Senate President Emil Jones was not treated too well during his 10 years as Senate minority leader.
The majority Republicans locked him out of the room and killed most of his members' bills. His fellow Democrat, House Speaker Michael Madigan, treated Jones like a junior associate, occasionally helping him out, but not doing all that much to backstop him in the process.
You could physically feel the political ground shifting last week as Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced he would no longer accept campaign contributions from city contractors and members of their immediate families.
The reaction by the Religious Right to the passage of a gay-rights law in Illinois has been predictably loud and aggrieved. But the law's critics have universally zeroed in on one key argument - a claim that churches and religious institutions will now be forced by the government to hire gays and lesbians.
Politics is a numbers game. And votes, dollars, and favors are the only numbers that matter.
The boys who play politics at the street level never forget their numbers. They can tell you how many votes they pulled out of Precinct 22 three elections ago, or how much money they raised for some nobody judge in '96, or the name of their neighbor's mother's cousin that they helped out of that jam that one time.