‘Drop the Mike’ crusade lashes out at Madigan, Chicago politician cronies
Lampooning Mike Madigan as a fake rap artist in a short animation-style spot, the Illinois Republican Party recently released a parody of the speaker via its website as it launched its "Drop the Mike" campaign.
Exposing how Madigan and his potential allied candidates for governor are working not for the people they represent, but for the Chicago machine, the ad mocked the speaker for flaunting his own power, complete with a musical beat.
“I’m Mike Madigan and I rock Illinois; I’m speaker of the House and these are my boys,” it began, introducing his “boys” as State Sen. Andy Manar (D-98th District), Chris Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker. “I’m the longest-serving speaker in the U.S.A. … and I’ll make you suckers pay.”
The Illinois GOP faulted House Democrats in a recent CapitolFax article for disregarding their constituents’ wishes by re-electing Madigan to his 17th term as speaker, declaring that “the only way we will stop the Madigan machine is by ousting the politicians that give Madigan his power” -- and reiterating that every Democrat has a choice to stand for change or capitulate to the speaker’s machine.
State Republicans framed five Illinois political figures as inappropriate candidates for their collective failure to act independently or cooperate with authorities.
Alderman Ameya Pawar of Chicago's 47th Ward was dismissed as a weak contender by "Illinois Rising" talk show host Dan Proft during a recent edition of the show; additionally, GOP spokesperson Steven Yaffe noted that Pawar has a history of hiking taxes in his own jurisdiction.
“I don’t believe we’re overtaxed in Illinois,” Pawar stated in August 2016. “I think we’re undertaxed.”
Chris Kennedy, who recently made headlines when he displayed reticence in dealing with the press -- waving them away in an office building elevator -- received similar reviews from the GOP when Yaffe described his response as unsatisfactory.
“Chris Kennedy’s dodge isn’t going to cut it,” he said. “It's time for Chris Kennedy to come clean. Does Kennedy endorse or oppose Mike Madigan as speaker and head of the Democratic Party of Illinois?"
Yaffe noted in December 2016 that although Kennedy bears the family name, he appears indifferent to his potential legacy.
“Chris Kennedy comes from a legendary American family with a history of public service, but instead of following in their footsteps, Chris Kennedy chose to serve corrupt politicians like Mike Madigan,” Yaffe said.
The spokesman also called out philanthropist J.B. Pritzker, saying that both he and Kennedy would inevitably do Madigan’s bidding. Both men contributed large amounts to Madigan’s fundraising efforts late last year, according to a recent Sangamon Sun article about campaign coffers.
Pritzker previously made headlines for his connection to imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich when he was subpoenaed regarding phone conversations and ordered to yield documents and other records connected to the disgraced ex-governor. Yaffe called Pritzker “just another corrupt political insider” for having inserted himself into Blagojevich’s schemes.
“For years, J.B. Pritzker has worked behind the scenes to screw Illinois taxpayers," Yaffe said. "After raising money for … Blagojevich, it's no surprise that Pritzker is trying to hide hundreds of thousands in donations meant to help Mike Madigan."
State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) drew criticism in spring of 2016 for sponsoring Senate Bill 2781, a measure appearing to benefit wage earners but raising questions among skeptics — who called the maneuver a cloaked attempt to avoid collective bargaining by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Finally, City Treasurer Kurt Summers, a Democrat, has been reckoned by some to be eyeing wider horizons. In an October 2016 article, Crain’s Chicago Business pegged Summers as a possible contender for the mayor’s or even governor’s seat.
“Ask him about Chicago's pernicious problem with gun violence, and he will tell you the city doesn't have a crime problem: ‘We have an economic problem,’” according to Crain’s.
Summers has handled the city’s issues of crime, unemployment and neighborhood decay deftly during his tenure.
“One thing is for sure,” Crain’s Chicago Business stated in an October 2016 article. “Summers is campaigning, and it might be for more than city treasurer. His name has been thrown out among others … as a 2019 Emanuel challenger. Some even speculate that he could make a run for governor.”
"We're all here working to defeat Bruce Rauner and elect Democratic candidates," Summers told the Chicago Tribune when queried about a gubernatorial run last summer.
Yaffe believes that Illinois residents deserve more.
“The people of Illinois deserve to know whether potential gubernatorial candidates will be independent of Mike Madigan,” he said, summarizing the "Drop the Mike" campaign’s intent. “Do they support his unprecedented reign as speaker, and will they demand that he step down as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois?”
“(I) spent 46 years cuttin’ deals with my cronies, makin’ mad loot for myself and my homies” not only serves as the send-up’s final line for the main character, but also represents the final straw for state Republicans.
Constituents can watch the ad here and sign the petition at BossMadigan.com/Drop-The-Mike.
“Illinois, it’s time we drop the Mike,” the spot concluded.