August 3, 2005

The Boss visits the QCs (no, not Springsteen)

Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan is visiting the Quad Cities today for an appearance at the Plumbers & Pipefitter's Hall at 3:00 p.m. While here, Madigan is expected to confer with area labor leaders as well as Sen. Jacobs, Reps. Boland and Verschoore, and County Democratic Chairman John Gianulis.

Reliable sources report that chief on Madigan's agenda for the visit is to push for Boland to get off the dime and make a decision on where he's going to jump in the coming election. There has been steady pressure from Springfield on Gianulis to get a decision from Boland for some time.

Madigan also was said to be seeking unity within the local Dem party, "suggesting", as only the powerful speaker can, that the animosity between Jacobs and Boland be settled or put aside and that the two politicians as well as Verschoore pull together for the good of the party. The other message Madigan was to impart was his desire for any potential primary challengers to any of the three to put aside their desire to run and back the incumbent candidates.

True to form, the state party apparatus is firmly opposed to any sort of "free market" approach to politics. Fresh blood and competition is strongly discouraged and/or suppressed, and it appears that anyone who entertains notions of a primary challenge, notably Dennis Ahern or Porter McNeil, or anyone else is likely to have a very difficult time of it against their own party leaders.

In any other competitive enterprise, be it business or sports, those at the top have to prove they're the best to stay in the game. How successful would a baseball team be if they simply decided to stick with the players who had been around longest and shut down their farm teams? Every year pro athletes (and amateurs alike) have to "make the cut" by proving their stuff. This ensures that only the most talented and able players make the team and therefore the team is as strong as possible and stands the best chance of winning.

What if repeatedly, every year, promising players who had done the hard work and had the skills were told that they had to stay in the minors longer yet simply because the team managers didn't want to let them compete because it might make the veterans look bad? How long would they stick around?

So why should politicians be shielded from having to prove themselves against legitimate and qualified challengers?

Unity and certainty are easily understood and desirable objectives from a party standpoint. It's not difficult to understand how this is thought to ensure a higher likelihood of victory.

Primary battles involve two things the party wishes to avoid like the plague, namely the expense - any money spent on a primary lessens the amount available for the general, and the potential negatives brought out during a primary fight between Dems which might hurt the eventual winner and/or help their opponent in the general. Both of these reasons are legitimate reasons for trying to avoid a potentially bruising primary fight.

But there are definite downsides to attempts to squash primary challengers as well.

Competition almost always results in a better "product". How are the people of the area served by being denied a free choice among candidates? They're not. And how does it benefit the party to continue to ensure that incumbents are only more firmly entrenched (and often detached from their districts)?

Causing incumbents to respond to a primary challenge is a good thing. It forces them to respond to and compete with new faces and fresh ideas from within the party, forces them to be less complacent and to be challenged on their often tired and out of touch ideas and views. (not to mention that the longer they serve, the more their views are almost entirely dictated by moneyed interests outside their constituencies.)

It gives the public as well as party members a chance to assess new and fresh candidates, as well as giving these candidates valuable experience at mounting and working a campaign.

It would show incumbents that they can't take party loyalists and activists for granted, that they can't simply pull a lever and activate the "machine" at will. Party partisans would have an actual choice as to who they choose to work for and support.

Suppressing primary challenges not only tends to stifle new ideas and new faces, but it also serves to deny the candidates of the future the chance to raise their name recognition and to gain valuable experience and contacts.

And in this day and age when less and less people are participating in the political process, and good people willing and able to put themselves forth as candidates and endure the meatgrinder of elective poltics is increasingly rare, can we afford to consistently shunt them aside?

What becomes of those who are willing to put in years of work with an eye towards running, only to be shunted aside time and time and time again? I'm sure that many, after facing this brick wall of "machine" politics have lost their faith in the system and simply thrown in the towel and pursued other more legitimate careers.
This is truly squandering valuable resources, and is short-sighted for the future of the party.

No doubt to many in the party power structure, the idea of them having less than complete control over who gets what is heresy and tantimount to anarchy, and the balance between the urge to suppress competition in the hopes of a marginally stronger candidate in the general election (a "known" quantity that the state and local leaders know are "team players".) and the benefit of having open and honest competition among candidates and ideas in a primary is a tough one.

What are your thoughts on the matter?


At 8/03/2005 2:18 PM, Blogger diehard said...

God forbide that the people would actually have a choice!
This is ridiculous.
What you end up with is an electorate that is as lazy and complacent as the people that represent them.
Why? Because there are never any choices to make at the ballot box there fore no one cares!

At 8/03/2005 2:45 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

I am going to be shocked if Jacobs actually goes along with what Madigan wants. He has supported more than one candidate against Boland numerous times- and not just Ahern.

The only thing that may make Denny Jacobs pause is that he now wants his own Son Mike to enjoy the protection of being the incumbant and not having a primary challenge for his maiden voyage on the ballot. Keep in mind that young Mike J has never had to run in a real race before for anything so this will all be new for him and he's probably real scared of any challenge. Money aside, Mike could be in trouble with the right guns entering the stage.

In other words, the Jacobs are saying to us all by their actions -- do as I say not as I do. I will be watching very closely to see what the big three and "daddy" end up doing with their state seats - cushy as they may be for now.

At 8/03/2005 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Ahern and McNeil are in the proverbial “Catch 22” position. They are both young enough to wait, but for how long? Both with way more positives then negatives, both educated, and loyal, hard working Democrats with good track records, and solid families, both Catholic, both Irish (too bad they aren’t in Chicago).

If they run, and lose, especially Ahern this time, they will suffer the wrath of the Speaker. And from what I hear, that means alienation for a long time, if not forever from anything in the party- even Dog Catcher. (Just ask young Clarence “Michael” Darrow about his future after being warned not to run last time).

However, if Ahern and Mc Neil are good foot soldiers and don’t run, then 1.) Will their acquiescence be viewed as cowardice or prudent discretion? And 2.) Who does Madigan tap as the heir apparent, keeping in mind Boland’s age, and the wanting to avoid a turkey shoot when the position is for sure vacated? I think personally our party is in good shape for the future. I just hope we find room for these good young Dems, as well as other young Dems, like O’Brien in the 72nd, and someone for the future in the 17th Congressional District. I am glad I am a Democrat here, because the Republicans really have nothing close to this in their pipeline.

At 8/03/2005 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the anonymous post above, but I also believe that it's the role of the State Party Chairman to visit a powerful downstate region like the Quad Cities from time to time. It's his role and his right, and he's not here just to help shape the legislative ticket. I hear he'll be meeting with Congressman Lane Evans as well, and likely offering Evans assistance.

A political party's interest is usually best served when its incumbents remain in office, as long as they are serving the people well.

But, on the downside (and we know there are lots of downsides to politics because this is a rough profession) younger talent is squashed by the "protect the incumbent" mentality.

Think how many talented young Democrats have been stopped in their tracks because Lane Evans hasn't left his seat since his first win in 1982. Yes, I said 1982. Ditto for Denny Jacobs, Joel Brunsvold, Bob DeJaegher, now Mike Boland.

Ms. Dope makes a good point. These efforts are basically good for the incumbents, but if the incumbents aren't doing a swell job then the incumbent protection plan should be replaced.

At 8/03/2005 3:58 PM, Anonymous youngridemocrat said...

I heard Speaker Madigan is hear to help out Lane.

At 8/03/2005 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Speaker Mike Madigan!!

It's about time a real adult came to town to help unite the Democratic Party's Jacobs and Boland slugfest.

The real key will be whether the Jacobs turn around and help Steve Haring, the conservative Republican extremist, beat Mike Boland in the general. That's what Speaker Madigan should keep his eyes on!!

At 8/03/2005 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

at least denny retired... he could have stayed forever

At 8/03/2005 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My recommendation to Speaker Madigan is to give Pat O' Brien a phone call to talk about the future of the 72nd District. O'Brien, with his strong background in municipal issues, likely has fresh ideas for the district. When Pat Verschoore hangs it up, my vote goes to O'Brien in the 72nd.

And let me tell you something else: O'Brien is a hell of a golfer.

At 8/03/2005 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous allowed again? Let the bashing begin!! You love the dirt Dope. But only when things are going to get really ugly. Whoever you are - you are a sicko. I am deleting you from my favorites to read.

At 8/03/2005 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad to see anonymous allowed again, I hope they remain positive. They have thus far.

At 8/03/2005 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the Rock Island County Web site......

Craig Harmon, a County Board member since 2004, representing District 21, passed away August 3rd, 2005. Rock Island County would like to pay tribute to Mr. Harmon for his service to Rock Island County and its citizens. Our thoughts are with his family.

Rest In Peace Craig

At 8/03/2005 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting. All Democrats and labor leaders agreed to support the incumbents. Mike Jacobs agreed to support Mike Boland, Mike Boland agreed to support Mike Jacobs, it was a basic love fest.

That's why they call House Speaker Mike Madigan the smartest Democrat in Illinois. He gets the job done.

At 8/03/2005 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's too bad...

At 8/03/2005 10:03 PM, Blogger diehard said...

Yea, everyone's happy except the voters.

At 8/03/2005 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So is Mike Jacobs out celebrating his re-elec...I mean elec...ur ah whatever it is that just happend. That means he won't have an opponent.
I wish someone like O'Brien would get in this race.

At 8/03/2005 11:47 PM, Blogger theheadusher said...


Boland drops out of senate race;
set to announce reelection

Congrats go to Young Senator Jacobs

I hate to say it boys, but I told you so!

At 8/04/2005 1:23 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

The humble Dope told readers they could write it down, Boland would run for his Rep. seat again.

Frankly, I don't recall you predicting that HeadUsher. All I recall is your taunting Boland to "bring it on" and assuring him that if he did challenge Jacobs, you.. er... Jacobs would anihilate him.

At 8/04/2005 1:59 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

And HeadUsher... PLEASE explain to me how in the f*ck Sen. Jacobs deserves any "congrats" for the simple fact that he's again dodged having any Democratic competition at the polls?

THIS is an accomplishment?

At 8/04/2005 4:09 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anonymous said...
Anonymous allowed again? Let the bashing begin!! You love the dirt Dope. But only when things are going to get really ugly. Whoever you are - you are a sicko. I am deleting you from my favorites to read.

3/8/05 16:27

My dear Anonymous,

Just a couple of observations on your interesting comment.

As others no doubt noticed, there's a few things about it that don't quite make sense.

1. You decry anonymous posts being allowed by posting anonymously.

2. You say "let the bashing begin", and though I haven't noticed any so far, you proceed to bash away yourself, calling me a "sicko".

3. You obviously don't read the blog too often or you would have read my post a while back where I explained why I was opening up comments to everyone again.

4. I've required commenters to register with Blogspot for months and months until just now. If, as you so ignorantly assert, I just want things to get ugly and for people to bash away, why have I banned anonymous comments for all this time? Doesn't the fact that I banned anonymous comments to begin with prove that not only do I not want to encourage excessive "bashing" or ugliness, I wouldn't tolerate it.

5. If you think this is the only topic where there are differences of opinions or controversy, dream on. We deal in politics here. What planet are you on?

6. If you had bothered to read my post about it, you would have noted that I said I would open up comments again and see how it goes. I stated that if things get stupid and out of control again, I'd shut it down immediately and go back to the registered users only policy.

I'm encouraged so far by how the experiment has been going. There hasn't been any "bashing" with the exception of your anonymous comment, and people seem to be well behaved.

Apparently, the mayonaise-heads have wandered off to find another sandbox to fill with their textual equivilent of cat crap. Let's all hope they don't find their way back.

Sorry I was booted from your Favorites, but judging from your comment, this wasn't really your kind of place anyway. There's many nice, vanilla, white-bread blogs out there that won't ruffle your feathers. There's several in the blog roll here, and I encourage you (and anyone else) to check them out.

I can only hope that maybe you'll take a peek back here in a while. After all, you at least should see if all the ugliness and rampant bashing you imagine would happen was just an ill-considered fantasy.

At 8/04/2005 6:39 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Anyone out there who wants to run against Mike Jacobs is going to need about $200K on the books fast.

Thanks solely to his Daddy, Mike already has $100K in the kitty which added to the other $75K he got from lots of PACs, most of them republican, make him pretty bullet proof.

Headgusher - er Mike Jacobs - is now becoming quite nausiating with his "full of himself" attitude.

Maybe someone should run and do it with less money knowing it's a longshot just to give the voters some hope that the system can still work and the voters actually do have a say - as was written in our constitution. Anyone remember the old days?? When you could run for office and work hard and not have to be rich??

At this point, a Republican or Democrat opponent would be a nice thing to see opposite Mike Jacobs on the ballot - any ballot!!

Headgusher - you know it better than I do - people don't like you and you are being shoved down our throats. Gag me.

At 8/04/2005 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Steve Harring should run against Mike Jacobs instead of Boland. After all Jacobs is the weaker of the two -- unless the Republicans have said hands off our guy Jacobs........

At 8/04/2005 6:55 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Or how about Toni Mccombie - the one Headgusher just loves -- get a woman to run against Mike Jacobs.

He'd have a fit if that happened - since he only knows how to talk to men without offending them.

At 8/04/2005 7:19 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Homi Mcombie for Senate!!!

At 8/04/2005 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Steve Harring wants a seat - Jacobs is the easier target....

Unless of course Mike Jacobs is really a republican! Then Harring has to cross hairs on the fundraising and fight Mike for the PAC money.....

At 8/04/2005 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Usher - no gushing comeback?

You are slipping my friend.

At 8/04/2005 11:38 PM, Blogger theheadusher said...

Big Mike Jacobs is still running for re-election to the the Illinois Senate. Mike Boland abandoned his stated goal (to run against Jacobs) and instead opted to run for relection.

I don't know about you Dope, but to me that seems like a pretty clear VICTORY for Young Senator Jacobs!

Trust me DOPE, winning is better than losing!

At 8/05/2005 1:20 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

How can Mike Jacobs be running for "RE-election" when he's never been elected to anything in his life? How about a little reality here, H.U.?

And Boland never publically stated his intentions to run for any specific office, and still hasn't.

How do you figure he abandoned a race against Jacobs?

And seriously, it's just nauseating to hear someone try to describe what recently happened as any sort of "victory". It's nutty.

Boland being urged to stay where he's at for the good of the party is no victory for anyone but Madigan and local Dem leaders who didn't want the huge mutually destructive battle that a Boland/Jacobs fight would be.

For God's sake, if Jacobs ties his own shoes, you'd be here crowing about what an outstanding achievement it was.

Please try to gain some sense of proportion.

At 8/05/2005 1:21 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Also, I have no clue where you get the bizarro notion that people here think they could do a better job than Boland, much less myself. So your statement to that effect is completely out there.

At 8/06/2005 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto Dope. I for one am sick and tired of anyone giving any credit to Sen Mike Jacobs. He has no idea what it will be like to be on a ballott. He has never had to earn anything on his own merit. His jobs have all been silly makework jobs handed to him as patronage. He sucks up to all the rich folks (Republicans) in town and does not give any due to other Democrats who deserve help and support - only thinks of himself constantly.

He's a stupid buffoon who can't get a job if he has to work for it-- unless someone hands it all to him on a silver platter. Without his dad, he'd be nobody.

Wake up voters - we can do much much better than him for Senate.

Someone come forward please and run for the office to make it somewhat normal again in our district- comon -- somebody - anybody!!!

At 8/07/2005 5:05 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Personally, I'm not sick and tired of anyone giving Jacobs credit. Hell, I'd love to give him credit. But what I am tired of is having to read the drivel posted by HU which tries to make the fact that Jacobs is able to breath on his own into a brilliant achievement. It's pretty ridiculous.

I'm not about bashing Jacobs, and it seems like there's been a lot of piling on lately. I'd love nothing more than to point out an accomplishment and praise him for it. But so far, there's been nothing of note.

The fact of the matter is that I don't expect any big accomplishments from Jacobs in the short time he's been in office. Not because he's incompetent, but because it would be truly remarkable if he was able to get much done as a rookie in this relatively short time.

As I've noted before, Jacobs is still wearing his paper trainee hat when it comes to being a Senator.

His supposed accomplishments usually amount to his simply trying to barge in and take credit for things that would have happened whether he was involved or not. This is not flattering.

Perhaps he was desperate to start pointing to acomplishments, even if he had to invent them out of thin air, since he was scared shitless of a challenge from Boland.. I don't know.

But now that the way has been paved for him, perhaps he'll stop trying to manufacture achievements out of his simply doing the routine things he should be doing. (as much.)

At 8/07/2005 8:53 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Dope I guess I still can't get past the fact that a few old men decided who will represent thousands in our Capital and it happened under the noses of most before anyone could react or comment.

That is the misery we all feel. Our democracy was set up for the collective people to vote using a ballot in a real election --individually to decide who to send and then cast votes on the issues on their behalf at our State Capitol.

Instead a few old men, some of them powerful and rich, and some of them extremely scared of one another, put a young empty suit into a position of Senator for us.

And due to the extremely money oriented poltical system we have grown into - we are going to be stuck with a guy no one voted for barring some miracle where someone will try to beat all the odds with no money to run against a guy with all the advantages - unfair as it is right now.

Maybe there is a person out there who has the guts to take him on? I sure hope so. My momma told me life was not fair - and boy was she right about that!!

At 8/07/2005 1:01 PM, Anonymous Jacob's Supporter said...

You could give credit to Sen. Mike Jacobs for making our highways and school buses safer by picking up HB 1387 as the Chief Senate Sponsor and getting it passed.

1) The bill pulls into Illinois law several sections of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety laws that had been overlooked by previous legislatures and makes them subject to enforcement by Illinois State Police.

2) The bill removed a $5,000 cap on penalties and adopts the same penalty schedule as the Federal Rules which will more than double the fines and civil penalties that can be assessed. Stiffer penalties should lead to better compliance and more revenue for the state, and most importantly it will assist in getting unsafe truckers off the road and protecting you and your family as you drive amongst the big rigs on the highway.

3) The bill also required a noise suppresion switch to be installed on school buses to increase safety by allowing the driver to shut down all noise making devices(except the kids) on the bus to listen for trains, emergency vehicles, etc when needed.

How do I know all of this? I wrote the bill(except for the school bus amendment) and asked the Senator to sponsor it and he picked it up right away and made it happen. The bill would have been lost at the end of the session and not even been considered if Sen. Jacobs didn't rescue it from not being sponsored and guide it's passage.
Thank you Mike, I look forward to working with you more in the future.

At 8/07/2005 6:11 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks for that Jacobs Supporter...

Jacobs should get credit where credit is due.

At 8/07/2005 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldnt an empty suit do the same thing?

At 8/08/2005 4:36 PM, Blogger theheadusher said...

Not if you were in it!

At 8/12/2005 3:37 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

(in a whiny voice) "I know you are, but what am I?"

At 8/12/2005 2:08 PM, Blogger theheadusher said...

My b*tch!

At 8/16/2005 8:59 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Jesus Christ, you're delusional.

Try commenting sober sometime.


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