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Kass on Rauner

Thursday, Feb 28, 2013 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’ve already told subscribers about likely Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s stump speech, which is pretty much the same things he told John Kass

“I think I’m going to be very dangerous to the people in Springfield,” he said. “I think they’re going to be scared. They should be. Because I can’t be bribed, influenced, intimidated, threatened. I just want the state fixed and I just want to do the right thing for the taxpayers. You’re right, I’ve done well in business. I’m very proud of it. I’ve got the resources to do whatever it takes to win, and to do what it takes to help fix the state. … And the powers down there that like the status quo, they should be very scared.” -

I highly doubt that the powers that be will be scared of him, no matter what he does. The governor has a lot of constitutional power, but that has prompted the General Assembly to manufacture its own powers via tradition, rules and statutes.

* Back to Kass

For weeks Rauner, the retired chairman of the private equity firm GTCR, has been meeting privately with Republican governors from Wisconsin’s Scott Walker to Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal to New Jersey’s Chris Christie, as well as former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. He’s been traveling across Illinois, speaking at Lincoln Day dinners and so on, and is putting a team together.

He has indeed been riding the circuit. So much so that I’m wondering why he hasn’t yet filed any campaign finance reports, which kick in at $5,000.

* Kass

Republican consultants circle him, and the common wisdom is that they view him like a side of beef, eager to carve him up for dinner.

“These political consultants love business guys who’ve never been in politics to try and take advantage of them. I get that. What I’m going to do is try and study from the smartest governors. I’m a pretty disciplined investor and pretty disciplined buyer. I do my due diligence. I do my homework. I don’t waste money.”

You can do all the due diligence you want, but amateurs aren’t pros, and way more often than not end up being fleeced. We’ll see.



  1. - Anon - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    I can see how he at least poses a modest threat. He’s got the ability to self fund. And I know it’s not the best comparison in the world, but if Scott Lee Cohen can get as far as he did, someone with half a brain could do well.

    And he’s using the message self funders need to use- He’s not in this for the money, he can’t be bribed, he doesn’t care about campaign contributions, he can’t be bought, and he’s doing this for the “right reasons”.

  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:02 pm:

    We’re going to hear more from this kid, and I don’t mean a postcard.

    How about we start with your investment interests in publicly funded charter schools, and in bankrolling groups that seek more publicly funded charter schools from politicians.

    Those schools contracts are going to get a look, a la UNO.

    And you know the tax return question is coming, right?

  3. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:02 pm:

    Another rich guy who wants to come in and start at the top. Just what we need. We’ve seen this movie before.

  4. - The Captain - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    The vanity candidates on our side generally have no money, just do-gooders. Jealous.

  5. - Chi - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:10 pm:

    I get the feeling Rich is throwing chum to the Capitol Fax commenters with every Rauner post. Does anyone like this guy or what he represents except Kass?

    The idea that only the mega rich are above reproach, because they cannot be bought, is repulsive. This is a democracy, and you don’t need a billion dollar bank account to have integrity. And having big bucks doesn’t make you any more likely to have integrity, either.

  6. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:11 pm:

    I know many people that know Rauner well. They all agree that he’s too thin skinned and way too impatient with people to do this well. Obviously his checkbook will intimidate many.

    IF he somehow makes it through the crazies primary with all his Democratic ties and campaign contributions, and IF he is nominated, the ability to throw $50 million in negative ads at Lisa tying her to her father and all the problems in Springfield, that could be a problem. Otherwise, this is same old same old.

    Anyone look at his role in Stand For Children yet?

  7. - Chris - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    “Does anyone like … what he represents except Kass?”

    What he *does* (in part) represent–the overt takeover of politics by the ultrawealthy? or what he claims to represent?

    What he claims to represent is and will be appealing to folks beyond Kass and beyond the ‘wealthy’, too. Question is, how many people will believe him once the campaign is really going?

  8. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:20 pm:

    Anon - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:00 pm:

    He maybe cannot be bought, but he has bought his way into several Lincoln Day events…

    In Menard County, I heard him say the, “I think I’m going to be very dangerous to the people in Springfield,” line also saying he will impose discipline on the Legislature. It was at this point he lost me, and much of the audience, who snickered at his naïveté. Unlike his private venture capital firm, he cannot really think that as one-third of the government, he can boss people around (except for the sycophant political advisors he’s hired). I wonder if he has ever heard of MJM…

  9. - Mr. Grassroots - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:39 pm:

    Not a chance for this guy to get anywhere. He’ll get eaten up by some slick “political consultants,” that will skin him alive (politically speaking, of course). Unless you have been involved in the nuts-and-bolts of a campaign, been on a losing side and then a winning side for great contrast, you just have no idea. Good luck Mr. Rauner.

  10. - Langhorne - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:51 pm:

    How will that message play in lincoln county?

    So he does his “due diligence”. that means what, exactly? There are the people, tactics and money that gets you elected. There are policy wonks who know policies and issues and what is feasible. Then there are those who know how to navigate the minefield of actually governing and dealing with the legislative. Thompson did pretty well learning the ropes. Walker was less successful.

    Rauner has a lot to learn. A bully speech is entertaining but thats about it

  11. - Dazed & Confused - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    Given some of the choices on his political team, its apparent that he hasn’t done a great job of vetting them!!!

  12. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 12:58 pm:

    Question for Bruce Rauner:

    In my travels around the state talking to Republicans, while they differ in many views, the one thing in common among them is that they REALLY want to win the Mansion in 2014.

    What makes Rauner think that he is the guy who can unite the disparate Republican interests and beat the Democrats?

    Lot’s of strange rhetoric and the sounds of cash registers are all I hear.

  13. - Red Ranger - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    The stump speech that was posted on the blog yesterday wasn’t terrible, his potential opponents in the GOP primary shouldn’t really terrify anyone and $50 million can be a great equalizer. It is easy to write off rich-guy candidates. Their history in IL politics isn’t great. But in a 5 or 6 person primary, his candidacy isn’t a complete joke as most people here seem to believe it is

  14. - Conservative Republican - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:13 pm:

    ==You can do all the due diligence you want, but amateurs aren’t pros, and way more often than not end up being fleeced. We’ll see.==

    Yes, true, but I think the larger point is that no matter how much “due diligence” the business-man candidate puts into the effort, the essential problem is that the business-man candidate has not developed the skill, experience, and political capital usually necessary for a successful candidacy (at that level) and the lack of same inevitably results in a “crisis” or misstep in the campaign which dooms the business candidate.

    Neither Jack Ryan nor the commodities trader guy who ran against Obama for Senate were able to manage their “skeletons” and expertly handle the blowback once revelations were made. Likewise, Oberweis picked the immigration issue and developed a backfiring commercial, and could not rebound from it. Rauner will be no different.

  15. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    ===the essential problem is that the business-man candidate has not developed the skill, experience, and political capital usually necessary for a successful candidacy (at that level) and the lack of same inevitably results in a “crisis” or misstep in the campaign which dooms the business candidate. ===

    Fully agree.

  16. - Red Ranger - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:37 pm:

    Good point Rich and Conservative Republican, but one of the top contending candidates has been in public office since he was 19 and he isn’t doing a very good job either handling his first steps into the “big time.” Each person should be judged on his or her own merit. Many on this board have written Rauner off simply because hes a “rich-guy” candidate. Weak opponents plus $50 million isn’t something that should be dismissed out of hand.

  17. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:42 pm:

    So who are the consultants he has hired? Anybody know?

  18. - just sayin' - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:43 pm:

    This is the same Bruce Rauner who is too scared to take a position when it comes to the state GOP (purportedly his own party). He refuses to get involved in the question of whether Pat Brady should stay or go.

    Just another windbag who wants to talk tough in general terms but when it comes to a real case, in his own party, he takes a powder.

    Bruce Rauner is a joke. Just another wealthy newbie who will line the pockets of the consultant class before losing miserably in the primary. You heard it here first.

  19. - Votecounter - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:50 pm:

    You can’t compare Rauner to Jack! or Blair Hull. Both had secrets and knew or should have known they would be brought out in the campaign eventually. It’s easier for someone to new to run in the GOP than it is in the Democrat party. You have to pay your dues or get lucky like Quinn to run for a statewide seat as a Democrat.
    Rauner has to understand the dynamics of the GOP primary or he will be another Gidwitz in 06, lots of cash no constituency and a fourth place finish.

  20. - James the Intolerant - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:59 pm:

    I wonder if his campaign commercials will be similar to his anti-teacher commercials. “Girl, can you believe those greedy teachers want to keep our children from spending a longer day in school…”

  21. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:03 pm:

    ===How will that message play in lincoln county?===

    When he gets to Lincoln County, I hope he likes it there.

    ===You can’t compare Rauner to Jack! or Blair Hull.===

    Really? Time will tell. There are contracts out there for charter schools, there are Tax Returns to be made available, and what Rauner may think is vetted, may be different to what a vetting of a candidate for Governor may require.

    Way, way, way, too early to say Rauner is, isn’t, was, maybe, could be, or not … anyone.

  22. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:06 pm:

    The first time you’re in a race and it’s your name on the ballot, that’s a life changing experience. The first time you see poll numbers that measure your chances as a candidate, that test the issues you feel strongly about, that show you where you stand against the field, you learn something about yourself as much as you learn about politics. Then they have the election and you see where you’ve finished and hindsight tells you all you needed to know about each and every decision you’ve made.

    Then, when you run again, you’ve got more experience than before. You know when your pollster or your mail consultant is full of stuff and telling you what you want to hear. You have a better sense of your own strength and weaknesses. You make better decisions.

    So Rauner has $50 million and some ambition. You can’t buy experience and money isn’t enough to overcome poor decisions. I wish him well, but he’s about to learn some very expensive lessons that he could have learned for free much earlier in his life.

  23. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    The big bad businessman will get his own education when he learns that he can’t rule by fiat as he can in the business world. Private sector types don’t get government. Their education is usually a hard one.

  24. - Publius - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    Although i am an organization republican, i found a recent chat with rauner refeshing. He is intelligent, personable and has a clear view of the powers of the illinois governor. Kind of reminded me of the first time jim thompson came to springfield to met a small group of leaders. And don’t write off all rich guys who want to shake things up…remember peter fitzgerald who won his election and brought us patrick fitzgerald.

  25. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    ===remember peter fitzgerald===

    Peter had the good sense to run for the state senate first. First time candidates don’t even know what they don’t know yet.

  26. - more of same - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    Heard the Southern Wonder Boy Nicky Ayers former RGA Executive Director and Pawlenty Campaign Mgr is leading the team. Should be interesting and explains a lot.

  27. - ZC - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 2:53 pm:

    One of the first challenges Rauner will encounter: can this multimillionaire business exec start taking his campaign marching orders from a twenty-something just a few years out of college?

    If he can, maybe he’s got a shot.

  28. - Esquire - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:01 pm:

    Going entirely outside of the political mainstream to recruit a first time candidate for a top office rarely works well. Even if they win the election, there are problems. Witness Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jesse Ventura.

    It helps to have someone who held elective offices before and progressed through the ranks unless you fancy a governor moonlighting as a radio talk show host or sideline reporter for the XFL.

  29. - Doooode - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    ===This is the same Bruce Rauner who is too scared to take a position when it comes to the state GOP…===

    Maybe he’s smarter than I thought.

  30. - Bitterman - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:18 pm:

    Cincy, I was surprised to see Rauner at the Menard Co dinner and had my predisposed thoughts about him. I was surprised though. He was, I thought, very effective in his 5 min speech conveying the tough guy image. I did not hear the snickers that you did. And I thought he compared favorably to Brady and Dillard, who seemed to get the “meh” reaction.

  31. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:34 pm:

    Bitterman, Cincy is hardly an objective observer when it comes to rivals of Sen. Dillard.

    Still, I guess only one person can answer this question: Does Cincy speak for Sen. Dillard, in all things, on the Cap Fax?

    I find it hard to believe that an old-time player like Dillard lets one of his supporters run free, in his name, on the Cap Fax.

    The dude carried water for Big Jim in the GA. It’s not like he doesn’t know what’s going on.

  32. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:49 pm:

    “Still, I guess only one person can answer this question: Does Cincy speak for Sen. Dillard, in all things, on the Cap Fax?”

    Asked and answered multiple times. Look it up.

  33. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 5:22 pm:

    Interesting. Bruce to garner oh, 5-10% of the Primary vote in the end…

  34. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 5:32 pm:

    I think dismissing as a joke right out of the gate is as dumb as declaring him the savior. I think he’s got some serious challenges and a lot of hard work ahead. But from where I sit, it looks like a pretty weak field of mostly retreads. So with AT LEAST $50 million to spend, you’ve got to give him a reasonable chance.

  35. - cover - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 5:33 pm:

    Esquire @ 3:01 pm:
    “Even if they win the election, there are problems. Witness Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jesse Ventura.”

    Maybe it’s just a problem with actors who appeared in Predator. I’ll be sure not to vote for Carl Weathers if he’s on the ballot…

  36. - Kwark - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 5:35 pm:

    So Bruce, how about those kids you tried to clout into Arne Duncan’s CPS selective admissions schools?

  37. - reformer - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 5:38 pm:

    Hofeld. Hull. Gidwitz. Cohen. Rauner.

  38. - DanL60 - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 11:09 pm:

    Let Rauner waste his money. It won’t matter who the Republican candidate is. Bill Daley put out his feelers and if he got what he wanted, he’ll probably gear up with Obama’s OFA running the campaign. If that comes to pass everyone else is road kill.

  39. - Newsclown - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 6:39 am:

    Rauner doesn’t understand civil service or the legislature. In his world, he says: “Jump!” you say: “How high?”

    In Springfield, you say:
    JUMP!”, and the civil service and leg says: “How come?”

    He’d be about as good as Trump.Dillard would mop the floor with this guy in a debate.

  40. - SCR - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 6:52 am:

    Rauner will fail bigtime as a Gubernatorial candidate. There just isn’t much of a political base waiting for an incredibley rich white guy from Chicago to swoop in and throw millions of dollars around to buy his chance to save the state. No thanks Bruce. Stay retired and spend your money and spoil your grandkids.

  41. - Excessively Rabid - Friday, Mar 1, 13 @ 7:43 am:

    So the evil “people in Springfield” are back at it? I thought Blago was going to teach us a lesson.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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