Rauner & Trump
It shouldn’t be surprising that Governor Bruce Rauner would be launching into campaign mode nearly a year and a half before the actual election. With the financial backing of “State Solutions,” a Republican Governors fund supported by the Koch brothers, the Chamber of Commerce, and Ken Griffen's Citadel Group – Rauner once again dons the costume of workin’ guy. The old tan canvas work vest is now a bright plaid lumberjack-like shirt. He brandishes a roll of duct tape in one ad and peels strips of tape from the lens of the camera in the other. Duct tape equals “easy fixes.” The workroom backdrop suggests he’s a guy who can fix things. So, the Governor thinks, let’s make a commercial. After all, what else is there to do?
One might suggest “govern.”
But, after two years of witnessing the wealthy Winnetka hedge-fund manager’s unwillingness and inability to lead, most people in Illinois recognize a man who purchased an office and then remained fixed in his determination to identify scapegoats, berate rather than negotiate, and callously apply pain to the marginalized and disenfranchised to make his political points.
Like the other “business leader” on the national level who declared after only 17 days of trying to steamroll his HealthCare Plan in the Congress, “The best thing, politically speaking, is to let Obamacare explode…” That’s leadership? And, if it did, who would suffer?
Rauner finds everyone lately coming after him: Lisa Madigan, AFSCME, the Courts, Leader Cullerton, Speaker Madigan, Susana Mendoza. Similarly, Trump also finds fault in everyone but himself: Speaker Ryan, the Democrats, the Freedom Caucus, fake news, Obama wiretapping, bad Neimann Marcus, etc.
Ironically, Bruce Rauner never wanted to go on the record speaking for or against Trump during the latter’s run for Presidency. But his own administration in very many ways mirrors the struggling President’s. And likewise their near frivolous willingness to embrace pain and discomfort for others as a result of someone else’s not doing what they wanted done.
Because they haven’t the skill or comprehension of governance, the willingness to seek middle ground or feel the weight of the populace’s needs; they revert to the character of candidacy quickly and easily.
Trump flies to places in Kentucky or Florida or North Carolina to “thank his people” and bask in sunny self-absorption. Rauner and his combative office executives stump about the state affirming the Turnaround Agenda to responsive right-wing audiences, create multiple commercials linking Speaker Madigan to the Illuminati, and run reconditioned “same-old” folksy campaign ads for 2018.
In Illinois, meanwhile, the “Grand Bargain” for a budget fails again, this time according to people on both sides of the aisle because the Governor delivered the poison pill and pulled back the Republican votes.
Over two years ago, candidate Bruce Rauner while sitting next to his “Democratic” wife Diana warned, “I’m gonna drive ‘em nuts down there (Springfield). Really, I am.”
I think it safe to say Rauner did not drive his enemy politicians “nuts,” but he has been able to steer the state’s bond rating down numerous times. Moody’s has warned that the next downgrade will bring the State of Illinois’ Bond Rating to junk status if there is no budget accord for a third year.
In addition, many human and social service organizations and companies have had to pull back resources or even shutter services as a result of the state’s inability to pay for assistance for the millions of poor, disadvantages, and mentally ill.
According to SEIU.org millions of Illinois children are now trying to get by without Child Care Assistance Programs.
Senior citizens have lost over twenty home healthcare institutions, which leaves them all more likely to require institutionalization in place of personal care.
Anti-violence programs that depended on intervention and neighborhood counseling to deter violence and revenge killing in places like Chicago have seen their funds erased during the budget battles.
An accidental oversight by the Governor’s Office resulted in the loss of funding for domestic violence programs in Illinois.
The State of Illinois now owes more than $12 billion in unpaid bills to providers of services that were promised payments despite two years of no budget. That is nearly 1/3 of the amount of General Revenue provided before the roll back of the income tax increase.
The interest on the unpaid balance is also adding up exponentially as the Governor prepares his next collection of commercials identifying everyone else as culpable for where we are. How much? Current interest on bill backlog is at nearly $80 million.
What Comptroller Susana Mendoza has characterized as the “worst fiscal crisis” in the State’s history is about to enter another year without a budget.
Meanwhile, on the national level the markets and his loyal supporters hold every expectation that Trump will deliver on his promises despite his uncanny resemblance in behavior and political petulance to fellow business genius and political failure Bruce Rauner.
We live in interesting times.