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Rauner’s cash bar philosophy

Friday, Mar 14, 2014

* My latest Crain’s column

“An example of how the rich keep their money,” wrote a buddy of mine at the top of an email he forwarded the other day.

The original email was an invite to Bruce Rauner’s election night party in a big downtown Chicago hotel. At the bottom of the invitation, in all caps, was the reason for his ire: “CASH BAR.”

“Cash bar!!!” emphasized my friend, who enjoys a wee taste every now and then.

He was clearly blown away by the fact that a gazillionaire who has spent $6 million of his own money — a bigger personal investment on a governor’s race than anyone in Illinois history — was making the schlubs buy their own drinks come election night. That’s unheard of. It’s almost unholy.

Bill Brady is having a cash bar at his party at the Holiday Inn in downstate Bloomington on the night of the March 18 primary, but his campaign doesn’t have two nickels to rub together. Mr. Rauner, on the other hand, is beyond flush.

I tried to explain to my friend that Mr. Rauner saves his money for important stuff, like television ads.

“You did not just write that alcohol is not important, did you?!” he fired back.

Yes, I did.

Read the rest of the column by clicking here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - South of Sherman - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:07 am:

    If Dillard promises an open bar until daybreak Wednesday, he may yet pull this thing out.

  2. - PoolGuy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:14 am:

    ok maybe cheap alcohol is not that important.

    but free alcohol is free alcohol…
    when it’s free.

  3. - Wensicia - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:17 am:

    Schlubs–servants, all the same to him.

    His derision for the working poor and union employees is obvious, anything spent for their benefit is wasted in his opinion. Except when it comes to buying votes.

  4. - Stones - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:18 am:

    Nothing worse than a rich cheapskate!

  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:21 am:

    “Alligator Arms”?

  6. - CYR` - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:22 am:

    Remember when Rauner said his biggest splurge was a dress for his wife while overseas and not buying half the state of Montana or a 10 million dollar nyc penthouse… must have been some dress.

    Guys have a heart he can’t pay for your drinks and pay over a million dollars in property taxes.

  7. - Westward - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:22 am:

    All that means for me, who also doesn’t have 2 dimes to rub together, is BYOB. And a few trips to the cooler in the truck (where I store my Carhart vest).

  8. - Samurai - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:23 am:

    The City Club had free booze for the pre-debate reception.

    Only problem was a throng of Ruanerbots Shaking Up and down 4 x 4 signs at the entrance to the WTTW. I felt like a scab going through a government employee picket line.

  9. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:27 am:

    Meh, I’m guessing the five-and-six-figure donors who get invited up to the candidate’s suite will get a free drink or two. Maybe some shrimp.

    The volunteers? “How about a Fresca?” Or they can buy their own beer.

    Still, watching the money is a good idea.

    Mitt got hosed by his in-house media buyers who formed their own company to skim campaign cash rather than farm the job out to people who knew what they were doing.

    Hilary ran a royal campaign in 2008 when she thought it was in the bag, and then had to beg and scrape the rest of the way after she got beat in Iowa.

  10. - just sayin' - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:28 am:

    Penny wise and pound foolish. Free drinks would guarantee a much larger and very enthusiastic crowd for the election night TV cameras to capture.

  11. - Frosty-The Snowman - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:29 am:

    The man believes in “if it isn’t necessary and doesn’t pull it’s own weight, then we don’t need it!” Illinois should have had a cash bar for the past 30 years. The previous elected officials are always the “good fellows” when it comes to spending somebody else’s money. I am with Rauner and Brady on this one. It might be a good indicator that the days of “free lunches” are over with in the future for this state.

  12. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:31 am:

    What is bugging me about this race is the double standard we have. If Rauner pays for something, he gets labeled as buying the election and cursed at, that he’s rich. If he doesn’t, he gets labeled for buying the election and cursed at, that he’s rich - and this.

    Now, I’m certainly not feeling sorry for a guy with a billion more dollars than I’ll ever see - I’m feeling sorry for the inability for our politics to focus on our state’s real needs without bashing this guy over his wealth.

    Dismiss him. But dismiss him for real reasons, not claims that he is somehow wealthy - therefore evil, or that all anyone can see is his money and are flocking like lemmings towards his election.

    I don’t want to keep reading comments about how Rauner has transformed Illinoisans into Raunerites or Raunerbots or dumb stooges or any other such name calling. He’s rich, he’s running, and he is winning voters for reasons beyond his wealth. Other multi-millionaire candidates have lost after spending similar amounts of their money. Rauner isn’t probably going to lose. Is that was is at the bottom of all these insults?

    Other fat-cats lost because they were beat at their own game. Not by matching them dollar for dollar, but by co-opting their messages by candidates with the experience and credibility voters normally look for in a public official. This year seems to be a bit different so far. That doesn’t make his supporters sub-human, lemmings or robots.

    Hey - I am not voting for him. But I just think it is beneath the quality of the postings this site has earned over the years to avoid these constant ranting over Rauner’s wealth.

    Finally, lets have a real dialog as to why we hold wealthy candidates is such disrepute, while we re-elected Blagojevich, Jesse Jackson Junior, and people who end up in jail. What’s the fear? Is it rich people we need to fear, or people who abuse their political offices and powers?

    This is Illinois, home of the gubernatorial felons. What is our problem with political corruption? At what point are we going to focus on the people who have given us the bottom of the barrel bond ratings, Daily Show fodder, and rotten government?

    After watching the perp walks of so many elected Illinois politicians, rich people being in office don’t scare me anymore.

    Rauner is probably going to win. It is time to begin dealing with him in a manner that recognizes this, instead of what I’ve been reading here over the past month.

  13. - Wally - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    And asking for donations so they can provide pizza’s for their volunteers. Really?????

  14. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:42 am:


  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    It’s like winning the Division; you win the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup…then you might throw a real party, otherwise, you wake up the next day, preparing for your next opponent.

    The reality is you win, to keep playing. “Survive and Advance”.

  16. - lil enchilada - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:44 am:

    Absolutley CHEAP. Blah.

  17. - Jimbo - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:47 am:

    I always knew he disrespected and held no regard for the voters, but it appears he holds the same amount of contempt for his supporters. What would it cost? A few grand? Way to thank the poor schubs who tried to help you win buddy. I suppose it is to be expected though. Isn’t the reason he’s running to ensure he pays less taxes? If the little folks paying more, meant he’d pay slightly less, he’d screw them over in a heartbeat.

  18. - Jim'e' - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:52 am:

    This makes complete sense. It falls in line with his initial reasoning for lowering the minimum wage.

  19. - Wumpus - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:52 am:

    Well, you never know. In today’s age, someone could be overserved and get into an accident. They would then sue the cash bar provider.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    Thinking about this for a second…

    If a volunteer brings a “Tape” from working a precinct, you get 2 “Drink Tickets”. After the 2, you are on your own(?)

    I didn’t get that email, inviting me. Guess I need to make other plans.

  21. - Norseman - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:55 am:

    I’d rather have free alcohol if this schmuck wins the general to avoid thinking about the Blago-like shenanigans we would be looking forward to.

  22. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 9:57 am:

    –If Dillard promises an open bar until daybreak Wednesday,–

    I think Dillard would say “sunup,” not “daybreak.”

    The preferred antonym to “sundown,” as in “I’ll have won the primary by sundown tomorrow.”

  23. - Wally - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:02 am:

    OW, you must be a Cubs fan. The Cardinals celebrate when they win the division, the playoffs AND the World Series.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    - VanillaMan -,


  25. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    - Wally -, the Cards were owned by the Busch family for a long time. You can make a case the beer there with the champagne could be written off…

  26. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:07 am:


    I think your comments are good. I don’t have a problem with Rauner’s wealth per se. My problem is when he tries to act like he doesn’t. I don’t like to have my intelligence insulted with his $18 watch and carhart jacket nonsense. Be who you are.

    I don’t plan on voting for the guy because I don’t trust him and I disagree with the plans (though they are few) that he has put out there so far. But I will acknowledge that he has been very good during this campaign.

  27. - LisleMike - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    Let’s be straight up here. Rauner is who he is and running how he is. Rich, buying the election, whatever….
    My concnern is the same one I share with all of my constituents when I deliver my letter of suggested voting and literature, is CAN the candidate deliver on his/her promises???
    I worry that Rauner will talk the game, make promises and then find he cannot do what he promised. We have seen this on the National level and a generation of young voters is dismayed. At least Rauner is not pushing “Hope and Change”, just “Change”. In the end, cynicism may win out and voters will disengage as they feel used and useless in the process.

  28. - Tea Totaler - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    An open bar for a group of people you don’t even know is incredibly stupid. It’s barely insurable.

    Cash bars do a great job of limiting alcohol consumption.

    Can you imagine the headlines if he offered free drinks and one of the party goers ends up in an accident?

    I’m not voting for Rauner (still undecided on Brady and Dillard) but the Rauner Derangement Syndrome is remarkable at times.

  29. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    ===Rauner Derangement Syndrome===

    “Please check with - VanillaMan - as to the acceptance and relevance if using such verbiage.”

  30. - Downstate - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:24 am:

    I think there is a symbolism here as well.

    Having free booze at a election celebration - certainly allows critics to contend that “the bar is now open”.

    I think Rauner is simply being careful about messaging here.

  31. - 47th Ward - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    VM, to quote the great Walter Sobchak:

    “Oh please, dear. For your information, the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint.”

    You can comment as you please and I’ll do the same. Feel free to disagree with me, but please don’t tell me what I can or cannot say about Ruaner or anyone else.

    That is all. Carry on.

  32. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:31 am:

    you can`t get sued, if you don`t supply. Remember when taverens were closed for elections?

  33. - Samurai - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    VM==Now, I’m certainly not feeling sorry for a guy with a billion more dollars than I’ll ever see - I’m feeling sorry for the inability for our politics to focus on our state’s real needs without bashing this guy over his wealth==

    It’s how he acquired the wealth and how he has used that wealth to get what Bruce Rauner wants the limits–or lack of–in which he will go.

    And that is the issue since. Mr. Rauner has no legislative background to be judged, Mr. Rauner bobs, weaves and evades any meaningful question. We are left to consider his past business and personal dealings as a predictor of his future conduct.

  34. - Samurai - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    Sheesh. Apologies the typos.

  35. - Wally - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    OW, since ‘96, the Cardinals for been owned by a group headed by DeWitt. They have celebrated a LOT since that year!

  36. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    - Wally -,

    I used “were”…

    And, thanks for reminding me of the recent success. What’s next, snapping the shafts of all my golf clubs while you are at it? lol

  37. - Walker - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    Easier back in the day when Chicago taverns were polling places. And the bartender/alderman checked the ballot before serving.

    Or so they say.

  38. - will - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    Buying drinks is about the goodwill and if he isn’t willing to do that for even his supporters, it says a little about how he will/won’t work with people as Governor.
    Vanilla- As CEO pay has skyrocketed and the middle class shrinks, we’ve seen that no amount of money is enough for many of the elite wealthy. I think the same holds true of Rauner. His business deals show he’s jumped into some questionable areas to make as much $$ as he can. That’s a mindset that doesn’t just go away when you hit a certain level of wealth. His quest for more $$ and power will continue. That scares me.

  39. - A guy... - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    Those true blue volunteers will be on a tab and will eat just fine. More and more you’ll see these frenzy events with open invitations with Cash Bars. Not because people are cheap, but to control the flow of hooch. More than a little liability nowadays. Lots of people just show at these things. No one will go broke or thirsty I bet.

  40. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    ===Those true blue volunteers will be on a tab and will eat just fine.===

    Will they be “eating cake”?

    The email makes it clear, cash bar.

    For someone so torn, so confused and looking fir a candidate and making that decision, you seem to know quite a bit about Rauner’s Crew, lol.

  41. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    A vote for Bruce Rauner is a vote to watch Rauner TV ads during baseball games.

    Think about it.

  42. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    ===Those true blue volunteers will be on a tab and will eat just fine.===

    Will they be “eating cake”?


    He did go to Versailles for that wedding…

  43. - Upon Further Review - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:26 am:


    The DeWitt family members have been in the baseball business for ages and they are well traveled. A DeWitt was in the front office for the St. Louis Browns when the team won its only American League pennant (1944). Later, other DeWitts worked in Cincinati and now, the current generation, is in the Cards front office.

  44. - Langhorne - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    Give two drink tickets at the door, and do a hand stamp. Cash thereafter. James meeks shows up w 20 precinct workers and cant get a free drink? Was it byob when fly fishing?

  45. - A guy... - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    Sure Cincinnati, they’ll be eating cake…which incidentally you might chat with your guy about. Those great ads are highlighting that marvelous physique. Must be all the walking Willie is having y’all do.

  46. - Robo - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Open bar and Pay to Play bathrooms, that’s the ticket!

  47. - DuPage Rep - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Nice to see Frankie C a/k/a Cincinnatus has all this free time to blog instead of walking precincts.

  48. - Wally - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    Where are those golf clubs OW??????????

  49. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    There is a set I had to fish out of a pond once…

  50. - A guy... - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 4:41 pm:

    ===DuPage Rep - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Nice to see Frankie C a/k/a Cincinnatus has all this free time to blog instead of walking precincts.====
    I’ve been reading way too fast. I guess I’ve been using the “plural” of Cincinnati’s handle. It’s actually CincinnatUS. Don’t be too hard on the guy Dupage Rep. 50% of Dillard’s base are regulars here. It takes a long walk to find 100 voters in actual precincts.

  51. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 5:01 pm:

    Always liked Cincy’s handle.

    Cincinattus is a fascinating historical figure in and of himself.

    But if you haven’t already, check out Gary Wills’ book, “CINCINNATUS: George Washington and the Enlightenment.”

    Real insight into the founders, and Washington’s indispensable role in establishing the principle of civilian control of the military.

    That was truly revolutionary.

    In Washington’s time, across the pond, came the Man on a Horse, Napoleon….

  52. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 5:07 pm:

    “I’m feeling sorry for the inability for our politics to focus on our state’s real needs.”

    Rauner is the one who is dodging every issue imaginable. Maybe he should focus on “our state’s real needs” by actually answering questions with something other “union bosses are corrupt,” which is completely hypocritical coming from the consummate political insider who got pension business in Pennsylvania after donating hundreds of thousands to the governor’s campaign. Additionally, what qualities qualify Rauner for governor? Is it is self-described terminology of being a “salesman” not an “analyst”? I’d much rather have an analyst who can determine problems, solutions, and effective paths to implementing those solutions.

  53. - Anon - Friday, Mar 14, 14 @ 5:29 pm:

    It’s consistent with the image he is selling. He wears Carhart (sp), Timex and he’s not one to throw away money on a big fancy party just because he can afford it.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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