Quick Hit Adam Doster Thursday February 4th, 2010, 4:30pm

What If Madigan Has It All Wrong?

The conventional wisdom in Illinois political circles is that House Speaker Michael Madigan -- ever-protective of his majority -- doesn't want to force his members to take a tough vote on a tax reform plan without adequate GOP cover. But take a look at the turnout figures from Tuesday's primary elections. While almost 30,000 more voters cast ballots in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary than in 2006, Democratic participation actually dropped by about 2,000 voters. The discrepancy was even more acute in the U.S. Senate primary. National political analysts are attributing the "enthusiasm gap" to Democratic ineptitude in Washington, specifically the Senate's handling of health care reform. There's probably some truth to that theory. But events closer to the ground matter, too.  Illinois is in horrible fiscal shape. The Democratic Party -- having botched a golden opportunity in 2009 to pass comprehensive campaign finance laws and begin closing the state's budget crisis -- isn't providing its base with a convincing reason to head to the polls and vote for any Democrat. Instead, the party leaders appears to be standing idly by as the state implodes on their watch. If he wants to protect the size of his majority come November, Speaker Madigan needs to address this disillusionment.  More inaction in Springfield will only exacerbate it.


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