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The attack has failed twice in a row

Monday, Jan 30, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times

Gov. Bruce Rauner is among three Republican governors attending an annual summit in California hosted by billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch — a trip that’s drawn criticism from unions and some Democratic lawmakers over its timing.

The Koch brothers, the nation’s top conservative donors, have hosted gatherings of donors and politicians over the years, but usually in private. This year’s attendees include five Republican senators, three governors and two congressmen.

The governor’s office confirmed Rauner is attending the summit in Palm Springs, California, but said he’s there to discuss policy and the state’s achievements with criminal justice reform, not politics or fundraising. An administration aide added that Rauner is also meeting with people on the West Coast to recruit tech companies to come to Illinois.

But the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which is in a longstanding war with the governor amid the state’s budget impasse, on Sunday harshly criticized Rauner for what they called “huddling” with the Koch brothers as refugees are stranded and Illinois is in “crisis.”

“Actions speak louder than words. He’s not compassionate. He’s not willing to work together,” IFT President Dan Montgomery said in a statement. “In one of our darkest hours, he’s plotting with billionaires on how to make the rich richer.”

* More from the IFT…

* McQueary turned that exchange into a column

Class warfare, preached and evangelized by liberals, is frustratingly nefarious and frustratingly effective. From the presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to the state and local levels in Illinois, caricaturing Republican candidates as out-of-touch elitists is akin to linking them to thuggery.

The disgust. The furor. The loathing.

That’s why it will be fascinating to watch the 2018 gubernatorial election to see how the Democrats, who seethed over Gov. Bruce Rauner’s wealth, will handle J.B. Pritzker as one of their candidates and a potential gubernatorial front-runner or nominee. What a pretzel they’ll be in trying to repeat the themes of 2014. This time, one of their own candidates could be labeled as a self-funded billionaire, philanthropist and entrepreneur.

Then, will the Democrats be forced to drop the nauseating references to “Billionaire Bruce?” Will they have to stifle their hysteria over self-funded campaigns? Will they cast aside Pritzker because of his wealth?

Because at this point, Pritzker’s pockets are the primary reason he’s being taken seriously in Democratic circles. He can self-fund, pitting his money against Rauner’s and relieving a pressure valve on Democratic donors who can instead put their money into other races, perhaps legislative. Pritzker is seen as perhaps the only chance to take out Rauner.

Valid points all. But the one she missed is that the “Billionaire Bruce” attack didn’t work in 2014, and the “Billionaire Trump” attack didn’t work in 2016. Maybe it’ll work in 2018, but there’s a decent chance that the Democrats will also nominate a billionaire here.

Perhaps Montgomery is sending a message to Pritzker, or perhaps he’s just reaching for the nearest stick to use. If it’s the former, then fine. It’s a free country. If it’s the latter, then think it through a bit before doing so again.

Also, we’ll take up the local angle on the travel ban in another post, so let’s stick to this topic in comments, please. Thanks.


  1. - Keyrock - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:26 am:

    Pritzker’s simplest means of differentiating himself from
    Rauner is to say “I think billionaires like Bruce and me should
    pay more state taxes to take care of the sick and the elderly and protect the middle class. Bruce thinks we billionaires should pay less in taxes. That’s why he stopped paying the state’s bills.”

    Drop mic.

  2. - Anon - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:26 am:

    McQueary, like other Republicans, readily detects class warfare when the target is billionaires. But she is blind to the class warfare against the poor: Illinois has one of the most regressive state and local tax systems of any state. Illinois also has the most regressive education funding system. That class warfare hurts people who have the least.

  3. - The Gen - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:30 am:

    How did this article begin with talk about Rauner attending a Koch brothers event to talking about a posdible JB run for governor? The Koch brothers and dark money buying governments is what this article should be about.

  4. - Free Set of Steak Knives - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:31 am:

    Is it “class warfare” to wish for a hurricane to hit Chicago, decimating the lives of its minority residents?

    Asking for a friend.

  5. - DST - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:35 am:

    == the “Billionaire Bruce” attack didn’t work ==

    Yep. And she calls the “class warfare” rhetoric of Dems like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton “frustratingly effective.” Really? They both lost.

    Remember when McQueary offered sober political analysis? Now we just get tilting at windmills and IPI message coordination.

  6. - Winnin' - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:36 am:

    He went down to get attention and troll for future support.
    “Hey, look at me.”

  7. - Threepwood - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    How delightfully dishonest. Or am I supposed to believe McQueary really thinks the problem Dems have with wealth is wealth, and not how one gains it or what one does with it? If she wants to claim that, I guess she can, but it’s not to her credit.

    True, I don’t know how clean Pritzker’s hands may or may not be. And yeah, I’m opposed to the oligarchy we’re working so hard to build in this state and country; regardless of one’s political goals, wealth shouldn’t be a requirement for office. But the Gov has set the bar so incredibly low that I’d be shocked if Pritzker wasn’t an improvement.

  8. - Roman - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    The Dems have nominated and elected billionaire self-funding governors in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and not long ago had one in New Jersey.

    If JB is a capable candidate with a good message, he’ll get nominated. If not, his money won’t matter all that much in a Dem primary.

  9. - Ahoy! - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    2018 will be completely different for Rauner has he will have the intensity of an anti-Trump movement that will be keenly felt in a blue state. There would likely be a movement against the Presidential incumbent anyway which would hurt a republican in a blue state, but the intensity in 2018 is likely going to be off the charts and the more democrats can tie Rauner to Trump, the more damaging it will be to Rauner, no matter what it is.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:07 am:

    To Rauner and the Trip, first…

    It would be GROSS malpractice if this trip wasn’t first, last, always about dark/outside monies needed to attack the Dem primary, “silently” and to secure the opportunity for those attacks to NOT be from Rauner directly.

    That’s the ball game, not the issues, it’s about the influencing the Democrats’ primary.

    Oh, and…

    … any Dem running against Rauner that hasn’t done a complete and intrusive oppo on themselves by now, don’t worry, Rauner’s dark money will. Look to Schock, the GOP primary Rauner won, the “Ohio” connection & this trip is about “judicial reform”? This is the $7-10 mil against Dems, that’s why Rauner went. Rauner wants to secure, what I feel is the $7-10 million needed to manipulate and derail any and all possible nominees.

  11. - Arsenal - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    Any Dem, even the populist ones, who hit Rauner on his bank account is committing political malpractice. He has a record now, and it’s an abysmal one. Even if you want to do the “paying bills at the kitchen table” thing, his record alone shows he’s out of touch with that world.

    That being said, McQueary is only concern-trolling here, she absolutely does not have Dems’ best interest at heart. One might even consider that this column demonstrates that Team Rauner considers Pritzker their biggest threat.

  12. - Rabid - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    A philantropist and entrepreneur vs. venture capitalist that has left a wake of destruct in his career

  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:16 am:

    So Rauner disses Trump’s inauguration one week, but goes trollin’ in Palm Springs for Koch money the next? I thought he was focusin’ on the state.

    Trump voters might find that interestin.’

    Gee, I hope that it’s not class warfare or “frustratingly nefarious” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) to point that out.

  14. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:27 am:

    It’s only class warfare when the poor fight back.

  15. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    ===is what this article should be about===

    Then get your own blog.

  16. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:47 am:

    “Remember when McQueary offered sober political analysis?” No

  17. - Telly - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    == One might even consider that this column demonstrates that Team Rauner considers Pritzker their biggest threat. ==

    Yes, Arsenal. My thought exactly. Expect a whole bunch of this from the Rauner/IPI/Trib troika as the primary field takes shape.

    Rauner has displayed a proclivity to influence the Dem party from within. There will be more. JB’s money frightens the Raunerites more than anything else. Expect a sequel to IllinoisGO.

  18. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    Why does McQueary care about what the Dems say about Rauner?
    If she’s bringing up hypocrisy she need look no further than the Gov saying he’s not focused on campaigns, then he jets to Palm Springs to get campaign dollars.

  19. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    I agree with Arsenal. Rauner is a failed governor. He failed because his motive has been to cripple or end unions, severely harm Democrats and exploit and foment crisis to do so–using the most vulnerable as leverage and harming so many people.

    The right candidate and messages are needed, for sure, but the combo of Rauner’s failures, wealth and motives may be very powerful. We’ll find out.

  20. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    Such cluelessness being exposed here.
    Koch doesn’t support Trump.
    Rauner doesn’t support Trump.

    Koch and Rauner support free market uber-alles. They are the GOP from 1980- 2016.
    Trump is the GOP from 1933- 1979, and today.

    As to attacking Rauner’s wealth, no that didn’t work last time. But 2018 isn’t 2014, Rauner’s not the unknown change agent, and the Democratic Party isn’t running incumbent Pat Quinn. And Rauner’s no Trump, not a friend of the blue- collar unions that supported The Donald.

    Rauner and Koch hate the unions, Trump has them front and center as he signs pro- union orders.

    This difference between Rauner/Koch and Trump leaves an opening for a 2018 challenger clever enough to peel support away from the Governor.

    Let Rauner visit the Brothers. They’ve got wounds to lick. They lost when Trump won.

  21. - Arsenal - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    == One might even consider that this column demonstrates that Team Rauner considers Pritzker their biggest threat. ==

    BTW, I’m not sure I AGREE with Team Rauner that Pritzker is their biggest threat. They might be wrong about that.

  22. - My New Handle - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:44 am:

    Koch came out criticizing the immigrant ban, and there may be much discussion of that, especially for what it means to buusiness. Probably the most mileage Rauner could get right now is to take a public stand against Trump.

  23. - ZC - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    I go back and forth on the messaging thing. Is one cycle, even two, really enough to fully validate a message’s effectiveness?

    I don’t think the EVIL MADIGAN thing fully “sunk in” the first election the GOP started really messaging around it, but it’s working now. Repetition and discipline, always.

  24. - Truthteller - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    McQueary can always be counted upon to defend the super rich against the unwashed masses. I wonder where she went to church? Does the Trib Tower have a chapel?

  25. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 4:08 pm:

    I recall in 2014 that Dillard, Brady and Rutherford all said that Rauner was a “billionaire” out to “buy the governorship.”

    Were they participating in “class warfare, preached and evangelized by liberals… frustratingly nefarious and frustratingly effective.”

    Merriam-Webster, defines “nefarious” as “flagrantly wicked or impious:evil.”

    I’m not seeing the “evil” in calling Rauner a billionaire, but I guess the chronically hysterical, in all senses of the word, do.

    Instead of swallowing dictionaries and then regurgitating them for her columns, Katrina should just consult them as they were meant to be used.

  26. - Aviva - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 8:04 pm:

    I’ve been in meetings all day, but FWIW at this hour:
    First, to the story. For those who clicked through and actually read it, you would have noticed that Montgomery doesn’t comment on Rauner’s wealth (so there was no attempt to send a message or thwack with a stick). He points out that “it’s like he’s not living in Illinois.” The part about his nine homes was story context (which, since it was a tightly written line, I quoted as a tweet, because Twitter.)
    Rather, Montgomery was noting how Rauner didn’t mention the crumbling colleges or social services in his Pleasantville speech about a state few people would recognize as Illinois.
    But, let’s talk about Rauner’s wealth since it elicited a Category 4 column from @StateHouseChick about “class warfare.” Being rich isn’t the issue. Plenty of rich people do great things, because they care about ordinary people. Rauner, the evidence shows, doesn’t. He put numerous companies through bankruptcy to cut costs, bust contracts, shed liabilities, make a few bucks after those obligations were removed - and this is the important part – collateral damage be damned.

    He’s doing the same to Illinois, and anyone that stands in his way gets a firehose of his cash aimed back at them.  He said explicitly, to McQueary’s paper in fact, that he would create a crisis to get the “leverage” he needed to exert his personal agenda. That crisis, as has been pointed out many times at this blog, has victims, and he doesn’t seem to care one bit about what happens to them.  

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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