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Breaking down this week’s comedy gold

Friday, May 7, 2021

* If you didn’t watch it yesterday, I highly recommend taking a look at the hugely entertaining, crisply edited Mark Maxwell story on the House Democrats’ “secret” map room

It really should win some sort of award.

* Maxwell certainly knows how to sweeten a story. Here he is saying that in order to get from the Capitol Building to the Stratton’s secret map room, he had to walk through a tunnel. He could’ve just walked across the lawn and parking lot, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as dramatic as tunnel video

The knock at the end is priceless.

* Rep. Bob Morgan’s deer in the headlights reaction is hilarious

* Rep. Nick Smith gets the Vince Demuzio “Well, we’ll sit down and draw a very fair map” prize this year

“I don’t have the key, either.”

* And the call to the Speaker’s office was just perfect

Again, if you can, go watch the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Just Me 2 - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:48 pm:

    What amazes me is how these legislators walked into such an obvious trap. Their priority is clearly participating in the corrupt process to draw this map, not on the bad PR they’re getting.

    I suppose that is because the corrupt mapmaking process renders the bad PR moot.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:48 pm:

    It’s is so tasty and exceptional… like I said…

    The HRaunerites couldn’t have edited and packaged it better.

    Comedy gold… and the cast of characters… even better than Ashton Kucher’s “Punk’d”


  3. - CubsFan16 - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:48 pm:

    That was awesome. Big tip of the hat to Maxwell.


  4. - Bud's Bar Stool - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:49 pm:

    The responses from Reps. Morgan and Smith are a great study in communication contrast. Morgan tried to be evasive; he looks nervous and feeble. Smith (not the in the short clip that Miller posted but in the full vid) just calmly and candidly answered the questions. He acknowledged they’re looking at draft maps - and why not, it’s obvious. He looks cool and collected.


  5. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:52 pm:

    Maxwell sometimes does good work but more often than not he’s a schlockmeister like this. What a joke.


  6. - AD - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:58 pm:

    Not a great look for anyone in the video. I laughed at the tunnels part like Rich said, but then again I’m in the .001% of Illinoisans that know he could’ve walked outside. The stacked furniture, dark hallway, nervous legislators and door with no window could be something from the Daily Show though. You can’t make that stuff up.


  7. - 10th Ward - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:59 pm:

    @Bud’s Bar–100% spot on regarding Nick Smith


  8. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:08 pm:

    As Rod Stewart said “every picture tells a story, don’t it”, these unforced errors by the House Dems will make great campaign fodder


  9. - Publius - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:09 pm:

    If these guys were in Republican controlled states they would find the same room run by Republicans. I know we shouldn’t be doing it but does it really matter? Honestly I would go back to at large districts with nothing smaller than a county. However if you don’t modify the US Constitution it won’t get you anywhere.


  10. - One hand //ing - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:13 pm:

    Maybe next week Maxwell can walk into a Republican caucus meeting with a camera and see how committed to transparency they are.


  11. - Anyone Remember - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:14 pm:

    Wonder if Maxwell will continue to allow himself to be used by the GOP on this topic? The GOP wants to wait for census data so they have a chance at winning the draw from the hat.


  12. - Huh - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:16 pm:

    == Maybe next week Maxwell can walk into a Republican caucus meeting with a camera and see how committed to transparency they are.==

    Got video of House Republicans bragging about how committed they are to transparency in the caucus process? Go ahead and find it. I’ll wait.


  13. - Give Me A Break - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:18 pm:

    Next week Maxwell will “discover” a small room in the back of the Senate chamber with restricted access that goes by the code name “Antichamber” where secret plots about committee assignments are hatched and the Knights of the Mezzanine Level meet.


  14. - Carbondale Chronicle - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:18 pm:

    It will be interesting when news stories start appearing when members of the Republican Party in Texas are drawing their map behind behind close doors and the Texas Democrats cry how this isn’t a fair and transparent process. Both parties need to stop being hypocritical criticizing the process for the benefit of the immediate moment. Does it make for good television? Sure, but this is just another reason people don’t trust political leaders. Although it may not be popular, someone needs to stand-up and say, “To the victor, goes the spoils and that is how are county works.” Again, not popular, but it is better than the political theatrics that place another black eye on the system.


  15. - Just Me 2 - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:27 pm:

    One hand //ing - Big difference: the Republicans don’t say they’re have open caucus meetings. In this example, House Democrats claim they are using a transparent map making process.


  16. - NIU Grad - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:28 pm:

    It’s always fun to see which state reps are comfortable walking past a camera without comment and which ones just can’t help lingering by it.


  17. - Kittycakes - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:44 pm:

    =Got video of House Republicans bragging about how committed they are to transparency=

    lol. i bet you are fun at dinner parties.


  18. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:47 pm:

    Pretty great. Rep. Rita sounded like he has trouble with the general concept of caring about anything. I thought he was the worst of them all.


  19. - 62468 - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:47 pm:

    This reminds me of Mark’s stakeout hit piece against the IPPFA at a conference they hosted several years ago. I’m still waiting for Mark’s stakeout, drive-by reporting hit piece on the Illinois Municipal League. Fingers crossed and popcorn at the ready…


  20. - ;) - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:51 pm:

    Amazing. Morgan, what an amateur. Still cracking up at him, what a fool. Mark, job well done.


  21. - JJJJJJJJJJ - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:53 pm:

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think most legislation is drafted behind a close door. Ya don’t see many legislators with a white board out in the rotunda.


  22. - Lefty Lefty - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:54 pm:

    I don’t get it. Are these the final maps? If not, what’s the problem? They have to start somewhere.

    Do Mr. Maxwell and the Republicans want them drawn in the sand on the beach in front of everyone? Whiteboard the possibilities?


  23. - Etown - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:58 pm:

    It really is a classic piece by Maxwell. Smith is a cool cat and he has the voice to back it up.

    No need to defend or criticize the process just enjoy the comedic value of this piece and leave it at tha6


  24. - Snarkie from Schaumburg - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:58 pm:

    If only there were cigar smoke wafting from behind the closed doors.


  25. - Responsa - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:02 pm:

    That’s a truly great video from Maxwell and a great thread here where the comments demonstrate why pols know they can get away with non-transparency while they pretend to be transparent.


  26. - Big Beef - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:02 pm:

    Could be that a grand jury from the federal court in Chicago just decided it would be nice and cut down on the travel time for these folks…


  27. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:04 pm:

    Someone has to get Maxwell on camera and ask him to make all his story drafts public and allow us to watch him in the editing process. It’s weird that I find myself defending the mapping process but this is kind of ridiculous.


  28. - Bigtwich - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:11 pm:

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that Legislative meetings are going on in the Stratton Building.


  29. - K3 - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:13 pm:

    That Bob Rita appearance, that’s where it’s at lol


  30. - One hand //ing - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:13 pm:

    === Big difference: the Republicans don’t say they’re have open caucus meetings ==

    Actually assuming they’re using the closed door caucus to privately discuss items affecting the public it’s no different at all from what Dems are doing.


  31. - Skeptic - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:14 pm:

    This reminds me a lot of what Arthur Dent had to go through to find the plans that called for the demolition of his house.


  32. - Dysfunction Junction - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:28 pm:

    Reminds me of Geraldo’s similar stunt in the basement of the Lexington Hotel circa 1986. It’s the archetype for segments like this.


  33. - Hahaha - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:33 pm:

    I’m not sure what is so hard to understand about this. The comparisons to Republicans in Red states doing the same thing (which doesn’t make it okay!) is fair except for one giant problem - those Republicans did not run for office supporting Fair Maps. Dozens of these Democrat legislators, including Pritzker and Welch, have made support for Fair Maps a central plank of their candidacies. And now they have all gotten collective amnesia. It’s a truly laughable amount of chutzpah. That’s why the media - including this great story - is so easily exposing them.


  34. - Huh? - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:50 pm:

    The doppelganger 2:16 pm struck again.


  35. - Blue Girl in Red County - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 4:01 pm:

    - JJJJJJJJJJ I agree. I am currently working on legislation that has gone through more drafts than I care to count. I don’t think the public wants to sit through revising, proofreading, and fixing typos.


  36. - Been There - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 4:11 pm:

    ==== Smith (not the in the short clip that Miller posted but in the full vid) just calmly and candidly answered the questions. He acknowledged they’re looking at draft maps - and why not, it’s obvious. He looks cool and collected.====

    Also possibly the funniest and one of the smartest legislators down there.


  37. - Curious citizen - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 4:24 pm:

    I have amnesia too. I don’t remember any Democrat who ran in 2018 or 2020 with “transparent redistricting” as their central issue. I remember Pritzker pushing legal weed in 2018.
    (Yes, I know that in response to a question he pledged to veto a politically-drawn map but it was not a central plank of his candidacy.)


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