As the Blagojevich scandal breaks wider and more noisily across the media world, observers are being treated to a steady stream of the visage of, mentions of, and quotes of the Attorney General of Illinois, Lisa Madigan.
Nearly every of these mentioning incidents includes how it is widely believed that Madigan will end up being the next governor of Illinois, at least, once the pesky Lt. Governor Pat Quinn is disposed of.
These mentions follow hot on the heels of a similar torrent of mentions of Madigan being Barack Obama's successor in the White House. The Illinois governorship is just a launching pad, as it was supposed to have been for former fair-haired boy Rod Blagojevich.
To new onlookers, some background is essential. Madigan is the offspring of Illinois House of Representatives Speaker Micheal Madigan, arguably the most powerful person in the state outside of Richard Daley. Since nothing happens in US legislation without the House of Representatives of whatever jurisdiction, Madigan the Senior's power over the doings of the state is considerable, almost to the point of final.
Mike Madigan and Rod Blagojevich weren't natural-born enemies, both being Chicago-born creatures of the Cook County Democratic Machine, but became so once Blagojevich got into the governorship and began to display his intemperate ways and bumbling self-absorption. Then, given the ascension of Lisa Madigan to the Attorney General's office, an elevation in the Chicago tradition of political royalty passing the scepter down the line, it is considered likely by several political reporters in Chicago that Madigan's antipathy towards Blagojevich was increased by Mike Madigan's desire to see Lisa continue to rise in politics.
So it stands now, with the junior Madigan's mug everywhere now pontificating in knowledgeable high legalese about how Illinois shall rid itself of Blagojevich. Last evening, we watched the local public television station's civic affairs show, Chicago Tonight on WTTW. Madigan was paired as a guest with former governor Jim Edgar, now two governors back, and who may have left office with a clean reputation intact, as improbable as that may seem.
Host Carol Marin, always an advocate for the Democrat, posed the question to Madigan about the possibility of Madigan's advancement to the Mansion. Madigan smiled coyly without a blush or any guilt, apparently unaware that publicly campaigning to unseat the current governor and then making herself governor with the aid of the immense power of the House Speakership was any sort of conflict of interest.
Not than any Machine pol gives much thought to conflicts of interest as bad things.
So here's my question, for Madigan the Junior and her supporters for elevation:
Where the hell has the office of the Attorney General of the State of Illinois been through all this? Why do we have Federal agents and prosecutors investigating and arresting Illinois officials in droves, and all we get from the AG's office is child-safety initiatives and senior-citizen support programs?
What in the world does the state's chief law-enforcement officer, the AG, do, if not attack corruption and the violation of the people's trust?
Where have you been, Attorney General Madigan? There were laws being broken. Aren't you supposed to be doing something about laws being broken?
One would think a State Attorney General who was awash in images of Federal prosecutors and investigators doing the law-enforcement work the SAG ought to have been doing would be too embarrassed to even been seen.
Not in Chicago. She's out campaigning for governor.