Bruce Rauner wants to be the governor of Illinois. He says he personifies hope. He can make our economic vista rosy again. He will not raise taxes. He will, in fact, lower them. He is the education candidate. He will work with those on both sides of the aisle. He will create jobs and lower unemployment. He will bring back the flush times to the Prairie State.
He is, after all, an eminently successful businessman. And he will apply his business model as our governor. Alleluia. Amen.
It sounds good. His opponent is vulnerable, to say the least. Despite marginal improvement, the state's finances are not on solid footing. It's time for a change.
Or is it?
What about Rauner? Let's look beyond the campaign rhetoric and hype. Let's look beyond endorsements from his wife and a cabal of Republican-owned newspapers. Let's look at his credibility. And the desirability of some of his social and economic positions.
Rauner says he will stimulate so much economic growth that instead of tax hikes there will be tax cuts. Phil Kadner, the SouthtownStar columnist who's covered many state and local elections, calls this claim a pie in the sky.
Rauner says education will be a priority. But he's a proponent of charter schools. Except when using his pull and power to get his daughter into a better public one.
Rauner says he will have a good relationship with the Democratic power-brokers in Springfield. Like Mike Madigan, whom he has denounced and demonized as "corrupt' in his campaign ads.
Rauner says he will create jobs. Of course, as a venture capitalist and a leverage buyout doyen, he has created jobs; and destroyed them too by downsizing acquired companies. And he's pretty proficient at shipping jobs overseas. He even has advised other entrepreneurs on how to best do it. YET he can't seem to tell us how many jobs his companies have created here in the Land of Lincoln.
Rauner, also says, he admires fellow Midwest Republican governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Rick Snyder in Michigan. Who are against public labor unions, raising the minimum wage, gun control. And whose promises of economic growth have not met expectations. And would Rauner emulate the policies of voter suppression proposed and implemented by these and other Republican governors?
Rauner wants us to believe in Reaganomics. Trickle down economics. Ask the citizens of Kansas how it's working there under Sam Brownback. It's working so well that even Republicans are going rogue and voting against Brownback's reelection.
Rauner says he is not an insider. But Emanuel appointed him president of a not-for-profit Chicago Tourism Bureau which the Sun-Times recently described as a haven of patronage and cronyism.
Rauner says Pat Quinn is just as corrupt as disgraced and convicted ex-Governor Ron Blagojevich or the aforementioned Mike Madigan. But Laura Washington writing in the Sun-Times---who worked with Quinn under Mayor Washington---says unequivocally that Quinn is not corrupt. Quinn is under investigation, so Rauner's political ad contends. Rauner knows how that feels. He has been under investigation and sued for many of his unsavory business practices.
So Tuesday is just around the corner. I will walk a few blocks to my polling place near 109th and Cicero and present myself to vote. I will not be asked for a driver's license or some sort of other ID. I will not use the computer screen to cast my ballot. I'll do it the old-fashioned way.
And vote for Quinn.
Filed under: politics