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These loops ain’t fruity

Monday, Dec 14, 2015

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

One of the concepts used so effectively by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign last year was what are called “OODA Loops.” I’m going to oversimplify because of space, but the idea, developed by a military strategist and adopted by business leaders, is to essentially introduce rapid changes to a battle with the intent of disorienting an opponent and forcing over- and under-reactions. And then do it again and again to exhaust and eventually defeat the other side.

OODA Loops transcend traditional “rapid response.” They’re quick, forceful reactions specifically designed to force repeated mistakes by the other side. The Rauner campaign used those loops to literally run circles around Gov. Quinn last year.

They’ve also used the loops since the campaign ended. For instance, when Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) attempted to hold legislative hearings on how the administration was hiding gubernatorial payrollers, they didn’t bow down as others had in the past. Instead, they attacked Bradley with snark-filled invective and caught him off guard, forcing multiple and escalating angry responses that made him look a bit pompous and, according to the Rauner folks, out of touch.

And they did it again last week.

For months now, Gov. Rauner and his top people have been saying that Democratic leaders ought to offer up a specific tax increase plan. The Republicans have laid out what they want from the long governmental impasse (Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda, which includes major attacks on organized labor). So, the Rauner folks say, it’s time for the Democrats to do the same. What do they want?

Staying silent or being vague about specific numbers has allowed the Democrats to stake out some high ground and avoid attacks on their rank and file members. Obviously, more revenue is needed. But it becomes far more real to the public when there’s a number attached. Hence, the effort to force the Democrats to be specific.

Last week, House Speaker Michael Madigan took a question at a City Club of Chicago luncheon from Chris Robling, a staunch Rauner supporter. Robling’s written question was about how high Madigan thought taxes needed to go. Madigan took the bait.

Instead of his customary vagaries, Madigan said a “good place to begin” would be to return to the taxing levels from before the income tax hike partially sunsetted in January. “Starting there you can go in whatever direction you want to go,” he said.

Madigan was not asked to fully clarify his remarks at the ensuing press conference, and for good reason. Why let a clarification get in the way of a great headline? So, Speaker “I want a 33 percent tax hike” Madigan’s gaffe was quickly trumped by media outlets throughout the state, eventually forcing Madigan to issue a clarification at 6 o’clock that night (those Madigan folks never do anything quickly) about the “misleading headlines and mischaracterization of the Speaker’s comments.” The Speaker went on to say in the release that he has “no plans” to advance a specific tax hike plan anytime soon. The response was issued so late, however, that it didn’t make it into most of the coverage, even though everything is now online and can be easily updated.

It’s no secret that Madigan favors a tax increase. He’s said all year that the budget can only be balanced with a mix of tax hikes and cuts. But it’s clear from the 6 o’clock walk-back that Madigan got too far ahead of himself.

Robling’s question began the process. The Rauner folks began working their loops immediately after Madigan answered the question, pushing hard on the concept that Madigan had finally admitted to a tax hike starting point and eventually forcing Madigan into attacking the media and issuing that clarification. The clarification was then portrayed as confirmation of the Speaker’s true intent: He didn’t misspeak, he accidentally said too much. Mistakes make politicians look weak. Clarifying the mistake was a further mistake because it confirmed the weakness.

And then the next day the Illinois Republican Party launched attacks on some of Madigan’s members, asking rhetorically if those members would “stand with taxpayers, or will they stand with #TaxHikeMike?”

The Rauner folks “won” the day, and “Speaker Madigan’s 33 percent tax hike plan” will help them win more, which is what this is about. Win more days and you further exhaust the other side. More exhaustion leads to more mistakes. Enough mistakes and the opponent is so disadvantaged that it eventually has no choice but to surrender.

Surrender, of course, is not in Madigan’s vocabulary these days. But he needs to be much more aware of what’s being done to him.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - chi - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 8:49 am:

    Seems simpler than this. Seems Madigan made gaffed by seemingly attaching a number to a tax increase, and his opponents pounced and pushed the story. He probably gaffed again by trying to clarify his statement, but there’s nothing revolutionary about what Rauner folks did here. Try to get their main opponent to say too much/the wrong thing then push the story when he does.

  2. - slow down - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 8:51 am:

    Rauner’s team is undoubtedly good at “winning the day” but sadly not so good at actual governing. So the state’s most vulnerable continue to get left behind and Rauner has a good media day. Fantastic!

  3. - Independent retired lawyer, journalist - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 8:56 am:

    You’re right, Rich. Unforced error by Madigan handed Rauner a victory he didn’t deserve. The governator makes Madigan look like an amateur when it comes to staying on message.

  4. - W.S. - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 8:56 am:

    Great write up!

  5. - Stones - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 8:59 am:

    Excellent article but when will Rauner switch from campaign mode into governing mode?

  6. - phocion - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:01 am:

    This piece reminds me why Rich Miller is one of the best political writers in Illinois. Astute, original, thought provoking, sharp prose and entertaining. Keep up the great work!

  7. - levois - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:05 am:

    winning the day and so many of them is one day, but the winning side could also be exhausted. could Madigan bounce back? it seems like he has more often than not.

  8. - weltschmerz - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:05 am:

    Quite a stretch for fighter pilot training which stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act; which is the way all rational decisions are made.

  9. - Tuesday's Pizza - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:05 am:

    So the citizens are being subjected to military tactics by the Governer? I believe that is much scarier than any tax increase, no matter the size. Shakin up Springfield and democracy.

  10. - Bill White - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:07 am:

    I agree Rauner won that day, however I also believe Durkin and Radogno lost more than Madigan by loudly defending a position that cannot be defended - i.e. that the budget can be balanced without a tax increase.

    Of courser, Rauner don’t care - his GA mushrooms are all expendable and replaceable - and his two mushrooms are even more committed to defending a hill that cannot be defended.

    And, one key to winning at Go is to induce your opponent to defend positions that cannot be defended.

  11. - Langhorne - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:07 am:

    Chaos and confusion aint governin’.
    Then again, rauner isnt interested in actual governing, except as a series of skirmishes, to kill time and the state, until the dems capitulate. Rauner has one purpose, and one purpose only–destroy unions.

    Hang in there. Winning. Dems running scared. Elections are coming, and we have plenty of money.

  12. - Anon - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:15 am:

    It is difficult to see “Chris Robling” and “staunch” used in the same sentence. While he may talk a good game, Robling always aligns himself with the most liberal wing of the party associated with Jim Thompson.

  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:19 am:

    Great stuff, I always appreciate when you, Rich, break down the strategies and give us all “This is why ‘X’ does ‘Y’…” Love that.

    To the Post,

    The “winning of the news day”, is probably in the Top 3 things you need to do to win campaigns. To keep your opponent off-balance is critical to driving your own message and allowing your opponent’s message to crumble upon itself by self-inflicted mistakes.

    Here’s the rub.

    The Governor’s own poll numbers, even if he doesn’t read polls, especially after citing polls, are languishing, at best. These loops to win the day just “win the day” but don’t aid in the governing, which is my next point.

    The K-12 Approp being signed, after loops, and voting against all these approps, and “shams” and winning days really turned on the GOP GA in the end. So while loops seem to do what they want in the moment, campaign-style, the governing and “owning” decisions and possibly voting for things that help a loop, but aren’t going to help in mailings and campaigns. Rauner signing things against his required “no” votes for loops, that makes the GOP GA more pawns than just being Mushrooms, because they’re voting against their own best judgements.

    Which leads into the Rauner Tax.

    Bruce Rauner will sign a tax increase. To make any budget work, Rauner requires a tax increase. Had Rauner submitted a blueprint that was balanced and didn’t require revenue, then this must would be off the table… but then Rauner would own all those cuts, and you only need to see all the U-Turns, between the Loops to know Rauner hates owning anything.

    Cullerton and Madigan will insist, demand, require 67 GOP GA “green” for this #TaxHikeMike need Rauner needs. The Loop meets the U-turn when governing steps into the campaign mode. What we can see is possibly the FY2015 roll call, and the grumbling, and eating of Owl instead of Crow when those GOP GA members vote, as owned switches, for possibly, the largest tax increase in Illinois history.

    U-turns negate Loops, and winning the day turns out to be voting against your interests if you are GOP GA member.

    It could come down to #TaxHikeMike evolving to #RaunerTax and that might throw all those Owls for a loop when governors need budgets, because governors always own.

  14. - LizPhairTax - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:19 am:

    To the untrained eye it looks a lot like being grass bowls

  15. - Anonin' - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:20 am:

    Surprised the SuperStarLoopers did not ban Capt Fax from releasin’ their device.

    Well because it seems The Trumpster is usin’ the same scheme to justify his stop start, helter skelter approach. And we know the SuperStars detest comparisons to Trump. But hey when you are forandagainst fair share, prevailing wage cuts, fed funds spending, day care for poor kids and on and on you do need to drag out a shining new toy to prove everything is alright. Now go read the trashin’ you got from Poe about spendin’ on AG.
    BTW what happens when ….

  16. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:20 am:

    Class warfare at it’s finest. The superstars helter skelter reputation is a badge of honor to be wore proudly

  17. - Ares - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:20 am:

    OODA sounds like “create a lot of noise to drown out the real story”

  18. - Dome Gnome - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:22 am:

    Astute observation. Ask anybody involved in the onslaught against human services and they’ll tell you this is exactly what’s happening.

  19. - perry noya - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:33 am:

    We’re all assuming that Madigan committed a gaffe. Is it possible he was being facetious? Like, we can start at 5 and then go up (right) or down (ha ha). Result: battlespace preparation for the inevitable tax increase.

  20. - VanillaMan - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:33 am:

    What impact does OODA loops have upon the image of a governor who employs them? Does he end up being seen as a governor who leads, or being seen as a pre-schooler who throws temper tantrums? Does he end up being seen as a professional, or being seen as someone who is a third grader hounding his parents with incessant demands for a pony?

    Governor Perpetual Rascal doesn’t like government and doesn’t want to govern if he is repeatedly questioned about the salability of his ideas. Consequently, one may conclude after nearly a year in office, that Bruce Rauner would rather shake up our constitutional government, flip it with OODA loops, (which actually requires forethought and planning yet to be seen by this administration), and damn the consequences.

    This administration operates more like a petty con man daily cornering you at the train station, flashing open his trench coat and asking when you are going to finally buy one of his junk watches. It is a win to him when you finally give into his daily stalkings.

    In the world of business, disrespectfully hounding strangers into buying aluminum siding, curbstone house number painting and pouring tar-ish mixtures of black paint and asphalt over driveways is how some traveling con artists operate.

    What happens when these kinds of cynical games are played in our state’s highest office? At what point do we just apologize to Rod Blagojevich, who seemed to have been incapable of shedding his numbers racket past, as governor?

    Governing is about more than winning at every citizen’s expense. Governors who succeed at cynical games often discover that governing isn’t a game. Eventually voters tire of this.

  21. - mcb - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    That’s not really how OODA loops work. The loop is the process you go through when you Observe, Orient, Decide and then act. That was John Boyd’s way of describing how fighter pilots react in a dogfight, which was then expanded to bigger picture military strategy and then to the business world. What the Rauner team is doing is what Boyd called “getting inside their (Madigan’s) OODA loop”. Again, the loop is simply the process every person already goes through. But when you “get inside their loop”, you are able to either slow down their decision making process (and their loop), or predict what they are going to do(allowing you to react before they make the action you are reacting to).

    Nice article, just wanted to clarify.

  22. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:36 am:

    Hey mike a good place to start would be the millionaire tax vote from last year

  23. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:36 am:

    I’m shocked and awed by how irrelevant this all is to actually governing the state responsibly.

    The Frat Boys might think they’re Junior Clausewitzs and governing is one big dorm room game of Risk, but so far FY16 is one Pyrrhic victory after another: Downgrades. Unpaid vendors. Lost jobs. Compromised social service infrastructure. Starved universities. Historic deficits.

    “We had to destroy the state in order to save it.”

    I’m sure Katrina the Tribbie approves.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:42 am:

    I’m also sure Ounce of Prevention and Diana Rauner loved hearing “Short Term Pain” is needed, as her husband uses loops to win days instead of stopping the dismantling of Social Services and getting a budget.

    “Bruce has no social agenda”.

    That might be the loopiest of loops… to Mrs. Rauner.

  25. - RetiredStateEmployee - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:43 am:

    “Politicians Lie Because Voters Punish them for Telling the Truth”

    Now in a rare moment, Madigan speaks the truth and everybody turns on him. What does that tell us about ourselves?

  26. - Honeybear - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:45 am:

    Word, I will see your Clausewitz and Pyrrhic victory and raise you a Melian Dialogue. HA! Nice work Word but man, it’s a crappy Monday and you’re already workin me hard to understand.

  27. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:47 am:

    A mistake is a mistake, and in politics, it’s a gift to the opposition and should be exploited.

    Still, no mistake can cover up that Rauner is damaging the state and holding it hostage for his union-busting agenda–that Rauner is willing to cause so much damage to permanently undermine thousands of middle class workers. He has a bad record so far as governor, and it’s a shame if Democrats don’t find ways to exploit it to their benefit.

    “So, the Rauner folks say, it’s time for the Democrats to do the same. What do they want?”

    At first I was okay with Democrats not making their own “unreasonable” demands and just sticking with revenue, cuts and one or two lesser versions of Rauner’s demands (not the anti-union stuff).

    Now I’m not so sure I hold this view. Democrats should demand that the wealthy like Rauner pay more taxes in Illinois. They should demand the millionaire surcharge, since there is proof that Illinoisans actually want it. Why should the solutions be placed almost solely on the backs of lower income people?

    A small income tax hike plus drastic cuts to worker protections will have almost no effect on Rauner’s income class (and above). He, Griffin and others will keep raking in money, while thousands if not millions who can far less afford it will pay a higher income tax along with various types of setbacks.

  28. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:57 am:

    There’s a sucker born every minute in the business world who think you can apply some sort of military strategy to a successful business strategy. Consultants make a boatload of money on the flim-flam.

    But the truth is, if people ain’t buying what you’re selling, you lose.

    Jedi mind tricks with legislators ain’t going to accomplish anything.

    Why didn’t the Frat Boys try to go over the GA’s heads and drop some millions trying to sell their agenda to the public on the tee-vees and radios?

    Because they know the public don’t want it. That’s why they lied about it during the campaign, that’s why they weasel-word it with opaque terms like “structural reforms” now.

  29. - Cannon649 - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:58 am:

    I do not believe this was a gaff. Considering we had a 5% rate. I am bit surprised that he got an answer - that might be the “mistake”.

  30. - oldman - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:59 am:

    I feel Madigan has actually been losing this whole process for a while. That said, I would like to see someone in the mainstream press ask Rauner, Rodogno etc if they think they can cut their way out of this and if so, how. If not, what do they propose for new revenue?

  31. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 9:59 am:

    Great theory about Rauner’s strategy but it may crumble when he is finally forced to get serious about revenue and starts pushing for 5% AND other tax increases.

  32. - Jocko - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:00 am:

    As others have stated, OODA is a fancy way to describe the bullying and obfuscation being done by Team Rauner.

    Madigan and the Dems should take a page from the superstars (and Clara Peller) and say “Where’s the (Governor’s prepared and submitted) state budget?” ad nauseum.

  33. - Omega Man - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:02 am:

    Rauner did this to the union last February when he surprised AFSCME on the first day of negotiations over a new contract by unilaterally canceling Fair Share. The tactic only served to show just what a snake we was.

  34. - Santa's Little Helper - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:03 am:

    Anonin’ - you may also want to read about the theory of Flywheels and Doom Loops. With rants like those, you may want to switch to decaf with your OODA loops in the morning.

  35. - Norseman - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:07 am:

    I see this as the frat boys patting themselves on the back for a stroke of luck. As usual they can’t help but brag, this time touting a tactic they learned in a Teenage Republican Campaign Seminar.

    Seriously, planting a question has been OODA looped by campaigns for ages. Drumming up the editorial boards and press is in the old-timer’s playbook. Simply put, Madigan stepped in it. Not the first time, won’t be the last.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the frat boys OODA Looped the release of the OODA Loop to psych out the Dems. Well that move probably got a good chuckle as they sipped their beer.

    The Dems have major problems to deal with from Rauner. Problems more associated with endless money not OODA Loops.

    Given the number of errors, U-turns as Willy calls them, made by Rauner and his folks I would suggest they might be better served by taking a seminar on governing by the Council of State Governments or the National Governor’s Association. Leave the campaign tactics for the next campaign.

  36. - Bogey Golfer - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:11 am:

    1. Rich, your column was an astute observation of how the Rauner adm. has been dealing with MJM.
    2. To those posters who keep harping that Rauner is governing, BVR could care less. He wants to fundamentally change how Springfield thinks of itself and minutia (like a budget) can be put off for a while (80% truth, 20% snark).
    3. The media has been soft with not pointedly and repeatedly asking Radogno and Durkin how they plan to cut the budget without a tax increase. Spot on, oldman.

  37. - Norseman - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:12 am:

    Millennium Falcon! Honeybear, the force be with you.

  38. - ChiTownSeven - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    “Literally run circles”? Rich, I’m surprised at you!

  39. - There is power in a union... - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:16 am:

    These people can yoda loop all they want. Madigan put it out there. Not saying it was the smartest strategic move in the world but I’m not convinced it is the beginning of the end. The other side has done him a favor by refuting it this hard. Because now they need to either totally cut their way out or flip flop on the tax hike pretty much everyone agrees is needed.

    Superstars, start listing all the cuts that will be needed to avoid the tax hike. I’m waiting…

  40. - low level - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:19 am:

    I’d like to know specifics on what Rauner and the GOP think are the places to cut in the state budget? Everything he’s proposed so far dont anount to much in savings.

  41. - Honeybear - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:27 am:

    Thanks, Norseman! I gotta say, this blog helps me stay even. The last of the Illinoisans are here.

  42. - Rich Miller - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:32 am:

    ===As usual they can’t help but brag===

    Actually, no.

    I haven’t spoken to them about the loops since August.

  43. - sal-says - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:35 am:

    == What does that tell us about ourselves? ==

    Was reminded over the weekend: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  44. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:40 am:

    Rauner’s “winning the news cycle” approach to governing reminds me of nothing so much as the Pentagon’s Vietnam-era body counts on the nightly news.

    Our team inflicted roughly a 3:2 ratio of dead commies versus allied deaths, so we won the body count contest. Unfortunately, all we got for it was a black wall and a generation of dead and damaged kids.

    I can’t guarantee that when Rauner’s team finally pulls out of Springfield, Illinois will get a black wall, but…

    – MrJM

  45. - low level - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:45 am:

    Rauner can liken it to a battle or whatever he wants to do, but if he keeps this up I’m certain the Democrats are fine with court ordered expendatures. If thats all Madigan wanted to do was extend the 5% tax, they’d have done it last December. Rauner is the chief executive now. Its up to him.

  46. - Mama - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:53 am:

    “Democrats should demand that the wealthy like Rauner pay more taxes in Illinois. They should demand the millionaire surcharge, since there is proof that Illinoisans actually want it. Why should the solutions be placed almost solely on the backs of lower income people?”

    The Dems are not demanding the millionaire surcharge. It was put on the ballot & the majority of Illinois taxpayers voted for it. Can anyone explain why this is not a starting point on the Dems side for raising revenue? Thanks

  47. - Lincoln Lad - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    Multiple unforced errors by the Speaker, and I agree the Rauner camp deserves some credit. Is it also not likely that MJM is also receiving inadequate counsel from his internal circle? Is he slow to adjust because he’s not being advised well?

  48. - Papa Mikey - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    The fact is the Governor can win every Loop (battle) but he still can lose the budget(War)

    the Speaker is playing chess to the Governors hungry hungry hippos. The longer this standoff continues the less likely the Governor will achieve victory he really wants, no matter how many days he “wins.”

  49. - IllinoisBoi - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    So Governor Rauner is waging war on the people of Illinois. I knew that already.

  50. - Dee Lay - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    How will they OODA all the Green votes on the tax hike in January?

  51. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:05 am:

    I’ve been rather confused by this story.

    Madigan has said for months that new revenues and cuts are needed.

    It’s been reported here for months that Rauner wants a point added to the income tax and broader sales taxes.

    Where was news committed?

  52. - Judgment Day (on the road) - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    OODA Loops…..

    Perfectly good tactics to use when most of the governing structure is already orientated against you.

    Change tactics. IMO, it’s bigger than just using OODA loops. More importantly, you are fighting an insurgency. And the Governor is leading it. And in terms of creating an insurgency with the goal of changing the entire process, he’s doing fairly well.

    Now most people posting here would likely vehemently disagree with that conclusion, but then again, they are invested into the existing status quo, and the Governor is not.

    If you read the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual (FM 3-24.2), you’ll see why IMO, that’s what is happening.

    Too many people have decided they are going to deal with the Governor by ‘fighting the last (political) war’ all over again. Not happening, the rules have changed.

    Interesting to watch….

  53. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:17 am:

    –And in terms of creating an insurgency with the goal of changing the entire process, he’s doing fairly well.–

    How would you quantify that, without opaque nonsense words?

    By the way, “status quo” is defined as “existing state of affairs.”

    Where we are today in FY16, as engineered by the “leveraging” strategery, is the “status quo.”

  54. - History Prof - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    “We’re all assuming that Madigan committed a gaffe. Is it possible he was being facetious?”

    Duh. Listen to the tape. The reason nobody pressed him for clarification was because — and you can hear this on the tape — MJM clearly was not endorsing the 5% figure. He just wasn’t. And any “reporter” who says otherwise is making things up. The problem is with the press on this one.

    On State Week in Review Amanda Vinicky blamed this on politicians who try to obfuscate. But excuse me, with a press corps this inept, Madigan’s general silence is perfectly understandable. There was not ambiguity; Madigan was perfectly clear; and he was NOT endorsing the 5% figure. Period. I say we either fire the press corp or outlaw the use of irony and verbal indirection. You choose. But don’t blame the politicians if they are not particularly willing to talk!

    Dear Amanda, take a poetry class!

    The speaker was actually being quite poetic and you missed it. Get off you flat feet! Royko is spinning in his grave.

  55. - Mama - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    “Now in a rare moment, Madigan speaks the truth and everybody turns on him. What does that tell us about ourselves?”
    I don’t think most Illinois voters understand they are the ones being played by Rauner’s people. It seems people vote for their party no matter who is running. They don’t even understand their party was taken over by another party. Scary!

  56. - Cubs in '16 - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:20 am:

    It’s absolutely frightening and disheartening that Rauner views his job as one big game of ‘Stratego’.

  57. - walker - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:21 am:

    Nice column.

    It is typical for many business consultants, and apparently “superstars” of all sorts, to use military strategic terms without having a real understanding of what they mean in the military.

    What Rauner team have been doing is not related to OODA as used in the military at all; it also isn’t Sun Tzu, Clauswitz, Blitzkrieg, Ho Chi Minh, or counter insurgency doctrine.

    It is the long-standing political strategy of throwing the kitchen sink at your opponent, to try to get any specific response, which you can then spin into your own message. Of course, while avoiding specifics yourself. An old game.

  58. - JackD - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    It’ll be interesting to see what the Governor’s tactics will be when the money runs out. At some point he’s going to have to sa what he wants to cut.

  59. - Triple fat - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    Speaker Madigan’s statement actually gave me the impression that the end was near. The Governor may be deploying a OODA Loops strategy - to the Speaker who is deploying a rope-a-dope strategy. The statement was a hint that the one two combination is at hand.

  60. - OneMan - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    Might I suggest you go read

    Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War

    The creator of the OODA loop.


    Kind of surprised it isn’t used more.

    But the book is well worth the read IMHO.

  61. - east central - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    The Governor is required to present a FY2017 budget in two months, correct?

    If by the third Wednesday in February a FY2016 budget is not passed with revenue increases that also hold for FY2017, it would seem mathematically impossible for Gov. Rauner to present a budget for FY2017 that does not include very large revenue increases.

    Perhaps the Speaker was attempting to encourage and to help facilitate action by the Republicans on revenue increases which are inevitable and which cannot be delayed much longer.

  62. - Enviro - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:41 am:

    The reality is that if Illinois is to pay the overdue state bills we will need at least a 5% state income tax.

  63. - Daniel Plainview - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:41 am:

    So Rauner and his secret agent boys have flailed about for nearly a year, revised their list of must haves from ten down to seven to who knows, failed to enact a budget for the first time in state history, and we’re supposed to believe they’re successfully employing high level military strategy?

    I was born at night, but not last night.

  64. - James Knell - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:41 am:

    Nice post Wordslinger, even Tsar Alexander I understood that rulers had to derive their legitimacy from doing a good job for their subjects. Divine Right (or these days “Money Makes Right”), won’t cut it in the long run… or maybe even in the next run (2018).

  65. - Judgment Day (on the road) - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 11:54 am:

    “–And in terms of creating an insurgency with the goal of changing the entire process, he’s doing fairly well.–

    How would you quantify that, without opaque nonsense words?”

    Word, you obviously don’t agree with Rauner’s strategy. No news there. That’s your privilege.

    But what is happening (ever so slowly) is that the bureaucracy is being forced to look at how they are currently doing business, and they are making adjustments. Painful (and very tiny to start), but they are making adjustments. - because they have to.

    I see adjustments happening on a daily basis. Still very tiny, but changes are occurring.

  66. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 12:00 pm:

    ===But what is happening (ever so slowly) is that the bureaucracy is being forced to look at how they are currently doing business, and they are making adjustments. Painful (and very tiny to start), but they are making adjustments. - because they have to.

    I see adjustments happening on a daily basis. Still very tiny, but changes are occurring.===


    In that example, please explain, derailed how the measured short term pain will lead to big long term gain.

    Show your work.


  67. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    “… detailed …”

    So there’s no confusion.

    Thank you.

  68. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 12:09 pm:

    “the bureaucracy is being forced to look at how they are currently doing business, and they are making adjustments”

    And Westmoreland’s got Charlie on the run…

    – MrJM

  69. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 12:48 pm:

    –But what is happening (ever so slowly) is that the bureaucracy is being forced to look at how they are currently doing business, and they are making adjustments–

    Could be, as vague as that is. If so, so what?

    What does that have to do with the post? The Grand Oompa-Loompa-Loopy-D-Loo strategy with the GA?

    Do you really need to willfully create fiscal chaos and destruction of core state functions to achieve marginal, incremental administrative changes?

    Couldn’t, as chief executive, the governor just institute those administrative changes? What do term-limits, redistricting, and prevailing wage have to do with that, the most recent, ever-changing goals of the strategy?

    Here’s the problem you Raunerbots have: You create all this quantifiable destruction, but you can’t quantify the ROI, besides sticking it to political players you don’t like, such as unions and the Dem majorities.

    So you resort to meaningless phrases like “insurgency,” “structural reforms,” and “short-term pain for long-term gain” to pretend your pursuing policy rather than partisan political goals.

    If you could demonstrate fiscal or economic benefits for this real, quantifiable long-term damage, you would have done it by now, with big-charts, graphs, the whole schmear.

    But you can’t.

  70. - How Ironic - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 12:50 pm:

    I think the Frat boys are going to be pretty surprised when they are having to release press statements about why they are now supporting a tax increase. Because they sure are acting like we can cut our way out of this mess. Of course they sure don’t want to outline any cuts either.

  71. - Judgment Day (on the road) - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 1:27 pm:


    A lot of the changes I’m not going to detail. Because bluntly, there are a lot of vested interests who would go out of their way to stop the changes from occurring. If you have ever worked on the operational side of things, you know that change is not easy. And it tends to have enemies.

    I’ll give you a few.

    1) Our 4 year universities are starting to use more and more experienced private sector individuals as part time ‘guest instructors’ in existing academic courses. The individuals may not have all the high brow educational credentials, but what they do have is ’street credibility’ in that they actually have to go out and do the work every single day.

    It saves money, and it introduces a ‘real world’ aspect into higher education. I’ve recently seen it happening in the Health Sciences area, Construction Management area, and especially in the Technology area.

    The academics aren’t thrilled about it, and they are fighting against it tooth and nail.

    Level of Cost savings? Too early to tell. But it’s obviously more affordable than just adding full time staff. And the students seem to be enthusiastic about it.

    2) Moving to ‘Open Source’ software solutions. This one is really flying under the radar for obvious reasons (in the tech business, it’s known as “Fighting Dragons”). Just one area I see daily is all the use of proprietary software solutions in the GIS (Geographic Information Systems). People are starting to look seriously at tools such as instead of using the unbelievably expensive (and technology nightmares) of proprietary GIS software.

    Reason why: It’s affordable. May not have all the bells & whistles, but if you can end up with 80-85% of the capabilities, and save 80% in terms of costs of what you were paying, well, you grab for it. Bluntly, sometimes “Good Enough’ is ‘Good Enough’. Hard lesson for government to learn.

    Those are just a couple of little areas. You would be amazed as to what can get accomplished when you don’t have to stand in line at every turn and beg for permission. And a financial crisis tends to reduce the bureaucratic bottlenecks to getting things done.

    Now if we could just get something done about the entire process of disposing of junk equipment. Do you realize it is far easier for us to warehouse junk/non-repairable equipment than it is to dispose of it. Seriously.

    When you see it happening in practice it’s absolutely absurd. And everybody involved just shrugs their shoulders because …. well, because.

  72. - Springfieldish - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 1:31 pm:

    I can envision Rauner’s OODA Loops team as:

  73. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 1:39 pm:

    JD, you can’t possibly believe that your “examples” have anything to do with the governor’s strategy of holding the budget hostage for his non-budget agenda.

    Seriously, after all these months, that’s all you’ve got?

    You could list a thousand similar “examples” and it wouldn’t come close to justifying the destruction that is being inflicted.

    And none of them have to do with the original post, which was explaining that this grand military “strategy” is directed at the GA.

  74. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 1:49 pm:

    ===1) Our 4 year universities are starting to use more and more experienced private sector individuals as part time ‘guest instructors’ in existing academic courses. The individuals may not have all the high brow educational credentials, but what they do have is ’street credibility’ in that they actually have to go out and do the work every single day.===


    “The individuals may not have all the high brow educational credentials, but what they do have is ’street credibility’ in that they actually have to go out and do the work every single day.”

    “Students, all the well-respected professors are gone. Now, we have a treat. The individuals teaching you may not have all the high brow educational credentials, but their cheap, and the schools that snagged them up, some might be cheaper to attend.”

    If I were a parent looking at 4-year universities for a highly sought after student, and this student can pick where to go, do I evcourage that student to attend a school that, well …

    ===The individuals (instructors) may not have all the high brow educational credentials…===

    … or advise that student to go where the better bang for the buck is also loaded with better faculty?

    You suggest a better faculty is less skilled in academics but cheaper is better? Wonder if Dartmouth would agree.

    Glad I’m not looking at 4-year institutions right now, and being told, “Pay extra for less in the instructors!”

    ===And the students seem to be enthusiastic about it.===

    If I had a senior, and I was traveling all over and I was being “sold” on this, I don’t think I’d be too enthusiastic.


    What are you talking about? It’s jibberish unless there’s a ROI.

    But, I bet those “real world” instructors, less accredited, would agree…

    “Close enough”


    I see no dollar signs.

    All these changes, what are the, like I asked mind you…

    Specific long term gains.

    What are the projections?

    “I-L-L! …. Close Enough!”


  75. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 1:59 pm:

    “The individuals may not have all the high brow educational credentials, but what they do have is ’street credibility’”

    Are we talking about a university or a karate dojo?

    – MrJM

  76. - History Prof - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 2:00 pm:

    Let me just second Wordslinger above. Judgement day says, “1) Our 4 year universities are starting to use more and more experienced private sector individuals as part time ‘guest instructors’ in existing academic courses. The individuals may not have all the high brow educational credentials, but what they do have is ’street credibility’ in that they actually have to go out and do the work every single day.It saves money . . ”

    This fully expresses the Frat Boy view, but

    1.if it saves any money, it ain’t much. The state provides well under 20% of funding for public universities, so any savings would have to reckoned at 20% on our T.A. balance sheet.

    2. Any savings you do count not only have nothing to do with our current standoff or with the Turnaround Agenda, they were happening long before Rauner took office. It would be like taking credit for the weather.

    True chicken sh#$%t!

  77. - Horse w/ No Name - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 2:19 pm:

    JD - The only problem with your theory about delivering education without, you know, educators is that universities are accountable to their accrediting bodies.

  78. - Norseman - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 2:23 pm:

    === But what is happening (ever so slowly) is that the bureaucracy is being forced to look at how they are currently doing business ===

    LOL. Right now they have to look at new ways of putting off bills because of Rauner’s hostage taking. No pottys, no postage, no paper, no program. Yep, Rauner is bringing a new approach to government managing. It’s BYOB for many. Bring your own bucket.

    Seriously, you have no clue as to what’s been happening. Government managers have been looking at better ways of doing things for decades. The problem is the lack of funding and constant redirection forced by obtuse policy makers.

  79. - walker - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 2:46 pm:

    Agree with the benefit of incremental improvements in how government operates, and hope it’s happening. That can be done by good leadership in the Executive branch, and has little or nothing to do with any grand “turnaround” strategy or budget obstruction. The GA has very little to do with such incremental operating improvements.

  80. - Daniel Plainview - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 2:48 pm:

    - unbelievably expensive (and technology nightmares) of proprietary GIS software. -

    My goodness, Rauner is going after proprietary GIS software? I hope he and the superstars don’t sprain anything in that battle. Everyone knows proprietary GIS software has held the state hostage for decades.

  81. - How Ironic - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 3:15 pm:

    @ Judgement Day:”Bluntly, sometimes “Good Enough’ is ‘Good Enough’. Hard lesson for government to learn.”

    Yes, and everyone else it seems. I’ve yet to hear someone come into our heart failure clinic, requesting “Just any old doc. One that just barely passed their boards, and is lucky to have a job. After all they are probably ‘good enough’.”

    Platitudes like your comment are just that. Maybe good enough at some after work function where you spout off some nonsense and a few rubes think you’ve got it all figured out.

    Except when you really get into it…you haven’t a clue about reality.

  82. - Anon. - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    ==1) Our 4 year universities are starting to use more and more experienced private sector individuals as part time ‘guest instructors’ in existing academic courses. The individuals may not have all the high brow educational credentials, but what they do have is ’street credibility’ in that they actually have to go out and do the work every single day.==

    That’s been going on for decades now, in private as well as public universities. It’s been in the news, if you bother to read. Personally, I’ve been one of those “guest instructors” at a state university for years, and haven’t seen any increase in part-timers.

  83. - perry noya - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 3:23 pm:

    History Prof at at 11:18 am
    Madigan says that 5% is “a good place to begin.”
    You say this means that he “clearly was not endorsing the 5% figure.”
    If he wanted to endorse it, what would he say?

  84. - Springfieldish - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 3:27 pm:

    JD’s examples are, well, laughably nonspecific and, regarding GIS, something that’s been talked about for like two decades. Open sourcing confidential information in today’s cyber environment? Yeah, right.

    As to our four-year schools shifting to part time instructors with “real-world’ experience, that’s great for only a few disciplines, almost exclusively the one’s he lists, but for the majority of the colleges of liberal arts, sciences, art, and engineering, Judgement Day’s so-called Rauner-driven change would be the fast-lane to losing accreditation. Guest lecturer’s to be sure, but shouldering any portion of the curriculum, no way. And it has nothing to do with professors protecting their gig. If this is Rauner’s plan, it’s an attempt to drive higher education down to a static, trade-school level. All those “high brow educational credentials” are what expands knowledge, tests assumptions, and discovers new territory, and, most importantly, lifts our schools’ reputations to draw students from around the world. Nope, this is just not happening; not at SIU, U of I, ISU, NIU, WIU, nor even poor little EIU, which is in fact, touting the “high brow educational credentials” of its faculty to draw grad students from as far away as Australia. I don’t think JD understands the ‘business’ of higher education. Rauner would understand it better if he’d had to pay for his own education, but still, no, he’s not dumbing down our universities. Just holding them hostage, like everyone else.

  85. - Tuesday's Pizza - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 3:41 pm:

    When I attended college I asked my counselor for the professors with the most street cred. Everybody is doing it these days.

  86. - History Prof - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 3:46 pm:

    - perry noya ,

    Did you listen to what he said? Do so. He said we could start at the 5% and then “YOU” could go up OR DOWN from there. Go back and listen. The clear implication is that if “YOU” were willing to come up with the requisite cuts, it could be lower (but of course those cuts would be on you.) I think this is the only fair construction of what he said.

    If he wanted to endorse the 5% figure he would put it on the floor.

  87. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Dec 14, 15 @ 5:10 pm:

    Yes indeed, the beaurocrats are learning how to do business differently. You see at my beloved World Shooting Complex, the state employees are showing up to work everyday, but the facility is closed to the general public. You can’t believe the state savings on toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer and the general wear and tear on the carpets. Boy-o-boy, this governor is a freaking genius. If we would have been blessed to have him say 30 years ago, we would not be in the mess we are today.

  88. - low level - Tuesday, Dec 15, 15 @ 5:46 am:

    Still have not read precisely where Rauner and the IL GOP would cut in lieu of more revenue.

  89. - otherwise - Tuesday, Dec 15, 15 @ 7:01 am:

    I’m not sure I agree with the assessment. I think Madigan knew what he was doing and is on record as 5%, which is a whole lot better than what is coming. He is once again looking two moves ahead. His speaking at the City Club of Chicago is unusual for him, so a lot of thought was put into this.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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