Thursday, January 24, 2013

How much is too much?

There used to be those occasional political fantasies about what our local scene would be like if Richard M. Daley were mayor, William Daley were governor and John Daley were in charge of the Cook County Board.
DALEY: Path finally clear for campaign?

Only the most politically parochial of Bridgeport neighborhood natives didn’t gag at the very thought of so much power being put in one family.

IN FACT, THE people who take seriously the thought that William Daley will run for governor of Illinois come the 2014 election cycle use as their primary talking point the fact that Rich is no longer mayor.

As though now it would be appropriate for the one-time Commerce secretary and White House chief of staff to assuage his own ambitions for an elective office (all of his political posts have been by appointment from Bill Clinton and Barack Obama).

So if even the Daley types realize there is only so much power that can be put into one person’s hands, then perhaps that ought to be a lesson that we all ought to learn from.

Such as the thought that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan may be considering her own gubernatorial bid next year out of a belief that having a governor whom Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, would not see as a threat would mean we’d have a combination that would be capable of accomplishing things for the good of the people of Illinois.


This particular commentary was motivated by the Capitol Fax newsletter out of Springfield, where publisher Rich Miller used his website this week to askpeople if they thought a Madigan/Madigan combination was good for the state.
MADIGAN: Could '14 be a political family feud?

As of the last I checked, two-thirds thought it was not good, while one-third thought it was. And rather than post a comment on his site, I’m using my own weblog to issue my wordy, overwrought response.

The very thought of those latter people scare me even moreso than the guy whom the Springfield State Journal-Register newspaper captured on video at a recent Statehouse gun rally saying, “I am a gun-toting, God-fearing, Bible-reading Christian, let’s make that clear.”

THAT’S A LOT of contradiction crammed into one expression – which may mean he doesn’t have a clue as to what he really is.

But back to political power. Quite frankly, if the only way our government can work is if the deck is stacked, if the game is rigged, so that all opposition is weeded out, then it is a failure.

If anything, that is the very reason why I have always mocked that period from 1995-96 when all of the state constitutional officers and the General Assembly’s leadership were Republicans.

Because it became obvious back then on so many issues the only way they could operate on anything was if anyone with a difference of opinion were forced to just shut up about it!


And the idea that the only way the speaker of the House of Representatives will behave responsibly is if he has a vested interest in making his eldest daughter not look weak and foolish, then perhaps we ought to be looking twice at the long-time speaker’s conduct.

Even though he often acted like a buffoon, perhaps Rod Blagojevich wasn’t completely in the wrong with the way he tried to stand up to Madigan during their political brawls of the mid-Aughts that often bordered on deranged.

And perhaps instead of going around denouncing Gov. Pat Quinn as the least popular governor in the nation, we ought to consider that interference from his own political party ally is just as responsible for much of the nothingness our state government accomplishes these days!

THE IDEA OF a pair of Madigans is just a bit much – which may well be the reason why Lisa has not tried running for anything more than the attorney general post that she has held for three terms already.

Perhaps even she sees that the appearance of too much power in one family is gaudy.

Then again, there are some issues (including many of the social ones) in which the two Madigans disagree. It would be tragic if some of those causes were to suffer because “Mr. Speaker” felt compelled to let his governor-daughter know who the real boss is.


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