* Mark Maxwell has written one of the most blistering exit stories about Gov. Bruce Rauner I’ve yet seen…
When Bruce Rauner exited stage left after delivering his final public remarks as governor, he had made two things abundantly clear: he couldn’t change the state, and it couldn’t change him.
“Change is hard. Change takes time,” Rauner said Tuesday afternoon as he bemoaned a list of accomplishments that was much shorter than he had hoped.
“The folks that created the massive problems in our state certainly are resistive to change,” he said in a nod to his arch nemesis Michael Madigan, the Democratic Speaker of the House. Rauner defiantly declared, “That does not mean that our recommendations or somehow wrong or flawed or incorrect at all.
After suffering a 15-point defeat in November, the one-term Republican maintained that his positions were popular in the state.
“Virtually everything that we have recommended is supported by a majority of the people of Illinois,” he said.
His office did not respond to a request for examples of public opinion polls to reinforce that claim. If they exist, the election results bore out that he wasn’t nearly as popular a politician as the policy positions he championed.
The governor’s unwavering grip on the withering corpse of his now-infamous ‘turnaround agenda’ was cemented by a swarm of issue-specific polls conducted over several years. Meticulous scientific data regularly supplied him with talking points and campaign prods, though he never liked to admit his reliance on polls much in public.
However, in the only poll that matters, Rauner was on the ballot, and he was saddled with his own record. And no amount of sure-footed stances, electrifying speeches, heartfelt apologies, or vulgar campaign ads could blot out the stain of the historic two-year budget impasse.
Go read the rest. Oof.
* Scott Reeder is a close second…
Rauner is the first governor in my lifetime to use government as a weapon. He essentially told the Legislature: “Pass my reforms or I’ll use my veto pen along with my legislative allies to keep the state from having a budget.”
We went 736 days without a budget, and not one of his key reforms became reality.
This is not how a democratic government should operate. It should be a process of unifying, of seeking input, of finding compromise that benefits everyone, of careful and well-considered positions and negotiations.
Governing properly is the art of calming the waters, not throwing hand grenades into them.
Then Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno tried to save Rauner — and the state of Illinois — by quietly negotiating with Senate President John Cullerton. The compromise package covered much of Rauner’s wish list — but not all of it.
Instead of embracing a partial win, the governor turned up his nose and walked away, leaving himself and the state of Illinois in worse shape.
And then, there is the lying. Rauner lied about big things and little things. No, his grandparents weren’t immigrants from Sweden. They were born in Wisconsin. It was a fib he told over and over — even after being called out on it by reporters.