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Wheeler: “Rauner’s three years in office have been worse for Illinois than the ‘failed’ Quinn”

Friday, Dec 1, 2017

* Charlie Wheeler

In November, 2014, Republican Bruce Rauner beat then-Gov. Pat Quinn by some 142,000 votes following a campaign featuring “the incumbent Democrat is a failure” as a major theme.

Not surprisingly, a lot of folks — many of them union workers smarting from Quinn’s efforts to cut public employee retirement benefits — voted for Rauner simply because he was not Quinn.

As candidate filing this week officially kicked off campaign 2018, one might suspect that Rauner’s new mantra is, “Vote for me because I’m not Mike Madigan.” The focus on the long-serving House Speaker is politically expedient, of course, because Madigan may well be the most disliked political figure in the state, after the governor and his operatives have spent millions characterizing the Chicago Democrat as the Darth Vader-Lord Voldemort of Illinois.

But the governor’s Madigan fixation also may reflect that by many measures, Rauner’s three years in office have been worse for Illinois than the “failed” Quinn, leaving Rauner with little to crow about.

Consider the record in three important areas:

Go check it out.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

50 Comments
  1. - Just Me - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    Every day I wonder how our State would be different if Dillard had won that primary.


  2. - Arsenal - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    No word a lie.


  3. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:07 am:

    - Just Me - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 10:59 am:
    Every day I wonder how our State would be different if Dillard had won that primary.

    Amen.


  4. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:09 am:

    Grade A stuff from Charlie.


  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    Rauner is a disaster by design. He willfully ran up billions in operations debt while going Social Darwinist on higher ed and social services.

    That was the plan and it went all his way for 2.5 years until the wheels fell of the wagon last summer. He tuned up the citizenry but good while it lasted.

    History will be a harsher judge of him and his old tronc/IPI/Proft propaganda machine that enabled him during his run. Their shallow spin won’t stand the test of time any better than it holds up now.


  6. - Steve Rogers - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    =if Dillard had won that primary. Indeed. I still blame Rutherford, who had no chance after his troubles. He should have gotten out of the race, and his voters most likely would have went to Dillard. Dillard wins primary, Dillard wins general. No doubt Illinois would be better off.


  7. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    The proof is in the pudding, as they say.


  8. - illini - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:35 am:

    Excellent article. This has to be a Must Read for every Illinois voter.

    Yet Tillman and all the IPI “newspapers” will do their best to deflect and attempt to change the focus.

    Facts do matter.


  9. - anon2 - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:39 am:

    I agree that Rauner has been a worse governor than Quinn. But Rauner loyalists won’t apply the same standard to their governor that he had applied his predecessor.

    For example, lower credit ratings on Quinn’s watch were all the governor’s fault according to candidate Rauner. By contrast, drops in the credit rating under Gov. Rauner either don’t matter or aren’t his fault.

    Ditto for the backlog of unpaid bills. Quinn got criticized because of the $6B backlog, while Rauner takes no responsibility for jacking it up to $16B.


  10. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    Rauner is a disaster by design.

    Is the Democrats disastrous record accidental? Illinois was the most financially unstable state before Rauner was elected and Democrats have only permanently raised taxes and fixed nothing else.

    If you think history will blame Rauner for Illinois decline and lionize the Democrats who caused it your “shallow spin” will have to be much better


  11. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:44 am:

    ===Is the Democrats disastrous record accidental? ===

    “If you blame Democratic governors and their failings, but won’t blame Bruce Rauner for his same failings as governor, you might be a Raunerite”

    Ya can’t hold others accountable for their records and claim the failings of Rauner in his tenure and term aren’t his.

    Governors own. You said so yourself there.


  12. - Henry Francis - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:45 am:

    Hey LP, can you please let me know what Rauner has done as Governor over the last 3 years that has made things in Illinois better?

    Thank you in advance.


  13. - Ste_with_a_ven - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:54 am:

    Henry Francis

    Criminal justice reform, Illinois Dept of Technology, the energy bill. Some would argue Sb 31 and HB 40 we’re good bills as well. And of course, the education bill.


  14. - Arsenal - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    ==Illinois was the most financially unstable state before Rauner was elected==

    And so it remains, despite Rauner’s campaign promises and support of Donald Trump’s tax hikes on the middle class.


  15. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    Sure Henry. Governor Rauner has not done what every previous Governor in Illinois has done- caved to Speaker Madigan.

    He has succeeded in making it very every difficult for very single Democrat Illinois to not distance themselves from the Speaker.

    The Speaker has said it himself, Illinois Democrats are in the middle of a monumental struggle. Rauner has succeeded in breaking the Democrats 12 year total control of Springfield that was disastrous for Illinois.

    “[Madigan] said there were two things that really mattered to him as House speaker,” Kadner wrote. “The first was maintaining the Democratic Party’s majority in the Illinois House of Representatives. The second was his daughter, Lisa Madigan’s, political career.

    The Governor is halfway through with his goal to break Mike Madigan’s hold on Illinois. I think those that thought he could do it in less than 4 years were unrealistic.

    Democrats proved they can’t govern by their 12 year record of failure when Cook County Democrats controlled everything. Why would Illinois voters return that power to them?

    Do you think the Democrats running for reelection after a 4 year record of just raising taxes and fixing virtually nothing are excited about it?


  16. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:07 pm:

    Arsenal, the Cook County Dems are raising taxes on the middle class, Washington Post says Trump is cutting them.


  17. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    ==Illinois was the most financially unstable state before Rauner was elected==

    And, Rauner promised he could fix it. He could have been the adult in the room. He could have submitted balanced budgets each year. He could have laid out a clear fiscal plan that paid off bills and put the GA’s feet to the fire. He could have worked both sides of the aisle with a strong focus on the budget, the deficit, pension debt, paying bills. That’s the expertise he promised to deliver. He did none of that.

    It has been a failure to provide leadership on the issue he promised to take care of and that is at the top of most everyone’s mind. Instead, he made the problem significantly worse. He owns it.


  18. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    ==I think those that thought he could do it in less than 4 years were unrealistic.==

    Fair enough, but what progress did he make on the budget? What indication has there been that Rauner can turn things around? That’s the problem for Gov. Rauner. No indication that he can make things better. Instead, it is very clear he can make things worse.


  19. - Pundent - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    LP - And not a single legislative victory in your diatribe or an acknowledgment of the $16B in debt that Rauner rang up.

    Rauner was elected to govern not to destroy the Democrat party. If this is what you believe the sum total of his accomplishments are its no wonder that his approval rating is at 30%.


  20. - Arsenal - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:15 pm:

    ==Governor Rauner has not done what every previous Governor in Illinois has done- caved to Speaker Madigan.==

    And the result, as Wheeler correctly argues, is that the state is worse off than when Rauner took office.

    But hey, at least Rauner supports Donald Trump’s tax hikes.


  21. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    LP - And not a single legislative victory in your diatribe or an acknowledgment of the $16B in debt that Rauner rang up.

    Rauner ran up 16 Billion in debt? I think both you are Arsenal need to brush up on the facts. That one is worth 10 pinnochios

    The debt is 16 billion and wasn’t zero when he started, it was more like 5 or 6 billion. If you think the Governor ran up the additional debt all on his own and the legislature had nothing to do with it that is worth 20 pinnochios.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    Dear “Lucky Pierre”

    The old “Lucky Pierre” would put grabs and quotes in brackets or other recognizable ways to acknowledge this.

    Unless this “Lucky Pierre” forgot the formatting they used in the past, it’s troubling that formatting of graphs, quotes, etc, seem to be different.

    I hope “Lucky Pierre” remembers how in the past commenting with those grabs, quotes, etc.

    Just an observation.


  23. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:28 pm:

    “The debt is 16 billion and wasn’t zero when he started, it was more like 5 or 6 billion.”

    Rauner tripled Illinois’ debt.

    Now THAT is a great campaign slogan.

    – MrJM


  24. - Pundent - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:28 pm:

    LP - Okay. Rauner tripled the debt and who knows where it may have ended had the legislators not finally put a stop to it.

    But you still haven’t answered the basic question. What are Rauner’s legislative accomplishments that justify the havoc that everyone else (including many Republicans) clearly see but you fail to acknowledge.

    Despite the “accomplishments” that you’ve claimed Illinois is objectively far worse off than when Rauner was elected.


  25. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    Sorry Charlie, Governors have been caving to the Speaker for decades and the result is Illinois government’s terrible finances, business environment, stagnant population and skyrocketing taxes.

    Charlie Wheeler advocates tor the Quinn approach- change nothing and totally capitulate to the Speaker, which was rejected by the voters.

    Charlie you can’t just keep sweeping the problems under the rug, it is now 20 feet high.


  26. - Henry Francis - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    Thanks for responding LP. So I gather from your response that you feel that the only thing Rauner has done as governor that has improved Illinois is attack Madigan relentlessly and weaken his power and influence. But he hasn’t actually accomlished that yet, he’s halfway there. Do I have that right?

    I guess I expect more from a Governor over the course of 3 years. Especially one who has boasted that he has been successful at everything he has done. I think we would both agree that the role of Governor of the State of Illinios requires more - much, much more - than merely attacking and weakening political opponents.


  27. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    “you can’t just keep sweeping the problems under the rug, it is now 20 feet high.”

    Like you said, the problems have tripled in size since Rauner took office.

    – MrJM


  28. - wordslinger - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:36 pm:

    LP, it’s adorable that you think you’re a credible counterpoint to Charlie Wheeler.

    Demented and sad, but adorable. Shine on, you crazy diamond.


  29. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:38 pm:

    Rauner’s legislative accomplishments? He is not in the legislature.

    What are the legislators accomplishments? A permanemt income tax and no reforms?

    You can’t blame the Governor for the failure of the legislature any more than you can blame the legislature for the Governor’s failures.

    The Governor has failed to convince the legislature to reform Illinois,

    He has succeeded in driving out 1/3 of the state legislators who either retired or are not running for reelection because many can’t run on their records.

    He has not succeeded in getting the Speaker out but his daughter is not running again. Legislators who will not fix Illinois and just rubber-stamp Madigan should be voted out.


  30. - Pundent - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    =Charlie Wheeler advocates tor the Quinn approach- change nothing and totally capitulate to the Speaker, which was rejected by the voters.=

    Nope. Charlie Wheeler acknowledges that Quinn failed. He also acknowledges that Rauner failed more.

    Charlie Wheeler is scoring Bruce Rauner using the same criteria that Rauner used to score Pat Quinn. And any honest assessment would acknowledge that Rauner has been a bigger failure than Quinn.


  31. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    Well said Word.


  32. - Henry Francis - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    Ste whatever, see my responses below in parentheses.

    Criminal justice reform (Agreed), Illinois Dept of Technology (not sure that has improved much after 3 years. From what I have heard from people both inside and outside of DOIT is that there is a heck of a lot of money being spent there relative to the progress and improvements to the state), the energy bill (I believe there are quite a lot of people who don’t think that improved the state). Some would argue Sb 31 and HB 40 we’re good bills as well (same as prior response) And of course, the education bill (the one he vetoed? While I do agree that “Governors own”, I think most people understand that the education bill got done despite the Guv’s actions).

    That really is not a lot for 3 years work. Especially when much of what you listed has dubious (or speculative) benefits to the State.

    And of course, relative to the actual, quantifiable damage to the State over the last 3 years, can anyone really claim “it was worth it”?

    But I do appreciate you answering the question without once mentioning Madigan.


  33. - former southerner - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    Word wins the internet for the day :)


  34. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:56 pm:

    “The Governor is halfway through with his goal to break Mike Madigan’s hold on Illinois. I think those that thought he could do it in less than 4 years were unrealistic.”

    Glad we’re getting some honesty here. It’s not about governing for Rauner, it’s about busting up Madigan. Rauner couldn’t care less about the carnage he’s caused. At arguably the most critical time in the state’s fiscal history, during this year’s budget negotiations, Rauner or his allies were attacking Madigan in a TV ad or ads.

    And Rauner is innocent in this state’s historical fiscal problems? Please. He loaded up on some TRS pension funds. He loves himself lots of collectivism. He basically said so at a presser last year, when he released his $188 million tax return.


  35. - Arsenal - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:56 pm:

    ==I think both you are Arsenal need to brush up on the facts.==

    I am making myself very comfortable inside your head, but if you insist on facts, we’ll leave it at “Rauner tripled the bill backlog”. Do you feel better? I do.


  36. - Arsenal - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    ==Charlie Wheeler advocates tor the Quinn approach==

    And the results of the Rauner approach is that everything’s even worse.


  37. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 1:17 pm:

    yes we should insist in facts not claiming the Trump plan in a tax increase for those that make less than 86K.

    You must have missed the memo, Kamala Harris and the rest of the Democrats took their tweets down because they were called out


  38. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    “You must have missed the memo, Kamala Harris and the rest of the Democrats took their tweets down because they were called out”

    Okay, I promise to never vote for Kamala Harris for Illinois governor — now can we please return to the topic of Bruce Rauner’s three years in office?

    I’ll start: Did you know that the state’s debt was “5 or 6 billion” when Bruce Rauner took office and it’s now rocketed to 16 billion?

    – MrJM


  39. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 1:44 pm:

    ===the Quinn approach- change nothing and totally capitulate to the Speaker===

    First, were you awake at all during the Quinn years? Second, you prefer the Blagojevich approach; alienate the speaker and legislature as to accomplish almost nothing? Oh… well, I guess that is what you support since that is the Rauner plan as well….


  40. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 1:54 pm:

    To the Post,

    Charlie Wheeler is someone I greatly admire and respect, who is willing to dig deep and prove where falacies lay, and bring to light realities of the governing and politics, with spin removed from the raw data or honest history.

    The discussion I’d enjoy most with Mr. Wheeler is not the rehashing of his solid here, I’d like to throw in - Wordslinger -‘s take and what we’ve seen as the purposeful Rauner and the failings, predicated also on a warped plan Rauner had for his ultimate goal of destroying labor, by crisis and by leverage.

    I’d love that discussion, that would be a real treat.

    Great work, Charlie Wheeler.

    Thank you for continuing that great work too.

    Oswego Willy


  41. - charlie wheeler - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 2:03 pm:

    With all due respect, and conceding for the sake of argument that “all governors caved to Madigan,” and noting that the Illinois Senate is a significant part of Illinois government, would anyone suggest that Pate Philip “caved” to Madigan? I’ve suggested various times in various venues that reporters and anyone else interested contact the former GOP Senate president– 1993-2003– to see whether he’d agree that he “caved” to MJM on anything, or was in any way a tool of the speaker. I’ve also forewarned reporters that they would not be able to quote Pate verbatim, nor air his comments directly– those of you who knew Pate will understand– but the gist would be “No.”

    Respectfully,

    Charlie Wheeler


  42. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 2:08 pm:

    ===the gist would be “No.”===

    First, I agree with Charlie.

    Second, don’t feed the trolls, Charlie. :)


  43. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 2:09 pm:

    ==The debt is 16 billion and wasn’t zero when he started, it was more like 5 or 6 billion.==

    Shouldn’t someone who has worked very hard to earn the title of Rauner’s Last Loyal Defender be better at this job by now? You’ve been at this for almost three straight years now, and the best defense you can come up with is that Bruce *only* tripled our debt? I know he doesn’t give you much to work with other than “blame everything bad that happened during my administration on the speaker”, but jiminy christmas. At least try “something, something, the legislature wouldn’t pass the budget Bruce wanted, so Bruce had no other choice but to veto their budget and spend 10 Billion dollars that we didn’t have”.


  44. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    ===With all due respect, and conceding for the sake of argument that “all governors caved to Madigan,” and noting that the Illinois Senate is a significant part of Illinois government, would anyone suggest that Pate Philip “caved” to Madigan?===

    With no snark, with the upmost respect.

    My sincere hope is “Lucky Pierre” can finally put to rest the ridiculousness of… “all governors caved to Madigan,” and everyone else, including Pate to that very broad stroke I used, “everyone”

    OW


  45. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    ===the Quinn approach- change nothing and totally capitulate to the Speaker

    First, were you awake at all during the Quinn years?===

    Maybe he was but he was in Indiana, where the rest of the Rauner people came from? Remember, the Mark Kirk people were the only Illinoisans good enough for Bruce.


  46. - VanillaMan - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 2:27 pm:

    ==Governor Rauner has not done what every previous Governor in Illinois has done- caved to Speaker Madigan.==

    You are embarrassing yourself by exposing your profound ignorance during the Thompson, Edgar, Ryan, Blagojevich and Quinn administrations.


  47. - Skeptic - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    “Governor Rauner has not done what every previous Governor in Illinois has done- cooperated with Speaker Madigan”

    Governor Rauner has not done what every previous Governor in Illinois has done- accepted a win.”

    There, fixed it for you again.


  48. - Norseman - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 3:07 pm:

    Home Run Charlie. I can visualize the encounter.

    2nd, not base, but point. Rich is right. There is too much troll feeding going on. Love you guys but there is way to much engaging in the unengageable (yes it’s a made up word, but you get the point).


  49. - Arsenal - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 4:04 pm:

    ==yes we should insist in facts not claiming the Trump plan in a tax increase for those that make less than 86K.==

    Whoever claimed that should stop, but it wasn’t me, and the only reason you keep pretending it was me is that…

    Donald Trump’s tax plan does indeed hike taxes on anyone who pays state and local taxes, as well as taxes on mortgages, student loans, and medical payments. And Bruce Rauner has “applauded” that effort and offered “general support”.

    So, Bruce Rauner supports Donald Trump’s plan to hike taxes. I know you wish that weren’t so! That’s why you should vote against Bruce Rauner! Because closing your eyes and wishing it would stop like you’re doing here ain’t gonna do much, Spin-Cycle.


  50. - Arsenal - Friday, Dec 1, 17 @ 4:15 pm:

    ==You must have missed the memo, Kamala Harris and the rest of the Democrats took their tweets down because they were called out==

    You must know how feeble your argument is, since you have to make up things I never said.

    Go ahead and post where I made the claim WaPo refutes. Or, well, try. You won’t be able to. Because I never made that claim. And I get why you had to pretend I did. Because Bruce Rauner supports Donald Trump’s plan to hike taxes, and you can’t process that. But he still does, and “WaPo says some Democrats were wrong about how the plan affects one specific subset!” won’t change that.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* South Side Sox Prospect Vote: Round 17


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