Friday, June 8, 2018

Harassment enough to Dump Madigan?

There are political watchers eager to see Michael Madigan dumped from his many positions of political power who would be overjoyed if all the allegations of sexual harassment were to build up into something that gave the all-powerful “Mr. Speaker” the nudge out the door.
MADIGAN: Ultimate target of harassment

Yet a part of me is skeptical that such a tactic will achieve any success.

IN FACT, EVEN if it turned out to be that Madigan was somehow dumped from his Democratic Party chairmanship and his House speaker role, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that the ultimate victors were the kind of people who think too much is being made of the harassment issue.

The activists who think they’ll achieve some level of success with a “Dump Madigan” type of campaign could find themselves (and all the rest of us) with someone more repulsive (and blatantly sexist) in a position of powerful.

The issue of political people behaving in a harassing manner toward women gained a bit more attention this week when it became known that Madigan’s long-time chief of staff in the Illinois Legislature was facing allegations of harassment.

Allegations were made Tuesday morning, and within a few hours, Madigan demanded the resignation of Timothy Mapes from all the political posts he held that made him a top-level aide to the House speaker.
MAPES: Out of a job for misbehavior

SOME WANT TO see this as another blow to Madigan, who earlier this year had to terminate the political party employment of the brother of the alderman from the ward Madigan lives in – on account of the fact he couldn’t take “no” for an answer to his repeated advances towards a woman who worked on Madigan’s Democratic Party staff.

Some might be willing to see these incidents as ones in which Madigan “handled” problematic situations by firing individuals who misbehaved towards women. Others want to say Madigan only acted because he faced public scrutiny and would have preferred to have done nothing.
QUINN: His brother lost Madigan job

In fact, just this week, attorneys for Madigan filed a legal motion seeking to have dismissed the lawsuit that was filed earlier this year by the woman who was harassed by the aldermanic brother.

I don’t doubt that Madigan – who doesn’t, as of yet, have anybody making misbehavior allegations against himself – wishes this issue would go away, and probably is hoping that public interest in such gauche behavior eventually will die down.
DUNKIN: Facing his own allegations

BUT I ALSO can see where the “other side” of this issue isn’t people who oppose harassment but is actually people who think there is NO harassment and would openly try to fight off all these allegations being made instead of trying to address the issue.

I can’t help but notice the case of Ken Dunkin. He’s the former Illinois House member who managed to tick off Madigan and other Democrats that they, in a sense, fired him. They ran Juliana Stratton to run against him in 2016 and she won – giving her the kind of public attention that now makes her the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor come the Nov. 6 election.

Gov. Bruce Rauner tried to score some political points for himself by picking Dunkin to serve on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board – a post he began serving in Thursday.

Yet now there are allegations of Dunkin himself behaving like a cad during his legislative days, meaning the guy whom Republicans were supposed to use to take pot-shots at Dems will now wind up reflecting badly upon themselves.

WHEN IT SEEMS Rauner tried asking for Dunkin’s resignation, Dunkin’s response was as blunt and rude a “no way” as he ever gave to Madigan.
RAUNER: Will he get tagged w/ charges?

Could it be that Madigan has the influence to get misbehavers out of office? Whereas Rauner doesn’t. And others of an ideological leaning that makes them believe sexual harassment is a non-issue also aren’t going to side up on this issue?

I’m not saying Madigan is politically safe, nor am I necessarily defending his behavior – which borders on apathy toward the issue rather than any real sense of wrongdoing.

All I know is that I suspect this is an issue where many people are going to go out of their way to cover their own behinds. And the big losers, most likely, will be those individuals most likely to face harassing behavior!


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