* The Tribune published an editorial today that took a shot at Republicans who voted against the pension reform bill. They specifically called out Tom Cross and Kirk Dillard in an editorial entitled “Why did Republicans reject pension reform?” This was the paper’s chief explanation of its headline…
Many of the Republicans depend on union support, even a few who describe themselves as backers of the tea party, shrink-government movement. They’ll tell you they’re all for curbing government spending — but given the chance, they voted “no.” They rail against the state’s fiscal woes, but they rejected the most significant cost reform legislation that had a chance of passing.
The nuances of the Dec. 3 roll call abound. Those nuances also explain long-standing weakness and division in this state’s Republican Party. If you can’t wrest your members from the thrall of public employee unions, if you can’t get them to support spending reform and limited government, how exactly do you distinguish yourselves from the other side?
Republicans by and large run for office in this state and nationally on a platform of fiscal conservatism. They pledge to improve Illinois’ business climate, to make this state more attractive for investment, to keep taxes low.
But when it was time to push the green button for pension reform, they turned into impostors.
The unions had nothing to do with Cross’ “No” vote. And while Bruce Rauner led the public charge against the bill, there was not a single mention of Rauner’s name in the entire Tribune editorial.
Instead, the Trib adopted Rauner’s rhetoric against the unions to rail against Republicans who took Rauner’s side.
* The Tribune editorial board tipped its hand about Rauner in a December 2nd editorial that also pushed for pension reform…
Because they’ve owned state government through the Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn governorships, Democrats do own these problems. But Republicans in the past have been complicit in ruining Illinois’ finances — and in this campaign cycle, they should project the bold willingness to overhaul Springfield that might attract swing voters next year.
Will one of the Republicans running for governor emerge as Illinois’ answer to New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker or Indiana’s Mitch Daniels and now Mike Pence, Republicans who persuaded their respective electorates to vote for revolutionary agendas?
We don’t know. Several of the Republicans come across as go-along-to-get-along candidates, proud that they know everyone in Springfield. In a state as blue as Illinois, that small-bore approach is all but guaranteed to be a dead-bang loser.
To my eyes, anyway, that looks like a preview of a Rauner endorsement.