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The Rauner couple’s “unhealthy obsession with media and messaging”

Tuesday, Jul 18, 2017

* Tina Sfondeles in the Sun-Times

Fear is the operative emotion in the governor’s office, which has essentially been taken over by a conservative think tank, according to remaining staffers. The resignations on the administration’s policy, digital and communications team, were a way to protest the new ideology, sources said. […]

While many are still scratching their heads over the takeover, a source with close knowledge of the governor’s administration said the uproar was sparked by Rauner’s and his wife’s “unhealthy obsession with media and messaging” and discussions the couple had at “North Shore cocktail parties.”

“They had conversations with people at these parties who said ‘I had no idea you were doing this.’ It would blow up the whole week’s plans,” the source said.

Speaking of the state’s first lady, the source said: “I think her footprint on decision making, on his decision making, is larger than most believe.”

The source, too, said the Illinois Policy Institute’s current CEO John Tillman “clearly has the ultimate influence [on the governor] at this point.”

Those last two points are correct.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Deadbeat Conservative - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    So Diana Rauner is a “democrat” IPI ideologue? That would make her more phony than the Governor.

  2. - Rocky Rosi - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:43 am:

    The news writers should focus on solutions and not being so critical of individuals that offer solutions.

  3. - Phenomynous - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    “They had conversations with people at these parties who said ‘I had no idea you were doing this.’ It would blow up the whole week’s plans,” the source said.

    What did these people have no idea about? It isn’t clear in the article. They had no idea he was blowing up deals? Negotiating in good faith? No idea he was Governor?

  4. - Lt Guv - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:45 am:

    Diana is a phony as Holden Caufield. Hate that book.

  5. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:46 am:

    This may be the Veep-iest thing he’s ever done.

  6. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:47 am:

    To paragraphs three and four- Whoa. The Diana Rauner image of the “liberal” in the family or the “democrat” is completely known at this point. And Willy and Word have been on that for some time. I just had no idea the extent.

    That Diana revelation puts the Ounce of Prevention coloring of the ISNE in a very different light. It begs the question: how heavy handed has her influence been there? Certain materials that the ISBE sent out for the pre-k grants had The Ounce as a goiter indicating they came straight from them. That would put them I. The driver seat for tens or hundereds of millions more I. State money. Privatizing.

    Now I am really worried, things were just turned up to 11.

  7. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    The Rauners have always wanted to pursue what’s best for their personal bottom line while being applauded for doing so. And with the new IPI staffers, they’ll get the applause they so desperately crave.

    I think her footprint on decision making, on his decision making, is larger than most believe.

    He may not come right out and say it, so lemmie do it for him: Oswego Willy told you so.

    – MrJM

  8. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    don’t doubt that his wife would want his work to be highlighted. is it true that she wanted more IPI to do that? it’s easy to blame the wife of an elected official. the blame should be square on the elected official.

  9. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    @Rocky Rosi- puhleese….this crew has specialized in character attacks as their bread and butter.

    Ever the disciple.

  10. - Blue Bayou - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    The media and messaging is what you get obsessed about when your policies are unpopular. It’s what you worry about when you can’t really offer numbers, and facts, and the whole truth of what you’re trying to do with your policies.

    Destroying labor unions, lowering wages, benefiting the rich with tax policy, harming higher ed, social services: these are the effects of the policy Rauner and his wife ran on.

    They can buy all the messaging in the world, but people know now what it’s all about. It’s going to be hard in 2018 when there’s no Pat Quinn to run against.

  11. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    From blaming the governor’s staff to blaming the governor’s wife?

    At what point does Governor Rauner start taking some actual responsibility?

  12. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    This is the first time that I can recall that people still inside the administration are dissing on the Rauners.

    Combined with those who have been unceremoniously kicked to the curb, it should make for some good copy in the coming months.

    So Tillman and Diana Democrat engineered this purge because they were worried about messaging?

    How’s that going?

  13. - GOPgal - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    For people supposedly so obsessed with messaging they sure are horrible at it.

  14. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    Rocky Rosi - “The news writers should focus on solutions and not being so critical of individuals that offer solutions.”

    Do they pay you extra for drivel like that?

  15. - Roman - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    Phenomynous -

    I’m with you, I don’t understand that quote.

  16. - Sherman Exit - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    if this came from “North Shore cocktail parties” aren’t those the types of Republicans who just got canned? i.e. Mark Kirk types???

  17. - Here we go again - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    It’s unfortunate that the First Lady’s is willing to blur her image and reputation (and maybe even legacy?).
    How can the Ounce on one hand be this progressive organization advocating for the budget, then on the other hand the President of the org is seemingly doing the opposite? Makes no sense.

  18. - former southerner - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    “At what point does Governor Rauner start taking some actual responsibility?”…

    To paraphrase Poe’s Raven, Nevermore and anyone who questions me will be shown the door.

  19. - DeseDemDose - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Madigan upsets cocktail parties.

  20. - Curl of the Burl - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Word - yep. That is what makes this so weird. There were never any leaks - at least none that I can remember - and the internal structure seemed very tight-lipped and disciplined.

  21. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:58 am:


    Read between the lines. Bruce is in Springfield. Diana is the one going to cocktail parties on the North Shore.

    Sounds to me like the Administration is throwing the First Lady under the bus.

  22. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    I wish they were as concerned about implementation and governing as they were messaging and what rich north-shore people thought at cocktail parties.

  23. - Illinois O'Malley - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    So ole Gov’ Carhartt was told by North Shore elite and his wife to veto CPS funding?

  24. - Telly - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    = it’s easy to blame the wife of an elected official. the blame should be square on the elected official =

    Fair enough, but we’re dealing with unusual circumstances here. Diana play a crucial role in selling her husband as a non-ideological, middle-of-the-road problem solver during the campaign. I don’t think Bruce Rauner gets elected without those commercials. If she is now actively helping a super-idealogical, conservative think tank take over the administration, criticism of her is absolutely legit.

  25. - Streator Curmudgeon - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    Everybody wants to be accepted and admired by their peer group. Too bad their peers are the North Shore Cocktail Party types, instead of teachers, IDOT workers, and the folks the governor dresses up like.

    If the Guv wanted people to know what he’s doing, he should quit making commercials with him glad-handing people in coffee shops.

    Oh wait. I guess that’s what he is doing.

  26. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    === “unhealthy obsession with media and messaging” ===

    Amazing. Rauner has editorial boards are eating up his so-called reform agenda and his burn the place down methodology. He and his dark money buddies are flooding the media with his phony narrative. Columnists were declaring Rauner the political winner in the budget battle and pronouncing the budget defeat as good for his reelection. What’s not to like? Why jettison staff I felt was too strident with a more aggressive bunch?

    Dang, those “North Shore cocktail parties” must be brutal. Well maybe he’ll get a better reception at the next party. He sure isn’t going to improve his messaging with this race to conservative purity.

  27. - Franklin Delano Bluth - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    ==“They had conversations with people at these parties who said ‘I had no idea you were doing this.’ It would blow up the whole week’s plans,” the source said.==

    Can someone explain to me what this quote means? I’ve read it a few times and I can’t figure it out. Great article though

  28. - Pundent - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    I gotta feeling that some of Rauner’s recent staffing decisions are going to come back and bite him in a big way. For all of the criticism leveled at him the messaging was always tight. I also admired his ability to keep leaks and dissention to a minimum. A bunch of angry ex-staffers doesn’t seem to bode well for the governor.

  29. - don the legend - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:06 am:

    Not sure I have my history correct but things did not end well for Rasputin (Tillman) and the Czar and his wife.

  30. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:09 am:

    Dr. Rauner has visions outside the borders of Illinois. The Ounce is not confined to our state. They are working on national change. Listen to her recent City of Chicago speech. Especially the section that relates to the capacities of children who do were not born into the “lucky pool” (her words, not mine). It really isn’t much of a surprise that the Rauners are DeVos supporters.
    And, yes, Ounce is the pass-through for a LOT of social service money in this state.
    Ounce’s national reach:
    Dr. Rauner’s speech:
    And, if you wonder why I refer to her as Dr. Rauner, she does have a Ph.D., so I will continue to address her with that title.

  31. - MaryHeart - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    I’m obviously not sure, but I think the quote means that when the Rauners were at dinner parties discussing their activities, those to whom they were speaking indicated a lack of awareness with the specifics. Thus, Rauner crew was instructed to put more effort toward the messaging, blowing up the crew’s other-directed plans for the week. That’s the most sense that I can make of it…

  32. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:18 am:

    (Tips cap, humbly to - @MisterJayEm -)

    To the Post,

    It’s not an accident it’s called “Raunerism”.

    It’s also not an accident that Diana Rauner is actively involved in these decisions now, just as Diana Rauner these past 3+ years in all things “Raunerism”.

    The mistake is buying into the phony Diana Rauner.

    You don’t run a social service agency and look upon what this governor has done and call colleagues searching for relief as business decisions. You don’t. Not possible.

    The personal integrity and frankly Diana Rauner’s personal legacy, to her, is the Raunerism that Bruce is trying to thrust upon Illinois. It’s not The Ounce. It’s not child advocacy. It’s now about the wealthy and the privilege seeing both RaunerS as their advocates for the vision(s) Raunerism advocates.

    Diana believes in this so… she will say she’s a “Democrat” when Raunerism is her ideal… she will push out the most loyal and trusting, when policy and Raunerism is the end game over governing.

    Diana was instrumental in the takeover of both legislative caucuses, and the $9 million with her name attached just last October was her own doubling-down on the phoniness of her worry for social services, while trying to defeat the party, her Democratic Party seated members.

    Diana Rauner isn’t who she wants you to believe, unless you are a North Shore resident and you and Diana mock those who think she’s a person concerned for Illinois

    Diana Rauner is as complicit as Bruce, being phony to those who looked to her to help this goner or understand, but j reality, Diana did help Bruce understand… understand that his destruction of Illinois required the change… of their most loyal people, and those who actually do care for Illinois.

    Diana Rauner cares for Raunerism. The joke is on is all.

  33. - ILGOV2018 - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:20 am:

    I am clueless as to what that last quote means about blowing up the whole weeks plans.

    Can someone Enlighten all of us?

  34. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    I think what bothers the Rauners is the exposure that comes with public office. They’re used to hiding their motives behind their wealth. Now they’ll be protected by the IPI cocoon they’re wrapping around themselves? Not likely.

  35. - Da big bad wolf - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    To Anon221 @ 11:09. Dr. Rauner said “lucky gene pool”15.17. This is a shocking slip for a doctor who is basing the rest of her lecture on envirnmental causes fo brain damage.

  36. - Rabid - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 12:19 pm:

    Doctor is an enabler

  37. - RNUG - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    Gee … maybe the north shore group was upset about the methods and level of destruction from Raunerism.

  38. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 12:43 pm:

    ‘I had no idea you were doing this.’ Does it occur to anyone that statement could be from someone who doesn’t want to admit they don’t agree with what they are doing?

  39. - Anony - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 1:41 pm:

    OW @ 11:18 - I ask this without snark, as an honest question…. Do you know these things about Mrs. Rauner, or have you deduced them from the actions of she and her husband? I ask because I have met him very briefly twice, and he struck me as a guy nobody really knows. Sounds as if she might be the same.

  40. - Union Man - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    Too bad Tina Sfondeles thinks of and refers to the IPI as a “conservative think tank.” Conservatives are not Libertarians and never considered Libertarians as one of them! Wm F. Buckley rejected Ayn Rand as Conservative.

    Watch Out Republicans, you’re having your name and philosophy being stolen right from beneath you.

  41. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    - Anony -

    Here’s how I will answer.

    If you think I’m wrong in where I point out the public or reported moves and decisions these past 3+ years, along with the now reports from Sneed and this piece in the post from Sfondeles, where they both point to from inside people…

    … why does it matter?

  42. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 2:29 pm:

    This is the most revealing post I’ve read in a long time.
    It confirms
    1) class war- this is Austrian School Economics translated into political action, perfidiously. “I had no idea you were doing this”. Even the wealthy were fooled and the damage was done on their behalf for their benefit.
    2) Rauners are a unique political expression of Hayek/Mises
    They are not republicans or conservative. They bought the shell company ILGOP and used it. They are now done with it. Ewe…..put it in the trash says the mrs.
    3) downstate Repunlicans, the Rauners are the essence of Northshore elitism, privilege, and exclusivity. They are your natural antithesis. If he was a business man he would have thrown everything into small and midsize business. Not large companies who collect tax incentive welfare. (rivian) Billions have gone to consultants and outsourcing firms already. You complain about state workers and totally turn a blind eye to the theft of taxpayer money going on at the back door.
    This is about a small subset of the
    Investor/owner class
    Stripmining the state
    Not Randians but devotees of Hayek and Mises
    Destroying the administrative state
    For big business/investor profit
    You call yourself Democrat or Rrpublican
    Diana and Bruce
    But they are Austrian School

  43. - Anon E Mouse - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 3:56 pm:

    But Honeybear, what I really want to know is: at these North Shore party hor d’oeuvre tables, do the guests double dip?

  44. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 5:45 pm:

    Thank you Wolf. I couldn’t find my notes from the speech today, and I thought she had injected “gene” into that sentence but memory was hazy. I do know that you don’t write kids off from age 3 forward because they may have had a difficult upbringing- MRI studies not withstanding. It’s that type of elistist thinking that marginalizing so much of society.

  45. - walker - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 6:03 pm:

    When my natural friends and allies don’t like what I’ve been doing: ‘What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    Any communications failures are my entire senior staff’s fault.

  46. - Rabid - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 6:05 pm:

    The govenor made his wife a media obsession wihen he said” I haven’t seen you this happy in twenty years” , standing ovations during church sermons , if you don’t believe me ask my wife, she will back up my message

  47. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 6:18 pm:

    –“They had conversations with people at these parties who said ‘I had no idea you were doing this.’ It would blow up the whole week’s plans,” the source said.–

    I took that as it wasn’t going over well in polite society that they were reneging on signed contracts to the likes of teen homeless shelters and Meal on Wheels, and bleeding public universities and community colleges dry.

    That ain’t a messaging problem. That’s a consequences-of-your-deliberate-actions problem.

    But still, bringing in the likes of IPI and Proft is going to solve a messaging problem?

    That’s a messed-up-thinking problem. Inexplicable.

  48. - NorthsideNoMore - Tuesday, Jul 18, 17 @ 7:12 pm:

    Billionairs are chameleons, only a select few ever get to far out on the political front lines, as most made some big chunks of dough doing something for the government. They change colors when the situation suits them. They can afford to support “causes” on both sides. At this point Kennedy looks good you know what your going to get with his clan. Maybe a GOPer will jump in using Mike Zs organization and provide an alternative to the circus this has become.

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