So Democrat Bruce Rauner is governor-elect in Illinois, having won (what one friend called it) the second Democratic Party primary election of the year. Yes, Rauner is not a RINO (Republican in Name Only), he’s a liberal Democrat. I agree with how Doug Ibendahl explained it:
Bruce Rauner was a leading funder of liberal Democrats for years. In a real way he funded the destruction of the Republican Party. This year he then acquires the GOP asset he helped deplete, and decides running with an “R” would be the easiest way to clear the Primary hurdle. Rauner was right about that much thanks to the three lackadaisical Republican opponents he faced in March.
Of course there are many Illinois Republicans — and yes, even Illinois conservatives — who cheered Rauner’s victory. They still don’t get it. And most of them still won’t get it after Rauner gets his “Rauner taxes” passed, and makes the state income tax increase his own.
Those same people won’t learn after Rauner pushes for and successfully wins the support of the General Assembly for his spending increases. This includes more money for the most wasteful, corrupt, and failed part of state government — the K-12 system and the taxpayer funded four year universities.
Most of the problems with the Rauner candidacy and his upcoming governorship have been addressed on this website and elsewhere. There has been no better resource this year than Chicago-based Republican News Watch for gauging what we’d be in for with a Governor Rauner.
A lot of good people on the political right remain confused and many will continue to be no matter what happens. They want to cling to the idea that Rauner is the start of something great in Illinois. Some of these people don’t know the history of the past few decades in Illinois politics, others choose to ignore it.
That history is wrapped up in some of the names I mentioned last week: Jim Thompson, Jim Edgar, George Ryan, Christine Radogno, Tom Cross, Jim Durkin, Judy Baar Topinka, Pat Brady, Mark Kirk and Dennis Hastert.
They are all high tax and big spending Illinois Republicans content with liberal governance even as they weakly call for less spending.
“You have to win first!,” many of my critics say. Uh huh, right. Why they choose to ignore all those other Republican “victories” in this state I’ll never understand.
“It’s a start!,” they say. Yes, it is, though unfortunately it’s like all of the other “starts” we’ve had. Anyone who wants to learn more about reality, review the names above and their records.
On the campaign trail Rauner kept talking about all of the corruption in Springfield. Setting aside the truth of Rauner’s business history, let’s pretend he is the guy to rid state government of its dark players and practices. Let’s advance to a corruption-free Springfield. Now let’s do the math.
- Still have a corrupt K-college school system in place — in fact with Rauner it’ll have more money to waste.
- Still have corrupt public employee pension systems — Rauner has basically said he will not change anything related to current employees or retirees.
- Still see things like the re-opening of government facilities that even liberal Pat Quinn shuttered to save money.
- Still have an unreformed Medicaid program.
Rauner has been around the so-called “school reform” movement for twenty years and he still doesn’t understand that the issue is educational liberty, not the formation of charter or for-profit schools that his friends can profit from.
Folks, that’s where the savings have to be found — in education, the pension systems, and health care. You can pretend all you want, but the truth is the facts on the ground are unchanged after last Tuesday’s election. If you doubt that, take a closer look at the election results up and down the ballot here in Illinois. Put a “D” next to Rauner’s name and you’ll see the status quo remains.
As some of us conservatives were warning before the election, Illinois is going to see higher taxes and higher spending. What’s needed is the exact opposite on the spending side. Some commentators call the needed deep spending cuts “painful.” Actually they’re only painful to those profiting at the expense of taxpayers by propping up those three big governmental boondoggles (the schools, pensions, and Medicaid).
So, tell me — why will people stop moving out of Illinois? Why will businesses expand here? Because of Rauner’s shining personality? People won’t care about increasing taxes and a continued under-achieving state economy now that “one of us” is in charge? Huh?
Illinois voters just elected a man that campaigned making promises that are indistinguishable from those made by liberal Democrats. Except he did it using the GOP ballot line, so now a larger chunk of patronage will be enjoyed by Republicans. In case you didn’t know, only party hacks care about that.
As for the self-deluded conservatives who are feeling good about themselves, they’re going to have four years of improving their powers of rationalization. “We have to win first!” “It’s a start!” If there was an international Rationalization Olympics, all the medal winners would be Illinois conservatives who supported Rauner.
Unlike the Republican victories around the country, Illinois will get what it asked for: more of the same with this time the GOP brand getting the blame.