* My Crain’s Chicago Business column…
Without a doubt, House Speaker Michael Madigan is not an easy person to work with if you happen to be the governor.
Former Gov. Jim Edgar jokingly blamed Madigan for the heart attack he suffered while in office. Former Gov. Pat Quinn often had a devil of a time trying to figure out how to work with Madigan, which may have contributed to his 2014 defeat.
Madigan cooperates when it’s in his interests to do so and doesn’t when it’s not. Figuring out what his interests are or what’s against his interests on any given proposal is often extremely complicated because the man almost never just comes right out and says: “Give me this and I’ll give you that.”
And if you’re not careful, he can take up residence inside your head.
If you have the stomach for it, go back and listen to some of the FBI surveillance audio of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. It’s Madigan this and Madigan that. Madigan, Madigan, Madigan ruined everything he was trying to do in office. Blagojevich was thoroughly obsessed with the House speaker.
At one point, Blagojevich even publicly called out Madigan, chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, for being a “Republican.”
By the end, it was clear that there was something really wrong with Blagojevich’s mental state. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that he had allowed Madigan to drive him a bit mad.
Gov. Bruce Rauner cannot seem to go a day without blaming Madigan for one evil thing or another. And, yes, the governor has actually used the word “evil.”
This has been Rauner’s main talking point since pretty much day one. And it made political sense. Madigan is the most unpopular state-level politician in Illinois. You’re not going to make too many voters unhappy by going after him because so few love the guy.
And by pointing the finger at the wildly unpopular Madigan, Rauner has been able to excuse his own inability to get much of anything done. Madigan has been in charge of the state for 35 years, Rauner regularly says. Everyone else, including the governor, is just a victim helplessly sitting on the sidelines.
Read the rest before commenting, please. Thanks.
*** UPDATE *** Living rent-free in the governor’s head…