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Scott Walker redux versus a “RINO”?

Thursday, Mar 6, 2014

* Give Bruce Rauner chutzpah points for this comment in last night’s debate

“Why are you running in the Republican primary? I think you should be running in the Democratic primary,” Rauner needled [Dillard], noting that Dillard has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in public-sector union money. Rauner has long maintained that if a governor takes public union money it is not only a conflict of interest but amounts to a “bribe.”

* Dillard’s response

“Mr. Rauner doesn’t quite get it and this is one of many things that make him unelectable, that a third of these people that he likes to demonize are Republican Primary voters,”

* More from Dillard’s response

“Well first of all I’m a lifelong Republican,” Dillard said. He also mentioned that he was the former chairman of the DuPage County Republican Party. He said he’s not going to agree with all policies but did defend his vote for school reform.

Bruce Rauner, the man who’s given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats, called somebody else a RINO?

Sheesh.

* And here’s a bit more from that exchange

Rauner attacked Dillard’s links to the public employee unions.

“Those are the exact same groups that have supported Pat Quinn, supported the Democratic Governors Association. and helped get us into the financial mess we’re in. Yet, you’re with them aligned. The teachers union has said you’re aligned with them on the policies. They are in favor of a tax hike,” said Rauner.

“I’m not gonna’ agree with the teachers on everything. I’m not for a progressive income tax. I didn’t vote for the 67% income tax,” responded Dillard.

* A little background

“The union interest here is to continue the gravy train of high taxpayer burdens to fund public employee compensations,” [John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute] said.

“This is all part-and-parcel of the public sector unions’ strategy,” Tillman said. “They want to have tremendous influence over whoever wins the governor’s race in the fall.”

David Yepsen, a long time journalist who is now director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, said what the unions really want is to not be Wisconsin.

“I think the labor movement in Illinois is genuinely afraid Bruce Rauner will try to do what Scott Walker tried in Wisconsin and they are worried,” Yepsen told Illinois Watchdog.

* More on the Scott Walker fears

Despite the concerns espoused in the unions’ anti-Rauner literature, though, one point has also become clear: Despite his lavish personal finances and vitriolic anti-organizing rhetoric, Rauner has not outlined any specific plan to hurt organized labor on his campaign website, in his limited press interviews or during debates.

Rauner has not, for example, proposed curbing collective bargaining rights like Walker did, or initiating a right-to-work law, like Daniels and Snyder. Though he has backed creation of “right-to-work” zones, where local governments could opt to adopt right-to-work laws, the candidate has stopped short of endorsing a statewide law outright. (Messages left with Rauner’s campaign for this story were not returned.)

And when it comes to pension cuts, the number one issue facing Illinois public employees of late, Rauner’s opinion likely won’t determine the outcome either way. Many of the same public employee unions financing Illinois Freedom PAC sued Quinn for signing into law last December a landmark bill that cuts Illinois’ public worker pensions. For his part, Rauner has said that law does not go far enough in cutting pensions and shoring up the state’s finances. It’s unclear, however, what he could do on pensions now that the Illinois Supreme Court will likely decide the matter.

Nonetheless, Bowen of IFT argues Rauner has staked out a clear “anti-middle class and anti-union position.” That will translate into anti-union policy, she says, no matter that Rauner currently seems to lack a cohesive strategy for doing so.

And statehouse observers feel that while Rauner may not have the impact of, for example, Scott Walker, who enjoys a Republican-majority legislature, he can still hurt unions.

“At first he can stop things from happening that public employee unions want to see happen,” says Kent Redfield, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois-Springfield. “And then he can get involved in legislative races and work with the state legislature.” In future elections, Redfield explains, Rauner could create political momentum and raise finances to elect anti-union legislators—who would, in turn, introduce bills that would be harmful to the labor movement.

…Adding… The IFT has a clever little gif page over on Buzzfeed about Rauner.

* Meanwhile, Dillard also got in some punches last night, too

“If Mr. Rauner is our nominee . . . we are nominating someone who buys influence in all parts of his life. Putting Bruce in charge of Springfield is sort of like putting a rat in charge of the cheese,” Dillard said.

* But Bill Brady piled on Dillard

“To walk away from $175 to $180 billion [in potential savings], I frankly would say for your own political interest, Kirk Dillard. Last night I said Bruce Rauner was starting to act like Rod Blagojevich; Kirk Dillard is starting to act like Pat Quinn,” Brady said. “Pat Quinn sold out to the unions in the last election. We need a governor who’s willing to stand up for what’s right and not use votes like that or issues like that for political gain.”

* Both of these guys are still vying for second place

Brady and Dillard got into a dust up when Brady questioned Dillard’s math over savings Dillard said occurred by voting for a Blagojevich-backed bill to refinance the state’s pension obligations.

“Bill, that’s why your business is bankrupt,” Dillard said.

“Wait a second, you want to get into a lawsuit?” Brady shot back. “My business isn’t bankrupt. It’s been through some tough times but it’s not in bankruptcy.”

* Brady did, however, get in some digs at Rauner along the way

Brady also insisted that he was the only “reliable Republican” in the race, and criticized Rauner — who has spent millions on television ads in his first bid for public office — of trying to buy the race.

“The real question here is: Why should the voters of Illinois trust their vote with Bruce Rauner? Someone that they didn’t even know four months ago,” Brady said. “The three of us have a pretty open book. We’ve got a track record.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


29 Comments
  1. - ZC - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    Rauner cannot immunize himself from attacks about what he might do as Governor, by refusing to say stuff. “Hey, I’m so vague, you’re not allowed to attack me!”

    If you’re vague, that means you’re keeping your options open. There’s a very clear way Rauner can blunt attacks that he’s going to “pull a Walker”: explicitly promise what he won’t do.


  2. - A guy... - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    Really the best 4 way yet. Even Rutherford made some very good points. The two moderators, though even unconsciously looked to be really dismissing him. The unions could very well benefit from having a guy like Rauner there instead. For many, this is more in keeping with the personalities who usually are on the management side- beat each other up all day and the ball moves a few inches one way or the other. Got my hand slapped yesterday for contributing the thought the union support might be a little disingenuous in their ping-pong approach to who they favor on what day. It is the way things are played. That’s too bad. This was the best of the debates and actually did scratch a little more of the surface.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    “Mr. Rauner, why are you running in the Republican primary? I think you should be running in the Democratic primary,” Oswego Willy has commented and believes, and needled Rauner, noting that Rauner has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the DNC, Ed Rendell, Rich Daley, Rahm Emanuel, and Clouted a denied Daughter through Barak Obama’s Education secretary, and a Daley appointee at the time. Oswego Willy has long maintained that if a governor donates tens of thousands of Dollars for access, and uses that money for personal gain is not only a conflict of interest but amounts to being an ‘Insider’s Insider’.”

    Better.


  4. - Walker - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    Rauner’s goal right now, as the clear front-runner, is to avoid all traps. He performed well enough.

    Be silent and be suspected a fool. Speak and remove all doubt.

    {Sorry for the butchered paraphrase}


  5. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    Brady said. “The three of us have a pretty open book. We’ve got a track record.”

    You want to run on that track record, Bill? You really do?

    You are an open book, and it is a nursery rhyme about euthanizing puppies.

    Your track record is about how a politician from Illinois forgot where the voters live in Illinois and failed to campaign there.

    You and Dillard’s track record is one of abject failure for the GOP. You two still think that Jim Edgar is governor and George Ryan is Secretary of State, and now that they are gone, or out on parole, it is one of the two of you whose turn it is.

    Until Rauner showed up, you guys sat in a parlor somewhere and watched Michael J. Madigan eat your lunch, get his daughter elected, and sweep the GOP out of Illinois and do whatever the hell he wanted to do.

    You have a track record Bill. You are an open book Bill.

    This is why you are losing this vanity campaign of yours.


  6. - Samurai - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    You do not become DuPage GOP Chair without some Republican bona fides. Rauner cannot open his pie hole without saying something that leads one to ponder irony of such statement coming from Rauner.

    Meanwhile, Rutherford is correct; he should sit this out and sell peanuts.


  7. - shore - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    This might be the first time in recent American history a Republican Gubernatorial candidate has compared himself favorably to a higher education figure.

    Also FWIW Daniels was cos to Richard Lugar who the tea party, had, kind of, a beef with back in the day.


  8. - Rod - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    Rich you write: “Rauner has not, for example, proposed curbing collective bargaining rights like Walker did, or initiating a right-to-work law, like Daniels and Snyder.” In relation to the Scott Walker aspect of this comment Rich:

    Only after being sworn into office in 2011, did Walker introduce the so called budget repair plan (Wisconsin Act 10) which modified collective bargaining rights for most state employees and made over $1 billion in cuts to the state’s biennial education budget and $500 million in cuts from the state’s biennial Medicaid budget.

    From what I have read Walker did not campaign in 2010 on even the outlines of what became Wisconsin Act 10. His campaign platform, said he would create 250,000 jobs in his first term through a program that would include tax cuts for small businesses, capital gains tax cuts, and income tax cuts for the highest-earning Wisconsinites. He proposed cutting state employee wages and benefits to help pay for these tax cuts, but he did not publicly propose curbing public sector unions bargaining rights.

    There was no question the public knew Walker was hostile to unions when he ran in 2010, but I don’t think he ran on effectively breaking public sector unions Rich as far as I know. Clearly during the recall vote Governor Walker won based on his stance on effectively breaking public sector unions. But that is not comparable to the situation Mr. Rauner is in now.

    Why in the world would Bruce Rauner not adopt the same tactic of unleashing his full agenda until elected? It worked very well for Walker.


  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    ===Rich you write===

    No, I didn’t.

    Have you never been to a blog before?


  10. - Smoggie - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    Love Brady’s threat to sue somebody.

    Guys like him whine about “frivolous lawsuits” but as soon as they feel a twinge of discomfort, they want to rush to court.

    Idiot.


  11. - Frenchie Mendoza - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    My prediction:

    If elected, Rauner will do two things the *very first day*:

    - Executive order placing all current employees in 401K. Doesn’t matter if it’s legal — this is what he will do.

    - Executive order limiting collective bargaining rights to bargain on salary increases only. Doesn’t matter if it’s legal or possible — this is what he will do.

    The rest of his single term will be everyone fighting these first day actions. The next governor will clean up the mess — and will be a democrat. Organized labor in Illinois will not recover.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:15 am:

    Bruce Rauner will have every possible resource at the disposal of the Rauner Crew.

    There are solid, solid reasons this race in November is a toss -up. Only a Dope would think that Rauner is unelectable, given how the Primary has gone, and the unlimited resources available after.

    It is real. It is possible.


  13. - MrJM - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    “Only a Dope would think that Rauner is unelectable, given how the Primary has gone, and the unlimited resources available after.”

    Yep.

    – MrJM


  14. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    Geez, Rauner didn’t have a problem with the Democratic Governor’s Association when Ed Rendell was on it.

    He liked him to the tune of $300K. For the children, of course, not the $4 million in management fees.


  15. - AnonymousOne - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    It is paid for.


  16. - kj - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    Bill Brady would be killing it, if he weren’t “Bill Brady”


  17. - Mittuns - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    How does Dillard miss that softball? OW said exactly what he should have said.

    Game over.


  18. - Under Further Review - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    If nominated Rauner is electable (any candidate with a pulse is electable under the right circumstances), but that does not answer the question of whether he is an actual Republican. He could pull a Michael Bloomberg or Charlie Crist once in office.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    ===Why in the world would Bruce Rauner not adopt the same tactic of unleashing his full agenda until elected? It worked very well for Walker.===

    Because…

    Illinois is not Wisconsin.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    (Tips cap to - Mittuns -)

    Was shocked Dillard didn’t go both barrels with that question from Rauner. Waited and waited…


  21. - A guy... - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    OW, because he’s missing two barrels.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    He had the microphone.

    Unforced error.


  23. - Mcleaniac - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    Oh yeah, Brady , Dillard and Rutherford have a track record alright.. a record of being part of the Springfield Establishment that has wrecked the state of Illinois.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    - Mcleaniac -,

    So, with these task forces that Rauner will have “Career Politicians” on them, will Bruce Rauner finally tell us the “almost a 1/3″ of the GA GOP that are … Bad?

    I know, a Raunerbot’s mind might not understand that Bruce works with Career Politicians, and will want them on these task forces, and it appears not all are bad, although there are bad ones, just won’t say which ones. lol


  25. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    OW, no worries. The “business superstars” who will jet down to Springfield (or if history repeats itself, not, because these “task forces” almost always end up based in Chicago) will set these hacks straight right from the get-go.
    Forgive me, but I’ve seen this movie before. The bold new visions usually end up as taking cars out of the motor pool, yanking lightbulbs in State offices, and closing a weigh station in Whiteside County.
    When they recommend shutting down a directional State University because we have more higher Ed than we’re gonna need for decades, that I’ll take seriously.


  26. - Could be - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    Sure Rauner is electable he could also lose money isn’t everything,from CNN;

    The California governor’s race was always Whitman’s to lose. And, sure enough, she lost it — in spectacular fashion. At the beginning, Whitman had at least five things working in her favor. She was battle-tested thanks to a tough primary with a Republican challenger. She had an enormous amount of personal wealth, enough to allow her to spend a whopping $140 million of her own money on the quixotic bid to become chief executive of the Golden State.


  27. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    ===The California governor’s race was always Whitman’s to lose.===

    Oh, please. Cable news analysis? C’mon.

    Look at the polling, Brown was ahead from Day One and mostly maintained that lead throughout. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2010/governor/ca/california_governor_whitman_vs_brown-1113.html#polls

    The only poll I’ve seen so far has Rauner (and everybody else) leading Quinn by about ten points. At no time was Whitman ahead by that much.

    Also, look at 2006. Topinka led Blagojevich right after she won her primary. Then Blagojevich brought the TV ad boom in April and she took a big nosedive. Which candidate currently has enough cash reserves to do that to the other one, Rauner or Quinn?


  28. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 4:45 pm:

    Thanks, Rich, for posting the IFT/Buzzfeed link.

    And here is item number 1 in the anti-Rauner link:

    “1. Rauner wants to dismantle unions and eliminate pension benefits, but happily reaped huge profits by investing retirement savings of union members.”

    “Geez, Rauner didn’t have a problem with the Democratic Governor’s Association when Ed Rendell was on it.

    He liked him to the tune of $300K. For the children, of course, not the $4 million in management fees.”

    This was also one of the points in the Buzzfeed link.


  29. - Frosty-The Snowman - Thursday, Mar 6, 14 @ 5:28 pm:

    Many of us are frustrated Republicans that have watched the same old 2nd string GOP team get their lunch handed to them each election. We are inclined to be skeptical that Rauner is going to be who he says he is but at this point, we are willing to throw the dice and take our chances with Rauner. Frustrated GOP voters (and a substantial number of normally Democrat voters) figure that Rauner can’t be much worse than Pat Quinn so “let’s give Rauner a shot at fixing things”. And (if we are very lucky), just maybe Rauner will turn out to be a clone of Scott Walker.


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