Thursday, May 17, 2018

EXTRA: Political strategist Madigan vs. amateur-hour gov Rauner

Gov. Bruce Rauner concocted a scheme to try to get himself some more votes come Election Day by trying to appear to be the guy who wants to bring back the death penalty to Illinois.

Will Rauner's death penalty fantasy ...
Yet in the ultimate evidence that when it comes to politics, Rauner is a rank amateur, it would seem to be that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, is going to wind up using the issue to take him down.

RAUNER’S METHOD OF bringing the issue up was by using his amendatory veto powers to attach the issue to a separate measure – one that would impose a series of restrictions in Illinois on firearms usage and purchase.

In short, legislators who desire to have those restrictions take effect would have to go along with his death penalty plan for people who kill law enforcement officers or large numbers of people in one fell swoop.

So what does Madigan, the man who’s been a part of the legislative process in Illinois for nearly a half-century, do?

He introduced an amendment Thursday to an Illinois Senate bill now pending in the House of Representatives, with the amendment being “the exact language the governor suggested” to bring back capital punishment.

THAT BILL WILL have a committee hearing come Monday. Legislators will have their say on the matter at that time. As Madigan put it, “we look forward to continuing our effort to keep our children, our schools and our communities safe from senseless gun violence.”

More likely, it will give the Democratic Party majority that controls the Illinois House a chance to beat up on Bruce Rauner, knock about his bill, denounce him for trying political tactics meant to impede firearms restrictions that many of them previously voted for, and pretty much go out of their way to make Monday a very unpleasant day for the governor.

Eventually, they’ll probably take some sort of vote on Rauner’s suggestion, and put the spin on it by saying it was evidence that “the people” didn’t like the governor’s ideal.

... be killed off by Madigan's political skill?
It kind of reminds me of a moment some two decades ago – back when then-Gov. Jim Edgar and Mayor Richard M. Daley came up with a proposal related to a new Chicago-area airport.

THE TWO OF them made a public announcement about what they wanted to happen, and implied the General Assembly would follow suit in coming months. Yet then-state Senate President James “Pate” Philip didn’t think much of the idea, and really was bothered by the fact he wasn’t consulted as part of negotiations.

Which resulted in Philip having the Edgar/Daley proposal written up as a bill for the Senate to consider. They wound up rejecting it outright (literally, nobody voted for it), and Philip forevermore would say of that issue, “we voted for it, nobody liked it.”

Now I know some are saying that this may be a tactic by which Madigan ensures Rauner takes full blame for trying to bring back a capital crimes statute – an issue for which the state went to lengthy extremes to abolish in past years.

Which would wind up costing him many votes in Illinois – even though Rauner is looking solely at the ideologically-inclined who might get worked up over this single issue.

BUT I SEE it more as a way of killing the Rauner plan off, while possibly trying to save the separate issues related to firearms ownership.

Reminiscent of Pate tactic
Regardless, it makes Monday’s debate more about partisan politicking rather than about any criminal justice issue.

If you want to be honest, if this gets reduced to an issue of political gamesmanship, it’s most likely that Madigan will prevail.

For Madigan just comprehends the political process and how it can be used to get things done far better than Rauner with his anti-union dreams that he tries to pass off under the label of “reform.”


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