Governor Rauner Learns A Lesson (Hopefully!!)
By HHH Is My Hero, Friday at 11:39 am
Lost amid all the detritus of Primary Election Day was the news that Governor Rauner had lost both of his surrogate battles with Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. Perhaps the most galling of the defeats for the Governor was that of Kenneth Dunkin, mainly because the good Governor had invested so much time and money on that particular campaign. The fact that Mike Madigan somehow emerged on top on election day should hardly come under the heading of "SURPRISE". Mr. Madigan is a pretty heady political operative with a firm hand on an effective political organization.
What Governor Rauner should have learned by now is, any battle between a sitting Illinois governor and Speaker Madigan is like the race between the Hare and the Tortoise, with Speaker Madigan playing the role of Mr. Tortoise. Mike Madigan has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives for 45 years. Governors come. Governors go. Mike Madigan marches on. For the most part, Mr. Madigan knows he can twiddle his thumbs and do nothing without risking his continued tenure as a state representative. Governors have four years in which to impress the general voting public enough to merit re-election. And what every Illinois governor has discovered is that if he wants to accomplish anything, the path to achievement runs through Speaker Madigan's office.
This is precisely why Governor Rauner wants to pass a bill mandating term limits. If Speaker Madigan had been term limited, he couldn't have been a thorn in the side of a couple of Illinois governors at least. But he sits safely ensconced in a friendly House district that he can defend rather easily, as he demonstrated in this past primary election. Governor Rauner knows that the only way to defeat Speaker Madigan is to take away his source of power, namely the Speakership. And the best way to do that is to take him out of the picture entirely. Simple as pie isn't it? Have you ever tried to MAKE a pie? As it turns out, the art of pie-making is no simple thing.
To a certain extent, this is all about public perception. Elected Chief Executive officers are "out there". Their names and faces are well known. In effect, they have a bulls-eye written right on their backs for all the world to see. If conditions in Illinois worsen, who do we blame? The governor, precisely!! And the governor has only four years to impress us with what he can do, and even this isn't exactly true either, if you think about it. Illinois has a relatively early primary. What this means is that you really have to start circulating election petitions in December of the year BEFORE the election, so really the political hunting season for governors is about three years, three years to leave an impression on the voters. And in order for you to accomplish ANYTHING, you have to make nice with the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.
Bruce Rauner is a wealthy man and like most wealthy people, he believes he can buy anything his heart desires. After all, to a certain extent he bought himself the governorship. While Mike Madigan may not be able to match him dollar for dollar personally, he's never had any problem raising enough money to run a very effective statewide political organization. So he can't be out spent. He can't be bought off. And he can just sit there in the Speaker's office, counting down the days until the NEXT election when Bruce Rauner will have to once again face the people. If the governor refuses to negotiate seriously with Speaker Madigan, all well and good. But the next election will turn out to be a referendum on the effectiveness of Bruce Rauner as governor. If he comes before the voters of the state of Illinois, not only with NO accomplishments but also without even having been able to pass a budget, what chance will he have to win that referendum?
So, hopefully, our esteemed governor will have learned a lesson from the recent primary election. Mike Madigan ain't goin' ANY PLACE! And if you want to accomplish anything, eventually, you're going to have to cut a deal with him. Take heart Governor Rauner, it's a lesson a number of OTHER governors have had to learn before YOU!!