Madigan: The Spencer Pratt of Illinois Politics

Madigan as villain

By Steve Rhodes
|  Tuesday, Jun 2, 2009  |  Updated 8:30 AM CDT
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Madigan: The Spencer Pratt of Illinois Politics

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Spencer Pratt. Or is that House Speaker Michael Madigan?

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Watching Patti Blagojevich try to eat a tarantula faster than Lou Diamond Phillips may be a sign that your life has reached a new low, but the shenanigans in Springfield that aren't so made-for-TV are far more damaging to your health than trying to determine when and how Spencer Pratt became a "new Christian."

In fact, Spencer Pratt's villainy is far less appalling than the villainy of Michael Madigan.

Madigan's reputation as the face of legislative evil is so fixed in the minds of the political community that he finds himself having to deny sabotaging the governor's budget. Few believe him.

According to the Sun-Times, Madigan insisted "he lacks the muscle to have single-handledly pushed through Gov. Quinn's unpopular revenue package."

Right. And Heidi Montag is going back to school go get her Ph.D. in physics.

"We're expected to follow along like lemmings and take a loyalty test over and over," state Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) said at one point in the negotiations.

If legislators don't go along, Madigan doesn't fund their re-election campaigns.

Remedying that kind of control was one of the planks of reform legislation that was gutted like a Costa Rican jungle pig during the session.

See how it all comes full circle?

And speaking of pig, legislators found it in their hearts to slip $500 million in pork into the budget for such urgent matters as building a $40 million West Side campus for the scandal-ridden Chicago State University and $300,000 for the Old Town School of Music.

Maybe that money will go to teaching students how to sing old protest songs about people starving while the fat cats get fatter.

"[T]his is not about the schoolchildren or the taxpayers or the quality of life in the state of Illinois," SouthtownStar columnist Phil Kadner writes.

"The outcome of this game was fixed before the players took the court.

"Madigan won. Everybody else lost."

Steve Rhodes edits and publishes The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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