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Opinion: Why We Love Nepotism

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Opinion: Why We Love Nepotism

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan

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Gov. Jim Edgar’s only son, Brad, lives in Colorado. Gov. Jim Thompson’s only daughter, Samantha, is a New York fashion designer. Sen. Mark Kirk doesn’t have a son or a daughter.

The Illinois Republican Party couldn’t start a political dynasty even if it wanted to. Their most prominent political brat is state Sen. Darin LaHood, son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Which may explain the bitter tone of this fake Father’s Day message, supposedly from Attorney General Lisa Madigan to House Speaker Michael Madigan.    

Dear Daddy….I mean Mr. Speaker,
You are the greatest dad ever. You got me this cool Attorney General job, and that was after you got me that neat state senate seat.
Also, thanks for having all your union friends be real nice to me, they send me tons of campaign money at Christmas time, they must be rich!
My brother-in-law loves that job at Metra you gave him. He loved playing with toy trains growing up. I don’t understand why the republicans complain about the economy, all our family friends have great jobs!
You’ve done so much for the family, I’m glad you took time last month to make sure you got a bigger pension. You’ve been working so hard for the rest of us!
See you at Saputo’s next week.
Lisa

In Illinois, the Democrats, who purport to be the party of equal opportunity, are far more likely to pass along power to their children than the Republicans, purportedly the party of aristocracy. It’s also true that Illinois voters love nepotism. Can’t get enough of it. In 2002, the Republicans snarkily complained about the Democrats’ “All My Children” ticket of Rod Blagojevich (son-in-law of Ald. Richard Mell), Dan Hynes (son of former Senate President Thomas Hynes) and Lisa Madigan. All the children won.

The Democratic Party’s legacies could fill an entire chapter of Genesis: Mayor Richard J. Daley begat Mayor Richard M. Daley, County Board Member John Daley and Commerce Secretary Bill Daley; state Sen. Emil Jones Jr. begat state Sen. Emil Jones III; state Sen. Denny Jacobs begat state Sen. Mike Jacobs; Ald. Richard Mell begat state Rep. Deb Mell; Mayor Eugene Sawyer begat Ald. Roderick Sawyer; Rev. Jesse Jackson begat Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.; Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios begat state Rep. Toni Berrios; Ald. Tony Laurino begat Ald. Marge Laurino; Rep. David Phelps begat state Rep. Brandon Phelps; state Sen. Larry Walsh begat state Rep. Lawrence M. Walsh Jr.; Rep. Bill Lipinski begat Rep. Dan Lipinski; Ald. Michael Zalewski begat state Rep. Michael Zalewski; state Rep. Art Turner begat state Rep. Arthur Turner. State Sen. Ira Silverstein did not beget Ald. Debra Silverstein, but he knows her in the Biblical sense. Likewise Ald. Edward Burke (who was beget by Ald. Joseph Burke) and Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.

Obviously, nepotism works. You don’t have to train your constituents to vote for a whole 'nother name. Some of them probably can’t tell the difference between father and son. The Republicans need to stop carping about it and find some children of their own to run.  

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