Nodding vigorous assent to Sen. Harmon, persuading Speaker Madigan

Town hall meeting at the Oak Park library, July 17, 2013 — from Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters — vigorous nodding, oratorical jujitsu:

The evening wore on. An aide brought Harmon two frosted water bottles. Rep. Camille Lilly swigged an orange drink.

An audience member praised an activist who said the state should amortize its pension debt, asked why not.

“I had the opportunity to present that,” said Lilly, recounting her experience in Springfield, as she did frequently in these town halls. She spoke dramatically, as she did frequently, and as Sen. Don Harmon explained what was wrong with this proposal, nodded vigorous assent, as she also did frequently.

Someone mentioned Mike Madigan, speaker of the house and the state’s most powerful official, as part of the Illinois problem. Lilly mused. It was “interesting” how legislation comes forth in the house, she said, as if to be ironic, drawing laughter. She paused, then added that she had “gone and asked the speaker” to bring a bill forth (pause), “and it was brought up.”

It was a sort of oratorical jujitsu, checking laughter, presenting Madigan as not so bad after all. She was all smiles, kept hand gestures going throughout, sure of herself, as if toying with her listeners, perhaps unaware of what she was doing, in view of her often unfocused speechifying.

Illinois Blues is available in paperbackepub and Amazon Kindle formats.

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