(Chicago, IL) – April 1, 2012. Special Report: After nearly 20 years of being impaled by the rhetorical javelin hurled relentlessly by Capitol Fax Editor & Publisher Rich Miller, Illinois’ political elite gathered in phalanx formation at Maggiano’s in Chicago on Saturday evening and served up, along with the mostaccioli, heaps of steaming revenge.
Occasioned by his 50th birthday, Miller, humbly, organized for charity his own celebrity roast, and Illinois’ political class gleefully, lustily responded.
In the restaurant’s flag-ship, sold-out banquet room for the roast to benefit Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, Miller’s journalism, thrift, deportment, girth, challenged sartorial style and his renowned love of Jameson’s, were roasted, filleted, quartered, and char broiled by the likes of Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), State Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano (R-Elmhurst Park), Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), Chicago Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin, Professor Paul Green, and Doug Miller, Miller’s brother.
Some of the more mild, printable observations made by Miller’s executioners, er, friends at his birthday celebration were these:
- Skip Saviano:
“There is no middle ground Rich, either you hate him or you detest him.”
- Doug Miller:
“What’s more diseased and non-functional than Illinois government? Rich’s liver.”
“I’m very proud that I have a sibling who is an award-winning journalist. Unfortunately, that sibling could not be here tonight.”
- Paul Green:
“If it be a sin to covet wealth, honor and fame, then Rich Miller is most offending individual alive.
“When Rich’s brother returns to Texas the IQ of both states will go up.”
- Donne Trotter:
“Rich told me I couldn’t say anything about his mom, his wife and her situation and the church. “I’m like, damn.”
- Judy Baar Topinka:
“Only Rich Miller could get all these politicians together in one room without a subpoena.”
“I’m amazed Rich’s parents had children after him.”
“‘Caption contest’ means I’m taking a nap.”
- John Cullerton:
“We are here to honor the Tribune writer, Rick Pearson.”
“Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed a “proclamation” that honors Rich for taking dictation from Steve Brown while on a bar stool.”
“Tom Cross won’t be a speaker tonight. He won’t be a speaker for a long time.”
- Christine Radogno:
“Honestly, Rich, I have never seen anyone over the age of six more excited about his own birthday.”
Miller, who was given equal time, parried the thrusts of his persecutors by offering his own his observation on their professional accomplishments, referring to the legislature’s handling of Illinois’ heaving budget crisis.
“The money raised for Lutheran Services tonight might be the most money they see from these son-of-a-bitches this year,” Miller jousted.
Among Miller’s supporting cast spotted at the birthday extravaganza, were, in no particular order: Jim and Lori Montana, Thom Serafin, Tom Bowen and Aviva Gibbs, Greg Baise, Rob Nash, Rob Biederman, Eileen Mitchell, Bill Griffin and Leslie Fox, Steve and Marilyn Brown, Billy Glunz, Dave Lundy, Kyle Hillman, Elizabeth Austin, Austin Baidas, Terry Cosgrove, Michael Bauer, Barton Lorimor, Sam Toia, Dave McKinney, Tamara Holder, Terrie Pickerill, Brendan O’Connor, Mike Kasper and Judge Laura Liu, State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago), State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), State Rep. Dave Winters (R-Shirland), State Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), Alderman Will Burns (D-4), Alderman Brendan Reilly (D-42), and State Senator-elect Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins (D-Chicago), and everyone else was spotted by somebody.
At the dinner’s end Miller dragooned an after-party contingent that lurched to a nearby watering hole, but the subsequent fate of the band’s leader remained unknown early Sunday.
Alderman Reilly tweeted: “It’s 10AM on Sunday and still no call from Rich Miller requesting assistance posting bail. I hope that means he’s safe and sound.”
Happy Birthday, Rich.
Send comments to David Ormsby at [email protected].