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Question of the day

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2021

* It’s going to take a while to soak it all in and properly process it, but what are your initial thoughts on the end of the Madigan era?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Rutger Hauer - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:12 pm:

    Anti-climatic. We all knew it would happen at some point in the next few years, but then suddenly and quietly… it was over.

  2. - SumGai1986 - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:12 pm:

    Really, I wonder why it took him so long and why his transition out was so herky-jerky. Surely a man of his purported intelligence must have heard of succession planning. Was it an ego thing?

  3. - Scamp640 - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:13 pm:

    If nothing else, Madigan successfully pushed back against Bruce Rauner to reduce the negative impacts of that regime.

  4. - notsosure - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:18 pm:


  5. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:19 pm:

    I still haven’t fully grasped that it’s over. I think the pandemic and the general separation from others (including those who I normally talk to about state government on a daily basis) has created a bit of a disconnect that it REALLY happened. Last week was just such an odd blur.

  6. - The House Rules - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:21 pm:

    to quote Kierkegaard, life can only understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards

  7. - The Captain - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:21 pm:

    The Madigan world was so insular, I mean so insular. The post-Madigan era will be chaotic and not always better in the short run but it was an overdue development.

  8. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:23 pm:

    why does it take so long to excise the mean (Maples) and the controlling (Madigan)? Just not how it has to be. Could have prospered with a better sense of humanity and still had control.

  9. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:24 pm:

    Has Speaker Welch evicted the House Republicans from their prime capitol office space yet? This is a good time to move since few people are working there at the moment. Welch could use a symbolic show of force, if only to remind the HGOPs that he is now in control of the majority.

    Plus, it’s something Madigan refused to do, so it’s a break with the past.

  10. - Eight - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:25 pm:

    Not much at all. If the state doesn’t turn around from the condition it’s in, why does him fading into the sunset even matter?

  11. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:26 pm:

    A poem President Biden is apt to quote seems appropriate:

    History says, Don’t hope
    On this side of the grave.
    But then, once in a lifetime
    The longed-for tidal wave
    Of justice can rise up,
    And hope and history rhyme.

    The Cure at Troy, Seamus Heaney

  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:27 pm:

    My initial thought(s)

    Michael J. Madigan.

    In the end, he was a guy who knew how to consolidate power… in a way that made *his* necessity to others *seem* irreplaceable.

    He built a machine to those thoughts too, “who could do what he does”… completing a loop on continuality.

    Those are my initial thoughts.

  13. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    I think there won’t be an immediate or short term shift in how HDems are structured or how the House does business. The remap will probably be more interesting inasmuch as there is probably demographic pressure to drop one or more black districts, and the map is already pretty creative about preserving them.

    At the end of the day, control of HDems revolves around the Black Caucus and it will continue that way. It did with Madigan too, it was just often sidelined because of his outsized personal reputation. Whether that means HDems turn into something that vaguely resembles caucuses in other state (and god forbid we get a not-atrocious website for legislation) is beyond my knowledge and experience.

  14. - Colin O'Scopy - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:32 pm:

    The Fall of the House of Madigan began six years ago when then-Gov. Bruce Rauner began the multi-multi-million dollar campaign to make Speaker Madigan the personification of every ill in Illinois.

    Like it or not, Rauner’s campaign worked, but unfortunately for him, about four years too late.

  15. - The Economist on the North Side - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:38 pm:

    As economist Ronald Coase has said: a successful politician can ruin his state for decades.

  16. - Rich Hill - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:38 pm:

    How does Madigan like those apples?

  17. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:38 pm:

    I think it is good that he is no longer speaker. But, I keep hearing “be careful what you wish for” in the back of my mind.

  18. - Rich Hill - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:40 pm:

    == Surely a man of his purported intelligence must have heard of succession planning. == Not unusual at all. Having a strong successor in place means possibly having a strong challenger at some point. Richard J. Daley acted like he’d be mayor forever, and he turned out to be mayor for life. Madigan didn’t get quite that far, but he got far.

  19. - Jibba - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:43 pm:

    The young race ahead
    The old man no longer runs
    An apple in snow

  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:43 pm:

    === Like it or not, Rauner’s campaign worked, but unfortunately for him, about four years too late.===

    … and at the cost of his (Rauner’s) reputation, embarrassing his wife who needed JB Pritzker, his family, their trusts to bail out her social service, and an electoral loss, no matter what has/d happened to Madigan, Rauner was a failed governor, the worse loss of a sitting “Republican” governor in 100 years… and he (Rauner) has since moved to Florida, voting there, as his wife votes in Illinois, like the Oberweis couple.

    If any part of the Madigan legacy, at initial thought, exists, it’s Madigan needed Rauner to finally consolidate labor power for Democrats, including traditional GOP trade labor turning to Madigan against Rauner.

    That’s a steep price for Rauner, let alone the tens of millions wasted by Rauner to not only lose himself, but in the end aiding “Himself” to secure his largest majority for HDems.

    Those five years (Rauner running and his 4 year term) are so complicated to Madigan’s zenith and downfall in total symbiotic concurrence

  21. - Benjamin - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:46 pm:

    It’s the end of an era, but for good and for ill, I don’t think much will change. The GOP spent a lot of time convincing the public (and themselves) that Madigan was a kind of political Professor Moriarty, the man responsible for all the ills of the state and their party.

    In reality, responsibility for Illinois’ problems belongs to many politicians, of both parties. And the ILGOP is fading in power because they don’t offer attractive policies for most Illinoisans any more. Deposing Madigan won’t change either of those things. That’s probably why Democrats ended up abandoning him–they knew that they would stay in power regardless.

  22. - Al - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:55 pm:

    The Debt.

  23. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 3:58 pm:

    End of MJM era: Saputo’s to close.

  24. - Ares - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:00 pm:

    Inevitable - sic transit gloria mundi (thus passes the glory of the world)

  25. - Alcap One - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:01 pm:

    Madigan will leave an impossible act to follow. He gets a bad rap in the press. Gripe all you want but the man got the job done like nobody else. He protected his members and he kept his word to friend and foe alike. He was loyal to his allies, many of whom did not stand by him now when it wasn’t politically expedient. Ask any House Dem and they’ll tell you that over the last few days as this process unfolded, Madigan put the party ahead of his personal ambitions. Unlike another political leader, when he saw it was time to step aside, he handed over the reigns of power and stepped aside. That too should be a part of his legacy.

  26. - Levois J - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:02 pm:

    He may no longer be speaker, but what about his “machine”. Does it still have the muscle it used to?

  27. - Fav Human - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:03 pm:

    Will the game change? Or just the players?

    In my mind the former is not at all a sure thing.

  28. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:04 pm:

    Still processing it. Happened faster than I thought; fully expected outside influences / investigations would have forced him out 6 to 9 months from now.

    Kind of surprised he didn’t resist it more.

    Going to be interesting to see if Welch keeps most the House Rules and if he will be as adept at herding cats.

    Looked at from more of a retrospective / historical viewpoint, it is the end of the Machine Era in State government.

  29. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:05 pm:

    ===Like it or not, Rauner’s campaign worked===

    This analysis explicitly ignores the fall out from indictments and convictions over the last year or so, the whole ComEd thing in general, and the ripples started by the Illinois Capitol version of #MeToo.

    There is very little validity to the notion that Bruce Rauner is responsible for Madigan no longer being Speaker of the House.

  30. - City Guy - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:07 pm:

    It will make for more pleasant visits to the Dentist and with a few friends. Madigan was demonized to the point where a simple teeth cleaning turned into a 5 minute rant about the horrors of Madigan.

    It strikes me that too many people in power don’t know how to exit while they are on top. If you are going to stay past your prime, always remember the rules of the game change and playing the edge becomes crossing the line.

  31. - Frank talks - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:11 pm:

    This is the end, my only friend, the end- Jim Morrison

  32. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:13 pm:

    I wonder what Tim Mapes must be thinking? I wished that I would have ended my career with MJM after all I did for that man?

  33. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:17 pm:

    Madigan stood up to Blago, a Democrat intent on using the state to enrich and advance himself. Madigan stood up to Rauner, a Republican intent on burning down the state to remake it into his version of a Republican utopia. He worked with Republican governors Thompson and Edgar.

    I appreciate that.

    But I find it hard to recall any major legislative or programmatic accomplishments that were uniquely his.

  34. - JJ - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:19 pm:

    Seems unreal! He was the face of the party. I hope his daughter runs for office again.

  35. - Good n Plenty - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:21 pm:×9YACdBUrU

  36. - Oldtimer - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:23 pm:

    When it came to elections, he was like Al Davis. Just win baby. If the District polling called for a conservative, he found one. If it called for a liberal, he found one. Once a certain type of candidate won in the suburbs or downstate, he tried to find more like them, until they stopped winning.

    As Downstate became less favorable, he held tough Districts for longer than could be realistically expected. He also realized the potential for picking up suburban Districts earlier than many.

  37. - DuPage - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:24 pm:

    A new speaker reminds me of a dog chasing a car and finally catching the car. Now what is he going to do?

  38. - Nova - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:47 pm:

    @47th Ward, actually, Lee Daniels evicted Madigan from the offices behind the chambers in 1995. He felt it was an important symbol to move into what was then the Speaker’s office. When Madigan moved into 300, he realized it was much better space and decided to keep it. He was right.

  39. - levivotedforjudy - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:57 pm:

    He was there when I got there and then my elders left and he as still there. Then my contemporaries left and he was still there. I even worked with and saw both Art Turner Sr. and Jr. leave and he was still there. Not sure when he should have left, but it should have probably been earlier than now.

  40. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:59 pm:

    ===But I find it hard to recall any major legislative or programmatic accomplishments that were uniquely his. ===

    Of all of the things that I have ever heard said about Mike Madigan, whether good or bad, no one ever described him using terms remotely like visionary or dreamer.

  41. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 5:02 pm:

    “Like it or not, Rauner’s campaign worked”

    Unless Bruce Rauner quietly became United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, that’s a big nope.

    – MrJM

  42. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 5:03 pm:

    Would like to live long enough for Madigan to be seen fairly & objectively. For people to acknowledge that in the pre-Edgar Ramp era, the last attempt to “Do the right thing” on pensions was the FY 1986 passed budget funding pension appropriations at 100% of payout. Thompson vetoed it down to 60% (Pate Philips and Lee Daniels refused to override, and, yes, the 100% was more Phil Rock than Mike Madigan). For there to not be errors like Rick Pearson’s January 16th column about Madigan rewriting the rules in 1997. For the record, Madigan’s greatest failure was to not move on education funding (swapping the income tax for the property tax unless it drove a wedge between Jim Edgar and Pate Philip).

  43. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 5:05 pm:

    Thanks to everything else going on, it came to an end in a way that was sort of like the man himself.


  44. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 5:06 pm:

    I remember it a bit differently Nova. I recall Daniels evicting Madigan in 95 and then Madigan deciding to stay in 97 to avoid possibly having to move offices every two years given the split of the GOP map. I didn’t know he preferred the space in 300.

    Still, I think it’s time to take back the Speaker’s Corridor.

  45. - Chichi55 - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 5:07 pm:

    Good riddance.

  46. - Really - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 5:11 pm:

    Bout’ time. Can we send him the check for the pension deficit?

  47. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 5:32 pm:

    Every job comes to an end eventually whether you want it to or not. The issue becomes how do all factions that he coordinated play together once he is gone. The self-convinced alpha dogs will try to plot a future, but the loudest voices do not always equal leadership. Give Madigan credit for handling Blago and Rauner while putting together a record long run. Very few like him. Just like he developed, the next real leader will come with time. Who is the long range planner/consolidater who is not afraid of the twirling fanblades in tough times? No idea who it will be.

  48. - Fed Up Taxpayer - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 5:34 pm:

    Only thing left is the “Perp” walk on the evening news…..

  49. - Nieva - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 5:55 pm:

    As a downstater, we will see little change with the leadership still in Chicago. MJM won’t be missed and the new man will be a lot like him.

  50. - Southwest Sider - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 5:59 pm:

    He lasted too long and he did not particularly leave gracefully. Our State democracy will be stronger now as legislative power will be shared more. Look forward to term limits. And (maybe a fantasy) that elected officials can not be tax protesters for real estate

  51. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 6:00 pm:

    === with the leadership still in Chicago===

    Welch and Durkin are the suburbs.

    Harmon and McConchie are also suburban leaders.

    Like “all things aren’t downstate”

    Not everything north of I-80 is “Chicago”

    With respect.

  52. - Been There - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 6:05 pm:

    ===including traditional GOP trade labor turning to Madigan against Rauner.====
    OW while I agree with the rest of what you said most of the trades were not traditionally republican. They were not 100% democrat but I have been walking precincts for 40 years along side plumbers, carpenters and electricians. At least in Cook and collar counties.

    Now Local 150 was a different story though. And he did get them to see the light.

  53. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 6:08 pm:

    - Been There -

    All good, I’m also thinking in 2014, two in five labor households voted Rauner.

    In 2018, it was not that significant, bringing that ratio down.

  54. - Been There - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 6:19 pm:

    ====I’m also thinking in 2014, two in five labor households voted Rauner=====
    Definitely correct on that note. Didnt know where their bread was buttered.

  55. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 6:27 pm:

    “What are your initial thoughts on the end of the Madigan era?”

    Can’t say I miss him just yet.

    – MrJM

  56. - dbk - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 7:11 pm:

    “initial thoughts”:

    I suspect IL House affairs will become (a) more transparent (that has its good points for sure)and (b) more raucous (good/bad), with (c) more push-back towards the Gov (with Dem caucus in some sense fulfilling the substantive role that should be fulfilled by the Republicans, but they’re otherwise occupied).

    MJM had his faults, but he was a master politician, with a preternatural gift which I can sense but cannot fully comprehend.

    He departed when it was time, and the transfer of power was surprisingly smooth - his final gift, if you will, to his caucus and the state.

    I remember last week recalling the old gamblers’ saying: Madigan truly knew when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

    I consider his departure his final master stroke.

  57. - Friendly Bob Adams - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 7:45 pm:

    Many years ago I got a tour of the House chamber and was able to stand behind the Speaker’s lectern. There was a quite small homemade sign which said “Has the Speaker remembered to vote?”, which is another example of how organized Madigan was about everything.

  58. - Give Us Barabbas - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 7:56 pm:

    Undefeatable from without… Undermined from within. Planning and controlled many futures for many people, and, living only in an immediate present, forgot to guard and plan his own.

  59. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 8:06 pm:

    Madigan was a pro who may have cut one to many corners, buy you can’t argue with results, and that’s why he was a target of the party of no. Welch is an unproven commodity whose ability to herd cats is unproven. So I’m a bit uneasy about it, frankly.

  60. - AD - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 9:25 pm:

    Stayed two years too long. Could’ve went out as a hero to a lot of people after JB was elected and Rauner was taken out. Instead, went out mired in controversy. A lot will still be determined in the coming months and years though. Will Spring Session be a failure of epic proportions with people thinking MJM made it look easy? Will the map redrawn be a catastrophe for Democrats with the GOP gaining steam from miscalculations? Who knows at this point, but his legacy isn’t completely defined for a little while longer.

  61. - Yooper in Diaspora - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 9:55 pm:

    When he saw he couldn’t win, he simply folded and let the loss be a loss. Seems likely his identity had become so closely tied to being a Speaker of the House that he might be disoriented. I’ve witnessed some retired professional men not really know who they are anymore and never quite find a new path or different sense of self. Hope that is not so for him.

  62. - Sunrise road - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 5:45 am:

    I remember when Johnny Carson retired from the Tonight show, he was asked “ why retire now, you are on top” . Carson said “that is why”. Maybe sometimes we can’t time things as we wish.

  63. - flea - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 7:33 am:

    I do not think it is over.

  64. - Feldy - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 7:52 am:

    I’ll always remember how, even though it was time, he wouldn’t step aside for his daughter to have a very good chance to become Governor. Illuminating.

  65. - frustrated GOP - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 8:36 am:

    This is a game of chess and not checkers. Someone had to come in and play the game well to win. That happened. This transition allowed for the caucus to have a respectful change in leadership without a lot of wounded egos and infighting. If anything, for long term success of the Dem caucus, there couldn’t’ have been a better game played, and the new speaker had to earn it, it wasn’t handed to him.

    The real question, Could have MJM come up with the votes to stay if he wanted to. I’m pretty sure after that many years it’s hard to believe he couldn’t get the votes at any price.

  66. - Not a Billionaire - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 9:00 am:

    It’s a very different party from when Madigan and Biden started . Biden understood.

  67. - SubRosa - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 9:12 am:

    Enter turbulence, stage left.

  68. - OW's Pet - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 9:16 am:

    It’s great having OW bark orders at Illinois Republican party members.

  69. - The Sunshine Movement - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 9:21 am:

    -bark orders-

    It’s constructive advice. He’s an expert on winning elections in Illinois.

  70. - Debra From The Second Ward - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 9:29 am:

    - bark orders-

    Speak for yourself. Take your bitterness somewhere else. As a north sider, I know OW is important . Who else gets their picture taken with important people ?

  71. - SAP - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 9:34 am:

    ==Really, I wonder why it took him so long and why his transition out was so herky-jerky. Surely a man of his purported intelligence must have heard of succession planning. Was it an ego thing?==

    I don’t think he concerned himself with succession. From my outside perch it looked like he was only concerned about holding onto the gavel as long as possible.

  72. - Recalcitrant Individual - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 9:36 am:

    -Debra From The Second Ward -

    Years of being the teachers pet is a behavioral pattern.

  73. - Pizza Man - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 9:39 am:

    Is MJM leaving with his head held high or is this the downfall of MJM?

    It seems like his own caucus, which he once tightly controlled, denied another term as their leader due to ComEd and #Me too.

  74. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Jan 21, 21 @ 9:39 am:

    I think the 24 hour news cycle, the internet, and his own feelings of being untouchable finally brought him down.
    I’bet he preferred less transparency in government.

    I’m glad he was there to give Rainer a run for his money.

    I always was amazed at the fact that his adopted daughter was AG…nice cover if you can get it…

    ComEd is a monster…the fat lady is far from singing in this matter….

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