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Zorn is right if you believe Rauner was candid in 2014

Friday, Jan 11, 2019

* Eric Zorn

Rauner pointed to some small-bore achievements during his farewell appearance Thursday before the Tribune Editorial Board — improvements in the criminal justice system and funding help for charter and private schools — but he didn’t come close to backing up his parting boast, “I’ll put our track record of accomplishment up against any governor in the U.S. in the last four years. And I will especially love to put it up against any governor who had an opposing legislature dominated by a supermajority and then a majority from the other party.”

I couldn’t help but think of the actual track record of accomplishment he might have had if he hadn’t chosen to relentlessly accuse Democratic legislative leaders of being crooked and corrupt when he needed their respect and cooperation to begin to advance his agenda.

I couldn’t help but think of the incremental but meaningful compromise advances for businesses and taxpayers Rauner might have pushed through had he understood that his narrow victory over unpopular Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn in 2014 gave him a bully pulpit and an opportunity, not a crown.

I couldn’t help but think of the appeal Rauner could have made to voters last fall — “I’m a moderating, common-sense voice of reason and a check on Democratic power” — if he hadn’t stubbornly, recklessly refused to negotiate a state budget unless the General Assembly knuckled under to his anti-union demands.

I don’t disagree, but Rauner is who he is, and that’s not who he portrayed himself to be in 2014. He ran as a businessman technocrat who would shake up Springfield and fix the state’s many problems. But that was just an act, a ploy to win the election. Rauner basically admitted as much during a recent press conference

That said, if you’re gonna be a moderate to win elections, but you’re not going to be a reformer and fix the problems, what’s the point of winning?… If you’re gonna moderate to win and then do the same thing that the guy or gal that you were running against would do, what’s the point?

He was talking about Jim Edgar there. Rauner presumed that, like himself, the former governor campaigned as a “moderate” merely to win. But Edgar was usually just what he said he was (even though he did adopt Dawn Clark Netsch’s property tax swap after blasting her for it). Rauner was a “my way or the highway” anti-union zealot who campaigned as a moderate in order to win.

To this very day, Rauner claims he’s pro-union. It’s a completely laughable claim after a two-year impasse almost purely caused by his demand that the Democrats help him achieve his life goals of destroying most union powers and obliterating most collective bargaining rights for union members, but that’s just his “moderate” messaging kicking in and he’ll stick with it forever.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - @misterjayem - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:33 am:

    Rauner was a “my way or the highway” anti-union zealot who campaigned as a moderate in order to win.

    And with that succinct summary, let us hope that Illinois can now turn the page on the Rauner era of impasse.

    – MrJM

  2. - Huh? - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    1.4% track record of accomplishment = failure.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    Raunerism was and still is…

    Destroying organized labor, with both collective bargaining and prevailing wages gone… while having this left leaning social agenda …while also starving social services to leverage the destruction, and if there’s collateral damage, it’s the feature, not the bug.

    This I like very much;

    ===…Rauner is who he is, and that’s not who he portrayed himself to be in 2014. He ran as a businessman technocrat who would shake up Springfield and fix the state’s many problems. But that was just an act, a ploy to win the election.===

    Edgar was who he was, Rauner pretended, with costumes and TV, to be Edgar while waiting to hurt those most likely fooledz

    I’m ready to move on from Raunerism.

  4. - Sue - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    Moderate Republican Jim Thompson left us with the 3 percent pension nightmare bump while sweetening his own pension yet did nothing to pay for new costs. Edgar another moderate perhaps less corrupt did little to resolve the State’s structural deficit. All of our governors prior to Quinn spent dollars for which there was insufficient revenue raised or mortgages the pension funds rather then raise taxes. Our Moderate Republicans spent as if the tax rates were 5 while they were only 3 and in a nutshell that’s why we are where we are. Rainer at least was honest about the fiasco yet the Dems were and are unwilling to constrain our structural deficits

  5. - DeseDemDose - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:43 am:

    Rauner was colluding with the Koch Brothers.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    ===less corrupt===


    When someone disagrees with you on policy, that doesn’t make them corrupt.

    It’s tiring.

    After Rauner, I have no time for the flippant way “corrupt” is used to marginalized those who have policy differences with another.

  7. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    == but Rauner is who he is, and that’s not who he portrayed himself to be in 2014. He ran as a businessman technocrat who would shake up Springfield and fix the state’s many problems. But that was just an act, ==

    Rich, people just weren’t paying close enough attention in 2014. I attended 3 different Rauner campaign speeches. By the 3rd one, it was clear to me he was more than the typical politician who would say most anything to get elected; it was clear he was a con artist with an agenda. So, for the first time in 40+ years, I voted D for Governor Quinn.

  8. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    Narrow victory? Rauner beat Quinn by 3.9%

    50.3% to 46.4%

  9. - Demoralized - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:46 am:

    ==Rauner at least was honest ==

    That’s not how I would describe a guy who was caught telling fibs all the time.

    ==Dems were and are unwilling==

    There’s that hyperpartisan spin. In the sentences before you recite the failures of Republican Governor’s and then turn around and lay the blame at the feet of the Democrats.

    Speaking of being honest . . .

  10. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:48 am:

    As late as October 2014 Rauner was quoted by NPR saying “pushing any specific labor regulation is not my priority at all.”

    And then his first priorities out of the box were right-to-work, prevailing wage and the union dues paycheck deduction.

    As many across the political spectrum learned the hard way, you simply cannot believe a word Rauner says. His words bear no resemblance to his actions or reality.

  11. - Jocko - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    ==be a reformer and fix the problems==

    By ‘reformer’, Bruce means a vulture capitalist who leaves others (in this case, Illinois) holding the bag when he’s extracted all the value.

  12. - El Conquistador - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    Is it Monday yet?

  13. - Anon - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 10:55 am:

    The whole playbook was laid out in 2012. This was it, there were no other moves. All in, either the “wedge” works or I bring my foes to their knees… neither worked.

    On September 18, 2012, the year before Bruce Rauner declared his candidacy for governor, he shared his vision for a crisis that could help reshape state government.

    “In Illinois there’s been a long-time history of what I would call social service, social justice, a bigger role for government in the safety net than in many other states,” Rauner said at a tax policy conference sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute. “I think we can drive a wedge issue in the Democratic Party on that topic and bring the folks who say, ‘You know what? For our tax dollars, I’d rather help the disadvantaged, the handicapped, the elderly, the children in poverty. I’d rather have my tax dollars going to that than the SEIU or Af-scammy (AFSCME), who are out there for their own interests.’”

  14. - Honeybear - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    Thank you Word, I’ve been looking for that quote forever. I remember hearing that on NPR and thinking we’d be okay. Later I looked for that to no avail.

  15. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    @Demo x2.

    Sue contradicts herself in the same short post. Just baffling these Raunerites.

  16. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    –Rainer at least was honest…–

    Runaway early favorite for wack-a-doo comment of the year.

  17. - Reality Check - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    Sue is actually pretty much correct til the last nutty sentence.

  18. - Bigtwich - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    Perhaps he meant to say, “My way or the Autostrade.”

  19. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    “And then his first priorities out of the box were right-to-work, prevailing wage and the union dues paycheck deduction.”

    Literally on the first day of AFSCME contract negotiations in February 2015, Rauner issued his anti-union EO to end fair share fees for public employee unions and filed what would become the Janus lawsuit.

  20. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    “Rauner at least was honest” is the single most hilarious thing written at this blog in 2019.

  21. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    This guy, I swear, he’s trump without all the stupid. He just can’t help himself from stating things that are untrue. What is it with these two, that even when presented with proof that what they’re saying is obviously false, they just can’t help themselves? Is it a pathological condition, something that can be diagnosed? Is it something they’re born with, or something that the Uber-wealthy just evolve into when no one is willing to tell you that you’re wrong?

    I know these folks can’t diagnose at a distance but if we have any mental health professionals here, I’d love to get a general idea of what the heck causes this and how to spot it for future reference.

  22. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:21 am:

    Did the Tribune Editorial Board tell him that we need “new leadership?”

  23. - Politix - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:22 am:

    What we are seeing this week is his final publicity tour. Adios, Bruce. Thanks for nothing.

  24. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    In Rauner’s mind, a union member is one that works with iron to build bridges; steel to build cars; gigantic earthmovers to build a world. You know, tough guys, like him. ‘Pencil pushers” don’t qualify and therefore deserve his choleric dismissal.

  25. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:25 am:

    He is likely pro PRIVATE unions and anti-PUBLIC unions, as many people are.

    The $200+ billion public pension mess all taxpayers are facing has and will cripple this state.

  26. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:33 am:

    ===He is likely pro PRIVATE unions and anti-PUBLIC unions, as many people are.===

    Did you just get here?

  27. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    –He is likely pro PRIVATE unions and anti-PUBLIC unions, as many people are.–

    Likely? For crying out loud, he has a four-year track record. His first priorities after taking office were right-to-work and prevailing wage.

    If ignorance is bliss, you must be the giddiest goof on the block.

  28. - ArchPundit - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:02 pm:

    I generally agree with Eric on a lot of things, but this amounts to Rauner would have been great if he wasn’t Rauner. He’s not Charlie Baker or Larry Hogan. He’s a socially sort of moderatey Scott Walker.

  29. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:04 pm:

    The first time I remember ever hearing of Bruce Rauner was when in late 2012 and early 2013, he was on TV saying he supported local RTWFL for “enterprise zones” or whatever euphemism they use. That’s for private sector unions. I knew then and there that he was bad news for unions. But kudos the women and men who support organized labor and resisted him.

    I expect Rauner to somehow keep fighting to strip union rights when his term is over. He invested so much in it.

  30. - Huh? - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    1.4% track record of accomplishment = dishonesty and lies.

  31. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    When 1.4% says “You know what?”, you better be checking for your wallet, watch, rings, and loved ones because a whopper of a lie is about to be told.

  32. - Huh? - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:23 pm:

    12:20 twas I.

  33. - Smitty Irving - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:50 pm:

    Lucky Pierre -
    2014 Rauner / Quinn had a 5% tail / head wind, and Quinn overcame a slightly smaller obstacle in 2010, so, yes, 2014 was (adjusted for national trends) close. Notice the only 2 general elections Quinn lost were nationwide GOP waves (2010, took US Senate, 1994, both houses of Congress).

  34. - wondering - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    An ignoble end to an ignoble governorship

  35. - Permanent Moderation - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:56 pm:

    ==Rauner at least was honest ==

    Rauner was the least honest. There, fixed it.

  36. - Eric Zorn - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 3:12 pm:

    I associate myself with Archpundit’s summary: Rauner would have been great if he wasn’t Rauner. But it’s not as tautological as it seems. With a narrower more incremental agenda and a first-grader’s knowledge of how to get along and work with people you don’t like, he could have made some inroads and had a plausible case for his re-election if only to maintain a check on the Democratic GA.

  37. - Demoralized - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 3:36 pm:


    That victory was razor thin compared to the pounding the Governor got in this election.

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