* On Monday July 17, 2017, a week to the day after Gov. Rauner fired his chief of staff Richard Goldberg, Diana Rickert formally began her job as the governor’s new Deputy Chief of Staff of Communications after six years at the Illinois Policy Institute.
It was a chaotic day. Lots of people resigned, including the governor’s body man after some nasty stuff was found in his Twitter feed. The governor demanded that the General Assembly send him the education funding reform bill so he could veto it. Weird times.
* Tuesday dawned with a poll that had Rauner’s disapproval rating at 49 percent and an approval rating of 40 percent. The Sun-Times published a memorable story that morning…
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.”
* That evening, First Lady Diana Rauner sent an e-mail to her chief of staff Emily Bashedo and her public relations advisor Anne Kavanaugh. “Emily, please forward this to Diana [Rickert] as I don’t yet have her new email,” the e-mail began. It was forwarded about twelve minutes later, according to a document published by the Edgar County Watchdogs…
Thanks for a great conversation today. I’m excited for the opportunity to change the narrative and get Bruce out far more right away. I wanted to follow up on our conversation re Sneed and bring Anne’s good thinking into the mix.
As we discussed, Emily is a great off the record spokesperson for the “silent majority” who weren’t part of the frat boys cabal. She’s been there since the beginning and has been on the receiving end, especially the last year or so. I think she can speak to a genuine sigh of relief that some of the arrogance and closed thinking that excluded so many great contributors has been swept out and a more open, respectful and inclusive atmosphere can emerge. I’d also like to push back on the idea that the IPI folks have done a takeover that will move the governor to the right - rather, they’re aligning with him. And that they’re professional and pragmatic and understand the difference between governing and advocacy.
Finally, I’d really like to push back on the idea that I’m somehow behind this- honestly that complaint reveals the ambivalence about (or maybe pure dislike of) a First Lady with policy and messaging expertise and influence who is not controllable. I know they dismissed me as a “liberal democrat” and resented my feedback on their performance. And it’s part of the closed thinking culture to resent anyone who comes in with differing viewpoints and ideas.
Would like to discuss next steps to get this going asap so we can squelch these stories. Thanks.
So, she was relieved when the frat boys were pushed out and she was excited about the “professional and pragmatic” Illinois Policy Institute folks who understood the difference “between governing and advocacy.”
Just sayin’, but the governor would probably love to have the same poll numbers now that he had back then.
By the way, I’m not sure which Sneed column Mrs. Rauner was referring to, but the two most recent at the time can be read here and here. They were both brutal.
Rickert, you may recall, sued to get several e-mails, some involving Mrs. Rauner. Rickert prevailed.