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items tagged with Michael Madigan

Rauner’s “Wedge” Pledge Has Yet to Divide Democrats
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2016-02-07 11:13:26

Last week, a reporter said to Governor Bruce Rauner that Secretary of State Jesse White had suggested that Rauner bring in former governors, including George Ryan, to help break the long governmental impasse that has prevented the state from having a budget for more than seven months.

Rauner laughed and said, “Uh, wow.”

The governor clearly did not take the suggestion seriously.

“I’m not gonna talk about the failures of the past that created this mess,” Rauner said through chuckles. “I focus on the future. I don’t live in the past. We’ve had failure in our elected government for decades. This mess didn’t happen overnight. And what we’re not gonna do is reproduce the dynamic that created it.” The governor laughed throughout most of that last sentence.

Bringing in graybeards has been tried before without success. Governor Rod Blagojevich asked former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and then-Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard to town to help him pass his massive construction proposal that Speaker Michael Madigan refused to agree to. It didn’t work. The two men left town as soon as they realized how hardened Madigan’s position had become against Blagojevich.

While former governors have been through similar troubles, nothing really compares to today’s self-inflicted disaster. Madigan and Blagojevich played hardball, but the game is exponentially meaner now.


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Rauner Bungles What Should Have Been Triumphant
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2016-01-24 11:09:09

Governor Bruce Rauner blew a perfect opportunity last week to finally drive a public wedge between Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan, to clearly put Madigan on the defensive, and to maybe finally make progress on an important issue that might save the state a billion dollars a year.

But he badly bungled the rollout of a deal with Cullerton on pension reform. Instead of describing the agreement for what it really was, Rauner greatly exaggerated its scope and portrayed it as a big defeat for AFSCME and other unions.

In reality, the deal with Cullerton (and there is still a deal with Cullerton, despite what you might be reading elsewhere) is narrow in scope and elegantly designed to put Madigan in a truly tough position.


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Governor Launches New Attacks Against Speaker, Mayor
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2016-01-10 11:20:52

“He has taught us how to deal with him,” explained one top official in Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration when asked why the governor has once again cranked up his public criticism of House Speaker Michael Madigan.

You may already know that the governor blasted both Madigan and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during an appearance on Dan Proft’s WIND radio program last week.

After accusing Emanuel of being “afraid” to take on Madigan, Rauner said the reason for this was self-evident: “The speaker has been the most powerful politician in the state of Illinois for decades. It’s the main reason we’re in such big trouble as a state.”

Rauner went on to essentially blame Illinois’ “long-term, slow death spiral” on Madigan and said the majority party “likes the status quo,” claiming the speaker is “not sensitive” to the real-world problems of the middle class. “He’s got a great system; he controls it. And right now they’re unwilling to change. And without change, we’ll never get a true balanced budget."

So what happened here? The governor seemed to mute his criticisms of Madigan in the closing weeks of 2015, even mostly holding his fire when Madigan skipped the last leaders’ meeting just before the holidays.

New year, new attitude, apparently.


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Increased Competition on the Ballot Makes Compromise Less Likely
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-12-20 11:31:41

One of the realities of Illinois legislative politics is that our state’s system tends to discourage competition.

Byzantine ballot-access laws, a highly partisan legislative-district map-drawing process, heavily concentrated populations of partisan voters in Chicago (Democrats) and in the collar counties and Downstate (Republicans), and often-tireless work by incumbents and political parties at the state and local levels to reduce opposition all combine to help tamp down the number of competitive races.

The net result is that Illinois has among the fewest challenged state-legislative races in the country – just 39 percent in 2014, which put us in the bottom fifth of the nation. By contrast, nearby Michigan saw a 100-percent challenge rate in the 2014 general election, and the rates in both California and Minnesota were above 90 percent.

That’s simply unheard of here.


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Rauner Strategy Claims Another Victim
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2015-12-13 11:36:03

One of the concepts used so effectively by Bruce Rauner’s campaign for governor last year was what are called “OODA Loops.” I’m going to oversimplify because of space, but the idea, developed by a military strategist and adopted by business leaders, is to introduce rapid changes to a battle with the intent of disorienting an opponent and forcing over- and under-reactions. And then do it again and again to exhaust and eventually defeat the other side.

OODA Loops transcend traditional “rapid response.” They’re quick, forceful reactions specifically designed to force repeated mistakes by the other side. The Rauner campaign used those loops to run circles around Governor Pat Quinn last year.

The Rauner folks have also used the loops since the campaign ended. For instance, when Representative John Bradley (D-Marion) attempted to hold legislative hearings on how the administration was hiding gubernatorial payrollers, they didn’t bow down as others had in the past. Instead, they attacked Bradley with snark-filled invective and caught him off-guard, forcing multiple and escalating angry responses that made him look a bit pompous and, according to the Rauner folks, out of touch.

And they did it again last week.


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