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About that Durkin speech

Thursday, Jan 14, 2021

* Sun-Times

Though he’s drawn criticism from Republicans for his role as chairman of the House Special Investigative Committee that was charged with investigating Madigan last year, Welch and Durkin said they want to work together in the next session.

* Capitol News Illinois

And while Durkin opened his remarks by saying he was “extending an olive branch of cooperation, starting today,” he then launched a verbal polemic against Madigan, who is leaving the speaker’s office amid a cloud of corruption allegations.

“While his reign as speaker is all but over, his decades in power will never be erased,” Durkin said. “What we have here through this unique and rare opportunity is the ability to break from the past, to break that business model, because they are as apparent as the masks on our face.”

* ABC 7

“I’m going to operate on good faith, but the way that I’ve seen things happen since the beginning of the special investigative committee till today, and, as I said that I will set the reset button,” Mr. Welch is very close to Speaker Madigan,” Durkin said. “I am extending the olive branch of cooperation starting today.”

* Politico

“Today will be the last time I talk about us as Democrats or Republicans because I want to talk about us being united,” [Welch] told lawmakers.

So heads turned and some lawmakers booed when House Minority Leader Jim Durkin took his turn to speak and leveled anti-Madigan talking points.

Durkin accused the longtime speaker, who remains head of the Illinois Democratic Party, of leaving a legacy that “failed its citizens with unbalanced budgets, broken pension systems, tax increase after tax increase with nothing to show for it. The saying goes if power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle thought Durkin wasn’t reading the room. Swearing-in events are more about pageantry than politics.

When Welch took questions from reporters — yes, it really is history in the making! — he brushed off Durkin’s vitriol saying, “He’s so conditioned right now to just fight and punch and do things like that… I hope he will see by my actions that this is a new day, a new opportunity to develop a new relationship in this space. It’s hard to just flip the switch when you’ve just been doing something for so long. So I’ll give him a pass today.”

But will Durkin be able to let it go? The Madigan-is-the-root of-all-evil storyline is the crown jewel in the GOP message vault — and so much easier than criticizing the national head of their own party for feeding a toxic environment that helped fuel chaotic and tragic events in Washington.

Two years ago, Rep. Mazzochi gave a nominating speech for Durkin that slammed Madigan, so this isn’t really all that new.

* Near the close of Durkin’s speech…

We must work quickly. We have to work together, because these problems which are identifiable could become unfixable.

Now, there will be suggestions that our Speaker is, and it has been suggested, people will say that nothing is going to change. I’m hopeful that it will change, that we will see a new image and a new future for the General Assembly.

So, Speaker Welch, I would avoid taking hand signals and homing pigeons from the 13th Ward.

Senate Republican Leader McConchie’s speech is here. Quite a contrast. A video package from the Senate Republicans is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments
  1. - Socially DIstant watcher - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:10 pm:

    Let’s hope that he was just clearing out all the anti-Madigan zingers they had stored up over the last (mumble) decades and can come back fresh to start the new General Assembly on a new foot.


  2. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:10 pm:

    A Speaker vote by acclimation would have been a nice touch. Too bad.


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===A Speaker vote by acclimation would have been a nice touch===

    Pretty sure there would’ve been objection from the Democratic side. lol


  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:15 pm:

    === So, Speaker Welch, I would avoid taking hand signals and homing pigeons from the 13th Ward.===

    For a legislator who once chaired a committee for Speaker Madigan, as Durkin did, I dunno if a speech showing Madigan is still renting space in his caucus is showing a moving forward.


  5. - S.Side - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:23 pm:

    It is painfully obvious that the GOP has nothing but its “anti-Madigan” brand.
    Can you blame Durkin for wanting to hold onto a brand that has finally gained traction.
    Shed any thoughts of kumbaya moments by Durkin, et al.


  6. - pool boy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:35 pm:

    Reminds me of the story about three envelopes except this one is #1, ” because Madigan”, #2″ because Madigan”, #3 “prepare three envelopes.”


  7. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:36 pm:

    Durkin was learning to accept and deal with not being able to blame MJM for the cost of gas, coffee not being served in proper cup, the weather and why half his caucus wants to leave Illinois and join Mississippi.


  8. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:37 pm:

    When he says he’s extending an olive branch, does that mean he’s going to smack him in the face with it? Asking for a friend.


  9. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:46 pm:

    This gets stated over and over, maybe one day the ILGOP will listen- super minority status and not improving. The last GOP governor lost by a landslide when he ran for reelection. Not one single statewide GOP elected.

    I would think Durkin would have better things to focus on.

    Also, If I were in Durkin’s shoes I would not repeatedly invoke the name of the guy that repeatedly pants me and my party into irrelevance. That just gives MJM more pub.


  10. - Because I said so.... - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:54 pm:

    Welch’s response to Durkin’s comments was perfect. Along the lines of….he has been conditioned to punch back for all these years. I’ll it go for now.


  11. - Roman - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:55 pm:

    I like Jim Durkin. I was hopeful that he could establish a Cullerton-Radogno like relationship with a post-Madigan speaker. That can still happen, but yesterday was not a good start by the minority leader.


  12. - Hard D - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:56 pm:

    Madigan went real hard after Durkin last election. Elections leave bruises even in victory apparently Durkin’s still upset.


  13. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:56 pm:

    Two old friends from Proviso…
    This will be interesting…


  14. - S.Side - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 1:57 pm:

    The irony of the whole remap issue is that the downstate Eastern Blockers will get safe red districts for another 10 years. So it’s no wonder that the legislators run around, fearlessly, maskless, helping to run up positivity rates to the detriment of their local businesses.
    But since there are no Democrats in those areas to build up a fuss, the Trump-lovin’ GOP politicians are able to stay on the offensive and blame Madigan. And remain obstacles to unifying state government.


  15. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 2:06 pm:

    Meh. I’m with Speaker Welch. Maybe it was a bit tone deaf but no big deal. It will be far more interesting what Durkin does to help solve problems next week and in the weeks to come than what he said yesterday in final bit of Madigan pique.


  16. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 2:45 pm:

    There were Republicans who played 3D Chess well enough to beat Mr. Spock on the same skill level as Madigan - Thompson, Edgar, Philip. There were Republicans who played somewhere between Checkers and Chinese Checkers - Daniels, Cross. Durkin’s comments indicate a level of frustration from realizing he belongs in the latter group.


  17. - low level - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 2:51 pm:

    Good old Jim. Can’t get it out of his head. Sorry, the Madigan slam doesn’t work anymore.

    “Hand signals from the 13th ward”. Hilarious / s.

    Also might add when discussing all the failures he didn’t mention Thompson, Edgar and Ryan’s roles in that.


  18. - The Eastern Block Strikes Again - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:06 pm:

    I like Jim Durkin as a person. His leadership skill have lacked, especially during the Rauner years. His own caucus his tried to take himself out. Let’s not forget McCombie’s move this fall.

    Durkin’s speech lack class. After yesterday he can no longer use the age old “Because Madigan” platform. It will be interesting to see how the minority leader advances his caucus.


  19. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 3:46 pm:

    McConchie’s speech was a class act. It gives me a little bit of faith that the Senate will be productive.


  20. - Frumpy White Guy - Thursday, Jan 14, 21 @ 4:47 pm:

    A little orange makeup and hairspray while Durkin was giving that speech and he could have passed for Donald Trump.


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