Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x2 - Pritzker, Rauner campaigns respond *** Tribune reports on Tobin’s anti-Lincoln rants
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*** UPDATED x2 - Pritzker, Rauner campaigns respond *** Tribune reports on Tobin’s anti-Lincoln rants

Thursday, Nov 30, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From the twitters…

I’ve been writing about the anti-Abraham Lincoln rants of Taxpayers United’s Jim Tobin since 2011.

* Tribune

Bruce Rauner may be the governor of the “Land of Lincoln,” but he’s promoting kudos from a group led by a self-styled taxpayer watchdog who contends Abraham Lincoln fought the Civil War to keep collecting taxes from Southern states, not over the issue of slavery.

On Wednesday, Rauner’s campaign Twitter account noted the governor had “been graded 92 percent in taxpayer friendliness, because as governor, I’m the biggest advocate for taxpayers. I won’t stop fighting to protect Illinoisans from more tax hikes.” […]

Tobin’s foundation features several posts critical of Lincoln with such titles as “Lincoln brutalized the country and shredded the constitution,” “Illinois and Lincoln set the bar for political sleaze” and “Lincoln’s unpopular war.” […]

After the Tribune asked the Rauner campaign for comment, the Wednesday tweet promoting Rauner’s ranking by Tobin’s Taxpayers United was removed from Twitter. […]

The Tribune asked the Rauner campaign for comment about its promotion of Tobin as part of the governor’s re-election. A Rauner campaign spokesman sent a statement: “The Chicago Tribune, as well as other respected news sources, have cited Jim Tobin and the Taxpayers United of America several times.” Five Tribune stories were about transportation and school issues.

That’s true. Tobin is often cited by reputable publications that ought to know better.

*** UPDATE *** From Justin Giorgio at the Rauner campaign…

Hi Rich,

Providing some clarification on the Tribune story you posted this morning. They only mentioned 5 Tribune stories in the article, and justified those by saying they were ‘transportation and education’ focused. However, all had a political slant, and there were additional stories not focused on those issues at all. Here’s a list we provided of stories from the Tribune and others citing Taxpayers United of America.–20120625-story.html

Additional citations:


*** UPDATE 2 *** Pritzker campaign…

Bruce Rauner was again promoting recent praise from Jim Tobin, an activist who believes the Civil War was fought over taxes, not slavery. But after the Chicago Tribune started asking questions about the controversial move, Rauner’s campaign deleted the now nowhere to be found tweet:

Despite pushback, Rauner’s campaign continued to defend the praise today and stand by Tobin and his radical views.

“After a 736-day budget crisis that hurt working families across the state, it’s clear that praise from the likes of Jim Tobin is the best this failed governor can muster,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh.


  1. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 9:54 am:

    Another unforced error by Rauner and his team of superstars. He’ll go 4 years without answering any questions and when he’s out of office he’ll probably want to be quoted non-stop.

  2. - Honeybadger - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    Jim Tobin is a gadfly who has been around for a long, long, long time. Another guy who wants no taxes but wants services and has no plan on how to pay for them. Gawd

  3. - OneMan - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    Say what you will but Tobin’s Spirit Guide has helped people understand the spirit world. Including helping a team of investigators understand Gozer rituals, which was vital in addressing the ‘Stay Puff Man’ incident in NYC.

  4. - Anon221 - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:00 am:

    Rauner’s acceptance of an “A” from Tobin and ignoring Tobin’s history is very similar to what Trump did recently with his re-tweets. As long as a portion of the message “supports” Rauner or Trump’s agenda, the rest of the story is irrelevant to their egos.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    What’s disheartening is that other media outlets give credence to to Tobin, but the shame of it is those, like Rauner, abc to be fair, others, who willingly accept the raising and tout the rating or whatever is claimed and such, and their willingness, the people taking these rating ms and touring them, to ignore Tobim and his own Lincoln thoughts.

    The disheartening I can try to line with, but the shame of it by those willing to tout it, that is disappointing on an other level.

  6. - Henry Francis - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:06 am:

    Rauner is touting a 92% rating from this group?

    Ives bested him with a 100% rating.

  7. - m - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:06 am:

    The Civil War was much more complicated than simply being about freeing the slaves, but you can’t disconnect the issue from the war. Lincoln fought the Civil War to keep the southern states in the union, which yes meant lots of tax revenue since cotton was basically the engine of the national economy, but the southern states left the union largely due to the election of Lincoln who wanted abolition. So to say the Civil War wasn’t about slavery is insanely simple-minded. There were multiple issues, but the divide that created the war was over slavery. If Lincoln didn’t want to free the slaves, he could have won the war without the emancipation proclamation.

  8. - Perrid - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    The taxes angle is stupid. Lincoln didn’t even technically start the war, the South attacked Sumter, he just fought to keep the country whole. I think most historians would agree that Lincoln would not have tried to free slaves in the southern states since that would have started a war, and his primary goal was always to maintain the Union. That’s highly speculative, but I think it stands. What was up for grabs was the expansion of slavery to new states and territories. It’s ironic the the Civil War actually got rid of slavery more completely and/or faster than it would have if the South hadn’t seceded.

  9. - DuPage Bard - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    Oof Governor of the Land of Lincoln promoting his endorsement by a group who thinks Lincoln is a sleaze and war monger?

    How many GOP folks have attended a Lincoln Day dinner, including the Governor, that also tout this organizations endorsement?

    Their webpage show some of the candidates they’ve endorsed.
    True sign if Jim Tobin has any sway is if these dinners now become Reagan Day dinners and remove the Lincoln Day banner.

  10. - m - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    =It’s ironic the the Civil War actually got rid of slavery more completely and/or faster than it would have if the South hadn’t seceded.=

    As they say, decisions have consequences…

  11. - MOON - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    Lincoln did these things….”Because of Madigan”

  12. - Montrose - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:21 am:

    So the Rauner campaign has decided the issue is how many times the Tribune has cited Tobin’s group?

  13. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:25 am:

    Dear Justin,

    The number of times a newspaper cites a source lacking in honesty and credibility doesn’t make the source more credible, it makes those using the source less credible to the work product.



  14. - Henry Francis - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:32 am:

    ==So the Rauner campaign has decided the issue is how many times the Tribune has cited Tobin’s group?==

    Sure beats addressing the point honestly on its merits.

    This is what Fox/Trump do all the time. The day of his Pocahontas crack, Fox had like 7 headlines dissecting all the times Warren claimed to have Native American heritage, and how she used it to get jobs. That was the real issue, not Trump insulting native Americans at a ceremony where he is supposed to be honoring them.

  15. - Langhorne - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:32 am:

    BTIA–cracks me up. Amateurs.

    What if rauner got a “98% good governor” rating from roy Moore? Would they be touting that?

  16. - Anon221 - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    Langhorne- Probably- Rauner has always valued numbers over content or context. Just look at his “budgets”. ;)

  17. - Steve Rogers - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    Ugh, how many times do we have to fight this? The Civil War was over slavery, not taxation, not state’s rights, not economic development. Lincoln even said the war about slavery, and I think he would know!

  18. - PJ - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    === Lincoln even said the war about slavery, and I think he would know!===

    Way more importantly, several southern states stated explicity that leaving the Union was all about slavery. The narrative that it was something else is insidious, sick far-right propaganda.

    Happy to link to the various articles of secession that lay out how they’re fighting to keep slavery for all eternity. Horse’s effing mouth.

  19. - MG85 - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    == Lincoln even said the war about slavery, and I think he would know!==

    Heck, more than Lincoln spoke of the nature of the war. After the war, when the lost cause movement began, many confederate veterans spoke plainly about the cause of the Civil War:

    “I’ve never heard of any other cause than slavery,” wrote Confederate commander John S. Mosby. The progeny of the Confederacy repeatedly invoked slavery as the war’s cause.

  20. - You might say that, I couldn't comment - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    That’s quite the defense from the Rauner campaign. “You tout the endorsement of someone who thinks Lincoln fought the Civil War to collect taxes.” “Yeah, well the Tribune cites him more than five times!”

    Not sure how that leads to any other conclusion than both the Trib and Rauner should be ashamed.

  21. - Northsider - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 11:51 am:

    The South seceded to preserve and defend slavery. Stop. Period. The end.

    Jim Tobin and the rest of the Confederate apologists can go east ’til their hats float.

  22. - IllinoisBoi - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:30 pm:

    Who said the Civil War was about maintaining slavery? The Confederate secessionists. From the Mississippi Declaration of Secession:

    “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery - the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.”

  23. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 12:40 pm:

    Awkward Q&A at those bicentennial celebrations.

    Also, has the Union League Club been notified? Ridding Illinois of Confederate sympathizers was the reason they were founded.

  24. - Steve Rogers - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 1:01 pm:

    The Daughters of the Confederacy can be blamed for the lost cause mentality. They sponsored text books for schools that mandated you couldn’t say anything nice about Lincoln, you had to say that slaves were happy, and the war of northern aggression was about state’s rights. They gained a stronghold on southern ideology and white supremacy. This is why we have massive monuments to confederate generals. Even more important, this is why we need to have independent watchdogs to oversee messages that might end up indoctrinating generations of people. The Daughters of the Confederacy controlled the message.

  25. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 3:20 pm:

    Don’t get Tobin started on the meeting of bankers and financiers at Jekyll Island, Georgia.

  26. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 3:25 pm:

    Despite producing Lincoln and Grant, Illinois does not have a clean slate in terms of the Civil War. There was plenty of Copperhead sympathizers here and the Illinois Constitution of 1848 was not a document that improved race relations or promoted civil rights. It had an ugly provision that was clearly racist.

  27. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 3:53 pm:

    ==The Daughters of the Confederacy controlled the message.

    Thank you for your service, Captain. Yes, though I think the most recent work connects the men in the South pushing the Daughters to undertake those efforts. Excellent point. I would recommend Slate + podcast on reconstruction to anyone interested in an easy intro to some of this. Of course, books are better, but they do a very good job.

  28. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Nov 30, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    Rauner is not going to cede the NeoConfederate vote to Ives in a state that was and is at the core of and proud of Union support. Sounds like a winning plan.

    And Anon 3:25 good point.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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