Our view: ‘Fire Mike’ plan discharges Republicans
SouthtownStar editorial November 7, 2012 8:30PM
Updated: December 9, 2012 7:37PM
Illinois Republicans eagerly adopted a “Fire Madigan” campaign strategy this year to try to gain control of the state House — urging voters to support GOP candidates so the party could gain at least six seats and wrest the powerful speaker’s post from the iron grip of Michael Madigan.
Didn’t work out so well.
Granted, it was unlikely. But not only did Republicans fail to take over the House, they lost seven seats, giving Madigan (D-Chicago) more power via a 71-47 veto-proof majority.
The story was the same in the Senate, where Democrats gained five seats to also achieve a supermajority at 40-19. That’s the first time in state history that a party enjoyed such dominance in the Senate.
For those of us who view the Legislature as mainly responsible for the irresponsible spending and resistance to reform that have driven Illinois nearly into bankruptcy, this is scary stuff. When the new General Assembly convenes in January, Madigan and his cohort, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), will be free to pass about anything they want — without having to consider whether Gov. Pat Quinn will veto it, as has happened most notably on gambling expansion. More casinos, with one in Chicago? Double down on that.
Madigan and Cullerton interpreted Tuesday’s results as reflecting Illinoisans’ support of their leadership at the statehouse. That makes us want to gag. What temerity, ignoring a recent poll showing Madigan as the most disliked pol in the state.
Rather, the further marginalization of Illinois’ weak Republican Party was largely the result of the Democrats’ control of, and prowess at, realigning House and Senate districts to comply with population shifts shown in the 2010 census. The new map created by Madigan and his minions forced several incumbent Republicans to run against each other in the primary election and others to run this fall in strongly Democratic areas.
The result of all this? Greater influence for Madigan and Cullerton, less for the GOP, and a politically weakened Quinn. Less balance of power, more one-party control of Illinois. Not a pretty picture.