Thursday, September 6, 2018

As GOP sees things, it's one down and one to go -- Dump Mike Madigan!

Now that Rahm Emanuel has taken himself out of the running for another term as Chicago mayor, it seems the political crackpots of the world will develop a new target.
MADIGAN: The top GOP bullseye?

As in Michael Madigan, the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives AND chairman of the state Democratic Party.

ALL THOSE VOICES who were gearing up to go through an election cycle next year screaming and screeching about the need to get Emanuel out of political office will now shift their focus for the need to “Dump Mike Madigan!” The man who has literally been a state government official since the early 1970s and has been the leader of Democrats in Springfield since 1983.

Emanuel formally said Tuesday he wasn’t seeking re-election to a third mayoral term. That led Gov. Bruce Rauner and Republican allies (he doesn’t have many) on Wednesday to talk publicly about the need to put Madigan into retirement.

Not that such talk is totally original. Rauner and Republicans in general have campaigned for years on the theme that Mike Madigan is all that is evil about government and that the esteemed “Mr. Speaker” needs to go.

But Rauner and his allies made a point of touting their pledge that they want candidates to campaign on – the idea that no one should serve as a legislative leader for more than 10 years. Madigan has been one for nearly four decades, and in political circles is regarded as a record-holder for lengthy tenure in a state government.
EMANUEL: GOP didn't beat him at the polls

ACTUALLY, RAUNER ISN’T pushing to limit legislative leaders. He’s just looking to limit Madigan. In fact, the governor specifically wouldn’t say that the Republican legislative leader, Jim Durkin of Westchester, ought to face a limit on his service.

Which makes all of this a batch of hooey (I could use cruder terms that would be more accurate). Pure partisan politics at its worst.

Rauner can’t figure out a way to get the voters to dump Madigan on Election Day, so he’s trying to figure out ways of neutralizing Madigan while in office. Perhaps reducing his role so much that Madigan would become bored and decide its finally time for retirement.
RAUNER: Will he be the '18 political departure?

Which is a large part of the reason why I have always been suspicious of the concept of term limits – I think voters ought to be able to pick whom they want, and if they’re stupid enough to pick someone inept over and over, then perhaps they’re getting what they deserve!

THERE’S ALSO THE fact that Madigan’s true “offense” is that he’s not playing along with the politically partisan vision that Rauner wanted to impose on state government – which largely involves undermining the influence of organized labor so as to benefit the financial interests of big business.

When Rauner goes about making ridiculous comments about Madigan’s behavior being “criminal” (as he has done in the past), it makes me wonder if the people of Illinois picked a would-be tyrant for the office of governor.

As I already wrote, perhaps we deserve a bit of suffering for making such a pick, although 2018 is the chance we can try to impose a bit of logic back to our state government when we cast ballots for governor.

As for Madigan, he can be a strong-arm himself – one more than willing to play power politics to get things done. Only in Madigan’s case, there is also just enough of a soft touch that one doesn’t realize how hard he’s been knocked out of the box. There’s a reason he got that nickname “The Velvet Hammer” all those years ago.

BUT IF MADIGAN truly unsettles the public mindset, he can be beaten. All political people ultimately are beatable – even some of the biggest, most-established names of politics have experienced losses by voters.
DURKIN: Nobody looking to dump GOP leader

Particularly since in Madigan’s case, all it would take to truly defeat him is to gain the support of voters in one legislative district (as in the neighborhoods surrounding Midway Airport). Those are the people for whom Madigan is the local legislator – and I also don’t doubt they keep re-electing him because they like the idea that their guy is the overall boss who gives orders to everybody else.

Instead, we’re getting more and more evidence that Nov. 6 will be the Election Day that does result in a significant incumbent loss – as in the departure of Bruce Rauner following one term as governor.

Could it really be that Election ’18 will go in the history books as the one in which a majority of Illinoisans (particularly the two-thirds who live in metropolitan Chicago) will see a choice of Rauner and Madigan, AND decide to keep the latter?


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