Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x3 - Still hasn’t seen it - DGA criticizes Rauner *** Rauner points to WVON host’s defense of Illinois Policy Institute cartoon as legislators to protest HQ
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*** UPDATED x3 - Still hasn’t seen it - DGA criticizes Rauner *** Rauner points to WVON host’s defense of Illinois Policy Institute cartoon as legislators to protest HQ

Friday, Aug 18, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The AP picked up the Illinois Policy Institute cartoon controversy

Still, the image put a spotlight on Rauner and his links to the institute. Rauner, a wealthy businessman, donated to the group before he became governor and recently hired several top aides from the organization including his spokeswoman, Diana Rickert, and former Policy Institute president Kristina Rasmussen, who is his chief of staff.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s onetime chief of staff, issued a joint statement with city school officials accusing the governor’s “brain trust at the Illinois Policy Institute” of contributing to the school funding debate by publishing an “unambiguously racist cartoon.”

Rickert said Thursday that Rauner hadn’t seen the cartoon and wouldn’t comment on it.

“It’s a terrible thing for people to be bringing up now,” she said. “To be accusing somebody falsely of racism, or try to insinuate that people in this office are racist, is disgusting when the country is trying to recover from this tragedy.”

Pretty full-throated defense of her current and former employers.

* The governor said on WBEZ this morning that he hadn’t seen the cartoon, but he’d heard about it. He claimed that a radio host on WVON yesterday said he didn’t think the cartoon was racist and neither did his listeners. WVON, of course, is one of the nation’s most famous African-American radio stations. But the host, Maze Jackson, has close ties to former Rep. Ken Dunkin, who was backed by Rauner forces in his Democratic primary last year.

* Meanwhile…

Numerous state legislators will be joining civil rights and social justice organizations tomorrow to protest a recent Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) editorial cartoon that has been universally condemned by Democratic and Republican members of the General Assembly.

Attendees are calling on Governor Bruce Rauner, who has financially supported the IPI and recently hired high-ranking officials from the organization, to join the Democrat and Republican elected officials who have publicly condemned the racist cartoon and are demanding the IPI publicly apologize for the drawing.

    Who: Illinois State Representatives, civil rights and social justice organizations
    What: Protest Against Rauner-Backed Illinois Policy Institute’s Racist Cartoon
    When: Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, 10 a.m.
    Where: Illinois Policy Institute Headquarters, 190 S. LaSalle St., Chicago

* Pritzker campaign…

Just days after Bruce Rauner refused to call attacks by white supremacists in Charlottesville terrorism, Rauner‘s allies at the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) published a flagrantly racist cartoon to advance their divisive agenda. While members of both parties rebuked the cartoon from the House floor this week, Bruce Rauner’s chief spokeswoman — who was hired directly from the IPI — said that Rauner hadn’t seen the cartoon and then flatly denied that it was racist.

Rauner’s silence comes despite close ties to the Institute, with many of his senior staff coming directly from their ranks. The IPI has since pulled down the cartoon, but refuses to apologize.

“When Bruce Rauner was asked to take a principled stand on the white supremacist rally and terrorist attack in Charlottesville, he waited for Donald Trump before giving a half-hearted response,” said Pritzker campaign communications director Galia Slayen. “Now, Rauner’s refusal to respond to an obscenely racist cartoon from the Illinois Policy Institute is on a similar plane of moral bankruptcy. This is what happens when you staff your administration with radicals from a far-right think tank and would rather divide and pit communities against each other than help this state heal. There aren’t two sides to what happened this week — there is right and there is wrong — and it is abundantly clear which side Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump are on.”

…Adding… Tweet from after Rauner’s WBEZ interview…

*** UPDATE 1 ***  DGA…

For all the time that the Governor’s office has spent talking about or hearing about the IPI cartoon, it’s strange that Rauner never found the time to actually look at it. Weird how that works.

Governor Rauner has had a tough week. On Monday, he failed to call the attack in Charlottesville “terrorism.” And it was not until Wednesday that Rauner finally criticized President Trump for his incredibly insensitive comments about Charlottesville.

“This is Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership in action,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Governor Rauner would rather defend his political allies than tackle a sensitive subject head-on. This is not new - Illinois families have repeatedly seen Rauner dodge on issues of importance to them but politically inconvenient for Rauner. From his awkward comments on Charlottesville to his belated criticism of President Trump, Governor Rauner spent the week failing the leadership test. Today is just another example.”

*** UPDATE 2 ***

*** UPDATE 3 *** To some, the fact that Gov. Rauner wore a Maze Jackson t-shirt during the Bud Billiken Parade might possibly help explain the WVON angle…


  1. - Real - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:13 am:

    I’ve called out Maze Jackson a long time ago as being a tool for Rauner. I’ve dealt with him and his band of Raunerites when I volunteered for the Stratton campaign. It appears to me that Maze is bought and paid for.

  2. - pet project - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:14 am:

    Well, it wasn’t just Maze though. Charles Thomas strongly disagreed w/ Mitchell’s characterization on the show. He called it a “classic bamboozle.”

  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:16 am:

    Dear Diana Rickert,

    With a 105-0 vote…

    The Illinois House of Representatives stated it was racist.

    Are you saying the entire House is wrong too?

    Defending a racist cartoon isn’t a good look for the Rauner Administration.

  4. - Anon221 - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:18 am:

    In the Washington Post, too…

    I don’t think Rauner can hide too well from this one with the recent reshuffle to BTIA. Rauner has emboldened IPI. He may not totally “own” it, but he’s got a big chunk of it in his “portfolio”. Time to divest???

  5. - Ed lawyer - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:18 am:

    Maybe he doesn’t care, but this incident underscores in an understandable and visceral way the dangers of Rauner’s “dog whistle” rants against the Chicago Public Schools as he seeks to divide the state along racial lines, and block school funding reform that hundreds of downstate superintendents support.

  6. - hurts - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:20 am:

    Charles Thomas and the two other hosts on the show also disagreed with Mitchell, said it wasn’t racist.

  7. - Springfieldish - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:21 am:

    Rauner hasn’t seen this cartoon? The only explanation for that is his IPI staff is insulating him. Think on that for a moment: a Governor who is already totally insulated from the day-to-day issues his citizens face by virtue of his immeasurable wealth has now surrounded himself with folks who further insulate him. Is our Governor now the “boy-in-the-darkened-bubble?”

  8. - Pundent - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:22 am:

    This is the box that Rauner has put himself in. First and foremost I don’t believe that he hadn’t seen the cartoon. In fact I’m highly confident that as soon as the issue presented itself it was brought to his attention given the recent questions surrounding his staffing overhaul. And as OW points out the 105-0 vote leaves no doubt that this was on Rauner’s radar.

    The Democrats will get as much mileage out of the “alt right” controversy as they can. And they will continue to draw a straight line between Rauner’s staff, the IPI, and that movement. Better get used to it.

  9. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:25 am:

    When you choose to join at the hip with certain organizations, you choose to be subject to the consequences of their decisions. And their messagin’.

  10. - Anon221 - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:28 am:

    I really like IWT’s idea for Rauner’s 11 am presser. My suggestion would be for several reporters to print out the cartoon and hold it up all at once while asking in unision- “Have you seen this cartoon?” I’d love to see the “dodge dance” moves, too.

    IWT’s tweet: “Can someone just bring the IPI cartoon to @GovRauner’s 11am presser so we can be done with his absurd ‘I haven’t seen it’ dodge?”

  11. - Pundent - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:28 am:

    =Charles Thomas and the two other hosts on the show also disagreed with Mitchell, said it wasn’t racist.=

    Thomas also called Bruce Rauner a fiscal conservative.

    The point of all this is that there’s been a concerted effort by Rauner and the IPI to engage in these “dog whistle” campaigns. Usually the message is delivered through a subtext (crumbling prison schools). The cartoon was blatant.

  12. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:29 am:

    ===Charles Thomas===

    I love me some Charles, but he was one of the first Chicago TV political reporters to regularly feature IPI in his stories. He also claimed that Rauner was a fiscal conservative.

  13. - Mr. K. - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    Well, one way to make him see it would be to put it on a big sign — and then hold up the sign when he’s giving the press conference.

    He’d see it.

    But the thing is — he’s seen it. Of course he’s seen it. No one — not even a “busy” governor — is as disconnected from popular culture as Rauner (and Trump) claims to be. It’s not possible.

    First thing any responsible boss would do would demand to see the cartoon and to determine — for himself — where he or she stands on it. What, no one tells Rauner what to do or what to think until they tell Rauner what to do and what to think?

    Come on.

  14. - The Captain - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:44 am:

    Tangent: I’m surprised we haven’t seen the follow up where-are-they-now story on Ken Dunkin. Plenty of people want to know if he was taken care of for sticking his neck out for Governor Rauner and then getting trounced as a result. I would imagine many of the House Republicans currently contemplating the upcoming school funding veto override vote would like to know as well.

  15. - wndycty - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:46 am:

    When Maze Jackson is your character witness, you have no character.

  16. - don the legend - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:48 am:

    Just the other day with regards to his wife’s involvement, Rauner emphatically stated that he and he alone decides.

    But when an allegedly racist cartoon is published by his personally bankrolled organization, not so much.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    That tweet by JB really puts it all in focus. With a 105-0 vote, a governor may want to focus on a remark to be made.

    If Rauner wants Diana Rickert to state the position, even with the 105-0 vote, then that’s on the Governor.

    We already know how the Rauners feel about IPI messaging.

    (Tips hat to - Prudent -)

  18. - Skeptic - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    “any responsible boss would do would demand to see the cartoon and to determine — for himself” Especially one who claims to be the decider guy.

  19. - Listener - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    The resolution voted on 105-0 didn’t say anything about the cartoon. It was entirely about Charlottesville. Look it up on ILGA.

  20. - hurts - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:53 am:

    ===I love me some Charles, but he was one of the first Chicago TV political reporters to regularly feature IPI in his stories.===

    So we’re going to disregard his opinion on racism? A black man who lived through civil right era struggles, and reported on them? I think that’s more than a little unfair.

  21. - Michael Westen - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    This is similar to saying you can’t be racist because you have a black friend.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 10:01 am:

    ===The resolution voted on 105-0 didn’t say anything about the cartoon. It was entirely about Charlottesville. Look it up on ILGA.===

    The House stood up, as a whole, to denounce the cartoon.

    They physically had the members of the body, stand to denounce the cartoon.

    Are you saying they didn’t? Were there members that didn’t stand or want for the record they didn’t stand?

  23. - Wordslinger - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    So are taxpayers shelling out $165K a year so Rickert can shill for IPI? Don’t they have their own hack-flacks?

    She invokes Charlottesville to paint IPI as a victim and a unanimous Illinois House as bad guys.

    Infatuating, in its shamelessness. Discuss, at your weekend North Shore cocktail party.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    @dustyrhodes919 - House stands to denounce @illinoispolicy cartoon

    2:11 PM - Aug 16, 2017

  25. - Evanstonian - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    I’m starting to think the problem wasn’t Richard Goldberg?

  26. - Magic Dragon - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 10:07 am:

    Easy solution to the “I haven’t seen the cartoon claim”, next interviewer show him the cartoon and make him answer right then and there on his thoughts. Don’t let him off the hook here.

  27. - Henry Francis - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    So the Guv claims that he hasn’t seen the cartoon and doesn’t know enough about it to express an opinion about it. But he has heard of 1 or 2 voices that are of the opinion that it is not racist. What frequency is the transistor in his head dialed in on?

  28. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    ===So we’re going to disregard his opinion on racism?===

    Nope. Never said that. But I take what he says about IPI with a tiny grain of salt.

  29. - wndycty - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 10:26 am:

    I think every reporter, radio host and others who intend to ask Rauner about the cartoon show it to him before asking him. It kind of erases his whole “i haven’t seen it” excuse.

  30. - Wensicia - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    The governor has completely retreated into his IPI cocoon. But, they represent him, they speak for him and what they publish can be tied to him whether he “sees” the images and commentary or not. His behavior suggests he more or less accepts the consequences if he refuses to speak out against them.

  31. - WheatonWillie - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 10:38 am:

    Almost as many people as the IPI protests

  32. - Uhhh - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    Wonder if the protestors know they’re in a TIF, lol

  33. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 11:09 am:

    The IPI is headquartered in Chicago, a city it apparently hates. Check out the Twitter account below with only four followers. Warning: Graphic Language

    And who is one of the four followers? The IPI, of course.

  34. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    “It’s a terrible thing for people to be bringing up now. To be accusing somebody falsely of racism, or try to insinuate that people in this office are racist, is disgusting when the country is trying to recover from this tragedy.”

    tl;dr- We can’t talk about the racism of this cartoon because a racist killed a woman in Virginia.

    – MrJM

  35. - Anon221 - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    Trump is getting rid of Bannon. Rauner… Rauner… your turn now to change staffers again.

  36. - Earnest - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 1:36 pm:

    >This is similar to saying you can’t be racist because you have a black friend.

    Or saying you support human services because you made a donation in the past.

  37. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    ==Rauner…your turn now to change staffers again.==
    I hear there a quite a few legislators available. /s

  38. - Real - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 3:35 pm:

    At this point Rauner seen the cartoon. He just doesn’t want to make a judgement on it because if he condemns it then his base will lash out at him or if he dismisses it then his dem opponents will lash out at him.

  39. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 3:40 pm:

    Bruce Rauner has no credibility to claim he honestly hasn’t seen it.

    We were told that both Rauners are obsessed with IPI messaging… now Bruce chose not to check out what all the fuss is about.

    That’s not truthful to anything.

  40. - SAP - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 3:59 pm:

    Any leftover sandbags from the Fox River flood? The Governor needs to bury his head a little deeper.

  41. - Earnest - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    >Bruce Rauner has no credibility to claim he honestly hasn’t seen it.

    Hate to disagree, but he’s laid some good groundwork for not being aware of things. He wasn’t aware he needed a supermajority for his AV, he wasn’t aware of what the numbers were for the impact of his AV on schools, he wasn’t aware the leaders were already meeting with regards to school funding when he called for them to meet (to be fair, he required the two minority leaders to make statements as though they too were unaware they’d been meeting with the majority leaders), he didn’t know what town he was in when signing the Edge credit, he wasn’t aware he’d been brought an offer from Durkin,….. /s

  42. - anon - Friday, Aug 18, 17 @ 4:18 pm:

    Maybe Diana has seen the cartoon, since she’s in charge of state government.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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