Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Credit for, or conniving by, Madigan?

It hasn’t even been a full week since the Illinois House Democrats had to fire its long-time chief of staff because of behavior considered by some to be demeaning to women; yet da Dems already have a replacement in place and the new caucus operative is a “she.”

MADIGAN: Does he deserve blame, or praise?
Is that evidence House Speaker Michael Madigan (also the Illinois Democratic chairman) is a conniving political operator masterful in covering his own behind? Or someone who addressed a problem in a prompt manner?

I’M SURE THE way one views this issue is going to depend entirely on their ideological leanings. Because some people are determined to view several incidents of sexual harassment by political people solely in terms as an issue to be used to dump Madigan from political power.

Along those lines, I couldn’t help but notice the stories getting prominent play Tuesday morning about the woman currently suing Madigan because she claims he didn’t do much of anything to stop one of his political aides from his constant barrage of flirtations and sexual harassment.

The Chicago Sun-Times had it as their top story for a few hours that Alaina Hampton herself (the woman with the pending lawsuit) wanted to be the new chief of staff.

Yet I’m also wondering how many people learned of reports about Madigan’s response before they learned of Hampton herself.

BASHAM: The new Dem powerhouse
FOR THE RECORD, the new chief of staff is Jessica Basham, a former director of the Illinois House research appropriations unit – who issued a statement Tuesday saying she’s looking to hire a human resources director and an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action officer in hopes of creating a more fair working environment for the roughly 200 people whose jobs require them to call Madigan their “boss.”

Of course, Madigan will claim he didn’t hire Basham. He actually appointed a committee last week that was to review candidates for the chief of staff post. And yes, the committee was composed entirely of women – although they all were politically connected and most were themselves elected legislators.

With the head of that committee being Juliana Stratton – the woman who currently is running mate to gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker for the Nov. 6 general election.

STRATTON: Had a say in her pick
So the people who were hoping that Hampton’s plea in the press for the political post would help keep alive the stories of Mike Madigan being an insensitive boss who allows his people to harass women and treat them like objects will have to wonder.

IS MADIGAN SERIOUSLY addressing the issue of a problem within his staff (which I really don’t think is confined to the Democratic caucus, or to Illinois state government officials)?

I’d say that argument could be made, with how quickly a new chief of staff was hired.

While I’m not about to say that the “problem” is solved just because a woman is in the position of running the daily operations of the Democratic Party in the Illinois House of Representatives.

The critics (the people who want to go about screeching and screaming “Dump Madigan!” as their solution to all of government’s issues) may well claim that the women who had a say in picking a new chief of staff are too connected to the Democratic Party establishment to be objective.

WHICH MAY WELL be the big objection I have to the notion of sexual harassment being used as an issue to dump political people.

RAUNER: Would he be the only winner?
I suspect the people who are most behind this are the ones who can’t otherwise defeat the Dems on Election Day. I also suspect the last thing they really care about is the plight of women who are getting mistreatment on the job – no matter how hard they work.

Which as far as I’m concerned is the real injustice that we ought to be trying to resolve within our government – and within our society at-large.

That resolution likely involves people with serious approaches that go beyond a partisan attempt to dump someone from office come Election Day.


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