To understand the effect that Governor Bruce Rauner has had on the Illinois Republican Party, you need to go back a few years.

Right off the bat, I should say that I think the so-called “stopgap budget” signed into law on June 30 was a good idea. People and organizations that rely on state government desperately needed a break from the all-out legislative war between the two ideologically entrenched parties.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan rose to give his customary year-end speech after the chamber had concluded its legislative business last week and pointed his finger right at Governor Bruce Rauner.

Illinoisans are furious about the way their government has been running (or, more accurately, not running). They’re looking for solutions, and some are grasping at anything within reach.

The Democrats got a bit of good news along with a load of bad news in a recent Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll. The news is particularly problematic for anyone who can be credibly connected to House Speaker Michael Madigan, whom voters overwhelming blame for the ongoing state-budget stalemate.

Near the top of any list of Illinois government’s many problems is that House Speaker Michael Madigan has made a decades-long game out of messing with the minds and agendas of our governors.

After what happened last week, it’s more clear than ever that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has no fear of what Governor Bruce Rauner could do to his members this fall. And Madigan has even less fear of what his members could do to him.

It has looked to me for a very long time that House Speaker Michael Madigan has been waiting for an existential state crisis to force Governor Bruce Rauner to back away from his anti-union, pro-business Turnaround Agenda so they can pass a “clean” state budget.

I think on August 19 a new and brief window of opportunity opened that might finally help wrap up this long and drawn-out state-legislative overtime session.

But that window will only be open for 15 calendar days - the time the state Constitution gives each legislative chamber to vote on a veto override.

Allow me to explain.

I spoke with some Rauner folks last week and, man, are they ever on the warpath about the Senate's August 19 override of the governor's veto of the AFSCME bill - legislation that would prevent a strike by or lockout of state workers and would instead require binding arbitration after an impasse is reached. The House has 15 days from that date to take its own action.

Even though AFSCME has never invoked its binding-arbitration power with state corrections officers (who cannot strike by law), the governor and his people clearly see this bill as an intrusion on executive-branch powers.

House Speaker Michael Madigan told reporters earlier this month that he'd had a "frank discussion" with Governor Bruce Rauner, "and I gave him good, solid advice."

Word is that advice had two parts.

First, the governor needs to find a way to get himself out of this long overtime-session, no-state-budget mess.

Second, if the governor thinks he can get himself out of this mess by somehow breaking the speaker's will, he's mistaken.

But the governor isn't giving up. In fact, he's doubled down.

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