It's Getting Ugly in Springfield
By Kevin Robinson in News on Jun 7, 2007 1:50PM
It's been said that politics makes strange bedfellows, but we wonder if politics just makes you crazy instead. While Blagojevich strolls around the capital trying to convince the General Assembly to play ball with his all but dead budget, Emil Jones is taking shots Mike Madigan by proxy. On Tuesday he kicked Sen. Louis Viverito (D-Burbank) an assistant majority leader, out of a closed-door Senate Democratic leadership meeting. Viverito voted against the plan for expanded gambling in the state, the gross receipts tax (but who didn't?), and against the governor's plan for universal health coverage. Adding insult to injury, Jones has replaced Viverito on the Senate Rules Committee, the Jones-controlled panel that controls what legislation gets voted on and what dies.
Besides voting the wrong way on legislation that Jones (and Blago) badly want, Viverito also represents Mike Madigan's neighborhood. This, after Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline) blabbed to the press about how the governor blew up at him in his office for not supporting his health care plan, and then implied that had Rod tried that in a bar in East Moline, he's get is ass kicked. Also on Tuesday, Sen. Todd Sieben (R-Geneseo) presented Jacobs with a pair of boxing gloves on the Senate floor, and posed for the media with Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago). According to the Sun-Times, Jones could be heard saying "Mattie, Mattie, no." Madigan, of course, had a laugh at the governor's expense too, saying "I learned about the Jacobs matter... Saturday morning and the cover of the paper had a picture of Michael Barrett and [Carlos] Zambrano.... My suggestion was to put Jacobs in between the two of them."
Madigan, of course, is sitting pretty. The House has passed a budget, presumably that Madigan likes, and only needs the Senate to approve it now - theoretically possible, since there are 37 Democrats in the Senate, and they only need 36 votes. The catch? The House budget is being held up by a parliamentary maneuver by a Downstate lawmaker who wants electricity-rate relief first. If you've been following the news, you already know that Emil Jones has a vested interest in making sure that the utilities can raise rates this year. While Jones tries to drop the hammer on his people in the Senate, and Blago continues to delude himself (is he a lame-duck already?), Mike Madigan is finally getting the chance to kick around the guy with the bad hair cut who stands in the way of building Lisa's future in the state. And the Republicans? Their getting their opportunity to look like the sensible alternative to a state Democratic party that is just as dysfunctional as the relationship Big Red has with the Milkman.