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The other Rauner/Walker comparison

Monday, Mar 17, 2014

* Last week, we looked at a comparison between Bruce Rauner and former Gov. Dan Walker. Today, let’s look at a comparison with a different Walker. From the AP

When superrich Republican Bruce Rauner decided to run for governor of Illinois, it was clear this wouldn’t be the kind of race the state was accustomed to. Rauner, who made his fortune as a venture capitalist, was new to campaigning and bragged of being beholden to no one. He came out swinging at entrenched special interests and “government union bosses” with an intensity not seen before. […]

“I think all the national unions fear they’ll have another Scott Walker on their hands if he should come in,” said Don Rose, a longtime Chicago political analyst, referring to the Republican governor of Wisconsin who stripped state employee unions of most of their bargaining powers after his election in 2010. […]

Rauner, who made $53 million in 2012 but portrays himself as an everyman in a Carhartt jacket who loves hunting and fishing, is attempting to join the list of Republican business executives who have won office in recent years with no elective experience. They include former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a former Eli Lilly official; Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, CEO of a plastics company, and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, former CEO of the Gateway computer company. They ran as problem-solvers in states with serious economic problems.

Rauner has cited Walker and Snyder – who also championed anti-union policies_as his role models.

* Bloomberg

“Illinois is part of the pattern — these rich folks are going wherever they see an opportunity, just like they did in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan,” said Henry Bayer, executive director of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 31, representing 95,000 workers and retirees in the state. “Illinois is experiencing some real difficulties, so they think they can make some inroads.” […]

Democrats hold veto-proof majorities in the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives, which would make it difficult for a Republican governor to enact his agenda. Organized labor, though, was caught off guard by Walker and union-weakening moves in other states. […]

Since Walker pushed through collective-bargaining restrictions in 2011, membership in Wisconsin Afscme, the state where the union was born, has plunged 60 percent. Republican governors and legislatures in Indiana and Michigan passed laws exempting nonunion employees from paying dues, the first of their type in the industrial Midwest. Republicans pushed similar legislation in Missouri, where Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has vowed to veto it.

“The folks in Illinois sort of feel like they’re surrounded,” said Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. […]

“Bashing labor unions resonates with the Republican electorate,” said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. “And the people of Illinois have had a bellyful of politics as usual.”

Expect to see a whole lot more of this particular comparison in the coming months.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    This is exactly what I expected. For more than a year I’ve been saying Rauner was going to use the union stuff as red meat thrown to the base to get them to ignore his social views. Scott Walker was the model.

  2. - circularfiringsquad - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    Bashing the union like a dwarf toss can be interesting for a few days, but then the unions remember IEA and AFSCME grew in the GOP suburbs and state under GOPies.
    Like many will wake up in the closing hours, board the CrossOverExpress and send Mitt back to hiring Stu Levine wanna bes to “consult”

  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    The national GOP donor class loves the anti-union stuff. That’s why they’re all in for Rauner.

  4. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:09 am:

    “Wisconsin Afscme, the state where the union was born, has plunged 60 percent”

    Mission accomplished. That was the goal of stripping bargaining, to weaken unions politically. This gives a large advantage to the folks who are financially backing Walker, the Koch brothers and others like them. Unions are the main financial source that can challenge the likes of Americans for Prosperity.

    One huge victory for unions in the midst of widespread defeat was the repeal of the bargaining-stripping law in Ohio. Gov. Kasich went too far and stripped bargaining for all public workers, and it backfired.

    “Organized labor, though, was caught off guard by Walker and union-weakening moves in other states. […]”

    In Walker’s case, that was true. He sucker punched unions after he said a week before the election that he would bargain with them.

  5. - Knome Sane - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    Obviously there is a certain ingrained arrogance found in business leaders (especially CEOs) and people who run for elected office. And there is a certain amount of arrogance in a CEO who sees turmoil and mismanagement in government and thinks “clearly this state needs my brilliance, my leadership abilities and business savvy to solve its problems”. This belief is messianic at a minimum but narcissistic at its core.

  6. - lake county democrat - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    Absoultely: “the base” is saying very clearly they want a Scott Walker. You can talk all day about the differences between Wisconsin and Illinois: the pension crisis is the biggest issue facing Illinois and Rauner is the only realistic way the public gets to voice its opinion. It’s telling how the traditional GOP seemed to viscerally react against giving the voters this choice: the establishment went on a bitter attack, none of the other three took up this position and one of them embraced teacher union support! Those who care about democracy should hope that low turnout + union crossover doesn’t squelch this choice. Those who care about the Dems should stop marganilizing reformers and start thinking up a middle class agenda, because to-date all Pat Quinn seems to have is “I got gay marriage passed and passed an unconstitutional pension reform law which doesn’t reform all that much” and while the former is quite nice, it’s done.

  7. - Norseman - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:24 am:

    Given the Madigan AFSCME clashes over the last few years, I can see him agreeing to some Walker type restrictions. That’s presuming the Baron changes his tone and works with da Speaker. Then we’ll see if Cullerton’s spine stiffens.

  8. - BuzzFugazi - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:50 am:

    Love this site and love the comments. Wish I had some consulting fees from Rauner to buy a subscription here, but then, of course, I’d have to be on Rauner’s payroll. Presumably, I could be making 25 G pr month without him being aware I’m not doing anything. How is that not politics as usual?

  9. - Ghost - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    Wisconsin and Indianna had unioization approved thorugh executive order only. meaning a governor could simply rewrite the exec orders.

    IL is by Statute, so to change anything you need to first get enough votes to throw out the labor act. Given that Rauner has been damaging other GOP candites and the GOP party in Illinois, I dont see him being able to effectively pass anything. Just some more Blago style ineffective stalemates if he wins.

  10. - OneMan - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:55 am:


    Look at his A-1s he is raising most of his money in-state (surprised the hell out of me too)

  11. - Walker - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    Walker walked in with control of both houses of the Wisconsin legislature, and some very powerful allies in leadership.

    Different story in Illinois.

    Daniels was in politics and government for 22 years, including running the Conservative Hudson Institute, before taking a top job at Lilly. It was his government experience that qualified him to be a CEO, not the other way around. He was then head of OMB for President Bush, which gave him deep experience with government operations and budgets, before running for Governor.

    Daniels’ career was government and politics, interrupted by a relatively short period in business.

    Not the Rauner story at all.

    Shallow comparisons, which don’t play well in Illinois upon review.

  12. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    “The national GOP donor class loves the anti-union stuff. That’s why they’re all in for Rauner.”

    They probably haven’t been this naturally “turgid” (without enhancement medicine) since……2010.

  13. - MEP - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    I think this comparison ends when, as past articles on Capitol Fax have pointed out, Illinois Republican voters do not dislike unions the way Republican voters in the 49 states of the USA do. I don’t think there would be support in the Republican caucus for an anti-public sector union law.

    That said, these comparisons will insist because that kind of narrative is easier.

  14. - Rod - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 5:39 pm:

    I do think that Illinois Republicans like saving money and Walker’s policies have contained costs at the expense of public sector workers. Some Democrats probably like that too. Should Rauner get elected, a thought I would rather not have in my head at all, if he can deliver like Walker did he would likely survive. But in Illinois he would have to get Madigan to totally throw the unions under a bus, which is not impossible either.

  15. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 6:24 pm:

    “Walker’s policies have contained costs at the expense of public sector workers”

    Walker was questioned about how much money union stripping would save Wisconsin, and he admitted that it wouldn’t save money. Unions already agreed to budget cuts that saved the state money. That wasn’t what Walker wanted. He was doing the Kochs’ bidding, which is union busting.

    Walker was doing what other Republicans are doing, which is trying to cripple liberals and Democrats through union busting and voter ID laws. This might work to some degree in the short term, but the electoral landscape will look very different in 10 or more years. Get it while you can…

  16. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 6:55 pm:

    Obviously there is a certain ingrained arrogance found in business leaders (especially CEOs) and people who run for elected office. And there is a certain amount of arrogance in a CEO who sees turmoil and mismanagement in government and thinks “clearly this state needs my brilliance, my leadership abilities and business savvy to solve its problems”. This belief is messianic at a minimum but narcissistic at its core.

    Excuse me while I use this very nice posting as a starting point to what needs to be recognized regarding Election 2014, in my opinion.

    First of all, Illinois is in turmoil. It has been for at least a decade. Who has been leading government? Businesspeople? Who? We’ve had three elections and have gotten two governors - one, now in jail. What would you expect voters to do? Continue electing from a pool of proven incompetents? If Illinois was a South or Central America country, we would have already had a military coup. Illinois is a mess.

    So please don’t bash, insult or harass voters who want someone from outside that pool. If the government politicians and bureaucrats could solve these problems, voters wouldn’t be looking for someone outside that system. Voters should not be condemned for it.

    Also, the GOP establishment hasn’t been exactly delighted over Mr. Rauner either. What we have here is an outsider who discovered what voters want to hear in 2014, and had the field to himself. No other outsiders ran against Rauner to split the vote.

    If the current system worked, Mr. Rauner wouldn’t have a chance. Just as I have held no empathy for the three other gubernatorial candidates who didn’t listen to Illinois voters in this race, I have no empathy for anyone opposing a change from the insanity emanating from Springfield and Chicago. This includes the union, as well.

    It was in everyone’s interest to work together to prevent their little political world from tumbling. They had a good decade to do something. They didn’t. Now the voters are wanting someone outside the system.

    Don’t blame the voters who are sick of the corruption, the waste, the incompetence and the continual saga of felonious Illinois governors. It is the job of voters to clean house.

    That is what they want to do. Rauner is the only one claiming that he wants to do the cleaning.

  17. - Mighty M. Mouse - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:33 pm:

    ===Just as I have held no empathy for the three other gubernatorial candidates who didn’t listen to Illinois voters in this race, I have no empathy for anyone opposing a change from the insanity emanating from Springfield and Chicago. This includes the union, as well.===

    Lack of empathy has a high correlation with being a sincere Rauner supporter.

  18. - VanillaMan - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:46 pm:

    Shows what you know.
    That’s obviously a problem in this election, btw.

  19. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 17, 14 @ 10:54 pm:

    Geez, VMan, you’re drinking the Rauner Kool-Aid.

    He’s one of the biggest pay-to-play insiders in the country. For years, he’s been one of the biggest sugar daddies for Illinois politicians of both parties, millions in contributions supporting the status quo.

    You know what I don’t like about Rauner? The things Rauner doesn’t like about Rauner.

    He has a fictional marketing plan that portrays him as an outsider and not a politician. It’s absurd on its face.

  20. - WIprogressive - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 7:10 pm:

    Fact check: WI had collective bargaining that was passed in the legislature, not exec order. This is why there were so many protests and an effort to deny quorum. IN had it by exec. order only, so Daniels was able to take it back easily in 2005.

    I was involved -at the local level only- in several of the WI protests. Obviously, we lost but what’s interesting is that several of the unions have membership well over 50% still in WI, vs a decline of 75-90% in IN. This is likely due to a much stronger union culture in WI. For decades from the 1920s-1959, WI unions won pensions and civil service protections before bargaining.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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