One of the constants during Gov. Bruce Rauner’s 2 1/2 years in office has been his belief in the power of messaging: If only people understood his agenda, the resulting groundswell of public support would be enough to pressure Democrats to get on board with his ideas.
It’s a notion so central to the Republican governor’s philosophy that it’s common for him to ask supporters, onlookers and even journalists to “help get the message out.”
“We just need to get our friends and our neighbors and our allies to stand up together and message on this issue,” Rauner said last week during remarks at a gathering of road builders in Oak Brook. “Everything we’re fighting for is a win for the people of Illinois, and we’ve got to message that together.”
Since the start of the year, Rauner’s focus on messaging intensified as a temporary budget expired and pressure built for the Republican governor to strike a budget deal with Democrats who control the General Assembly, according to people familiar with the operations of the governor’s office who spoke to the Chicago Tribune on condition of anonymity.
OK, but what does he mean by “messaging”?
* If you scroll all the way down to the very end of WBEZ’s story on the Illinois Policy Institute staffers hired by Gov. Rauner, I think you’ll see what he’s talking about…
[Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine)], however, said Rauner’s new chief of staff and communications team would focus more on how the governor delivers his message.
“One thing the Illinois Policy Institute does well is communicate the untold stories that maybe the media is unable or unwilling to tell,” Morrison said.
* This is the same basic explanation given by Chicago Tribune editorial board member Kristen McQueary on Dan Proft’s radio show a couple of weeks ago…
If you look at what [Gov. Rauner’s new chief of staff Kristina Rasmussen] has done with the Illinois Policy Institute, regardless of what you think of the Policy Institute, until they started growing and putting pressure on different policy issues in Springfield, there was really no entity down there pushing that agenda, or refuting what the Left was always doing, or taking unions to task, or looking more critically at the state budget and all of these issues. They have become a force de jour under her leadership. So, I think that probably speaks to why she is a good choice.
I mean, you know the liberals will go nuts because the Illinois Policy Institute is seen as a real flash point down there. And this will be interpreted as he is now going to listen even more to his base and anti-union rhetoric and all that. That’s what the push will be. But I just see this as more of a policy-driven, disciplined person who will be in his ear every day rather than some of these people who perhaps did not know Springfield as well as they should have. […]
She also has just a really good grasp of media, of story-telling. When I’ve been on this show at times, sometimes I’ve felt as an editorial writer that I was telling stories that his people should’ve been telling… It fuels the idea that maybe there isn’t good messaging coming from his office when they’re not good at explaining why, for example, a locally approved right to work zone, and I know these are considered off limits kind of off the bat, but they shouldn’t be. Some of these issues that were on his initial Turnaround Agenda were not anti-union, union-bashing. They were small, locally approved issues to help places like the South Side of Chicago and the West Side that have not seen new development in 25 or 30 years.