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Is Rauner betting on “Little Trump”?

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Reporters asked Gov. Rauner yesterday why he skipped a White House gathering attended by 46 other governors and who he’s met with in the Trump administration

On Monday, the most Rauner revealed is he’s been in “communication” with members of the “Trump administration” on “violence issues.”

“The folks who are developing the policy — different from, you know, media discussion — the policy that we’re actually going to implement, we’re in conversations, I’m personally in conversations with folks developing that,” Rauner told reporters Monday when asked to respond to the perception that he’s been distancing himself from Trump.

The governor did not give specifics about what policy was being considered, nor did he say whom he was talking with from Trump’s administration. Pressed on whether he was avoiding Trump, Rauner said he’d “meet with the president any time.”

* More

On Monday — as governors met with Trump at the White House — Rauner was asked several times why he hasn’t met personally with Trump. The two have only shared a private phone conversation shortly after the election.

Rauner said he spent his weekend speaking with governors and members of the Trump administration about Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act — saying he pushed for “moving slowly and thoughtfully” and fixing the “broken” insurance market on the exchange. He said he also spoke to the Trump administration about coordinating to help deal with Chicago’s gun violence problem.

The governor said he met with members of Trump’s administration — “the folks that are developing the policy” — about a federal policy dealing with violent crime across the country. He declined to discuss specifics of that potential policy change.

“It’s different from, you know, media discussion. A policy that we’re actually going to implement. We’re in conversations,” he said.

Let’s stipulate right up front that there is zero doubt that much of this is about that horribly over-used word “optics.” He has to win the suburbs to be reelected, and Trump did horribly in the ‘burbs.

* But the governor also said this yesterday…

The folks who are driving the policy are the folks who are going to make the difference.

Which seems to indicate that he doesn’t believe that talking to the president will make much difference.

* And that’s part of the same point made in The Atlantic about the stock market’s rise since the election

(T)he stock market might be rising because investors are paying more attention to the people surrounding Trump than to the president, himself. The federal government looks mostly like a conventionally conservative pro-business institution, if you ignore the idiosyncrasies of the Oval Office. Republicans have promised to cut taxes, particularly for rich Americans and business, and there is broad agreement among the GOP to deregulate the financial and energy industries, including rolling back Dodd-Frank. […]

To oversimplify slightly, you could say that the divide between the apoplectic Main Street and cheery Wall Street is the difference between a Big Trump hypothesis and a Little Trump hypothesis. The Big Trump hypothesis says that the president is a vindictive demagogue and a unique threat to Americans norms and institutions, with the potential to wreak havoc on the country’s politics, economics, and culture.

The Little Trump hypothesis regards these fears and declares: “meh.” Instead, it posits that the president will be a loud yet minor figure, sound and fury signifying nothing; a wannabe superhero hemmed in by the limited powers of the executive branch. Rather than rule like a populist demagogue, he will mostly sign bills written by his pro-business staffers and approved by a pro-business Congress. There are extremely smart people who believe in each hypothesis. But the theories are mutually exclusive. They cannot both be true. No matter what happens in the next few years, a lot of people are already wrong about Donald Trump.

* Related…

* Alexander: Rauner can’t dodge Trump forever

* Governor Says He’ll Meet Trump ‘Any Time’

* Gov. Rauner no-show at Trump’s governors’ events


  1. - Juice - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    I disagree that they are mutually exclusive.

    In some policy areas where the President has an interest (immigration and trade), there is a pretty good chance that he will be more willing to push his views forward, and given his propensity to not take criticism well, you could see more seasoned policy people being pushed out and replaced with yes men who are willing to do the President’s bidding.

    But in areas where the President has very little interest (I would argue health care, probably energy, transportation) he is probably going to have a much more hands off approach.

  2. - Linus - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    I’m with Juice: These are not strictly, mutually exclusive theories. There’s plenty of room for give and take between Prez and his peeps, depending upon the issue at hand.

  3. - JB13 - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    The only people longing for a public meeting between Rauner and Trump are Illinois Democratic operatives itching to slap a photo of Rauner shaking hands with Trump on campaign literature and websites.

  4. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    ===are Illinois Democratic operatives===

    You must not have any social media friends who are Trump supporters. Many are not happy.

  5. - ChicagoVinny - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    This Little Trump theory seems to be cherry-picking which people around Trump they are looking at, since folks like Bannon or Miller, who aren’t your typical conservative, and have had a heavy hand in policy so far. Big Trump or Little Trump I’m not comforted.

  6. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    BigBrain will need to suck up to Trump folks if he has any hope of winnin’ in ‘18. Heck if keeps playin’ these games they may put up a primary challenge…tee hee.
    Wonderin’ if he and Griff know about Trump buyin’ and sellin’ Palm Beach houses to Ruskies (MSNBC Monday nite) and they are steerin’ clear.

  7. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 11:33 am:

    Rauner’s problem is that the movie playing in his head about how government should be, (with himself in the starring role), was interrupted by Donald Trump.

    Trump’s success threatens the Rauner story line which claims that unbridled capitalism solves all societal ills. Trump isn’t a Bush, nor a Romney. Instead Trump is a populist willing to question unbridled capitalism. Trump isn’t global. Rauner has been seeing how his Scott Walker-ish union beat down was rejected by Trump and runner-up Kasich.

    Trump winning the Oval Office is confusing Rauner and his little head movie. These two are very different in their approaches to business. Their approach to the middle and working classes are also markedly different. Rauner doesn’t agree with Trump.

    They aren’t friends.

  8. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    At the depth of the Great Recession in early 2009, the DJIA was at 6,626. It’s been on a steady climb since to today’s 20,788.

    I blame Madigan. Makes as much sense as applying it to any other politician.

    In reality, low-cost money encourages corporations to borrow and buy back their own stock, driving up the price of the shares and options held by top execs, plus dividends.

    That means oogats to the structural, long-term problem of increased labor productivity not being rewarded with income growth. That’s a chronic problem in the developed world and the source of much of the economic anxiety and political anger here and in Europe.

  9. - Union Man - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    Mini Trump?

  10. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    Ugh, didn’t we talk about “Little Trump” enough in the primary?

    Politically, there’s probably a downside to Rauner, as it gives downstate voters another reason to be suspicious of him. But substantively, I think there’s some wisdom there. There’s little evidence that Trump is the real policy maker on the issues Rauner cares about.

  11. - P. Clemenza - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 12:03 pm:

    When you are always campaigning, it makes sense to take time to meet face to face with Chance the rapper and not with the president. Nothing against Chance, but that can be played up better to the simpletons of Illinois.

  12. - P. Clemenza - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 12:12 pm:

    -The only people longing for a public meeting between Rauner and Trump are Illinois Democratic operatives itching to slap a photo of Rauner shaking hands with Trump on campaign literature and websites.-

    That’s funny, I was under the impression that we would want our elected officials to get meet to solve problems and get things done.

  13. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    I bet Rauner voters in the suburbs and downstate in particular love Chance the Rapper.

  14. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 12:16 pm:

    ===played up better to the simpletons===

    Is that you, Mark Giangreco?

    Try to avoid posts like that, please.

  15. - GOPgal - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    To the extent Trump didn’t do great in IL burbs that’s mostly a function of Rauner and most of the rest of IL GOP not doing their jobs and working against the party’s nominee for the top national office.

    Fact is Trump did very well in burbs in other states where Rs did their jobs, just like Trump did very well with women nationally even though he was running against a female candidate.

    So sick of this fake news from hayseed “journalists” who are as clueless about politics as the incompetent yokel politicians they pretend to cover in this state.

  16. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    The best message democrats could come up with last election was Governor Rauner equals Trump. That was about it, they certainly were not running on their “successes”.

    No one seemed to think Trump would win and he is much more unpopular here in Illinois than the rest of the country.

    Rauner avoiding President Trump is smart politics

  17. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 2:12 pm:

    –The best message democrats could come up with last election was Governor Rauner equals Trump.–


  18. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    –The best message democrats could come up with last election was Governor Rauner equals Trump.–


    You’ve already given it more thought than it deserves, wordslinger.

    – MrJM

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