keeps tabs on the most minute details of each campaign.
    He knows the nuts & bolts that will win campaigns and he cares about it.
    One leader was EXTREMELY lucky in this past election. True, Jones picked up 5 seats, but many outside factors contributed to this win — democratic landslide nationally, good candidates, etc. Not much has been said about the lack of Sendem staff & the brain drain that has occurred on Jones’ staff.

    One leader is disciplined enough to call it a night at a decent hour — and drink in moderation.
    One does not…

    Seems to me the knowledge, discipline, and shrewdness of the speaker makes him win hands down. We are lucky the speaker has the wisdom to avoid the “for sale” sign on the state capitol.
    God help us when he steps down.


  15. - anon - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 4:25 pm:

    Ditto! God Help Us When He Steps Down!


  16. - Deck Marker, Potluck & Roly Poly - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 4:53 pm:

    Emil Jones is a black racist. Whites in Illinois have jumped through hoops to avoid the term “racist” while ignoring and allowing racism to go unchecked in the black community.


  17. - concern citizen - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 5:36 pm:

    By far Jones needs to go/ He has sold out his community for special interest. He needs to go back to work at the Chicago Sewer Department where he gets another check or maybe ask ComEd for a job.


  18. - Mike Williams - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 5:47 pm:

    whoever said the thing about Jones never refusing to let a bill out of rules committee because he didn’t agree with it only tells part of the story.

    He NEVER assigns them to committee in the first place!

    Madigan is the better leader, but I feel that his picking of races to target has been off. Any acknowledgement or financing to other races this year would have netted him at least another 2 or 3. I understand that he does not want 71, but he easily could have made it 68 or 69 will better targetting.

    Still, he is the best politician ever to come out of this state, and maybe one of the best nationwide.


  19. - Bill - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 6:47 pm:

    Governor Rod Blagojevich is the strongest and most effective leader this state has ever seen. Re: Minimum wage, promise made-promise kept!

    Despite predictions from opponents of the minimum wage that its increase would harm the economy, since the higher wage took effect, Illinois has added more than 152,000 new jobs since January 2004, which is more than any state in the Midwest according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Illinois has led the nation in job growth twice this year (April and July), which has never happened before in recorded history, and has been named the third best state in the nation for attracting new and expanded corporate facilities by Site Selection Magazine. Inc. Magazine recently named Governor Blagojevich as the second best Governor in the nation for fiscal policy (Blagojevich was also named the top governor for health care policy). In addition, unemployment rate has fallen from 6.7 percent in January 2003, when the fight for the higher minimum wage began, to 4.1 percent today, which is the state’s lowest level on record.
    Thanks Governor for getting things done for people!


  20. - 312 - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 7:47 pm:

    Bill:
    Did you read the question? I guess once you’ve drank the kool-aid, your eyesight is the first thing to go…


  21. - Tessa - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 8:06 pm:

    Madigan is better. Why? He is much quieter about how he goes about getting business done. He sits back and calculates each move he makes before he makes it, and he looks out for working class citizens in the state. He’s on top of the game in Springfield, where he needs to be as Speaker. He knows how to read and react the Gov. He’s not a betting man in the game that is state government. He takes what he does very seriously.


  22. - Emil's Loyal Soldier - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 9:54 pm:

    Whoa! Hold on a minute Anon. Seems to me that you ought to get back to work over there at Senate GOP HQ.

    Rich, it’s unpractical to try to rate who is the better legislative leader. Just as it is unpractical to rate who is worse.

    Madigan has tremendous strengths. But, he is not better than Jones in any sense of the imagination.

    The two have completely different styles of leadership and legislative maneuvering. Because of this, they will likely never get along or trust one another.

    Jones has failed in accepting his role a real powerbroker in Illinois. It’s not intentional, but - others are correct - it’s based on a long-held feeling of being in the minority and being treated as irrelevant. True, Emil should try with all of his efforts to shed this.

    But, Madigan and his hoards of cronies throughout state government must understand that they are not experts in political success in this state. They are not owed anything by anyone else, no matter what they think. Madigan has failed in what he could have achieved long ago - a sign of a true leader - an olive branch to Emil. Madigan could have done that long ago. He could have led the state Democratic party into a coordinated grassroots group, built a farm team and layed the foundation for a real Democratic future.

    Instead, Madigan has only been concerned with collecting power - not doing anything of true long-term value with it.

    If only Jones and Madigan could somehow strike a deal to work out any differences, then both men would be worthy of “best” or “better”….

    Jones, however, deserves a lot of tremendous credit for his political success this season. Lucky? Absolutely. But, he’s earned a reputation for fighting every time - often when everyone else sees his effort as ridiculous. In 2006, his fights paid off big time. So, I urge you to be cautious with your comments of his staff being incompetent. Consistently, historically underrated is more appropriate.

    Emil’s staff does lack one thing that every other legislative leaders’ staff holds near and dear - - arrogance.

    So, Anon, I will take this rare opportunity to express true arrogance on behalf of Emil Jones and his tremendous staff - I very much hope it is intellectually painful for you over the next two years ’cause we won it this year and we’re a force you have to deal with - whether you like it or not!

    I am tremendously proud to be someone who spent many of my years in Springfield loyally working for MY PRESIDENT: EMIL JONES, JR.


  23. - Angie - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 9:59 pm:

    This gem from Bill: “Governor Rod Blagojevich is the strongest and most effective leader this state has ever seen. Re: Minimum wage, promise made-promise kept!”

    And just how many HIGH-paying jobs is Rod going to bring to Illinois?

    And if Rod is so effective, why did Carol Marin insinuate that he would have to be dumb as rocks to not *get* what his fundraiser pals were up to?

    Finally, how much is he paying you to pump out reverse spin anyways???


  24. - Every picture tells a story, don't it? - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 10:35 pm:

    Bill,
    My magic box tells me Site Selection magazine has Illinois tied for 12th for top business climate (November 2006). http://www.siteselection.com/


  25. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 10:41 pm:

    One measure would be, if Madigan and Jones are deadlocked on an issue, who usually comes out in a position more to their liking?

    I’d guess Madigan, but defer to the ones who have counted the beans in these situations.


  26. - DRB - Tuesday, Nov 28, 06 @ 10:47 pm:

    Swede mentioned something interesting, the predatory lending bill. If you are referring to HB 4050, I would entertain a debate.

    By the way, there is no such thing as predatory lending. By law it cannot happen. By definition, it does not exist.


  27. - Anon - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 1:06 am:

    Just to lighten things up,

    Who wins in a bare-knuckles fight?


  28. - Martha Mitchell - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 7:17 am:

    Let’s talk about the big non-partisan elephant in the back of the room. Emil Jones should have recused himself from any discussion on continuing the utility rate freeze because he is up to his armpits in taking money from ComEd, et al. The man should just maneuver himself into the CEO spot for ComEd and get it over with. It probably would be infinitely cheaper for the stockholders. He no scruples, no class and no self-control.


  29. - Rick - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 8:23 am:

    Emil, hands down. He is much more entertaining. I wish I had more video and audio of the guy.

    I haven’t had as much fun laughing at a politician since the Bill Clinton show!


  30. - Squideshi - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 8:42 am:

    On this topic, notice that Tom Cross does not use the official “House Minority Leader” title but instead uses “House Republican Leader”.


  31. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 9:56 am:

    It is Mr. Madigan.
    Reason: he keeps the ducks in a row and maintains strict order when necessary. He is the last of two adults, (the other Daley), keeping Illinois from becoming the new Paraguay of the Midwest.

    Finally - Bill, you are scaring us. Are you still driving? Just relax and press that little white button on that necklace the doctors are making you wear and tell them where you are right now. We are here to help!


  32. - just watching - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 9:57 am:

    So if Emil doesn’t hold bills in rules due to philosophical differences, why are hundreds even thousands of bill held in rules since he took the pres podium??? what are the reasons then?


  33. - long forgotten days - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 1:35 pm:

    “just watching” maybe the bills aren’t good. Anyone who has worked on a legislative staff knows (it has been a while since I did but I still remember) that for every good bill there is at least 10 bad bills that are introduced.


  34. - Reality Check - Wednesday, Nov 29, 06 @ 3:13 pm:

    “Long Forgotten days”
    Uh, give me a break.
    While that point may be true — that not all bills make it to committee because they are crap — I think the point that Just watching was making is that the argument that Jones does not hold bills in rules,is just downright silly.

    Anon or face the wrath, who earlier in this thread asserted that Emil “doesn’t hold bills”, must have drunk the senate dem kool aid, because they BOTH do it. This leadership tactic does not differentiate the two leaders.

    What does differentiate the two leaders is that Jones has some kind of insecurity that goes back to when he was in the minority.
    I agree with the earlier Anon who laid out a pretty good argument for Madigan.
    Jones’ end of the session speech truly is great theater. If only it was true.
    He spends the first 15 minutes railing on Watson for the perceived slights, then moves on to his made-up version of how he has helped the working class. It’s BS — because if the working class, earning minimum wage knew how he screws the consumer at every chance, they would be appalled.

    A good leader is one who has humility & confidence and works for the common good — not just for monetary benefit of one’s self.
    For these reasons, Madigan is the runaway winner on better leadership in springfield.


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