In Illinois the Democratic Party is Michael Madigan and Michael Madigan is the Democratic Party

by John Ruberry | March 4th, 2018

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In Illinois the Democratic Party is Michael Madigan and Michael Madigan is the Democratic Party

By John Ruberry

Unless you live in Illi­nois’ 22nd state House dis­trict, Michael Madigan’s name will not be on your bal­lot when you vote in the March 20 pri­mary in the Land of Lincoln.

Not directly, that is.

But his foul spirit will be there.

Even when there is a Demo­c­ra­tic gov­er­nor in Illi­nois, the most pow­er­ful Demo­c­rat in the state is Madi­gan, the state House speaker for 33 of the last 35 years. Since 1998 Madi­gan has been chair­man of the state Demo­c­ra­tic Party. He’s the com­mit­tee­man of Chicago’s 13th Ward – that post allowed him to nom­i­nate Joseph Berrios as chair­man of the Cook Party Demo­c­ra­tic Party, bet­ter known as the Chicago Machine eleven years ago. The mes­sage was clear – the boss had spo­ken. Two other can­di­dates with­drew and Berrios was unan­i­mously elected. Berrios is also the Cook County asses­sor, it’s his office that deter­mines what the county res­i­dents such as myself, as well as busi­nesses, pay in prop­erty taxes. The assessor’s office has long been a cash cow for the Democrats.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_95048” align=“alignleft” width=“193”] Illi­nois Pol­icy Insti­tute car­i­ca­ture of Madigan[/caption]

Berrios faces a tough pri­mary chal­lenge because of charges that his office favors the wealthy, those for­tu­nate rich folks often include clients of the Madi­gan & Get­zen­dan­ner law firm. Hmm…Madigan, where have I heard that name before?

The major Demo­c­ra­tic can­di­dates for gov­er­nor, with the excep­tion appar­ent fron­trun­ner, JB Pritzker, accuse each other of not being inde­pen­dent of Madi­gan. Pritzker’s main chal­lengers, Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss, have called for Madi­gan to resign his state party post over sex­ual harass­ment scan­dals involv­ing staff mem­bers (but not Madi­gan himself).

Why aren’t they call­ing for Madi­gan to quit the speak­er­ship? Fear is my guess.

On the Repub­li­can side, the incum­bent gov­er­nor, Bruce Rauner, with “amus­ing and uncon­vinc­ing effect,” Crain’s Chicago Busi­ness says, accuses his con­ser­v­a­tive chal­lenger, Jeanne Ives, of being a Madi­gan ally.

Ah, but where are the Madi­gan allies? Sure, when it was time, again, to reelect the speaker-​for-​life last year, he pre­vailed. There was only one “nay” vote from Democ­rats. And that dis­si­dent was punished.

Madi­gan con­trols not only the remap of state legist­la­tive dis­tricts but also those of Illi­nois’ con­gres­sional dis­tricts. He’s the Pablo Picasso of gerrymandering.

What about state legislators?

When­ever David Giu­liani of The Times of Ottawa, Illi­nois asks Demo­c­ra­tic leg­isla­tive can­di­dates about their opin­ion of Madi­gan, he never receives a straight answer.

That’s because they know the truth. Boss Madi­gan is what ails the Prairie State. Last year Reuters declared Madi­gan “the man behind the fis­cal fiasco in Illinois.”

I have many friends who live in this blue state who tell me that they detest Madi­gan – yet they vote for every Demo­c­rat on the ballot.

Is the state attor­ney gen­eral able to fight Madi­gan? Maybe in year. Lisa Madi­gan, daugh­ter of, well, you know, has been hold­ing that job since 2003. But she’s not run­ning for reelec­tion. Her dad holds con­sid­er­able sway over Illi­nois judges too.

Even Barack Obama does Madigan’s bid­ding. After a Chicago Demo­c­rat missed a key House over­ride vote of a Rauner veto, a hand-​picked Madi­gan ally, Juliana Strat­ton, was endorsed by the then-​president and Obama even appeared in a TV ad for the chal­lenger in the next pri­mary elec­tion. Madi­gan and Obama’s can­di­date won. Strat­ton is now Pritzker’s run­ning mate.

The Demo­c­ra­tic Party of Illi­nois is Michael Madi­gan and Michael Madi­gan is the Demo­c­ra­tic Party of Illinois.

Cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance is wide­spread in this state.

While the offi­cial state ani­mal of Illi­nois is the white-​tailed deer, in real­ity it’s an octo­pus named Mike Madi­gan. His ten­ta­cles are everywhere.

John Ruberry reg­u­larly blogs from Illi­nois at Marathon Pun­dit.


If you’d like to con­tinue to sup­port inde­pen­dent jour­nal­ism, help defray the $140 a month extra I’ll need for my new host­ing site) and think my CPAC 2018 report­ing is worth­while please con­sider hit­ting DaTip­Jar here.



Con­sider sub­scrib­ing. 7 more sub­scribers at $20 a month will pay the monthly price for the new host/​server.


Choose a Sub­scrip­tion level


Finally might I sug­gest my book Hail Mary the Per­fect Protes­tant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excel­lent Gift.

By John Ruberry

Unless you live in Illinois’ 22nd state House district, Michael Madigan’s name will not be on your ballot when you vote in the March 20 primary in the Land of Lincoln.

Not directly, that is.

But his foul spirit will be there.

Even when there is a Democratic governor in Illinois, the most powerful Democrat in the state is Madigan, the state House speaker for 33 of the last 35 years. Since 1998 Madigan has been chairman of the state Democratic Party. He’s the committeeman of Chicago’s 13th Ward–that post allowed him to nominate Joseph Berrios as chairman of the Cook Party Democratic Party, better known as the Chicago Machine eleven years ago. The message was clear–the boss had spoken. Two other candidates withdrew and Berrios was unanimously elected. Berrios is also the Cook County assessor, it’s his office that determines what the county residents such as myself, as well as businesses, pay in property taxes. The assessor’s office has long been a cash cow for the Democrats.

Illinois Policy Institute caricature of Madigan

Berrios faces a tough primary challenge because of charges that his office favors the wealthy, those fortunate rich folks often include clients of the Madigan & Getzendanner law firm. Hmm…Madigan, where have I heard that name before?

The major Democratic candidates for governor, with the exception apparent frontrunner, JB Pritzker, accuse each other of not being independent of Madigan. Pritzker’s main challengers, Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss, have called for Madigan to resign his state party post over sexual harassment scandals involving staff members (but not Madigan himself).

Why aren’t they calling for Madigan to quit the speakership? Fear is my guess.

On the Republican side, the incumbent governor, Bruce Rauner, with “amusing and unconvincing effect,” Crain’s Chicago Business says, accuses his conservative challenger, Jeanne Ives, of being a Madigan ally.

Ah, but where are the Madigan allies? Sure, when it was time, again, to reelect the speaker-for-life last year, he prevailed. There was only one “nay” vote from Democrats. And that dissident was punished.

Madigan controls not only the remap of state legistlative districts but also those of Illinois’ congressional districts. He’s the Pablo Picasso of gerrymandering.

What about state legislators?

Whenever David Giuliani of The Times of Ottawa, Illinois asks Democratic legislative candidates about their opinion of Madigan, he never receives a straight answer.

That’s because they know the truth. Boss Madigan is what ails the Prairie State. Last year Reuters declared Madigan “the man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois.”

I have many friends who live in this blue state who tell me that they detest Madigan–yet they vote for every Democrat on the ballot.

Is the state attorney general able to fight Madigan? Maybe in year. Lisa Madigan, daughter of, well, you know, has been holding that job since 2003. But she’s not running for reelection. Her dad holds considerable sway over Illinois judges too.

Even Barack Obama does Madigan’s bidding. After a Chicago Democrat missed a key House override vote of a Rauner veto, a hand-picked Madigan ally, Juliana Stratton, was endorsed by the then-president and Obama even appeared in a TV ad for the challenger in the next primary election. Madigan and Obama’s candidate won. Stratton is now Pritzker’s running mate.

The Democratic Party of Illinois is Michael Madigan and Michael Madigan is the Democratic Party of Illinois.

Cognitive dissonance is widespread in this state.

While the official state animal of Illinois is the white-tailed deer, in reality it’s an octopus named Mike Madigan. His tentacles are everywhere.

John Ruberry regularly blogs from Illinois at Marathon Pundit.


If you’d like to continue to support independent journalism, help defray the $140 a month extra I’ll need for my new hosting site) and think my CPAC 2018 reporting is worthwhile please consider hitting DaTipJar here.



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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

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