When your dad is the biggest bully on the block, you don't take many punches close to home.
That explains how Lisa Madigan, fresh into her fifth year and second term as Illinois Attorney General, has managed to hover safely thus far above the more onerous corners of the state's political fray.
She's the daughter of Mike Madigan, all-powerful Speaker of the Illinois House. Mess with her and you mess with him.
And nobody wants to mess with him.
Maybe the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is plain fearless. Maybe it just doesn't know any better. But last week, the Washington, D.C.-based free-market think tank threw a rare jab at the Chicago Machine's political darling, naming Ms. Madigan one the "Ten Worst State Attorneys General" in the U.S.
Lisa came in at number eight, a hair better than Wisconsin's outgoing AG, who is best known for drunkenly driving her state car into a highway ditch.
CEI's major fault with Madigan wasn't her driving but her dragging. That's out-of-state businesses into Illinois courts with her publicity-motivated lawsuits. They're the ones that, when reading the press release, you'd swear she actually cares about the lot of us.
And it's all by design, of course, from a lawyer who had never handled-much less tried-a case by herself before she was shoved into the state's top legal spot. If it's headline-worthy, Madigan will file. But that's where the substance ends.
Consider Madigan's running crusade to make online retailers charge shoppers sales tax, in which she's cast herself as our defender against corporate "tax evaders."
"We have to bring in revenues where we can," she explained, filing suit against companies like Wal-Mart.com and Target.com. "Potentially, there's a lot of money owed to the state."
That was three years ago. Since, Madigan has collected a pittance in payoffs to buzz off-hardly enough to cover what taxpayers spent paying she and her staff to pursue the flimsy case. No resolve. No justice. No surprise.
"Potentially" didn't pan out at all-- just that press release.
When the people elect ambition over competence, they should expect nothing less.