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Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007

First, the setup

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is expecting her second child, due in March.

The child will be the second for Madigan and her husband, Pat Byrnes, according to a release from the attorney general’s office.

Madigan expects to take a brief maternity leave following the delivery, then return to the office on a daily basis, as she did after giving birth to daughter Rebecca in January 2005.

Now, the question: If AG Madigan runs for governor, do you think her growing family will be - or even should be - a campaign issue? Explain.

…Adding… To those who dismiss this question, check out the lede from an AP story written in 2001

Republican Jane Swift took office Tuesday as Massachusetts governor apparently, the first pregnant governor in U.S. history and is sure to be watched closely for how she balances career and family.

You can say that it won’t be an issue, but it was a huge deal in Massachusetts, of all places, just six years ago. Never overestimate the punditry’s progressivity.

…Adding more… I didn’t notice this until it was pointed out by a commenter, but Illinois Review’s editor has already made AG Madigan’s pregnancy an issue

And we’ve been wondering why she hasn’t had time to work on enforcing the parental notification before abortion bill that’s stalled in her office. It appears she’s been pre-occupied — becoming a parent again.

Feel free to discuss this development if you’ve already responded to the original question.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wndycty - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:17 am:

    Nope, it should not be an issue.

  2. - 6'2" Yeti - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:18 am:

    It will only be an issue should she choose not to live in the Mansion.

  3. - He makes Ryan Look like a Saint - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:19 am:

    Only if Grandpa is going to live in the mansion with them!

  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:22 am:

    Remember, I also asked “will,” not just “should.”

  5. - Patriot - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:26 am:

    It will not be and should not be an issue.

  6. - Lainer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:26 am:

    It shouldn’t be an “issue” as far as her qualifications, and I doubt it will be. Hitting the campaign trail with a 5-year-old and 2-year-old (the kids’ age in 2010) will certainly be interesting!

  7. - krismr - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:26 am:

    Every other Governor has had a family, why should it matter that she does? I don’t think the family will be an issue as long as the youngsters aren’t getting arrested for DUI or possession of drugs like the other kids in the spotlight these days.

  8. - Boone Logan Square - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:28 am:

    She can point to the very popular Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, who has a pretty young family and a public perception of being the only Republican officeholder in the state who isn’t under criminal investigation. Might be a good way to contrast her with Rod when the time comes…

  9. - Leigh - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:30 am:

    There will be some who will say she has put her ambition before the needs of her children, but they will be the right wing Republicans so it shouldn’t hurt her a bit. It will be an issue even though it shouldn’t be.

  10. - Shallow Pharnyx - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:31 am:

    It will not be an issue. Should another candidate try to make it an issue, it will backfire.

  11. - Tom - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:34 am:

    I don’t think that her opponent will directly challenge her on it (especially if the opponent is a man), but there will certainly be a guerrilla campaign by the GOP to make it a meta-theme of the race.

    That and her dad is all that the GOP will have against her, so they will have to use it somehow.

  12. - Jay - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:36 am:

    This is the worst question every asked here. I mean really, who cares.

  13. - Napoleon has left the building - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:36 am:

    It should not be an issue, but it if is - it would only work to her advantage. It will not be an issue in any Democratic primary, but perhaps in the general.

    Perhaps the Republicans or Concerned Women for America might say she’s not serving her children well, etc. but I would think that would only help boost her positive ratings with working mothers everywhere.

    The more we hear about her as a mother I think it helps build her positive profile with many voters, she’s no longer just the Speaker’s daughter and a very good AG, she’s a mother of two young kids also “she understands me,” etc.

  14. - s - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:37 am:

    Ummm - didn’t Rod have a “growing family” as he was running and got elected governor?

  15. - Ghost - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:37 am:

    It should not be an issue, BUT depending on who her opponents are, i.e. if they have children, it very will could be raised. In political fights parties often do not hestitte to raise red herring issues. Since Ms. Madigan is strong overall, a mudlsinger oposition looking for a crack in the armor may decide to try this route.

  16. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:38 am:

    Of course not. For one thing, her husband has a flexible work situation. For another, it’s too retro to even talk about it. Who cares how she arranges her family life.

    I still question if she’ll run in 2010, though,
    unless Blago leaves voluntarily which seems unlikely unless Hillary gives him a big national job. It would be a huge decision for the Dems to
    have that kind of a internal political fight, even in a state with a continuing Republican meltdown.
    Neither she nor Blago would benefit from it in the long run.

    I say she waits until 2014..she’ll still be young and by that time maybe Blago, at age 56 or 57, will have the decency to sail off into a lucrative, no, plutocratic retirement like so many of our Illinois pols.

  17. - DeepFriedOnAStick - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:41 am:

    If Lisa declines to live in the Mansion and cites her family considerations as her basis for not living there, then yes her family will become an issue. The SJ-R and other downstate media will make it an issue.

  18. - GOP'er - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:41 am:

    It could be an issue for some. Of course assuming the IL GOP still doesn’t have its act together, it probably just means Lisa beats the hapless GOP nominee by only 15 points, instead of 20.

    On the other hand, there’s no better asset on the campaign trail than a couple of cute kids.

    I’ll say on balance, it’s a wash.

  19. - Puzzled - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:42 am:

    “…unless Blago leaves voluntarily….” Will somebody PLEASE get a constitutional amendment started that will limit governors to two terms? Quickly! A third term for Thompson wasn’t a good idea either.

  20. - bored now - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:44 am:

    absolutely! but it’s not her babies that will be the issue, but the concentration of power into one family, where one family is governor, speaker, head of the democratic party…

  21. - the Other Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 9:50 am:

    What would the issue be? That’s she should stay home with the kids instead of having a job?

    Really, outside of having to answer some perfunctory questions about where she will live — and those questions are equally applicable to her role as AG — I don’t really understand this question.

    As Leigh suggests, anyone who thinks that a woman should be a mother instead of a politician will also find plenty of reasons to hate Lisa Madigan.

  22. - Come on Rich - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:00 am:

    This is the dumbest QOTD ever posted. If the candidate was a man with a young family, would this question be posed? I would hope we’d be far past such inanity at this point, and surely on a blog as intelligent as this one can do better.

  23. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:04 am:

    ===This is the dumbest QOTD ever posted===

    The object of the QOTDs is to find out what commenters are thinking. So, simply asking a question that might seem out of date to you doesn’t make it stupid. I was and am curious how readers would respond to such a throwback idea. So far, it’s been interesting.

  24. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:05 am:

    Isn’t it interesting how many bloggers are so uncomfortable discussing families!

    Being a parent changes you for the better. It prioritizes your life and reminds you why you exist at all. We all want to think we are more than a biological unit and that we have more to contribute than children, but it is better to allow biology to enhance your life by becoming a parent than it is to pretend that being a parent isn’t a big deal. It is.

    In a way, discussing a candidate’s family is similar to discussing their religious belief. This is because both reflect on a candidate’s personal values. Just because we see so many candidates and politicians confused and abusing issues about their family doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discussed or considered. Politics doesn’t like it when we bury our heads and avoid the obvious.

    Those who shout that it “shouldn’t!” are probably uncertain how to judge a candidate using this criteria. Or they are afraid that they will discover a disqualifying truth to a candidate they wish to wholeheartedly support.

    We didn’t used to make this an issue because all candidates had boring nuclear families, as did we. But as the institution of families has faultered over the past 50 years, raising today’s social ills, we find ourselves caught between our individualism and our biology. So as a result, we are now uncomfortable even discussing a canidate’s family.

    If Lisa Madigan becomes a candidate, she will be open to scrutiny regarding her beliefs; political, religious, and personal. This includes her family as it directly reflects on who she is.

    Instead of running and screaming like a bunch of idiots, we need to behave as our parents and grandparents did - recognize it as a part of growing up and understand how to interpret it in a way that brings our more truths about a candidate.

  25. - jwscott72 - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:07 am:

    Everyone thought the same thing Rich did when they read the news, so this is not a dumb question.

    To answer the question: IF she runs (and I’ve never been sold on her running for Governor in the first place), someone will make it an issue but it will have no traction.

  26. - Reality Check - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:12 am:

    If it is issue, it will be as a plus.

    Most people have spouses and kids, or they aspire to, so a candidate with a happy family, a candidate who is a parent, that candidate is easier for people to identify with and warm to.

    It’s the candidate who is not married, has had multiple divorces, children who hate them, a past full of affairs — that’s where the personal/family matters become a problem or drag. You can think of a hundred examples I’m sure.

  27. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:15 am:

    It should be very minor. Expect cute pictures of mother and children.

    One thing that has occurred already:

    IllinoisReview has already posted something about her pregnancy, and took the opportunity to rip her about parental notification. Every time I think that website has hit a new low, the come back with something worse. Why couldn’t they just congratulate her?

  28. - MOON - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:27 am:

    If Lisa runs, then I predict the speaker retires.This cannot be an issue with the voters. What politician doesn’t try to get photo opt’s with children. Having a family shows a well rounded and grounded person. The voters love this in a candidate. Blago is thru. After his past and recent performance as governor you would have to be crazy to vote for him. I know there are some crazy people out there, but not enough to pull it off for Blago. Furthermore, he will never be appointed by any Dem. president; Blago is a grandstander and could never be trusted by any president. I predict Blago’s future is conviction and jail !

  29. - Reddbyrd - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:30 am:

    It will be an issue because the media is too dumb to cover real issues. It will be an issue that favors her and her family

  30. - Ken in Aurora - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:33 am:

    Should it be an issue? No.

    Will it be an issue? These are Illinois politics, of course it will.

  31. - Gus Frerotte's Clipboard - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:34 am:

    I agree that the father will be a bigger issue than the kids. It probably won’t be an issue, only because given the politics in Illinois, anybody who tries to undermine her by making this argument will (a) not pick up any new voters, and (b) probably spark a backlash among moderate swing voters. So it would be foolish for a Republican to raise this issue against her. (Which, I suppose, doesn’t guarantee that it won’t get raised.)

  32. - Old Elephant - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:38 am:

    The issue should be: “Will your children attend school in Springfield or Chicago and will they attend public or private school?”

    First question, because it determines how the candidate feels about downstate Illinois. No matter what a Chicago candidate may say about downstate Illinois, the real proof is whether or not they are willing to send their kids to school with kids downstate. Jim Thompson wasn’t and that spoke volumes about where his true loyalties were.

    Second question, because no matter what a candidate says about public school funding, if they aren’t willing to send their own kids to public school it shows how much confidence they really have in the public school system.

  33. - Girly - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:39 am:

    Can you imagine a male candidate having children being an ISSUE? What is this? 1955??

  34. - Muskrat - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:39 am:

    Having an adorable and photogenic two-year-old in ads won’t be an issue, but I can see opponents starting a whispering campaign along the lines of “What if they have another one? You want a hormonal crazy pregnant lady in the Governor’s office?” I can see someone asking her during a campaign about future kid plans, as icky as that sounds.

  35. - Girly - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:42 am:

    Do you really think a “hormonal crazy pregnant lady” would be any different than having Rod in there now?

  36. - Agreed - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:42 am:

    Skeeter….so you’re the one who reads Illinois Review…just kidding. I agree, that site is brutal…I loved their story on Republican 101 teaching that Democrats are the enemy…real party of the people huh?

  37. - anon - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:45 am:

    Since the youngest kid will already be two (or almost. I assume the primary moves back to March after this year) it won’t be much of an issue. If she was pregnant or was just having the baby near election time it would more of an issue (even though it shouldn’t be). Most of the people who would have a problem with any of this are not voting for her anyway.

  38. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:49 am:

    It will not be an issue…she won’t be running for Governor if: 1)Dad isnt ready to call it a day
    2)Barack doesnt take the Dem Pres nomination…

    This could change the entire chain of expected events…I think Lisa will be in Congress in place of Barack who will be running for Governor of IL…

  39. - Lainer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:58 am:

    A few additional points:
    1. Not every Illinois governor has had a spouse or children. At least one, Henry Horner, was a bachelor — in fact, a poet who teased him about his bachelor status was rewarded with the honor of being appointed the first Illinois poet laureate.
    2. With Swift in Mass., I don’t think the issue was so much whether she COULD balance work and family as curiosity as to HOW she would do it, plus the simple novelty of her being (as far as anyone knew) the first governor elected and inaugurated while pregnant.
    3. Another family related issue Lisa might face is what kind of public role her husband might have in her administration, as well as how he should be addressed (First Gentleman?) This is currently an issue in Michigan, which has a woman governor whose husband has an official office with several paid staff. (The state is also in the midst of an eerily familiar fiscal crisis that threatens a government shutdown within days.)

  40. - plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:00 am:

    There are many educated, capable young women running substantial organizations these days.

    The focus should be job performance and philosophy. A top level executive will have the resources to be able to properly care for their family, so it is not a real issue

  41. - Lainer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:07 am:

    I agree with “Agreed.” Although of conservative and Republican bent myself, I cringe nearly every time I read anything on Illinois Review, so I actually read it pretty rarely. Does anyone know of a less nasty GOP-oriented site? Or will we just have to start our own? But I digress.

  42. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:13 am:

    The issue will not be whether or not she has young children. It will be how committed she personally can be when it comes time to negotiate a budget and actually govern. As Blago has shown the electorate, we need a governor who will commit to his or her job fully and take the role seriously. If voters see Lisa’s two young children as a hindrance to her ability to govern the state, they will not elect her. If she shows no slowing down in her duties as AG, she can use her time as AG and her two kids as evidence that she can do a good job as governor. But if she falters and it shows, she will face a serious impediment.

    And if Bill Brady is the GOP nominee, he should certainly NEVER bring up the issue. He will face enough problems playing his socially conservative values in the collar counties and Chicago without throwing stones at Lisa for running while having two small children. Bill, I just gave you campaign advice, and you now owe me $2,000.

  43. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:14 am:

    A yes, the question of what about the partner. First Gentleman? A bit cumbersome, but doable–maybe cut it down to First Gent; Gubernatorial Consort? Bit of a tongue twister, plus it sounds unwholesome. First Partner? Generic, but descriptive. First Spouse? Ick! Too legal sounding. The Governor’s Mate? A bit too bald (the word, not the gent himself) for my comfort.

    I don’t even think the mainstream GOPers will touch the issue of her family and I’m pretty sure no Dems will. That leaves the wingers, but they’re unorganized and inefficient, plus there aren’t enough of them to matter.

  44. - Levois - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:14 am:

    I never thought of it as an issue. And it shouldn’t be an issue. Now when she does become Governor and we hear things about her kids then I might change my mind.

  45. - Say WHAT? - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:15 am:

    Someone will make an issue out of it. Nothing in this line of work surprizes me any longer. Governor Swift is alledged to have used state workers to care for her child. LM is a smart cookie - too smart for that. She will balance home and state business well. Funny how we never attack men for having families. HOW RETRO 30 YEARS AGO!

  46. - paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:15 am:

    I think it was an issue for Swift bc she allegedly used staff to babysit & a helicopter to pick up her family. also, she was a GOPer in Mass, who are only elected if they are squeaky clean and not part of the Dem machine there.

  47. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:15 am:

    IT will but of course it shouldn’t.
    But I am having a very hard time getting past the equivocation of -Girly-’s “hormonal crazy pregnant lady” would be any different than having Rod in there now?” That has to be the phrase of the day, forces you to visualize a pregnant gov rod.

  48. - Fan of the Game - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:17 am:

    Ken in Aurora,

    The only way such should ever be an issue is if family concerns severely inhibit the politician from fulfilling his/her duties.

    The fact that people raise the question about a female politician but not a male politician says something very negative about our society.

  49. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:21 am:

    Biggest. Backlash. Ever.

  50. - Shawnee Souix - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:24 am:

    Jane Swift used government-paid staff to care for her children. While some elected officials might have survived such a mistake, a trailblazer cannot, not in a society that hasn’t fully come to terms with working motherhood.

    Lisa Madigan has done well as a trailblazer, in both ethics and accomplishments. Remember, she argued and won a supreme court case while 7 months pregnant.

    It should not be an issue. It will be an issue. And she’d prevail.

  51. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:31 am:

    Governor Swift is the only governor who ever gave birth - and to twins at that!

    That is a record that will be tough to top even if a Governor Madigan gives birth.

    Stop whining and moaning over family questions. Don’t get all weak-kneed because someone wants to know about a polician’s family. You worry warts need to recognize that this is an important part of a person’s life - even a candidate’s.

    Just because a candidate is a lady doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss the obvious. Pretending otherwise just invites criticism.

    Just as Obama shouldn’t hide from questions about his race, Madigan shouldn’t hide from questions about her family.

    It is what it is.

  52. - Ghost - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:42 am:

    For those bothered by the implied disparate treatment of women, the polictical correctness of the thought is not the point. The more interesting point is not should it be an issue but will it be.

    Who would have thought Jack Ryan would have been targeted in an election for his divorce.

  53. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:48 am:

    ===Who would have thought Jack Ryan would have been targeted in an election for his divorce.===

    Please, let’s not go there.

  54. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:56 am:

    paddyrollingstone, as the AP story linked in the main post clearly shows, her family status was an issue long before the nanny problem arose.

  55. - amy - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:56 am:

    will it be an issue? good god, there’s a woman
    running for president. these kinds of questions
    should not be asked. people should concentrate on
    what is important, not the marital status, sexual
    preference, or child filled or childfree home of a
    candidate. I would prefer to see a smart person,
    not a person with cute kids who is brainless. the question is, is a person qualified and ethical. by asking this question the stupid quotient is revived. i am astonished that you even brought it

  56. - NowEmily - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:57 am:

    I had to muffle a laugh the first time a reporter asked me the same kind of question. My response was “Did you ask my male opponent the same thing?” No Parent (that I know of) enters this arena without first considering the well being of their family in relation to their ability to do the best for their constituency. A sad commentary on our society indeed, that the question is even brought up in the first place.

  57. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 11:58 am:

    ===i am astonished that you even brought it

    Perhaps, Amy, I am not as optimistic about the pundit crowd as you are.

  58. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:13 pm:

    Also, Amy, did you not see the kurfluffle when Hillary showed a tiny bit of cleavage? You’re way too optimistic.

  59. - North of I-80 - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:15 pm:

    Why would this be an issue? We have a MALE Governor with 2 children who refuses to move himself/family to Springfield… where his office and duties are. We pay for him to use ISP planes and pilots for commuter use; we pay for an empty, but staffed governor mansion, we pay for all of his frivolous lawsuits and we pay for a summer of overtime/per diem because he refuses to govern and deal/discuss with legislators. ALL of that is OK but a potential female governor with 2 children is a cause for concern? Are we afraid that she might not focus on governing?

  60. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:35 pm:

    Kurfluffle? :-)

  61. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:37 pm:

    Oops. Kerfuffle.

  62. - Rob_N - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:37 pm:

    It should not be.

    It will be unless a woman is running on the GOP ticket. Even then, look at what the conservatives did to Melissa Bean when she ran vs. Phil Crane what with their “She should stay at home and be a mom” signs… It was a minor sideshow compared to the rest of that circus, but still, some people thought it was a worthwhile political attack.

  63. - Captain America - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:38 pm:

    Having young children is not an impediment to being a competent and effective public official or business executive for that matter.

    Anyone who tries to make this an issue in Lisa Madigan’s case will be scorned/repudiated because of obvious gender-related double standard. It would completely backfire on any politician who expresses any concerns or reservations in this context.

  64. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:39 pm:

    Rich, you’re brighter and more informed than most of the journalists who cover politics in Illinois.

    So, the meat-heads take their queues from people like you.

    If you say Madigan having children is going to be an issue, you’ve played a part in making it an issue.

    So, one can read your post as, “I’m not against Blacks, but I know other people are…” thus legitimizing the prejudices and bigotry of others.

    Plenty of women have jobs, get pregnant and take a short maternity leave. This is completely unexceptional in modern society.

    Why is it any different for Attorney General or Governor than it is for the thousands of women who work for the AG or Gov?

  65. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:42 pm:

    C’mon, Carl. With that attitude, nobody would be allowed to ever discuss the question of whether Obama’s race might become an issue in the presidential contest. And even after it did (and it has), we’d all have to remain politely mum.

    In this instance I asked if people thought it would be an issue or if it should be an issue. Simple question. Relax.

  66. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:42 pm:

    bored now is right.

    The issue about Lisa Madigan’s family is the conflict-of-interest of having two immediate family members being the two most powerful officials in Illinois.

  67. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:42 pm:

    Following up on my prior post, see the following link to see how the right wing extremists have attacked AG Madigan already. And they wonder why they don’t win elections.

  68. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:44 pm:

    Notice also, that the IR post was written by the site’s editor. So, apparently, her pregnancy already is an issue with some.

    ===And we’ve been wondering why she hasn’t had time to work on enforcing the parental notification before abortion bill that’s stalled in her office. It appears she’s been pre-occupied — becoming a parent again. ===

  69. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:49 pm:

    No, but it should. How much time has she taken off. if it really is brief, who cares. I know people are given time off, but who is doing the work then? Sorry, I am jaded as two cow-orkers got pregnant at the same time, came back for 2 days apice and then left, keeping their famla monies while leaving the work with the rest of us. Plus, they were seeing the same doctor, got put on bedrest at 7 months in (each) and delivered w/in 1 month of each other. I hate abuse of the system.

  70. - Ginsu - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:49 pm:

    It should not be and will not be an issue.

    She actually has downplayed a lot of her family responsibilities in the media, compared to a lot of other politicians.

    I forgot about the Jane Swift thing; many dissimilarities between the two situations exist.

  71. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 12:55 pm:

    I’m kinda curious whether the IR crowd (I know it didn’t exist back then, but they did) said anything snippy about Attorney General Jim Ryan during his long absences for cancer treatment and recovery.

  72. - Ginsu - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:04 pm:

    Different situation (pregnancy and illness); I don’t remember reading that much criticism from his opponents.

    I saw today’s IR thing and thought it was classless.

  73. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:04 pm:

    Ok, I’ll ask the next question-

    Should she be able to breast feed on the job as Governor and if not, why not?

  74. - Keep Smiling - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:05 pm:

    The offense with which folks are responding to this question is foretelling of how it would be received by the public. Oberwies though has shown us that dumb and offensive messages are a part of the political landscape.

    If subject to that stupidity, Lisa should simply say “I am ASTONISHED you are condemning motherhood.” The offending person/party/chump might find it wise to crawl away.

  75. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:15 pm:

    Secondly, that will play very well with the electorate. If they had a clue (which we know they don’t), they would pretty much leave it alone since women do vote and many men are married with kids.

    Itself should not be an issue unless she is taking ungodly amounts of time away from work.

  76. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:17 pm:

    It offended you that they were put on BEDREST?
    What an offensive post.
    My wife was put on bedrest. It was necessary to save the lives of our twins. Without it, they might have been born at under 26 weeks.
    Do you really think that anybody LIKES being put on bedrest? Do you think it is relaxing? It is terrifying for the entire family.
    It is done when there is a major problem and the doctors are not sure what else to do. It not a means for people to escape responsiblity. It is a means to keep mother and child alive.

  77. - amy - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:27 pm:

    what Carl Nyberg said at 12:39!!!! I’m not
    optimistic about pundits or
    the public, but I am, usually,
    optimistic about you, Rich. But not on this one.

    It is not yet a reflexive sin to be sexist in our
    society, but it should be. on an every day basis
    I hear men make sexist remarks, from the small…
    “you throw like a girl”(said to a guy)…to the large…”look
    at her (whatever the bodypart)” about a work
    colleague. remarks like that should get smacked down. heck, the
    Sun Times even has two sports pages devoted
    to the objectification of women….Quick Hits, who
    never fails to cover the scantily clad even when
    Women’s World Cup is in the final week. women,
    and men, should be defined by their acts, not
    their bodies.

    so when you bring up whether Lisa Madigan’s
    pregnancy will be a question for some, you
    make it a question. stop polluting the

  78. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:32 pm:

    Amy, I’m not gonna stop asking questions like this just because you think it might do “x.” Sorry if that offends you, but I have no regrets about posting this at all. On the contrary, it’s given us a pretty good idea of how people might react if it’s ever used (and it was today). My advice is, rather than trying to take away someone’s right to ask a simple question in a neutral manner, you let somebody know how you feel once the question is answered.

  79. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:37 pm:

    yeah like male elected officials have been doing such a great job because they’re not able to get pregnant or breastfeed…motherhood only improves a womans capacity to multitask…plus women are not burdened by overly large EGOS like so many of our current “leaders” (sound like a scenario we’ve been watching play out lately?)

  80. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:49 pm:

    Anon, there are some plenty big female egos in this business.

  81. - Lainer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 1:58 pm:

    In a society that (at least ideally) embraces freedom of speech, thought and discourse, isn’t it better to confront issues of race, gender, etc. head-on than to simply declare them taboo subjects? Of course the discussions should remain within the bounds of civility, but just because some go beyond those bounds is no reason to shut off the discussion altogether. So, Rich, I don’t think it was wrong to bring up the question.
    And Amy, I see your point about sexism, but I really don’t believe that shutting down the discussion completely does anything to change the sexist attitudes you find offensive. It just drives those attitudes farther underground.

  82. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:07 pm:

    Also, Amy. a few days ago you had this to say about Barack Obama…

    ===he does not deserve a vote for President. To sit out a vote on free speech when the Republicons paint MOVE on as unpatriotic makes Obama unqualified to be President. Dodd and Hillary were on the right side of the vote..===

    So, last week you were all about free speech when it was an issue you supported. Today, you’d like to quell speech when it’s an issue you oppose.

  83. - DC - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:08 pm:

    It won’t be an issue. In fact, I would suggest that she will be more effective as a Governor in the middle of labor with a nursing gown than Governor Chucky has been, even with a $200 tie.

  84. - Chicago Politica - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:09 pm:

    Lisa’s second child will be nothing but an asset to her politically. When she first entered politics she caught criticism for not being feminine enough and living in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Getting married and having a child helped her in that regard and a second will only cement her image as a working wife and mother that understands the struggles that many families face now days. Her husband plays a big role in raising their daughter now and I am sure will contioue to do so with their second child. Lisa is smart and ethical and will not get tripped up like the Mass. Governor who had government staff watch her children. If she sends her oldest to a parochial school (as opposed to a private school like Latin) she will sidestep much criticism for not sending her to a public school. She has been carefully laying the groundwork to run for Governor and her timing can’t be better.

  85. - amy - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:25 pm:

    if it’s sexist, racist, or bashes gays,it deserves
    to be strongly challenged. free speech not hate

  86. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:28 pm:

    So, Amy, how, exactly, is this QOTD sexist? And, try not to answer with a bumper sticker slogan. Thanks.

  87. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:29 pm:

    Your test for free speech is whether or not you like it?
    The ad in question said mean things about a United States Army Officer (accurate, but mean). It seemed pretty hateful to me. For you, it is perfectly acceptable to say mean things about a United States Army Officer, but it is wrong to put pictures of girls in the newspaper?

    This is the problem with liberals. They like free speech, but only when it comes to speech they like.

  88. - Miranda - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:32 pm:

    I can’t get over the statement “And we’ve been wondering why she hasn’t had time to work on enforcing the parental notification before abortion bill that’s stalled in her office. It appears she’s been pre-occupied — becoming a parent again.” That’s just a tacky statement to begin with. And the anon. question about breastfeeding….it’s not like she’s going to be walking around the Capitol with a baby stuck to her all the time. Give her some credit. Where’s the respect for her as a fellow human being? If she was a man, this wouldn’t even be a question. He would be congratulated and life would go on. He wouldn’t be asked whether or not he will be changing diapers on the Governor’s desk, or that he’s not doing his job because he’s “busy”. So why all the tacky remarks?

  89. - Lainer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:35 pm:

    How do you “strongly challenge” speech that isn’t allowed to be said in the first place?

  90. - DC - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 2:58 pm:

    Lainer’s right — that would be like holding a Gay Pride Parade in Tehran. It doesn’t happen.

  91. - Fran - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:01 pm:

    My “classless” comment about AG Madigan (Byrne?) is one that was a jab from an impatient group of people waiting for her to move on enforcing a law that has all the pieces in place. She’s the only obstacle to making sure parents are notified before their 12 year old daughters have a medical procedure done. “Classless”? Nah. . . “Impatient”? Admittedly.

  92. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:03 pm:

    Fran, the “classless” remark was made by others. Please, address your remarks to those people.

  93. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:07 pm:

    I’d love to know whether the Illinois Review thinks that AG Madigan should have an abortion or whether heterosexual married couples shouldn’t be having intercourse for the purposes of pro-creation.

  94. - Ann O'Namus - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:21 pm:

    I think the question should be, would a stay-home dad in the governor’s mansion be too intimidating to the neanderthal voters?

  95. - Pat collins - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:27 pm:

    =And we’ve been wondering why she hasn’t had time to work on enforcing the parental notification before abortion bill that’s stalled in her office. It appears she’s been pre-occupied — becoming a parent again.

    Since when do politicians become immune from cheap shots? Especially ones that drive home a point.

  96. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:29 pm:

    Rich: NEWSFLASH!! The political arena is still one of THE most sexist of any business…and I don’t buy your argument that women have just as big egos in the biz as mens…give us the reins and let’s see what happens…besides, I don’t see any bipartisan MENS groups in the legislature, do you?

  97. - Lainer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:31 pm:

    This is the last thing I’m going to say on this subject.
    The question of why Lisa Madigan, in her official capacity as AG, hasn’t moved to enforce the parental notification law is a legitimate one. However, I’d rather it not have been used as an occasion to belittle her personal status as a parent-to-be (and parent of a toddler already). Why not just simply congratulate her on the coming addition to her family, and save the hard legal question for another post?
    As I alluded to before, this is the kind of thing that makes all conservatives/pro-lifers look bad, or at least hopelessly out of touch… Oh well, if it hadn’t been said, I wouldn’t have had the chance to challenge it :)

  98. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:33 pm:

    Pat, you’ve got to admit there’s just a little bit of irony in a “pro-family” group attacking motherhood. Unless its their position that mothers shouldn’t be allowed to work?

  99. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:34 pm:

    Anon, wouldn’t an exclusively male-only legislative caucus be branded as sexist? Your point makes zero sense.

    And if you want the reins, my advice would be to take them, not ask me to hand them to you. That’s beyond my rather limited powers. :)

  100. - Greg - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:36 pm:

    Anon 3:29:

    Both of your observations are wrong: Rich didn’t say politics wasn’t sexist, and he didn’t say women have just as big egos.

    He said that there are some who have big egos, and the question at hand is how the inevitable family image issue affects the campaign.

    Is everyone looking for a fight? My God, read things twice before you respond.

  101. - Ginsu - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:38 pm:

    Lanier: That’s what I meant before. I agree with a lot of IRs positions but saw this as a weird non sequitur. Congratulations are in order for her family.

    If it is in her jurisdiction to support this law, (which I support) it is unrelated to her personal life.

    YDD’s (hopefully) rhetorical question is interesting.

    Understandably some people are impatient, but one thing at a time.

  102. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:41 pm:

    To Pat Collins:

    When you claim to be moral, Christian, and pro-life, you should congratulate any woman on her pregnancy and wish her the best, and not rip her. The last post from Eaton also takes a shot at AG Madigan. Apparently, Eaton is upset that AG Madigan kept her name after being married.

    Lanier summed this up better than I can though, and he can speak as a right-winger. I agree 100% with Lanier’s last post. Probably will be the last time.

  103. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:41 pm:

    ===Is everyone looking for a fight?===

    It appears so. If you noticed, I didn’t ask whether it would be used against her or for her, I asked simply whether it would be an issue.

  104. - Ginsu - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:42 pm:

    Today is the full moon so there you go. It was actually at Noon today, but yesterday, in general, was weirder.

    There was no commenting yesterday, though. Maybe just as well.

  105. - amy - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:45 pm:

    it’s simple. i’m tired of sexism. it’s really horrible when it happens in everyday life. if
    you have been on the end of sexist remarks
    or know someone who has, believe me, it’s not fun.

    the media is filled with sexist remarks and
    images. almost all of this goes unchallenged. I try to be one block in the stream against
    this. I believe the women’s movement stopped
    challenging small and medium insults to
    women and silence kinda condones. it is
    difficult though, as we are almost always
    challenged for our show of strength.

    take a sexist remark or image and refashion it
    with a racist twist. would that go unchallenged?
    it would not and should not. same thing with
    sexism. we need more challenges to sexism
    in the media.

    So, for another current lesson….
    does Mike Gundy have a right to go at Jenni Carlson for her writing? Sure. But it is
    doubtful that he would have hit a male reporter
    on the children question as he did with
    the female reporter. and just as no one
    asked Rod if he could govern because of
    the second child on the way!!!!!!

    with sexism, as with racism, we also have to
    read between the lines, and fight back. we
    have a very long way to go.

  106. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:47 pm:

    Amy, you answered nothing.

    Try again. What specifically is sexist about this QOTD? And, again, I’d ask that you drop the bumper sticker slogans.

  107. - Greg - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:49 pm:


    Since the question is 1) will it be an issue; and 2) should it be an issue, your answer appears to be:

    1. No answer
    2. No

    As for the rest of it, I’ll wait for the QOTD to be “So what do y’all think about sexism?”

  108. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:55 pm:

    hey Rich, how would you feel about the question if it was asked of your daughter?
    Yeah, looks like you’ve got a couple of ladies (Go Amy) who want to spar with you…women can and do work together in an official BIPARTISAN caucus…didn’t one female legislator this session say that the leaders needed their Moms to come down and tell them to behave? Testicular virilty or maybe they’re just trying to think with with those things…

  109. - Pat Collins - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:00 pm:

    Pat, you’ve got to admit

    First rule of politics - never admit anything! :)

    I think their point is NOT to dump on her for procreating. Rather, to point out her agressively pro-abortion position and actions.

    Cheap shots need to be short, and to the point.

    I am not sure this one makes them look bad. They don’t have the best of political instincts, but I think this is not an example. Most people can’t “get” lack of parental notification.

    And after a court decision just dragging her feet is skating very close to dereliction of duty.

    keeping her name

    It’s quite common in politics. Doctors also, since updating their license is a pain. The original cheap shot is much better than that one.

  110. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:06 pm:

    ===hey Rich, how would you feel about the question if it was asked of your daughter?===

    Speaker? Is that you?

    Seriously, though, you’re getting upset at a question that was asked in a neutral manner. Some people caught on and predicted that Lisa might use the situation to her advantage. That was the whole point of the question.

    So, to answer your question, if my daughter was seriously considering a run for governor then I would expect all sorts of issues to arise, including that one - either way, up or down. I’m sure I could help her figure a way to use it to her advantage without appearing to do so. That’s the game, that’s the way things are played, fortunately or unfortunately.

    But since my daughter isn’t running for anything and has zero plans to ever do so and is a private citizen, I’d advise you to back slowly away from that line of questioning.

    Are we clear?

  111. - Greg - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:06 pm:

    Anon 3:55,

    Should we not discuss absurd flyers adn other image issues because the candidate is somebody’s child?

    This is a political blog. It’s a relevant question. The sparring that’s occuring by mostly anonymous posters is mostly knee-jerk, off-topic, and certainly not needed by this blog’s readers.

  112. - Lainer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:09 pm:

    Well, Skeeter, you did it… I couldn’t help but add a couple of more things in the interests of full disclosure.
    I’m a “she”, married, working full time and with a daughter in 5th grade. And guess what, my husband was the stay-at-home parent when she was younger. So this may not be the last time you ever agree with me : )

  113. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:19 pm:

    hey Greg being a Mom or Dad has nothing to do with image…just because you’re in public life doesn’t mean you are not entitled to personal one…Sorry Rich, if I stepped on your toes, but the AG is someones wife, Mom, and daughter…

  114. - Little Egypt - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:27 pm:

    Girly at 10:42 - I LOVE your answer. Personally, I would have more respect for a hormonal-crazed woman than I will ever have for Blago. At least she would have an excuse. This WILL be an issue in the election and the one who will make it an issue will be Blago himself if they both end up running against each other. That will be the final nail in Blago’s coffin because in this day and age, both males and females understand that a woman can have a career and a family, just the same as a man. I don’t think the GOP will touch the issue with a 10 foot pole.

  115. - Greg - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:30 pm:

    Fine, but the question is: will it be an issue? I’m saying that’s generally a fair question to ask in politics: will xyz become an issue?

    To discuss whether a candidate’s attribute may affect his/her campaign is hardly the same as taking a position on it.

    You’re confusing my response with one that defends private life invasion. I’m saying it’s fair to ask the question. Big difference.

  116. - So.... - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:31 pm:

    ….does anybody find this to be a sexist question?????????
    No; haven’t read all 114 previous comments.
    Puleeeze….Does anybody make an issue when a male politician concieves a kid? Wow! And, yes, I’m male.

  117. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:36 pm:

    So… perhaps you should read a few responses before posting. I’m not clear on how anyone could think that simply asking this question is sexist.

  118. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:38 pm:

    exactly my point Greg: this issue is NEVER brought up if the politician is a man who fathered or is to father a child. Doesn’t it take time and effort to father a child as well as mother one? If it doesn’t affect the quality of a fathers work, why should it affect the quality of the mothers job performance? Case closed.
    It IS a sexist question…

  119. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:45 pm:

    Anon, I will ask you the same question as I asked somebody else above. What part of the question, and please quote the words, is sexist? Is asking whether a political tactic will be used - pro or con - sexist?

    Some of you are really knee-jerky. Are you somehow assuming that I believe that it ought to be an issue? That’s weird because I’m just asking if y’all think it will be. Again, point to the sexist words.

  120. - Greg - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:58 pm:


    If the mere inquiry into what may or may not become an issue is a sexist question, what do you think about, say, a women’s studies program that examines the role of gender and politics? How does one rebuke a thesis without stating it. Just so I’ve got this straight: your argument is that inquiring into the role of gender/family in politics is equivalent to endorsing sexism?

    If that’s not your argument, then you need to re-read the question.

  121. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:06 pm:

    I would really like an answer to my specific question from anon and Amy.

  122. - Keep Smiling - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:15 pm:

    Rich, I think you keep missing it in your own words. “Now, the question: If AG Madigan runs for governor, do you think her growing family will be - or even should be - a campaign issue? Explain.” You did in fact ask if it SHOULD be a campaign issue. Not just if it WILL be an issue. You didn’t even say “whether it should or should not be”.

    And it is a female politician having a baby, which only applies to a woman. I too think it is a sexist question, but I am confident that you just don’t see it that way, nor meant it that way. And I’m sure that I don’t see but 2% of my own unintended offenses.

  123. - Not Smiling - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:21 pm:

    “Should or should not be” is redundant. No wonder Rich is frustrated.

  124. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:21 pm:

    KS, when asked if something should or will happen, you have two possible answers: Yes or No. You don’t need two questions.

  125. - Keep Smiling - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:25 pm:

    Yes, you are technically correct. But c’mon now, do you see how the question was not as neutral as you thought?

  126. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:29 pm:

    LOL. Of course it was neutral. How far down to the millimeter do you want to parse these things?

    Sexist is not asking whether a specific political tactic will or should be used. Sexist could probably be defined, however, when one uses said tactic in a certain way.

  127. - Not Smiling - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:30 pm:

    I don’t. In fact, I thought it was a very appropriate and thoughtful QOTD in the context in which it was presented.

  128. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:42 pm:

    It will be a campaign issue–but it shouldn’t be ’cause its irrelevant AND sexist…

  129. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 7:06 pm:

    Lisa’s kids should be as much a campaign issue as any male politician who does the soft glow, glossy of himself, wife, young kids and a flag in the background or brings kids on stage. It would be nice if the kids were allowed to stay out of the picture in private life, but I doubt that would be successful. All she has to do is live in Springfield and be available to score points. With a decent admin team she would do just fine. Think it is a fair question and people are throwing way too much “what if” thought into it.

  130. - Lainer - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 7:18 pm:

    OK, this time really is the last : )
    I second Little Egypt’s comments. Come to think of it, the current governor is often described in, shall we say, reverse sexist terms… which all started, of course, with his own infamous “testicular virility” comment. How many times have we, right here on this blog, portrayed his battles with the senior Madigan in terms of each trying to prove they are more “man” than the other?
    And come to think of this, hasn’t Blago been blasted for using his wife and family as cover for not living in the Mansion, flying back and forth to Chicago nightly, questionable real estate deals, suspicious “birthday gifts,” ducking reporters’ questions at the state fair, etc.
    I agree with LE that if Lisa Madigan’s gender and her status as a mother of young children does become a campaign issue (and that’s still a big if) we will, to a large extent, have Blago to thank for it, whether or not he personally raises the issue. Of course, the “family” issues he will probably focus on most strongly will concern her father rather than her children!

  131. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:23 am:

    I’m surprised that people are shocked by IR’s “tacky” question. With IR, the benchmark on tackiness is set pretty darn high, so they have to work at it to measure up.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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