Monday, January 17, 2005

McKenna gets the nod for IL GOP Chair

The Illinois Leader broke another story: Andy McKenna is the new Chair of the Illinois Republican Party.

I wonder why Tom Cross or Frank Watson aren't leading the party. Maybe that's a better set-up, so there isn't any conflict between the needs of the legislative leader and the state party. I mean, Speaker Madigan is a brilliant guy, but it probably isn't the best situation that he is the party chair as well. It's not like Denny Hastert is the Chair of the RNC or Nancy Pelosi is the Chair of the DNC. Having someone else to focus full-time on helping to build the Illinois Democratic Party is probably a better move.

Maybe there's an exception for Michael Madigan because he's generally considered to be the hardest working and best strategist in Illinois politics. But that's a stretch. He's got to be over-worked now. We should probably have someone else be the Chair.

UPDATE: The Cross bloggers are claiming proper credit for breaking the story and I defer to them in all things GOP.

8 comments:

IlliniPundit said...

Dan,

I agree that it's probably not a great thing to have a legisltive leader as party chair, but it's hard to argue with the results that Mike Madigan has delivered for the Democratic Party as a whole in Illinois. Since he's taken over as chairman (in 1998?), The Dems have gone from having the House but not the Senate, zero statewides, ten (out of 20) US Reps and one US Senator to five statewides, the House and the Senate, ten (out of 19) US Reps and two US Senators.

Granted, Madigan had a lot of help from some specacularly inept and corrupt Republicans.

Chris Rhodes said...

Ahem....check the time on our blog, dude.

**We** broke the story. First one up. We were in the meeting and posted it directly...

And...btw...Cross doesn't want the Chair. We just want someone who will work with us, not against us. Check out Paul Tully's D-2's. He was down big in our polling, so we weren't 'there'...but Ms. Nancy Kimme decided to stick it to us, and give his tons of dough that could have been better used in a target...but alas....we just want someone who returns our calls.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Madigan shouldn't be Party Chair. Could you be any more transparently for Rod and Emil? Those guys are the ones who cause trouble in the party, not the Speaker.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Can you concede the point that I made: it isn't a good thing for the Party Chair to be a legislative leader. It feeds into the same Emil v. Madigan v. Rod structure which isn't healthy for a party or a democracy. I mean, you instantly leap to claiming that I'm somehow 'transparently for' Rod and Emil just because I think the Chair of the Party shouldn't also be the Speaker of the House -- whether it's Madigan or Bill Redmond. There are lots and lots of talented, smart Democrats in Illinois. There should be room for more leaders than three men.

Anonymous said...

If Madigan gave up the chairmanship, the governor would most likely have the power and history on his side to replace Madigan with his own, hand-picked person. How could that possibly turn out any better?

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

That would not be a good thing. I think Speaker Madigan has the interest of the Democratic Party closer to his heart than Governor Blagojevich (who is a bit of a traingulator -- bad strategy for increasing voter identity with and support for the Party). But don't you think there's somebody who can raise funds for the party, generate more enthusiasm for the party and get the message out about the great things the Democratic Party of Illinois is doing for the 12 million citizens of the state without getting caught up with the natural jockeying for leadership within the party? Plus, I don't really follow the argument that Blagojevich would get the next pick. The State Central Committee gets the pick, and those guys are elected in the March 2006 primary. Blagojevich has been all talk on supporting any other candidates -- why do you think he would get involved in any races that might turn contested for the State Central Committee? He sure didn't get involved in any legislative races -- MILF notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

I'm not conceding any point. You do come across as very pro Emil and Rod in your blog. If there's a better Party Chair than Madigan, I'd be all for it. Part of Madigan's success is that he is Chair. Part of the criticism against him, well, is because he is Chair. I'm much more pro Lisa Madigan than Mike Madigan, but I've got to give the devil his due. Few scandals, good public policy, some decent candidates, and many election wins for the D's.

Anyway, don't be so defensive. I think your blog is quite good. Keep up the great work.
-Mike

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Hey Mike, thanks for the compliments. I guess we disagree that, as a general rule, a party chair should not be a legislative leader, because the legislative leader will almost inherently be in some conflict with the other legislative leader or the statewide electeds, and it is best -- as a general matter -- if a non-legislative-leader were the party chair. And I think Speaker Madigan is a closet progressive. There I said it! I think we progressives haven't really participated enough in state politics to get our way as much as we should, but the more we support progressive candidates in primaries and walk precincts and join ward organizations, the more Speaker Madigan will support the progressive agenda. But still: speakers shouldn't be chairs, just like presidents and governors shouldn't chairs, as a general rule.