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Question of the day

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013

* From Tedd McClelland

Some time next spring, Michael Madigan will become the longest-serving state House Speaker in American history.

The current record is held by Thomas Bailey Murphy, who ruled the Georgia House of Representatives for 29 years, from 1973 to 2002.

First elected speaker in 1982, Madigan has held the job for all but two years — 1995 and 1996, when Lee Daniels sneaked in, as a beneficiary of Newt Gingrich’s “Republican Revolution.” Madigan long ago eclipsed the Illinois record of 11 years, held by Republican David Shanahan, who served from 1915-21, 1923-25 and 1929-32. […]

Madigan has a few things in common with Murphy. Both reigned as political bosses whose style was formed in an earlier period in their state’s history. In Murphy’s case, it was an era when rural courthouse gangs dominated Georgia politics. In Madigan’s case, it’s been the Democratic machine that reached its maximum effectiveness under his first patron, Mayor Richard J. Daley.

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Murphy “could with the nod of his head make or break legislation.”

* Reboot Illinois has a list of the top ten longest-serving Illinois legislators

* The Question: Do you support term limits for state legislators? Bonus Question: Do you support term limits for the four top legislative leaders? Take the polls and then explain your answers in comments, please.


survey services


polls

- Posted by Rich Miller        


60 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:41 am:

    No, term limits are undemocratic. There are elections, that’s good enough.


  2. - siriusly - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:43 am:

    I voted no for members but yes for leadership. I think 12-16 years is probably sufficient.

    It takes GA members a good bit of time to really be effective, hate to push them out too soon. Most freshmen are awful and have no clue what they are doing.


  3. - train111 - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    No term limits

    Quinn’s “Cutback Amendment” had serious unintended consequences that nobody foresaw. Legislation to limit the terms of legislators or their leaders would probably too have unintended consequences–which may end up in a situation worse than what we have now.


  4. - Steve - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    Yes. Without term limits we have tyranny of the majority and a small minority whose districts are paid off. Circulating elites through term limits is the answer.


  5. - Mason born - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:48 am:

    I’m with Sirius. No on term limits if you don’t like the guy or gal vote him out. However Leadership should have limits on terms. Once you get the post it seems remarkably easy to stay there. Vote against MJM for speaker and it fails you get hammered turns the top 4 into mini dictators.


  6. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:48 am:

    The current arrangement has worked out so very well for whom?


  7. - NW Illinois Dem - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    Yes to term limits in Illinois. Status quo leadership is failing the state and change is needed. System protects incumbents so the idea that elections will weed this out is false. Our incumbent protection system is out of control.


  8. - reformer - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:51 am:

    More than one third of the House members have been there less than four years. More than 10% of the GOP caucus has announced they aren’t running for re-election. Given the rapid turnover without term limits, there’s no need for them.

    Leadership is another story.


  9. - Jeter - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    If there are term limits for leadership positions I feel the leader should still be able to serve as a non leader representative/senator.


  10. - Darienite - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:55 am:

    Voted yes. To those who feel elections are adequate means to remove an elected official, we have too many lifers in both Springfield and Washington. I would be generous with the term limit (18-20 years), but those who have served longer are too entrenched in their power base.


  11. - Belle - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:57 am:

    Term limits please.
    Part of the problem is that we don’t all get to vote for Madigan, Cullerton, etc. It’s a small minority and their reign may benefit their area but not the entire state.
    I would have never felt this way in the past but it seems to have gotten out of control. 12 years–fine, Maybe even 16 years. But, this recently seems to have spun out of control.
    It would be interesting to see how the votes broke down between those of us who consider ourselves Dems or Republicans.


  12. - BMAN - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 11:58 am:

    WS opines term limits are undemocratic. My contention is that too few politicians are there to serve their constituencies; rather they are there to perpetuate and add to the power and thatis unacceptable.


  13. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    –My contention is that too few politicians are there to serve their constituencies; rather they are there to perpetuate and add to the power and thatis unacceptabl–

    They were elected by their constituencies. Why should your perception trump those of the voters?


  14. - Lakewood-Balmoral - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:02 pm:

    When you have term limits, staff become the most powerful people in the Capitol - I would rather have a leader elected by somebody calling the shots as opposed to a staffer no one has heard of.

    If you have a problem with your Rep. or Senator voting for a particular leader, make it a campaign issue and vote them out!


  15. - WAK - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:06 pm:

    I voted no because my recollection from all the political science studies that have been done on term limits and I read is that they did not work, they had unintended consequences one of which was less informed legislators without depth of knowledge on a range of issues and a legislative body that was as a result more easily influenced by larger interest groups that have the money to have a sustained presence educating and lobbying legislators about their positions.


  16. - Angry Chicagoan - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:08 pm:

    Term limits in elections are undemocratic and further tilt the balance of power at the legislature in favor of lobbyists who get to make a career of it. If you’re going to term-limit legislators, you’re going to have to term-limit lobbying groups as well.

    Leadership positions are a different matter. If someone like Mike Madigan is good enough to be speaker for almost 30 years, he could still, once term-limited, still serve effectively and provide the public with useful service rotating through various committee chairmanships using seniority; and, if he’s not good enough to be speaker, he’s only still there because his longevity in leadership is distorting the balance of power. Leadership term limits therefore have very little downside and lots of advantages.


  17. - langhorne - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:11 pm:

    no on both. term limits shift influence, if not power, to staff and lobbyists. it also creates a climate where candidates start running against the institution, and against staff (oregon, i think for ex).

    we need independent redistricting, so voters choose their reps, not vice verse. and we need to somehow loosen the stranglehold leaders have over the money required to get elected. candidates know who they are going to vote for for leader if not before they even win a primary, then right after.


  18. - shore - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    No on term limits for state reps. there’s more than enough resources out there now for candidates to take them on.

    Yes on term limits for leaders. So much dead weight.


  19. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:14 pm:

    If your goal is allow lobbyists, staffers, agency trolls to run the show with little interference then get those terms limits in place pronto

    It seems like they control enough now. No wonder the ReBooters ( a wholly owned annex of Wall Street hedge fund hustlers ) favor term limits
    Get anyone with any experience out out out


  20. - reflector - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    There are benefits both ways but I would not like to limit a person like MM to a certain number of terms and I’m not a Democrat.


  21. - Bill White - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    Term limits have been tried in other states.

    Can anyone point to a clear success story?

    I am not strongly opposed to term limits however I do not believe term limits offer the benefits proponents claim they offer.


  22. - RWP - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    Term limit proponents always make the argument that voters need better choices or different choices, while ignoring that term limits, by their very nature, limit voter’s choices.

    The same is true for leadership positions.

    The fact is most of these changes are cosmetic and will only lead to moving more people through the system, not better people in the system.


  23. - Anon - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    I used to be a very vocal opponent to limits for leaders or legislators. Because of the problems we now face from members who have been serving for extended periods of time and who refuse to be open to change in thought and ideology, II believe limits are warranted.


  24. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:31 pm:

    Ambivalent - I used to believe Wordslinger’s flip “term limits are undemocratic” but given how undemocratic the current system is, it’s hard to imagine how things could get worse.


  25. - Boone's is Back - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:36 pm:

    I’m not in favor of term limits. The unintended consequences comment by train111 regarding quinn’s cutback amendment is a great point. Also- one of the strongest arguments I ever heard was what happened to Michigan’s GA after they enacted term limits. Staffers really do become the most powerful people- or lobbyists. I see more of an argument for leadership- but you need people around with expertise and experience. That doesn’t accrue in one term.


  26. - Angry Chicagoan - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:36 pm:

    @Bill White; I think term limits in legislative elections have, by and large, been a disaster. Organizations ranging from the American Legislative Exchange Council to various trade groups have gained enormously in influence, the public interest has lost.

    I think leadership term limits help. I believe where they have been adopted — and it’s usually by decision of the party caucus rather than a change in the law — the party caucuses that have adopted them have become a) more responsive to the public interest, b) less dominated by lobbyists and c) more electorally successful. I’m also less inclined to criticize term limits on executive positions than on legislative positions. I’m not quite willing to go out and say that the mayoralty of Chicago should be term limited, but you look at both the Daleys, for example, and Daley jr. especially, but even his father as well, deteriorated in job performance as time went on.


  27. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:38 pm:

    I support a sort of soft term limit.

    At some point a legislator would face two elections. There would be the traditional election and there would be a retention vote.

    If the legislator fails the retention vote then s/he would not be eligible to run in the next election.


  28. - Tommydanger - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:38 pm:

    No on term limits for legislators and yes for legislative leaders.

    With voting rights comes voter’s responsibility. They should take the time to become informed and vote informed.

    As to the leaders, they should rotate out and allow a different perspective/leadership style to take a turn. I wonder however, if in our fair state, that it would not end up more like the equation: Medvedev was to Putin as (fill in the blank)would be to Madigan.


  29. - Peoria Pete - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:39 pm:

    Voted no. I think you only have to look to California’s experience with term limits for state legislators to see why. Term limits were introduced in part to deal with Willie Brown, long time leader of the CA Assembly. Like Madigan in Springfield, Brown amassed a lot of power in Sacramento through his many terms in the Assembly and as its speaker.

    Once term limits came into place, he had to leave the Assembly and ran for mayor of San Francisco. And he set the road map for everyone else in the legislature: use your current, term-limited office to catapult you to your next term-limited office.

    In the aftermath of introducing term limits, you end up with a lot of legislators who never master the mechanics of getting things done in the state house (as Siriusly points out). You also end up with the real power in the legislature being held by legislators’ staff members, who aren’t elected. All in all, I don’t think term limits are a solution.


  30. - Anon. - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:39 pm:

    No. I would expect that limiting terms, so no one could “grow” Madigan’s power through serving in the general assembly, would just increase the power of party officials who never have to face election. Who else will otherwise unknown candidates be able to turn to for financial and other assistance? At least Madigan has to face some voters.


  31. - back to basics - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    I think there should be term limits to bring an end to professional politicians. They should be forced to work in the real world and that is where the bulk of their pensions should come from.

    With the current system it’s possible for a legislator to end up in the highest office of the land without having ever had a real job, or balancing a real budget. Talk about being out of touch with the people!


  32. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    For top leadership, yes. While voters can vote out a legislator (or state-wide office holders), they don’t have that kind of control on top leadership (which act like state-wide office-holders). (8-10 years)


  33. - One of the 35 - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    No on term limits for leaders, but Open Meeting Act requirements for them should apply.


  34. - PsyOp - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    Where did Reboot come up with those numbers? Not even close!


  35. - back to basics - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 1:16 pm:

    If it was for top leadership only, what would keep the a strong leader from putting up puppets to keep their reign going? If it was the law today, you don’t think Madigan would find someone willing to sit in his seat while he continued to pull the strings?


  36. - thechampaignlife - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 1:19 pm:

    I was also a no to the first, yes to the second for many of the reasons mentioned above. I think the retention vote, term-limited leaders continuing as regular members, and independent redistricting are good ideas. I’d also be for merging the current chambers into a 177 member Senate and using sortition to seat a statistically representative citizen House as a check-and-balance on gerrymandering and campaign finance influence.


  37. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 1:28 pm:

    I’m not a fan of term limits so I voted no on both. In case everyone isn’t aware, we already have a provision for term limits - it’s called elections.


  38. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 1:39 pm:

    === With the current system it’s possible for a legislator to end up in the highest office of the land without having ever had a real job, or balancing a real budget. ===

    It’s certainly possible if that’s what the voters want for their Governor.


  39. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 1:42 pm:

    Term limits are nothing more than a gimmick to place blame for failure on elected officials instead of placing blame on the electorate. The electorate continuously shirks its responsibility in a democracy and looks for easy, gimmicky solutions instead.


  40. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 1:47 pm:

    –With the current system it’s possible for a legislator to end up in the highest office of the land without having ever had a real job, or balancing a real budget. Talk about being out of touch with the people!–

    Yeah, it’s called a democratic republic. Been around almost 250 years now.

    Do you have another “system” that you prefer?

    And as far as the current occupant of the highest office in the land being “out of touch with the people,” well, the people put him there. Twice. Get over it.


  41. - LincolnLounger - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 2:08 pm:

    I have been late to this thinking, but I voted yes. Between the horrific gerrymandering and non-existent campaign finance regulations, I believe it is the only solution. The system is just too rigged.


  42. - OldSmoky2 - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 2:28 pm:

    Absolutely not in both cases - I agree that we have elections to limit the terms of politicians who lose the public’s trust. That’s what democracy is all about: the freedom of voters to make their own choices each and every time they vote. As for professional politicians being inherently bad, why not extend that logic to other jobs? Sorry, you’ve been a great doctor but your 10 years are up. Time to find another career.


  43. - Just Me - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    No on all term limits, yes on Leader limits. The public doesn’t get to vote on Leaders so some forced turnover is appropriate to stop abusive power-gathering.


  44. - A guy... - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 3:11 pm:

    We have elections….and Derrick Smith got re-elected. I know he’s just a two termer now, but that’s for everyone who says elections solve the problems. There are countless districts where people are practically caucused into office by the regional poobah. I could easily support 12 year term limits. Nothing too short, but a merciful end to career legislators.


  45. - Stones - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 3:18 pm:

    I suppose this could be perceived as contradictory but no on legislators term limits as we already have them - they are called “elections”. I do favor however term limits for the Speaker & Minority Leader serving in those capacities.


  46. - OldSmoky2 - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 3:24 pm:

    Derrick Smith got re-elected despite the best efforts of all the political leaders to defeat him. I wouldn’t have voted for him but the voters in his district did. That’s representative democracy in action sometimes - the good, the bad, the ugly, but all in all, for 200-plus years, better than anything else humans have tried. Without meaningful reform to limit the power of big money to influence government, I’m very much against any effort to limit the power voters have to make their own choices, even if I often disagree with those choices.


  47. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 3:32 pm:

    Out of 177 members of the General Assembly, 10 have been members more than 20 years. And Rep. Hoffman experienced termus interruptus until the re-map. Those figures just don’t seem to scream term limits.


  48. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 3:50 pm:

    Voted “NO” and … “NO”

    We have term limits, and if you want MJM, or Danny Burke or whoever gone… beat them.

    I don’t want to hear the “the system is stacked”, “we have no chance” and any and all the defeatest attitudes that require a CRUTCH to stifle Democracy … for Democracy’s sake?

    Yikes!

    We need to to work harder to win, not to dmamge democracy becuase we in My Party are Champions at losing at elections.

    “No” to Leader term limits.

    Cross is leaving becuase, among other reasons, Cross failed. Being the Minority Leader for 10 years, and then losing to irrelevence leads to Leader changes.

    Conversely…

    Speaker Madigan wins, runs the elections, has a Staff that works FOR him, understands how to win many different ways, and understands the Chamber, Government, and Politics. Why on earth would the HDems change? Again, we have democracy, if some Dopey Dem Mushroom wants to take on the most successful Democrat House Member, because of Ideology, or Geography or whatever … good luck.

    MJM is Leader until someone else can make the case to get 36 Mushrooms in that Caucus to agree.

    Thems the rules. Anything less, defeats the specific purpose as to why ALL the Mushrooms are down there; Democracy.

    Pat Quinn destroyed the General Assembly with the Cutback Amendment, but Quinn did not destory democracy. It’s there. It lives. Beat Madigan, beat the Mushrooms, and you get your “term limits” and your “Leader Limits” too.


  49. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 4:19 pm:

    === We have elections….and Derrick Smith got re-elected. I know he’s just a two termer now, but that’s for everyone who says elections solve the problems. ===

    Nobody says elections solve all problems. But the voters had the choice to “solve” the D. Smith issue by voting him out of office, and they chose not to. There was no failure in the system. You just don’t like who was elected (not to say that I do like the choice).


  50. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 4:23 pm:

    I voted yes on both, though I am ambivalent about limits for legislators–too much power gets ceded to the unelected if the term is too short.

    But Leadership should rotate among the representatives. People may not believe me, but someday Mr. Madigan will not be the leader, and I don’t see a lot of people who are going to be able to fill the void he will leave.


  51. - Jaded - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 4:39 pm:

    I support term limits for the legislators I don’t like, but the rest can stay as long as they want.


  52. - 4 percent - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 4:50 pm:

    No and No. We have term limits - they are called elections.

    However, I do support the Fair Map legislation.


  53. - walkinfool - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 5:18 pm:

    No for many of the reasons above– my favorite being that lobbyists and organizations like ALEC will be even more successful in creating the substance of our laws, with little effective input from elected legislators.

    Interesting that many more No voters specified reasons in comments, while Yes voters were mostly silent about any rationale.

    Term limits don’t act as advertised, and are not some kind of panacea for dislike of gov’t actions.


  54. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 5:19 pm:

    I’m (almost) with Jaded, and he drives a spear thru the argument for term limits. We have elections every two years, most don’t bother to register, of those that do, usually a bare majority or less bother to vote. I’ll settle for involved citizens as my preferred choice, as long as they are willing to man up to the decisions they make.


  55. - Pete - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 5:49 pm:

    Term limits are a great idea.

    We have a term limit for the president of the United states. I think we should have the same for state officials.

    For every re-election a champaign war chest grows.
    Jobs are given to campaign supportes and that starts to compound.


  56. - Huh? - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 5:51 pm:

    Yes to term limits. Political office should not be a career.

    For those who say that there are term limits called elections, I point to the race by JJJr. Somebody who was under federal investigation, had not been seen for 6 months and the convict still won the race.


  57. - Sunshine - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 6:07 pm:

    Long term legislators will, over time, become “obligated” to certain interests that may well not be in the best interest of the state, overall, Michael Madigan is a prime example, in my opinion, of someone who could have done a huge amount of good, but busied himself with proving his power over accomplishing good things for all the citizens. He is a huge disappointment to me and many of my voting friends.

    It would be great if we could count on the citizens to actually exercise their right to vote, but that has become a thing of the past. Those few good people who do get elected are at the mercy of those tenured legislators with big money backing and huge influence.

    Term limits should serve to do what the citizens fail to do.; and that is to end the reign of those many, many special interest groups and bought legislators.


  58. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 8:08 pm:

    No to the 1st Q. and Yes to the 2nd Q. Legislators should be able to be re-elected as long as their Constituents want to: it’s the democratic way. However, there IS TOO much power in the hands of the 4 Leaders: this is the part that corrupts or becomes overbearing to the Public. A law should be passed limiting the LATter Posts to a Maximum of 8 or 10 years in Total (e.g. if split up for awhile as MJM’s Tenure as Speaker was)…!

    Such a change would be at least a good faith effort at true reform, because too much power in the hands of a few for too long can indeed corrupt, or at least become sickeningly manipulative.


  59. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 9:35 pm:

    Always had faith in “No” and “No.” Then began “entertaining” the pretty persuasive arguments (BUT admittedly without researching them) re: who become the most powerful people (which I do not like at all and seems pretty “silly”) and how the corrupt are created (which seems both logical and often quite evident).

    Therefore, I think I’m going to have to stick to No and No until I manage to change my mind based on my own “conclusions.”

    So there!


  60. - mokenavince - Tuesday, Aug 27, 13 @ 9:55 pm:

    Yes Hell Yes!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Towns in Knox, Fulton Counties get federal......
* Duckworth to deliver commencement speech o......
* GW: Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth to speak......

* This week’s Hitting Left with the Klonsky brothers. Exclusive interview with Yonatan Shipira. The journey of an Israeli helicopter pilot to peace activist and musician. And Chicago education activist and musician Matt Farmer.
* Supporters of birther army doctor Terry Lakin petition Trump for pardon
* Illinois’s only true meadery is riding the current wave of interest in the fermented honey beverage
* Resistance Sunday.
* Betsy and Randi.
* The [Monday] Papers
* The [Tuesday] Papers
* Hitting Left Episode #3 with the Klonsky brothers and in-studio guest Bill Ayers.
* Keeping retirement weird. Betsy DeVos and racial education gaslighting.
* Tony at the Red Line Tap.


* Stars and Legends to Perform at 2017 Illinois State Fair - First Round of Grandstand Headliners Announced for Springfield Fair
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* 2017 Budget Address
* Rauner, Lawmakers Move to Protect Taxpayers from Inmate Legal Bills
* Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Announcednew pilot program titled Tiny Boots

  
* Users spent more on apps in 2016, with games and entertainment apps leading the way
* News Organizations Refocus FBI Lawsuit to Question Cost of San Bernardino iPhone Hack Tool
* Get a look at the on-screen buttons from the Samsung Galaxy S8
* Samsung could start selling refurbished Galaxy Note 7’s soon
* Travel app Hopper will now break down airlines’ confusing fees
* HTC U Ultra in India for Rs. 59,990, U Play for Rs. 39,990
* Latest round of iPhone 8 speculation details ‘3D-sensing’ front camera, RAM and ROM options

* This is not a typo: Soto throws to Soto during BP
* Garcia driven to reclaim outfield spot
* Garcia driven to reclaim outfield spot
* Bourjos enticed to White Sox by weather, opportunity
* Bourjos enticed to White Sox by opportunity, locale
* Renteria expects bright future for White Sox
* Top pick Burdi White Sox closer of future?


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