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*** UPDATED x1 - Pawar responds *** Democrats respond to Rauner’s new hires

Wednesday, Jul 12, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I cannot ever remember a time when this much focus has been placed on a governor’s staff changes. But it’s most certainly news and therefore political fodder. From the Pritzker campaign…

The Rauner administration is going through a tumultuous transformation following a resounding defeat of the failed governor’s agenda. Rauner ousted top advisers who have been loyal for years and replaced them with a group of fresh faces with radical conservative views.

Let’s meet the new and radical hires making their way to the top of the Rauner administration:

    * Kristina Rasmussen was named Chief of Staff. She comes to the Rauner administration following eight years at the Illinois Policy Institute, most recently as the president and CEO. The right-wing think tank is known for proposing radical cuts to state services and programs in their fantasy budgets.

    * Michael Lucci is in as Rauner’s new Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. He also comes directly from the Illinois Policy Institute, previously the Vice President of Policy. In that role, he wrote 147 propaganda posts decrying fair policies like a progressive income tax while pushing top items on the Koch brothers’ agenda like right-to-work.

    * Laurel Patrick will serve as the administration’s Director of Communications. She left her short post at the D.C. version of the Illinois Policy Institute — the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity — and previously worked for union-busting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

“Bruce Rauner is cleaning house and welcoming a who’s who of radical right-wing extremists into the governor’s office,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “This is the Donald Trump playbook of playing to the worst extremes of your base when you have nothing left to lose. It will have deep and damaging repercussions for the people of this state.”

* DGA…

The Democratic Governors Association releases the following statement, attributable to Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro, regarding the news that Governor Rauner spent most of Tuesday firing old staff and hiring right-wing Illinois Policy Institute staffers into his administration:

“Bruce Rauner’s operation is in chaos. Fresh off a stunning bipartisan rebuke of his uncompromising policies, Rauner has turned inward, firing seemingly everyone to be replaced by right-wing ideological staffers. These moves should be concerning for Illinois families. Rauner has surrounded himself with the same uncompromising group of people who would rather see the state fall off a fiscal cliff than pass a bipartisan budget. Two and a half years in and Rauner has doubled-down on the same failed leadership style that earned him the nicknames ‘Governor Junk’ and ‘Most Vulnerable Incumbent.’”

*** UPDATE ***  From Ameya Pawar…

“Gov. Bruce Rauner is clearly losing his grip on the system he has propped up to benefit the billionaire class and corporate special interests after he lost the Illinois budget battle last week. Now, he’s trying to compensate for that loss by replacing his staff with even more conservative political ideologues who only seek to destroy our public institutions and preserve the system that only benefits the wealthy.

“When Bruce Rauner promised to shake-up Springfield, we didn’t expect just how far he would go to put his extreme agenda over the health and welfare of our state. Gov. Rauner clearly has no interest in governing. Instead he is doubling down on a failed agenda and waging war against working families, collective bargaining, livable wages and social services in Illinois. Any facade of executive leadership, collaboration and compromise has been thrown out the door.”


  1. - winners and losers - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 9:30 am:

    What has the new staff said about Senate Bill 1 in their previous positions?

  2. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 9:37 am:

    I believe IPI’s position on public education and how it’s funded is that it shouldn’t exist. If you can afford to educate your child, pay private school tuition, or teach them, in house, how to flip burgers.

  3. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    Maybe we’ll see some action on that “fire all state employees” idea they floated at IPI.

  4. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    I guess it’s all-out-war, huh?

  5. - Arock - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    Maybe they did but did the Democratic Governors Association blast past Illinois Governors and legislature for not paying the pension bill each year and driving Illinois to the Eve of Destruction with the $250 billion(Moody’s number) pension debt?

  6. - facts are stubborn things - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    Double down.

  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    The moves buy off the IPI types and should stop them from pounding Rauner on his complicity on the tax hike. That will make it easier for him to run on a dishonest anti-tax-hike message.

    Rauner had a lot of cards to play to defeat the override and chose not to use any of them. Instead, he publicly urged members to stay in town for the override vote.

    Who’s next to the trough? Will Proft be running the political show, a sweet score to keep him from blowing up the message?

    It will be interesting to watch. This new crew doesn’t strike me as too interested in compromising to get 60/30 in the GA, or 50% + 1 in the election. Purity is an objective in and of itself.

  8. - Ajjacksson - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    “Maybe they did but……”
    Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  9. - winners and losers - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    A 2007 study on Evidence Based school funding evaluating the one done for the State of Washington:
    “The procedure is roughly as follows:
    1)Find a study, preferably one that has some surface credibility, that shows that a particular intervention had a certain effect on a particular group of students.
    2) Ignore all the studies of that intervention that show a smaller effect or no effect at all. 3) Interpret the study as identifying a true causal relationship, not just a correlation or association.
    4) Finally, assume that the conditions that produced the very large effect can be perfectly replicated throughout the state of Washington.”

    “Few people care about the “studies” on which consultants base their reports, or even their validity, because nobody really expects schools to implement these specific programs if given extra funding.” [IN FACT SB 1 REQUIRES LOCAL SCHOOLS TO IMPLEMENT NONE OF ITS 27 ELEMENTS]

    “Clients simply want a requisite amount of scientific aura around the number that will become the rallying flag for political and legal actions.”

  10. - Huhwut - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    I really do not understand why they are responding to this stuff daily. It looks desperate. No one outside Springfield sees or cares. I cannot imagine many people see these JB press releases. Maybe just trying to energize the base at this point butcome on, they are saturating the market so early.

  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:02 am:

    ===I cannot imagine many people see these JB press releases… they are saturating the market so early. ===

    Pick a lane.

  12. - Huhwut - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    I stand by that these releases are not likely reaching a wide audience at thus time. However, you can saturate a limited market. Let’s not argue semantics here.

  13. - Generic Drone - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    If all else fails, double down.

  14. - IRLJ - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    Sounds like the staff changes may signal a gubernatorial pivot to the war against AFSCME.

  15. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    ==Let’s meet the new and radical hires==

    We already met them in 1998 with their one hit “You Get What You Give”.

  16. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    ==I really do not understand why they are responding to this stuff daily.==

    Such responses cost almost nothing to produce and if just one of them hits big they justify the whole endeavor. Plus, they give overworked journalists easy content (they make their way into local TV and radio more than you think) and provide talking points to loyalists.

  17. - Curl of the Burl - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    IRLJ - ding ding ding! I mentioned that last week. With the tax hike battle lost and (for the moment) the budget battle lost as well Rauner’s immediate focus is going to be on AFSCME’s contract and the fate of SB 1 vs. the GOP’s plan (SB 1124). The contract is a looming, ticking timebomb and the education funding matter is going to (hopefully) require a special session within the next few weeks or within the month.

  18. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    ===and provide talking points to loyalists. ===

    I would add that since many political types visit this blog, it also demonstrates to them that a real campaign is being run.

  19. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:32 am:

    ==I would add that since many political types visit this blog, it also demonstrates to them that a real campaign is being run.==

    That, too. Not a lot of reason not to do this, if you have the horses.

  20. - winners and losers - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:33 am:

    ==fate of SB 1 vs. the GOP’s plan (SB 1124)==

    Unfortunately both are based on the supposedly “Evidence Based” model. No one has yet attempted to evaluate its 27 elements.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:35 am:

    ===I would add that since many … visit this blog, it also demonstrates to them that a real campaign is being run.===

    This, to me, is where I am on this Pritzker rollout.

    What they are signaling here is a campaign growing into its own and showing a nimble manner to seize on moments and respond with a take that their opponent(s) now need to see as a “next step” evolution from where they were weeks ago.

    It’s important to show thoughtful, paced, calculated messaging and show with the same skill rapid, responsive messaging that fits into a longer message game that can set a table and placing this marker down to revisit again if the opportunity shows itself.

    It’s good. It shows also that the governing and the moves within the gonerning will face scrutiny.

    That’s what good campaigns do.

  22. - Harvest76 - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    It looks to me like fresh oil for the spin machine. If they fail at governing, they still have a chance to try and win with talking points. Not saying that’s a good strategy, but that appears to be the direction they’re going to head. Fire up the base and hope it carries the day.

  23. - Robert the 1st - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    =Sounds like the staff changes may signal a gubernatorial pivot to the war against AFSCME.=

    No pivot. Just a court delayed time-out. I imagine that will be Rauener’s one “big win.”

  24. - DuPage Don - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 11:01 am:

    As if the Democrat Governors Association is so in tune with the details of this state’s financial meltdown, completely ignoring the Illinois pension disaster and the 2005 pension holiday signed by a democrat governor that extended the debt 40 years. Thx but I’ll pass on their take on anything related to who sits in the executive mansion in IL.

  25. - Anon0091 - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    Pritzker is running against Rauner. The others often forget that and just run against Pritzker.

  26. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    “Rauner’s immediate focus is going to be on AFSCME’s contract…. The contract is a looming, ticking timebomb…”

    No one can really do anything about the AFSCME contract until the appellate court issues its decision.

  27. - A Jack - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 11:34 am:

    And you can bet that regardless of the appellate court decision, someone will appeal the AFSCME contract ruling to the Supreme Court which will likely push that issue into 2018. So it’s possible we may have a new governor before we have a new contract.

  28. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    >> Just a court delayed time-out. I imagine that will be Rauener’s one “big win.”

  29. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 11:51 am:

    Sorry my comment didn’t completely post.

    Rauner’s big win? There’s a decent chance he will lose, based on the stay decision that poked holes in the ILRB impasse ruling. If AFSCME loses, it can appeal to the ILSC, where it can get a stay and possibly win.

    Rauner could have had a contract by now, but he got into politics to wage war against his self-made enemies. This idea that he’s hardening up now after the budget defeat is a joke, to me. Rauner’s never been a moderate. He’s always been radical.

    So taxpayers and the state are big losers with Rauner. Debt ballooned, higher ed was damaged, the most vulnerable lost, businesses didn’t get paid, etc. Taxpayers are also losers in the AFSCME contract dispute. Rauner could have had a contract a long time ago that would save money for taxpayers, but here we are, in the middle of Rauner’s labor war, with no new contract and no new savings.

  30. - Shake - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    I Just Wish Rauner Would Get Out Of The Way. He Can’t Govern. What’s Rauner Good For?

  31. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 1:14 pm:

    This is what I do when I am bored on a rainy day.

    Bruce Rauner is angry, floundering, and desperate to avoid blame for his administration’s failures. So he’s taking a hard right turn and hiring a new group of radical right-wing advisors. That’s bad news for every family in Illinois.

    Instead of hiring experienced government professionals who can lead bipartisan agreements, Rauner is bringing in hired guns from a couple of dangerous right-wing “think tanks” funded by his fellow billionaires (including the infamous Koch Brothers.) These extreme organizations – the so-called “Illinois Policy Institute (IPI)” and the laughably named “Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity” – have a long record of pushing policies that favor the very rich at the expense of all the rest of us.

    Rauner’s list of hard-right extremists include:

    * Chief of Staff Kristina Rasmussen, who spent her eight years as president and CEO of IPI pushing for policies that can best be described as “loony.” She’s fanatically opposed to state services for children, people with disabilities, and seniors, and she’s actually called on Rauner to fire ALL state employees. (Consider the impact that would have on state prisons…)

    * Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Michael Lucci was the IPI’s “propaganda chief,” whose job consisted of parroting the Koch Brothers’ radical right-wing agenda.

    * Director of Communications Laurel Patrick worked briefly at the Franklin Center after serving three years as a mouthpiece for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (who was recently – and correctly – described by a Wisconsin newspaper as “Chris Christie without a beach.”)

    Clearly, Rauner is running to the right because he’s running scared. Even with all his wealth and power, he’s no longer able to fool the people of Illinois into believing his lies about having “no social agenda.”

    Rauner is a dangerous, angry extremist, just like the radicals he’s bringing into our state government. Illinois deserves new leadership that will work for all of us and make our state safe, solvent, and prosperous again.

  32. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 1:17 pm:

    @Grandson of Man - Rauner isnt going to enter into any contract with AFSCME when he has the Janus case ready for SCOTUS to strike down Abood and end govt. unions once and for all, possibly before the 2018 vote.

    The ILRB impasse case is peanuts.

  33. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 2:53 pm:

    I hate to tell you but the loss of Janus vs. AFSCME and the fall of Abood will not bring down public unions. In my opinion is will only cleanse them slightly of people who wanted to leave anyway. Sure it will be a temporary financial hit. But here is what Rauner and IPI have done for labor

    Present a real and credible threat that has united us.

    AFSCME’s now totally realize that the only way to survive the Rauner administration with its assaults on our pay, health insurance and nearly every workplace right is by sticking to the union.

    Thanks Bruce. We honestly were never ever able to unite as we are now.

    You brought about the exact opposite of what you wanted.

    Now that wonks are in charge and will increase the provocations you’ll see more and more coordination and militancy coming from all Labor.

    Solidarity forever secured by Rauner

  34. - Buzz Fugazi - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 4:09 pm:

    I have a lot of admiration for candidate Pawar, but maybe it is time for him and all of us to ban the continued overuse of “doubling down” in our political messages.

  35. - not an admirer - Wednesday, Jul 12, 17 @ 7:16 pm:

    Pawar is a lightweight.

  36. - Chicago Barb - Thursday, Jul 13, 17 @ 10:32 am:

    With all the IPIers going to work for the Governor, who will be left to run IPI?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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