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Question of the day

Friday, Aug 23, 2019

* Crain’s editorial

What purpose does Michael J. Madigan serve for Illinois Democrats anymore?

Until recently, the speaker of the Illinois House was the state party’s problematic but predictably dogged counterpuncher to former Gov. Bruce Rauner, a ruthless enforcer of discipline on matters of policy and power if not principles, a deployer of patronage armies, an arbiter of who got what votes, money and, bottom line, permission to pursue any agenda of import in Springfield. To be frozen out by Madigan was to be frozen out—period—and generations of Democrats during his three-decade-plus hold on the legislative reins learned to live with the downsides of his omnipresence in exchange for the seemingly ineradicable grip on control that his speakership guaranteed the party.

All that power, remarkably concentrated in one man, could have been wielded for the larger good since Madigan became speaker in 1983—resolving, say, the pension crisis that threatens to swamp Illinois’ government and ultimately its economy, improving education and services for Illinois residents, or enacting taxation and regulatory reforms that would make the state more competitive with its neighbors as a place to live, work and invest. Instead, that firepower has seemingly been targeted toward one distinct purpose: the acquisition and maintenance of one man’s influence, that of Michael J. Madigan, the longest-serving leader of any state or federal legislative body in U.S. history.

Meanwhile, the state has suffered a slow decline, punctuated by the occasional body blow—governors sent to jail, corporate headquarters opportunities missed, one credit rating downgrade heaped atop another. Illinois now lands at No. 45 out of 50 states on U.S. News & World Report’s recent ranking of state-by-state economic growth and 50th on its measurement of fiscal stability. Illinois’ higher education system, its nonprofit social safety net and its infrastructure are only just recovering from the two-year-long budget stalemate between Madigan and his former nemesis, Rauner. And Illinois has lost population every year since 2014. Along the way, Madigan has become the most despised public official in the state, a persona so toxic as to be a public relations liability for every Democrat seeking office from dogcatcher on up.

* The Question: What purpose does Michael J. Madigan serve for Illinois Democrats anymore? Make sure to fully explain your answers, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

63 Comments
  1. - Colin O'Scopy - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:10 pm:

    =purpose does Michael J. Madigan serve for Illinois Democrats anymore=

    I think the interesting thing to ponder here is the word “purpose”. MJM never served with a purpose to advance “Democrat” ideals. He used the Democrats for the advancement of MJM’s purpose.


  2. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:11 pm:

    I can’t really answer this without snark. He really doesn’t serve a purpose anymore. If you look at the extremely aged leadership of the democratic party, though, he does provide some youth.


  3. - JS Mill - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    What purpose do any of them serve? I think he serves the same purpose as any other member of the ILGA.


  4. - Been There - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:15 pm:

    ==Meanwhile, the state has suffered a slow decline, punctuated by the occasional body blow—governors sent to jail, corporate headquarters opportunities missed, one credit rating downgrade heaped atop another……====
    Well I think its a stretch if they are trying to affix blame to him for these occasional body blows. I would argue when we had bad governors or other bad elected officials he was there for stability. And not that they are bad but sometimes the far left part of the dem party also needs to have the brakes put on them.


  5. - LakeviewJ - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:17 pm:

    Mercifully brief remarks at the county chairs breakfast.


  6. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    What purpose does Michael J. Madigan serve

    To the average resident he serves no beneficial purpose; to those seeking political gain everything. In the fullness of time the MJM era will be viewed as a time of stagnation and decline.


  7. - Perrid - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:20 pm:

    If ever there was a time to bow out and retire, I think it would be now. That said, I think he serves the same purpose he ever did, as a strategist and leader, keeping Dem control. At the moment that isn’t a very difficult goal to achieve, but who knows how long that would last. To my knowledge he has always been a cautious, status quo guy, so he’s certainly not a visionary with goals for the future. With the negative sentiment he’s received, earned and unearned, I consider it a wash, as to whether or not it’s better for the Party if he stays around.


  8. - Unpopular - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:21 pm:

    It is really two different answers for two different sets of democrats.

    Democratic members of the General Assembly were served by his ability to raise money through his vast empire of contacts and influence.

    Democrats in his district have benefited from a never ending pipeline of pork.

    I cannot imagine any purpose he has ever served for Democrats outside his district.


  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    Left to its own instincts and devices, the Democratic Party of Illinois (and nationally) would devolve into chaos and disunity in a matter of months without Mike Madigan’s iron grip.

    Consider the various left-leaning interest groups just within organized labor. SEIU is on the left fringe, the Operating Engineers on the right, and IFT/IEA/AFSCME in the middle. The rest of the trades are ordered largely from the center of the party to the right edge. Mike Madigan keeps them together.

    Pro-choice groups like Personal PAC and groups that champion gay rights know they have a seat at the table in the big tent DPI, and they benefit from that position.

    The Black Caucus and the Latinx Caucus have legitimate policy disagreements with some in organized labor and elsewhere, but rarely does that interfere with the electoral coalition that keeps Illinois blue. That’s largely due to Madigan.

    We have plenty of infighting and disagreements, but they haven’t crippled our party in decades. I’m old enough to remember the 1980s, when it was a free-for-all among Democrats. Those days are over. That’s largely a result of Madigan.

    Operatives and smart lobbyists know by experience how Madigan is likely to view an idea or a potential candidate even before speaking with him about it. They know his preferences because he’s been remarkably consistent over the years.

    The reason he’s been called the velvet hammer is because you know he can’t be pushed around, but he’s not a tyrant about it. It’s all very cordial and matter-of-fact. Mike Madigan will never change. In a diverse coalition like the Democratic Party, that consistency and unbending will at the top keeps the rest of us in line. That’s his purpose.


  10. - Amalia - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    To win. at least that is how it typically has worked. with efficiency and hard work and smarts, they push, they win. who knows if this will continue, but think of all the smart people who have worked for him. yes, the Mapes and Noonans bug me, but Mitchell/Ellis types, good works.


  11. - Stevie Dan - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    Does anyone really think Pritzker figured out how to get everything passed that last week of session on his own? That purpose.


  12. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:29 pm:

    Experience. Can’t replace that in Springfield.


  13. - Paddyrollingstone - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:30 pm:

    “All that power, remarkably concentrated in one man, could have been wielded for the larger good since Madigan became speaker in 1983—resolving, say, the pension crisis that threatens to swamp Illinois’ government and ultimately its economy, improving education and services for Illinois residents, or enacting taxation and regulatory reforms that would make the state more competitive with its neighbors as a place to live, work and invest”

    It is obvious that as the Speaker he has a lot of power but he is not an Emperor who can just rule by fiat. From 1983 to 2003 and 2015-2019, he had a Republican Governor and from 1993 to 2003, he had a Republican Senate ruled by Pate Phillip wo was just as powerful as Madigan for those ten years, if not more so, as the GOP had total control from 1995-1997. The Crain’s editorial is just as lazy as the Republican campaigns against his rule.


  14. - Responsa - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    He has provided continuity. He is a known known. For may people that was his virtue. But enough is enough.


  15. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    None. I’ve been making this same argument here for a couple of years now. His supposed electoral wizardry is nothing but a smokescreen, attributing that which is due to the overwhelming number of dem voters in Illinois instead to the giant brain of Mike Madigan. He hurts IL dems (especially those running downstate) more than he helps, and it’s been that way since 1998. Until this GA, he’s been responsible for killing or stalling legislation that’s overwhelmingly popular with dem voters. Can’t change the past but it’s long past time for JB to cowboy up and put pressure on him to go.


  16. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    I propose a QOTD for sometime in the near future:

    “Would it matter to Mike Madigan if he were affiliated with the Democrats or with the Republicans?”. Would he be as successful if he was a Republican instead of a Democrat?


  17. - The Purpose - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:38 pm:

    Everyone seems to be ready to kick MJM to the curb, and I find it laughable. You always hear about the negative stories in the press, but you rarely hear any positives. People should consider the following:

    The man has built one of the most successful and ideologically diverse State parties in the country. He not only can raise boatloads of money, but he also knows how to spend it effectively. He has smoothed over beefs within the party and has prevented the cannibalization of Democrats that we have seen in other parts of the country. Most importantly, he has the most effective political apparatus in the state that cannot be matched with dozens of political workers that bust their rear ends every cycle out of loyalty to him. Finally, you cannot name another elected official that has the depth of understanding of not only his district, but all of the districts in the state.

    With all of this stated, why would the party be looking to rid itself of someone that brings all of this to the table. It doesn’t honestly make sense. The only answer is that the sharks are circling for the sole purpose of advancing their own political ambition.


  18. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:40 pm:

    “predictably dogged counterpuncher to former Gov. Bruce Rauner”

    Madigan stays mostly silent and lets opponents damage themselves. The ratio between Rauner’s attacks against Madigan versus the other way around must have been astronomical. Rauner couldn’t stop attacking him. When opponents are self-destructing, like Rauner, the ILGOP and their allies just did, stay out of the way and let it happen.

    “corporate headquarters opportunities missed”

    Get out of here wid’ it. Chicago metro always leads the country in corporate real estate deals.

    One reason Madigan is successful is that attacks against him are smokescreens to hide bad policy. What was Rauner going to do, run on decimating unions and repealing the prevailing wage? The political karma reaped by Rauner, the ILGOP and anyone who substituted popular policies for attacks on Madigan was wonderful.


  19. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:42 pm:

    ==Does anyone really think Pritzker figured out how to get everything passed that last week of session on his own==

    So your argument is that literally no one else in the Statehouse could figure out how to work with a super-majority of dems to pass legislation that’s overwhelmingly popular within that super-majority?


  20. - Token Conservative - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    ===Would he be as successful if he was a Republican instead of a Democrat?===

    Of course not. No Union money.


  21. - Powdered Whig - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    === “Would it matter to Mike Madigan if he were affiliated with the Democrats or with the Republicans?”. Would he be as successful if he was a Republican instead of a Democrat? ===

    In my opinion - Yes


  22. - Colin O'Scopy - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    =The man has built one of the most successful and ideologically diverse State parties in the country=

    Oh, puh-leeese. He didn’t build squat. This diverse party of which you speak was built in spite of him. There is only one thing DPI is built for and that’s a majority Democrat House.


  23. - Steve - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    Mike Madigan does serve a purpose. He’s the brains behind the Democratic party in Springfield. He’s a historic figure, he didn’t get there by being a failure. Madigan has won election after election cycle for himself and the Democrats by knowing how to grow his political base. Other political machines were not wise enough to know when it’s time to share some power with some up and coming minority group. When Mike Madigan is no longer Speaker, the Democratic party in Illinois will have a much more challenging time . Whether you like him or dislike him no one has won more than him at state level politics.


  24. - RNUG - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:50 pm:

    Stability and consistency. Without MJM, the State party would devolve into the lunacy the national party is exhibiting. He, with Senate President Cullerton, is the voice or reason and compromise for the patty. And we can argue his success at it, but he is as much a fiscal conservative as anyone in his party. Plus, as others have noted, he can raise money … lots of money … for the party.

    Quite frankly, the party could do a lot worse …


  25. - RNUG - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:52 pm:

    == Would he be as successful if he was a Republican instead of a Democrat? ==

    Yes. It would a center to left center leaning GOP,


  26. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    Madigan is Speaker, so his purpose is to be a leader of his caucus. He did great in this past GA session apparently, with all the bills that were passed, including the tough ones (fair tax and marijuana legalization).

    He agreed to big legislative deals with Republicans in just a few short months of Rauner being gone, which proves it was Rauner and not Madigan who was the problem.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    ===No Union money.===

    … and yet, with Rauner’s unlimited cash… Rauner and Raunerites failed.

    Good try. No. It’s not union money, it’s 60/30… it’s winning districts you shouldn’t, and taking his and beating yours, and taking yours and beating his.

    I’m not a Democrat, but I am thankful Madigan was there to lead Democrats against Rauner, and then being rewarded with his largest majority by fighting Raunerism.


  28. - The Purpose - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    === He didn’t build squat. This diverse party of which you speak was built in spite of him. ===

    That’s BS. I would refer you to the comment by the 47th Ward.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 1:59 pm:

    If you truly want to understand Michael J Madigan, Speaker…

    Read, comprehend, digest…. - 47th Ward -‘s comment.


  30. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:01 pm:

    So, according to some of those posting here, Mike Madigan is saving us from ourselves? He’s been Speaker since 1983, save for one 2-year term. Isn’t it time for fresh ideas? A new perspective? He’s gonna leave someday. That’s a fact.

    Are we so conditioned to him being there it’s like we’re paralyzed by the thought of his leaving?


  31. - Norseman - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    === MJM never served with a purpose to advance “Democrat” ideals ===

    In total this is part of the typical “because Madigan” troll rhetoric. Real political observers know he’s notorious for his drive to elect Dems. What is good for the Dems is good for Madigan.

    What some view as Dem ideals - a moving target for sure - others believe that some constraints are needed to ensure the electability of Dems. While Phil Rock focused on policy first, party second. Madigan is party first, policy second. (I prefer Rock’s approach.) However, Dem ideals and agenda mean nothing if Dems are not elected. See the impotent GOP as a prime example.

    Acknowledging a diminishing return on Madigan’s skills. The purpose he serves is to continue to provide that institutional knowledge on strategy and mechanics of a strong Dem party and in governing as Dems. More humorous to me is his oversized role as the big bad bogeyman for his opponents. The first thing GOP pols do every morning is to look under their desks to see if Madigan is listening in on their conversations.

    His time is nearing the end. I’m hoping his replacement is well trained - with the policy chops of Phil Rock and the strategic political genius of Madigan.


  32. - Overcooked - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:04 pm:

    Mike Madigan controls the legislative mapping process and new maps will be drawn after 2020


  33. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:06 pm:

    ===So, according to some of those posting here, Mike Madigan is saving us from ourselves?===

    No…

    The question was…

    ===What purpose does Michael J. Madigan serve for Illinois Democrats anymore?===

    This is probably the best written so far…

    ===The reason he’s been called the velvet hammer is because you know he can’t be pushed around, but he’s not a tyrant about it. It’s all very cordial and matter-of-fact. Mike Madigan will never change. In a diverse coalition like the Democratic Party, that consistency and unbending will at the top keeps the rest of us in line. That’s his purpose===

    “… keeps the rest in line… “ is far different than “…saving us from ourselves…”

    I’d point to SSM, conceal carry, and most of the agenda this session.

    It’s knowing when things are ripe. It’s not saving anyone from anything, it’s knowing the timing and party dynamics within the political climate.


  34. - Rutro - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:07 pm:

    MJM is and always has been about power, will this help me be the speaker, will this help me be the speaker, and will this help me be the speaker. I think he personally believes in many thing’s traditional R’s are for, but that takes a back seat to the the first three questions he asks himself before he does anything.


  35. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:08 pm:

    “Isn’t it time for fresh ideas? A new perspective?”

    Madigan demonstrated that he knows it (see the 2019 GA session). In regards to marijuana legalization, he may have said he didn’t want to get swept away by the tide of change. Thankfully Democrats caught up with Illinois voters, who want marijuana legalization, a graduated income tax and minimum wage hike.


  36. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    The truth of the matter is, Mike Madigan “wins” because a) he’s smart, very smart and b) he works harder than anyone else to win.

    But, please, don’t confuse a burning desire to keep his majority with some deep-seated political philosophy.

    For Mr. Madigan, it’s expediency (the need to win) over idiology (core Democrat principles) all day, everyday.


  37. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:17 pm:

    ===idiology (core Democrat principles) all day, everyday.===

    What “core principle” has 60 votes and a governor on board right now that Madigan is stopping?

    I’ll wait, thanks.


  38. - Regular democrat - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    47th ward and Willy summed it up about as good as you can.


  39. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    OW, let me put it this way: who champions (or exemplifies) core Democrat philosophies more, Majority Leader Greg Harris or Spesker Michael Madigan?


  40. - Peorgie Tirebiter - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    His purpose is to keep everybody in line and vaporize those that stray.


  41. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:26 pm:

    Sorry, OW, that anonymous was me.


  42. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:29 pm:

    ===who champions (or exemplifies) core Democrat philosophies more, Majority Leader Greg Harris or Spesker Michael Madigan?===

    LOL

    No…

    Answer the question.

    ===What “core principle” has 60 votes and a governor on board right now that Madigan is stopping?===

    That’s the ball game. That’s the question.

    Madigan votes what’s ripe, and the politics to that ripe policy.

    Cheerleaders or not, 60 is still the number.

    As an aside, as someone who has nominated Leader Harris at least once if not more for a Golden Horseshoe, spare me the possible “you don’t understand Leader Harris” or “do you like Leader Harris”


  43. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    There’s really not a lot to add to 47th and The Purpose’s comments, but I will add that there are few in the state who understand the process and state government the way he does. Institutional knowledge is worth a lot


  44. - Jibba - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    Concern trolling. If you can’t beat him, convince people he is not necessary.

    Madigan has pros and cons. He built a solidly Democratic legislature and has prevented excesses from both sides. Could he have done more to help Illinois? Perhaps, if 60 and 30 could be built (it has not always been available from Dems alone). For example, you fix the pensions by fully funding them. For decades, the party of no has opposed any and all tax increases that would generate revenue to fund them. All the problems of Illinois can’t be laid at his feet. He just gets blamed because he is still around.


  45. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    OW, you missed my point about Greg Harris. So I’m not sure what you mean by your comment.

    I’ll answer your question honestly: “What core principles is Madigan holding up”? Answer: none.

    But is he advancing bills for idiology sake or to appease his majority? I believe he is solely motivated by his desire to remain Speaker. That’s it.


  46. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:40 pm:

    ===I’ll answer your question honestly: “What core principles is Madigan holding up”? Answer: none.===

    Ok, so that’s off the table, what else ya got?

    ===But is he advancing bills for idiology sake or to appease his majority?===

    In the dorm room, this matters.

    In the House, unless there’s 60, and a governor on board, it doesn’t matter. You even told me so;

    “I’ll answer your question honestly: “What core principles is Madigan holding up”? Answer: none.”

    If you like Leader Harris better, that’s cool.

    Your rationale, you debunked it yourself, LOL


  47. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:44 pm:

    I hold Leader Harris in the highest esteem, with great respect.

    We seem to be going in circles. You think Madigan is driven by Dem principles, I don’t. I think he’s driven by need for power.


  48. - The Bashful Raconteur - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    He’s been a reliable torpedo on mapping reform.


  49. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:50 pm:

    ===I hold Leader Harris in the highest esteem, with great respect.===

    (Sigh)

    ===you missed my point about Greg Harris. So I’m not sure what you mean by your comment.===

    See, I knew you’d go, “oh, Leader Harris…”

    I wrote…

    ===as someone who has nominated Leader Harris at least once if not more for a Golden Horseshoe, spare me the possible “you don’t understand Leader Harris” or “do you like Leader Harris”===

    You hinting I don’t? Ugh.

    ===You think Madigan is driven by Dem principles, I don’t. I think he’s driven by need for power.===

    No, again…

    ===“What core principles is Madigan holding up”? Answer: none.”===

    “Driven” or not, what core principle is ready to pass that his being held up by Madigan?

    That’s the raw politics to it.

    According to you, Madigan isn’t preventing anything ripe for legislative action that is a core principle.

    You like Leader Harris. I like Leader Harris, even as a Republican, I respect Harris a great deal, even if we disagree in the party policies on some issues, while agreeing on others.


  50. - Enviro - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:51 pm:

    =Mike Madigan will never change. In a diverse coalition like the Democratic Party,
    that consistency and unbending will at the top keeps the rest of us in line. That’s his purpose.=

    Speaker Madigan is a class act. He will help Illinois recover from the damage done by the Rauner administration.
    That is his purpose.


  51. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 2:56 pm:

    OW, re: Harris, what are you talking about? I compared Harris Dem bona fides to Madigan, that’s it. What does “oh, Leader Harris” even mean? I’m not hinting anything with regard to you and Greg Harris? Sheesh. I’m thoroughly confused.


  52. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 3:05 pm:

    === I compared Harris Dem bona fides to Madigan===

    Ok… let’s look back;

    ===But, please, don’t confuse a burning desire to keep his majority with some deep-seated political philosophy.

    For Mr. Madigan, it’s expediency (the need to win) over idiology (core Democrat principles) all day, everyday.===

    Then this…

    ===I’ll answer your question honestly: “What core principles is Madigan holding up”? Answer: none.===

    Driven, not driven, like Harris more… Madigan isn’t stopping ANY core principle ripe from the House.

    You want younger blood. Fine. It’s your party. This idea though, that you need an ideologue to move things…while you say nothing on the table is being held up by Madigan is boiling down to preference, and preference only.

    Your concern for passable ideology, you say Madigan covered that.

    Why is this such a sticking point stuck in my craw?

    Easy. - 47th Ward - has this down cold;

    ===We have plenty of infighting and disagreements, but they haven’t crippled our party in decades. I’m old enough to remember the 1980s, when it was a free-for-all among Democrats. Those days are over. That’s largely a result of Madigan.

    The reason he’s been called the velvet hammer is because you know he can’t be pushed around, but he’s not a tyrant about it. It’s all very cordial and matter-of-fact. Mike Madigan will never change. In a diverse coalition like the Democratic Party, that consistency and unbending will at the top keeps the rest of us in line. That’s his purpose.===


  53. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 3:16 pm:

    Well, for one, he provides an easy, one-word answer for those who are asked the question, “Why did you leave Illinois?”


  54. - Roger Abbott - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 3:21 pm:

    OW, you win. Have a great weekend.


  55. - northsider (the original) - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 3:37 pm:

    47th and Willy nailed it eloquently.
    And there’s no one else with the skills. Chief among which is patience.


  56. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 3:50 pm:

    ==, I don’t. I think he’s driven by need for power.==

    I don’t think that’s fair. He’s already got more power than he could ever want. If he’s driven by anything, it’s the absolute loss over what else to do with his life. If you’ve ever talked to the man, you know that he isn’t the type that retires and spends the rest of his days fishing or working in the garden. For pete’s sake, the guy wouldn’t even quit in order to help his own daughter become governor (Kass conspiracy theories notwithstanding). He’s been in democratic politics for practically all of his 109 years on this earth. It’s all he knows how to do at this point.


  57. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 4:05 pm:

    Why should Madigan retire as long as the political corpses keep piling up outside his office? If only his opponents could forget about him long enough to put together an agenda that voters want. Madigan had a free palatial mansion in Rauner’s head. But the allure of attacking him is too strong, to the attackers’ detriment.


  58. - anon2 - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 4:22 pm:

    The talk about Madigan going reminds me of the talk about Speaker Pelosi. Both pols are very talented, very good at fundraising and winning elections, and both are controversial. Both are assets for their party.


  59. - Frank talks - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 4:28 pm:

    When every state around Illinois was turning red Illinois increased it’s Dem electorate. It didn’t happen because the candidates were so good and just took it themselves to knock doors and raise money. It happened because someone was there with a plan to win. A plan on the remap. A plan on the ground. A plan in the media. A plan on legislative actions.

    Who would anyone put in that can do the same? Raise money, assemble a team of political operatives that understand winning, pick candidates that fit a district not an ideology, allow legislation to run that is a Dem platform but temper it enough that it doesn’t hurt everyone in the caucus, be the bad guy when freshman can’t vote on issues? These are real things.


  60. - Rod - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 4:32 pm:

    47th ward wrote an interesting comment that reads in part: “Operatives and smart lobbyists know by experience how Madigan is likely to view an idea … his preferences because he’s been remarkably consistent over the years.” I am now a retired lobbyist and I was often unclear where the Speaker was on certain legislation I was involved in. Some times Democrats who were sponsoring bills that we supported were unclear if the Speaker would support or be neutral on some bills, in general if he was clearly opposed he would make that known. Speaker Madigan has many card games going on at once, how they relate to each other probably only he knows for sure. There were more than a few times neither I or the sponsor of the bill knew for sure how the Speaker was going to vote until it showed up on the board in the chamber. To be honest, I am glad not to be going though that anymore.


  61. - View from the Cheap Seats - Friday, Aug 23, 19 @ 4:34 pm:

    I don’t think very many speakers of the house (at least effective ones) are driven by ideology. They may have a strong sense of one, but their job is to keep their party in power. You can turn that around on the speaker and say that the only thing he cares about is remaining speaker, but that’s the same thing as his party remaining in the majority, which all of his members want. Look at Speaker Pelosi. You think she doesn’t want to impeach Trump? Of course she does. But she’s calculated (at least thus far) that it will be bad for her party’s holding the majority to do so. So she has resisted. We can talk about ideology all we want but a good speaker is known not for ideology but for tactics and strategy and leadership. Anyone who thinks Speaker Madigan lacks those traits is living on another planet. So let’s please stop with the ideological comments. And anyone who thinks there’s another legislator who can fill his shoes, just watch what happens when he’s gone some day. So yes, I think the Speaker still serves a purpose.


  62. - Occasional Quipper - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:08 am:

    ==When every state around Illinois was turning red Illinois increased it’s Dem electorate. It didn’t happen because the candidates were so good and just took it themselves to knock doors and raise money. It happened because someone was there with a plan to win. A plan on the remap. A plan on the ground. A plan in the media. A plan on legislative actions.==

    I think you’re giving too much credit to Speaker Madigan. Illinois now is and will always be a blue state because of Chicago. Just like California since 1992 because of L.A., and New York since 1988, because of NYC. It’s all about the big cities and it doesn’t matter who the speaker is. Had Speaker Madigan been a Republican he might have slowed the process of the state becoming so solidly blue, but it would still be blue.


  63. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 26, 19 @ 9:13 am:

    ===Just like California since 1992 because of L.A., and New York since 1988, because of NYC. It’s all about the big cities and it doesn’t matter who the speaker is.===

    … and yet, NYC, LA, and both states have had Republicans, as mayors, and governors… since 1988.

    You’re dismissing too easily.


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