* From the Illinois Republican Party…
Longtime Speaker of the House Mike Madigan shocked the internet on Friday when it was revealed that Madigan has finally entered the 21st century with the creation of a new Facebook page and website, both ironically branded as “Madigan for Us,” in an attempt to put a positive spin on his tarnished image.
But Illinoisans are keenly aware of the real Mike Madigan and they know he’s bad news. Madigan has been described as “the constant in key decisions that created the mess.” Under Madigan’s watch, Illinois has seen massive tax hikes, out of control pension debt, and the worst-in-the-nation out-migration.
Unfortunately for Madigan, staged pictures of him sporting a smile won’t save him from his decades of destruction.
News outlets have been reporting on Madigan’s “nasty-to-nice makeover”:
Chicago Tribune: The softer side of Michael Madigan
Someone call the police about a missing person. Missing and replaced by a person of interest, actually. A man with a distinct resemblance to House Speaker Michael Madigan has been photographed reading books to children. He is smiling. And they are smiling. And he is wearing a plaid shirt. Where is the real Speaker Madigan and what has someone done with him?
The alleged explanation for the warm, welcoming Michael Madigan is that he’s launched a website, www.madiganforus.com, that attempts to soften his image as a cutthroat politician. He also has a Facebook page and an email address. This is big news. Until recently, Madigan famously didn’t use digital technology, email or social media.
…We wonder if, following the photo shoot with the kids, he handed them each a bill for $45,500. That’s how much accumulated state debt a 2016 Truth in Accounting study determined each Illinois taxpayer owes.
So there you go, kiddos. Scan the website. Enjoy the fairy tales.
The News-Gazette: Jim Dey: Madigan attempting a nasty-to-nice makeover
…So what gives with the Madigan makeover?
There’s no doubt that the millions of dollars the GOP has spent savaging Madigan as a sociopathic politician who puts politics first and policy second has taken its toll on the Democratic Party and its legislative candidates. All of a sudden Democratic legislators are being asked by constituents exactly why Madigan commands so much clout.
Democratic legislators know they must pay fealty to Madigan in Springfield or pay an unacceptably high price for crossing the big man. But they also know that they’ve got to keep that reality to themselves when they’re back home or, alternatively and incredibly, tout their independence from Madigan when talking with gullible constituents.
Chicago Tribune: Mike Madigan smiles!
Mike Madigan — he’s just like us!
…At least, that’s the cuddly face the long-serving Illinois House speaker is projecting on a new-look website. The rebranding exercise appears to be a response to several years of well-funded advertising by Republicans that paint Madigan as the dour, calculating root of all of the state’s problems (Gov. Bruce Rauner last week committed $4.45 million to the GOP’s “2018 Madigan Retirement Plan”).
* They missed one. From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service…
Former Democratic Party press-secretary-turned public relations consultant David Ormsby said the point of an online presence for a politician is typically to get the candidate known in their district, but Madigan’s position of power in the state has done that for him.
“His own prominence has raised his profile over the course of decades,” he said. “He’s well known in his district.”
Madigan also quietly launched a Facebook page last month. Ormsby said social media pages like what Madigan launched are used as a cost-efficient way to reach voters via paid advertising that’s geographically and demographically directed. On the other hand, it also becomes a target of hostility for one of the least popular politicians in the state. On the page’s lone post, hundreds of Facebook users posted a variation of anti-Madigan statements.
“They see the comments that are left so they see the good, the bad and the ugly,” Ormsby said.
Most notably, Ormsby said the new online presence told him one thing about Madigan, who has led a legislative body for longer than anyone in modern American history: “He’s planning to stay for a while.”
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Madigan, 75, has been an elected state representative since 1971. He has been House speaker for all but two years since 1983.
* The comments on his Facebook page are just brutal…