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GOP Fighting Uphill Battle with Gerrymandered Districts PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 27 April 2014 14:02

Out of power for a dozen years and hobbled even before that by anti-patronage court rulings, Illinois’ Republican-party infrastructure has all but collapsed.

So part of GOP gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner’s task is to try to somehow rebuild a grassroots infrastructure.

It won’t be an easy job. Republicans have never, in the modern age, been able to match the Democrats’ ability to dispatch patronage armies to the state’s distant corners because of the Democrats’ Chicago and Cook County patronage bases. The Republicans’ local organizations are essentially hollow these days, and they have no troops to speak of.

Before the primary, Rauner’s campaign had ambitious hopes of opening as many as 50 field offices throughout Illinois. Those plans were scaled back as reality sank in. Finding enough experienced people to staff those offices would be next to impossible.

Speaker Has Become the Perfect Bogeyman PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 20 April 2014 05:46

A poll taken for Rasmussen Reports earlier this month found that Governor Pat Quinn’s unfavorable rating was 55 percent.

That’s pretty darned bad, and perhaps the worst among the nation’s governors. But Quinn has nothing on Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

A new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll found Madigan’s unfavorable rating to be an almost mind-boggling 65 percent.

Botched Millionaire Tax Brings Benefits to Democrats PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 13 April 2014 05:03

A long time ago I asked Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan why he never golfed at his golf-outing fundraisers.

Madigan explained that he was a terrible golfer. (He’s since improved, I’m told.) If people saw him embarrassing himself on the golf course, they might take a dimmer view of him as a leader.

He has applied this lesson to just about everything he does. He examines every angle before he acts. He hates mistakes and almost never acts impetuously.

For example, Madigan and his staff gather a few times a week to read through every bill and every amendment to those bills to look for flaws and hidden agendas or to discuss strategies. He always wants to be as prepared as possible.

As a result, he rarely fails.

But something else has been happening over the past year or so.

Madigan has become a media hound.

Madigan Moves to the Left with an Eye on Election Day PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 06 April 2014 05:56

Two worries are obviously driving driving much of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s personal legislative agenda this year: low Democratic turnout in an off-year election for an unpopular governor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s millions in campaign spending.

“If you’re an African American on the South Side, what motivates you to vote for [Governor] Pat Quinn when you wake up election morning?” was the blunt assessment of one longtime Madigan associate last week.

For example, Madigan signaled last week that despite his past reluctance to raise the minimum wage and his longtime alliance with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association (which is leading the charge against it), he’s not opposed. Calling the idea a matter of “fairness” and “equity,” Madigan told reporters last week: “I think you’ll find the opposition to raising the minimum wage comes from people that have done pretty well in America, and for some strange reason they don’t want others in America to participate in prosperity.”

Asked if he was referring to Rauner, Madigan asked: “Who?”

Quinn Lines Up His Ducks for Budget Address PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 30 March 2014 06:27

It turns out that Governor Pat Quinn and the two Democratic legislative leaders met privately for at least several days to negotiate details of the governor’s budget address.

The highly unusual move means that most if not all aspects of Quinn’s budget proposals last week have already been agreed to by the Democrats who run the Illinois Statehouse.

House Speaker Michael Madigan tipped his hand after the governor’s address during Jak Tichenor’s invaluable Illinois Lawmakers public-television program when he twice insisted that the governor’s property-tax proposal was actually his idea.

The governor proposed eliminating the state’s property-tax credit, which is currently worth 5 percent of property taxes paid, and replacing it with an automatic $500 tax refund.

That idea was apparently just one of Madigan’s demands in exchange for supporting the governor’s proposal to make the “temporary” income-tax hike permanent, which was the centerpiece of Quinn’s speech.

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