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Off His Talking Points, Rauner Struggles PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 28 September 2014 05:31

A quick note to Bruce Rauner: The next time you try to claim that Governor Pat Quinn is “personally” under federal investigation – an allegation that, as far as anyone can tell, is not true – it’s probably best not to say it while standing next to a different governor who actually is “personally” under federal investigation.

Rauner held a relatively brief press conference last week to talk about Chicago’s violence problem, with New Jersey Goveror Chris Christie at his side. Rauner attempted to claim that Quinn was somehow responsible for the murder of a nine-year-old boy by a convict on probation – even though it appears right now that all state laws and procedures were followed. And not mentioned, of course, is that Newark, New Jersey, has a murder rate almost twice that of Chicago, which undercut Christie’s contention that Quinn had “failed” to protect Illinois’ public safety.

Rauner’s Week of Ills PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 21 September 2014 17:41

Bruce Rauner reportedly had one of those bugs that were going around last week.

Rauner didn’t take any time off, and it showed. For the first time at his press conferences, he read his statements right off the page, painfully stumbling over his words.

He and his campaign also seemed grumpier last week. “Pat Quinn is not the folksy, bumbling fool he’d like us to think he is,” Rauner growled on Monday. On Tuesday, Rauner’s campaign barred some college journalism students from his press conference, and Rauner refused to even have a word with them afterward. On Wednesday, he turned his head and pointedly ignored a follow-up question from a Chicago TV reporter about the NFL scandals. More on that in a moment.

Maybe the recent Chicago Tribune poll that showed him trailing Governor Pat Quinn by 11 added to his physical misery. But it was Rauner’s personal decision to not flood the airwaves with TV ads during the spring and summer, when Quinn didn’t have the money to adequately respond. Rauner cheaped out, and now it’s gonna cost him a lot more money to win this thing. So he has nobody to blame but himself.

Democrats Learning from GOP with Message, Timing PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 14 September 2014 10:13

The Illinois House Democrats launched their direct-mail and TV program weeks earlier than the House Republicans in an attempt to knock GOP candidates down before they even had a chance to stand up.

The mail started going out not long after the mid-August Illinois State Fair. Four years ago, during a national Republican tidal wave, the House Republicans preemptively launched their advertising program in mid-September, catching the Democrats off-guard. The Republicans won a few seats they might not have picked off had they started at the usual time. The Democrats learned a valuable lesson, raised a ton of money, and began their mail and TV programs even earlier.

As a result, the Republicans – who don’t have much money – have been buried by hundreds of thousands of dollars in early Democratic advertising.

Teachers’ Union Endorsement Curious – but Perhaps Smart PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Monday, 08 September 2014 09:27

The Illinois Education Association (IEA) has always leaned more Republican than its Illinois Federation of Teachers counterpart, but the IEA’s endorsement of one GOP candidate raised a few eyebrows this year.

Conservative state Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) was endorsed by the IEA last month. The Illinois AFL-CIO assigns the Metro East legislator a rating of 36 percent so far this session. The Illinois Federation of Teachers, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, endorsed Kay’s Democratic opponent, Cullen L. Cullen. The IEA is not an AFL-CIO union.

The Kay endorsement is not what you’d call an everyday occurrence. Yes, the IEA endorses a fair number of Republicans, but it’s well-documented that Kay was on friendly terms with the Tea Party when he was first elected in 2010, and the IEA is not enamored with that bunch.

Rauner’s Promises Are Budgetary Fantasies PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Sunday, 31 August 2014 19:28

“We should have billions of dollars every year as part of our budget process ... [to] maintain and expand our infrastructure,” Bruce Rauner said last week, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Rauner has been doing his best to woo the road builders all year, and he was speaking to the Illinois Farm Bureau, which has lots of members who rely on roads and bridges to get their goods to market. So I understand the practical politics of his bold promise.

But this stuff costs money. Lots and lots and lots of money. And infrastructure is only his second priority. His top priority is education funding; he wants to spend even more money on schools.

Yet Rauner says he wants to slash the state’s income-tax rate. Can he really do all that with lower revenues?

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