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Question of the day

Monday, Aug 8, 2011

* On Friday, I asked you to rate Gov. Pat Quinn’s job performance on a scale of 1 to ten, with 1 being the worst and ten the best. He didn’t do too well.

Today, how about we rate House Speaker Michael Madigan’s job performance this year? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

57 Comments
  1. - PrecinctCaptain - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 6:31 am:

    Ten. The man’s a political genius.

    He co-opted the House Gop on the budget, forced the Senate to back off their demands, and this “year” muscled through a major income tax hike.

    When Keystone Quinn can touch Madigan, I’ll lower my score.


  2. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 6:36 am:

    Only state leader to apply common sense and consistency to the decision making process and require the corporate reformer media darlings that fill the landscape to roll up their sleeves and do some work


  3. - lake county democrat - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 6:39 am:

    PrecinctCaptain’s response, which might as well be the voice of Mike Madigan, speaks volumes as to why we’re in such a mess: both politicians and voters who care more about scoring points than doing what’s right.


  4. - OneMan - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 7:14 am:

    8 - He seemed able to get things done and he was consistent IMHO


  5. - Pelon - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 7:28 am:

    AS a servant of the people, he gets a 7. He got a reasonably responsible budget through for the first time in recent memory which is quite an accomplishment. I could have done without the gerrymandered districts designed to make safe seats for both parties, though.

    As a politician, I think you have to give him at least a 9.


  6. - in absentia - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 7:32 am:

    8. Essentially, he’s lead the General Assembly through several governors’ terms. He took a bit of a back seat with Pate, but the G.A. was always out on time (even early) back then and business was very happy. The Speaker has always been the big fish. A 10 politically, he stomped Lee Daniels with a map he didn’t even draw and continues to raise money, win elections, and remain in firm control. Oh yea, and his daughter is the Attorney General.


  7. - in absentia - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 7:47 am:

    Sorry, I went down memory lane.


  8. - Damfunny - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 7:50 am:

    I voted a ‘1′ because there is no ‘0′.

    Madigan is a masterful politician, 10 out of 10.
    but he’s a tyrant, screwing the citizens of Illinois at every turn.

    He’s a role model for why we need term limits.


  9. - Observer of the State - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 7:52 am:

    It is hard not admire the speaker’s abilities even if you disagree with him. He runs a tight ship but most importantly unlike Quinn when makes a decision it something he has thought through and intends to carry out. People that have worked for him usually leave with a high opinion of him as their boss.


  10. - Gregor - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 7:59 am:

    4, because he’s more about preserving his majority than putting it to meaningful use.


  11. - bored now - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 8:04 am:

    i totally resent the speaker’s need to control everything, he’s probably the worst democratic party leader in the country and his complete toleration of corruption and abuse of power is offensive, but i had to give him a “10.” he gets what he wants. how can you rate him anything other than a 10?


  12. - downstate commissioner - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 8:25 am:

    Gave him a “9″- but cheated and read other comments first. With my Republican background, he was always the enemy-until Blago. His endorsement of Blago for the 2nd term knocked him off of a “10″, but he was the only leader to stand up to Blago on a consistent basis, proving to me that it isn’t just politics to him.
    He is still “the man” in Illinois politics, and criticize him all you want for his positions, but I feel that he is actually trying to do his best for Illinois.


  13. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 8:34 am:

    Madigan gets a seven from me. He is a master politician and generally gets what he wants. I am an admirer of his and have been for many years.

    Having said that, he helped write the Illinois constitution and has been in Springfield ever since. We’re all pretty good at listing everything that is wrong with Illinois, from its regional divisions to its business climate to its 7,000 units of local government to its inability to be open and transparent. I read a lot of very negative comments about the mess our state is in, with pension debt, worker compensation scams, trial lawyer abuse, corporate tax loopholes, etc.

    There is a lot that isn’t working in Illinois government. This is, to read today’s comments, because Madigan wants it that way. He gets to wear the jacket for his role in creating a less than ideal government.

    Plus, he can’t get a 10 simply based on the conflicts inherent with his tax appeals side job and his leadership of the state party. He’s the Speaker of the House, he isn’t God. The 10s are as ridiculous as Quinn’s 1s.


  14. - Ghost - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 8:36 am:

    I reduced him from a 10 to 7 because of his handling of theStates budget troubles. he needs to put his consderable influence into borrowing money to pay off our back debt, and committing the tax increase to just funding paying off the borrowing before it expires.

    Madigan has done a number of good things for the State and helped deal with a number of problematic Govenors, but the State really needs him now under our fiscal crisis, and heseems the one leader who can actually help.


  15. - KGB - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 8:41 am:

    Most commenters who rate the Speaker very low seem resentful of his power. I rated him a 6 because he has not used that power to solve the state’s budgetary nightmare. When he does that (which he will), his rating will go back up to the lofty levels where it belongs.


  16. - Springfield Skeptic - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 8:45 am:

    I heard a comment on MSNBC (not what anyone would call a conservative bastion) yesterday. The commentator was listing the governments that are in terrible financial shape due to bad policies and politics. He named Spain, Italy, etc. and ended with Springfield, Illinois. Mr. Madigan gets a lot a credit (read blame) for that state of affairs. I gave him a 3.


  17. - zatoichi - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 8:51 am:

    Got him at 6. As a politician and behind the scene power to counter Blago he is much higher, probably a 9. No one is a 10. At the same time the state is #50 in net assets at $37B in the hole. No other state is close. He has been there the entire time as Illinois has dropped. He has to wear a major portion of that jacket because of his position and the time he has had it. Put him at a 3. If he had all the real influence others are saying, we should be in far better financial shape. Combine them and he is a 6. He’ll be fine.


  18. - One of the 35 - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 8:57 am:

    As a politician, 10. As a statesman, 1. I know this comment includes previous year behavior but to orchestrate the 2 years of skipping pension contributions, speaks volumes about why we are in the precarious financial situation that presently exists for Illinois.


  19. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 9:09 am:

    He gets an 8, but only because he leads the wrong party. If he were a Republican, I’d give him a 10. He is bar far the most effective leader in the state among those who have the power and position to affect change and manage his troops.


  20. - just sayin' - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 9:21 am:

    9. While I don’t like many of the things he passes, can’t deny he always gets done what he wants to get done. He knows how to manage, lead and follow through. The Democrats have a real leader.

    The only reason I don’t give him a 10 is because he really has no competiton from the pitiful. incompetent, sad-sack Republicans in the House.


  21. - reformer - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 9:25 am:

    The new legislative map is a masterpiece that all but ensures Democratic majorities through 2022. If that doesn’t earn a 10 for a party leader, what does?


  22. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 9:40 am:

    Madigan is a 10 at politics, but a 6 at helping the state– still *WAY* higher than Quinn even by that measure. He gets a compromise 8 from me.


  23. - Robert0117 - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 9:43 am:

    He is a politician. He has his agenda and is able to generally get it done. While I often disagree with his agenda, I give him a 7 for effectiveness. Probably the closest thing we have to a leader in Springfield.


  24. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 9:47 am:

    Gave him an 8 … but this really needed to be two separate questions. He got the 8 for his effectiveness at controlling the house, moving his agenda, etc. So from that perspective his performance was quite good.

    If it had been a question about how well he was serving the citizens & taxpayers now that Blago is gone, the score would have been more like 2.


  25. - Justice - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 9:51 am:

    He is a very powerful and politically savvy guy with the tools, ability, and position to lead this great state out of this fiscal mess. Yet, here we are and it has been entirely on his watch.

    In my opinion, with all the power and knowledge he possesses and all the influence he has, he appears to have focused his efforts on defeating his opponents rather than help them and ‘we the people’ through these troubling times.

    A missed opportunity to be a champion. I gave him a 4 and I think that is generous.


  26. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 9:52 am:

    As has been oft repeated, he gets a ten as a politician, but his job is as a state legislator and Speaker of the House. In the latter capacity, his score falls because he too often lets political interests override the interests of the state.


  27. - Irish - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 10:06 am:

    From the comments posted so far I think one needs to isolate which job the poll is referring to.

    As leader of the Democratic Party he has done a very good job probably a 9 or 10. He has protected his members and the party.

    As a politician he has done an equally good job. He has not done anything that will harm the family name so Lisa is not hurt in future endeavors and he has carefully choreographed his actions so he cannot be blamed for anything.

    As Speaker and as someone who should be interested in the public good he has done a deplorable job and it is in this capacity that I have rated him a one.

    I look at this job as his number one priority but I have listed the jobs here in the priority that Mr. Madigan seems to rank them. The fiscal mess we are in would not be as dire if Mr. Speaker had put his personal and party needs aside and had done his duty several years earlier instead of being the lead kicker in the can down the road process.


  28. - sal-says - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 10:13 am:

    2. What IL problems, financial and other, has he solved for the State and taxpayers?


  29. - Robert - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 10:26 am:

    5 - as the question related to this year, he did more to balance the budget this year than he had in prior years, so at least he got that done. it was through his leadership that our state got into this fiscal mess, but that occurred prior to this year.


  30. - What's in a name? - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 10:34 am:

    10. He’s the only one to stand up to Blago. That means a lot to me.


  31. - 41st Ward - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 10:36 am:

    Love or hate the Speaker - he is the most dynamic leader the state has seen in recent history. He is able to keep his majority together without question! He gets a 9, because of the state budget crisis. Where does Cullerton rest?


  32. - Soccertease - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 10:36 am:

    2-In my 36 years in state government my observation has always been that Madigan is the poster child for why IL politics is the laughing stock of the nation. Everything is a game - winning. Charley Sheen?


  33. - seebee - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 10:36 am:

    I would vote -1 if I could because he has been around and worked to pass tons of legislation that has put Illinois at the bottom of 50 out of 50. Perhaps he has done a lot for Chicago to keep it functional, but he cares more about power politics than he does our state budget.


  34. - lincolnlover - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 10:46 am:

    What Damfunny said.


  35. - Bill - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 10:48 am:

    one -. If he is so all powerful and always gets what he wants and is such a great politician then why is the state down the toilet? He must have wanted it this way since he controls everything, plays chesss, etc. and is so much smarter than everybody else.
    His time is up. Its time to take the spoils and leave.


  36. - walkinfool - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 10:52 am:

    This year has to be 10, for a new budget process, first ever cap on spending, capital punishment, civil unions, and working with GOP Leader Cross. If Madigan were Speaker in Washington, this ridiculous stalemate and resulting financial downgrade would not have occurred. We might not like his party politics, but his governing effectiveness is without peer.


  37. - BelleA - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 11:12 am:

    I agree with DamFunny. I am shocked at how many people seem to be rating his political prowess. I don’t vote for candidates so that they can help themselves. Obviously, that is not the norm.
    We all know he has power-But, what has he done for us lately?


  38. - Steve Bartin - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 11:25 am:

    Madigan gets a 1. No individual is more responsible for Illinois’ disastrous fiscal condition. While Madigan has become a millionaire representing corporations with ties to state government: Illinois declines. We need term limits. The tyranny of a group of voters who support Madigan shouldn’t be allowed to destroy the state of Illinois.


  39. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 11:33 am:

    DamFunny ought to keep his zero. He needs it more than Madigan.
    We love the folks who think term limits are the answer. They probebly don’t know that is when lobbyists and senior staff and the “retired” weild even more power and make all decisions.

    Many more Ds have been elected in IL up and down the ballot In ‘08 the IL primary moved to help Sen. Obama score an early real state win.

    The maps speak for themsleves

    Does he lose points because manufacturing ( i.e. good paying unionjobs) have left IL for points south and overseas. Which probably translates into fewer downstate electted Ds? Give us a break

    We would hate to see the alternatives…Blagoof running wild….EJ jr doing ________……
    Maybe tomorrows QOTD could be everyone’s vision of IL post Madigan.

    In the meantime score 10


  40. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 11:57 am:

    I said 6. The question was about this year’s performance, and during that period he has been the best of the state’s leaders in the GA - with the gov AWOL on most issues, that’s vital. I don’t agree with his priorities, but he’s been effective and his work has put the state in a better position than, God help us, we would otherwise be in.


  41. - Esquire - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 12:02 pm:

    If the poll asked us to rate Madigan as a politician, he would definitely merited a solid “9.” Unfortunately, as an Illinois statesman, he probably rates a “2.” He has prospered and advanced his career and those of his allies while maintaining a majority, but overall his gains have come at the expense of Illinois and the state has suffered on his long watch.


  42. - Wensicia - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 12:08 pm:

    He gets a five. He’s been the most powerful elected official in Illinois for years, but that power is more often used for personal advantage over state matters. This state is a mess, he deserves some of the credit.


  43. - JBilla - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 12:09 pm:

    How does one rate the guy in charge who says he isn’t in charge? To be perfectly honest, we are ranked 50 out of 50 states in terms of our debt obligations, we are getting out educated and out venture capital-ed by every state with a major city, and Madigan has run the Illinois House for 30 plus years. During that time we’ve seen 3 out of the last 4 Governors go to jail. If he wants to be responsible, it’s not going to be a very high rating. If he claims he not in charge, then whose in charge anyway? Maybe a new constitution would have been a good thing.


  44. - Logic not emotion - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 1:04 pm:

    Have to totally agree with Damfunny. 10 as a politician. 0 as a state legislator for Illinois citizens. If you disagree, consider that he has had the single most influence in Illinois politics for a very long time; consider all the advantages Illinois as a state has; and then consider the state of our state - 50 out 50.


  45. - Greg G. - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 1:04 pm:

    40 years in Springfield???? Time for term limits, run these career pols out of town!!!!!


  46. - Ahoy - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 1:18 pm:

    I gave him a 5. He did get the workers comp bill passed through the house despite the Republicans, but it was a mediocre bill that should have done a lot more.

    He passed what looks to be a somewhat balanced budget, but did not do anything about the debt or any long term structural budget problems such as pension reform.

    We need him to have a 10 next year, right now he is the only person in Illinois government that can fix our state. The Republicans are a joke, the Senate Democrats are all over the map and the governor is an idiot. Unfortunately, his top priority is to keep Democrats in power, not to fix Illinois.


  47. - L.S. - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 1:54 pm:

    There is little value to this becuase it winds up being nothing more than a popularity contest. Anyone with knowledge of the Capitol knows he is the best tactician in history. People will go back and forth as to what percentage to blame he is for the current fiscal woes and the clueless Rabble-Rabble yellers from the cheap seats will call for term limits.

    In the end, Madigan is a manager of government. He’s not in it to collect favorable headlines or to move up the latter. He’s there to manage the system and all that goes with that, good and bad. For that I give him a 10, no one does it better and anyone who thinks they could doesn’t get it.


  48. - lake county democrat - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 2:03 pm:

    KGB: We’re not resentful of his power, we’re resentful of the way he acquires power: by minimizing the power of voters: gerrymandering, campaign contribution laws, running fake candidates against challengers to his selected few, scholarship to supporter families (even when the person has been indicted for stealing from schools), etc. etc. etc.


  49. - downstate hack - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 2:29 pm:

    3, He has totally lead a dysfunctional approach to fiscal management going back three Governors. He had the power to influence sane fiscal policy and it is obvious failed miserably as even a 60% tax increase has not solved our crisis.


  50. - mokenavince - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 2:32 pm:

    I gave him a 6 without him we would have Quinn,a 3
    and Cullerton a 3 and 1/2. Sooo he’s the best of a bad lot, and most likley a SOX fan.


  51. - titan - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 2:57 pm:

    It hasn’t by any means been enough (or gone far enough) yet to turn the state’s trouble outlook around - but he has seemed to be the only one acting as if there is actually a problem - and the only one changing direction at all.


  52. - Lady GaGa - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 3:35 pm:

    The man is a 10. Soon to be 70 years old, He eats tuna apples every day and will live for ever and ever. This man isn’t going anywhere.


  53. - Colossus - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 3:36 pm:

    Wow, I just voted after reading the comments and I am shocked at how poorly Madigan is doing in the voting. Yeah, he’s a great tactician and he works the game better than anyone, possibly ever. But regardless of how well you play the game, the state is still failing, and you can’t take your props for being a genius after turning in a failing paper. Either he doesn’t care about the problems facing the state so long as he is in a position to do something abotu it (in the unspecified future) or he doesn’t care about them at all. Either way, I know if I worked somewhere in a position of authority this long and had this to show for it, I would be fired. Kinda like bankers that run their banks into the ground but get to keep multimillion dollar retirement parachutes - it doesn’t matter what you did while there, it just matters you were smart and conniving enough to get there in the first place.


  54. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 6:30 pm:

    It seems like a lot of people misread or did not understand the question. Perhaps dislike for the man is so strong that many didn’t finish reading the question. This could have been a lot more interesting.


  55. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 8, 11 @ 6:39 pm:

    Was it Madigan standing in the way of the borrowing bill? Oh wait, I forgot people thinks he snaps his fingers and gets his 71 votes. The Speaker does not get everything he wants and he does sometimes lose but most of the time you never know it. That is one of the main reasons why he plays on such a higher level. You do not see him pick fights he cannot win. Blago did and Quinn does pick the fight before knowing whether or not its winnable.


  56. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Aug 9, 11 @ 3:32 am:

    @lake county dem
    “PrecinctCaptain’s response, which might as well be the voice of Mike Madigan, speaks volumes as to why we’re in such a mess: both politicians and voters who care more about scoring points than doing what’s right.”

    The question: “how about we rate House Speaker Michael Madigan’s job performance this year?”
    This year is not overall. Overall performance I would assume includes policy and politics. How could one label this as unproductive session politically and policy wise for Mr. Madigan? He could have tried passing Quinn’s budget untouched. Would that have been good for the state?

    By the way, I have never voted in my life based on which politicians are “scoring points.”


  57. - PB - Tuesday, Aug 9, 11 @ 10:06 am:

    The only sane man in Illinois Politics


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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