Friday, May 25, 2007

May Winners: Speaker Mike, Pat Quinn, Tom Cross and Lisa Madigan

Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune columnist and one of the creators of the Chicago blog movement, is a guest panelist this morning on WBEZ FM 91.5's "Month in Review,” which will air live at 9 a.m. on the "848" program.

One of the categories of “Month in Review,” is always "Winner of the month." And Zorn says he is having trouble thinking of nominees. Indeed, he is having so much trouble that he solicited, on his blog, names of state or local public figures who come to mind who “had a fabulous May, 2007” [See here].

It might be hard to come up with names of those who had a FABULOUS May, but not so hard to come up with clear May winners. No doubt, part of the problem Zorn is having relates to his core liberal views. Liberals, almost always, are convinced that governments, anywhere, anytime, of any type, should all have increased spending. On the state and local level, the governments can’t print money and borrowing only goes so far, so ultimately that means raising taxes—especially since libs are not very into supply side economics and incentives.

Since the Governor’s Gross Receipts Tax (“GRT”) is a bust, Ralph Martire’s [and his merry band of big taxers] tax swap seems to be faltering badly, and other proposals for an increase in state taxes, e.g., Civic Committee of the Commercial Club and the Civic Federation [so called business groups] are also coming up empty, there appears to be no increase in state taxes on the horizon. No increase in state taxes means no major increase in state spending and thus the mainstream media, including the Tribune’s Zorn, the Sun-Times’ Cindy Richards and Carol Marin, the Tribune’s and The Sun-Times edit boards and the rest of the liberals in Chicago would tell you—there are no winners in May.
But, that’s not true
. Four easy winners come to mind: Speaker Mike Madigan, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, Republican State House Leader Tom Cross and Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Winner, Speaker Mike

Speaker Mike has only two goals in life: Keep the State House Democratic so he can stay Speaker and advance the career of his daughter, Lisa Madigan—probably by helping her move from Attorney General to Governor, although he might settle for moving her to the U. S. Senate as an interim step.

The Speaker has a 66-52 Democratic majority and the budget session has been good for his majority and him so far. Speaker Mike said he wanted a power rate freeze, in part to protect his reps who might face some angry constituents over the dramatic increases in their electric and gas bills. He won’t get the freeze but he will get substantial relief from the power companies for various segments of consumers, and that relief may help some of the Democratic incumbents of the House—who might be in need of help.

The Speaker does not think a major tax increase would help him keep his majority and he also does not think it would be good for the state's economy
. He does think an expansion of gaming would provide a revenue stream for a state capital budget-which he wants-- and he will get more gaming and the budget. The capital budget will be good for his members and for keeping a majority. Not raising taxes will be good for the Illinois economy, which will be good for the Speaker- which will be good for Lisa, should she run for Governor in 2010. That is, Lisa will be given credit for the good deeds of her father.

Winner Pat Quinn

Records from Governor Blagojevich’s campaign were subpoenad by the
Feds this week, moving Lt. Gov. Quinn one step closer
to the Governor’s office if the Governor is indicted and especially if he is convicted. It is always nicer to be placed in office, as opposed to actually having to win an election. Also, Quinn did a nice job of disassociating himself from the GRT, proposing instead that the state government close corporate income tax loopholes. And, Speaker Mike's caucus much prefers closing corporate tax loopholes to proposals to raise other taxes.

Winner Tom Cross

Republican State House Leader Tom Cross has done a nice job of keeping his House Republican Caucus together this month, as they made it clear that nobody in that caucus would support a tax increase. Cross has also stated he was open to gaming expansion as a means to provide a revenue source for a capital budget. The Democrats will be happy to deal Cross in—because he represents a reliable, united caucus and they may want to spread any blame for gaming expansion among the Rs, as well.

By doing well as Republican House Leader, Cross continues to position himself well for a Guv run in 2010.

Winner Lisa Madigan

As Lisa’s father, Speaker Mike, has his reputation grow and broaden [See above], so does Lisa's grow. A win for Mike is a win for Lisa; Like father, like daughter.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at You may also watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox and many other pols at