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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Bruce Rauner took over as Illinois governor Monday and asked for shared sacrifice to help him restore a state he described as in decline, beset by financial, moral and ethical crises," the Tribune reports.

Let me fix that.

"Bruce Rauner took over as Illinois governor Monday and asked for shared sacrifice to help him restore a state he described as in decline, beset by financial, moral and ethical crises."

Let's just keep going like this.

"The first Republican chief executive in a dozen years laid out what he views as the state's problems - shaky finances, lack of competitiveness with other states and a slow-to-grow economy - and sought to blame them on the lack of pro-business initiatives and mindset."

Fun!

"'I'm nobody that nobody sent,' he said."

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Now here's an example of a link that the Trib should have actually used if, like most newspapers, it didn't continue to ignore the awesome tools of digital journalism.

"The inauguration of Rauner as the state's 42nd governor marks a new era for Illinois - a first-time officeholder who has demonstrated he will use his extensive personal wealth and that of his allies to try to leverage political and public support for his initiatives."

See how easy that is?

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The Tribune editorial page sees what it wants to see. To wit:

"Gov. Rauner Rallies The Family."

Oh come on!

Bruce Rauner hardly ran a unity campaign - rallying the "family" of Illinois has always been Pat Quinn's schtick - and he hardly gave a unifying speech. The "family" of Illinois was hardly rallied; fewer than a tenth of one percent of the state were even paying attention. Even with Toby Keith and Buddy Guy on the bill, Rauner couldn't even fill the Prairie Capital Convention Center. If Illinois is a family, they sure didn't want to go to dad's party.

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"At prior Springfield inaugurals, many of Illinois' new governors have painstakingly pandered to this and that favored voter group, this or that band of crony insiders. As if to say between winks, 'I made it, pal, and here's what's in it for you.'"

Really? Forgive me for not remembering that. Bands of cronies have never needed the public rhetoric of an inauguration speech to know who's in. (And if the Trib is so concerned about cronies, why did it endorse Richard M. Daley for two decades? In fact, why did the Trib endorse George Ryan, the croniest of the cronies?)

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"But as the clock ticked off 22 brisk minutes Monday, Gov. Bruce Rauner gave a different sort of speech. He sought to bind all Illinoisans as one, not as a collection of political constituencies. Sublime riffs, gauzy promises and breezy predictions of the easy road ahead (now that I'm here)? No, this was the hurried talk you have with frightened family members when the firefighters have run out of water and the house is burning to the ground. As if to tell the more than 12 million people of Illinois: There's only one way we'll get through this. Together."

Unless you're a public employee, a union member, a teacher, a nursing home resident, a minimum-wage worker, or Dave McKinney.

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"Rauner's tone was gracious but his indictment direct: Illinois is in crisis because, for several decades, a bipartisan cabal of leaders have been guilty of bad decisions, bad practices, bad management. And the only way out of this is for all of us to pull in tandem. To sacrifice - a word Rauner used repeatedly."

Believe me, it's not the bipartisan cabal who will be called on to sacrifice - it's the rest of us. Just look at the pension mess. A bipartisan cabal diverted payments into the pension system that public workers depend on for their retirement to pay for their own political imperatives and now call upon those same workers to sacrifice for the good of everyone else. The cabal responsible for the mess won't pony up a dime.

Similarly, the sacrifice under Rauner will fall most heavily on those least responsible for the state's fiscal mess - that is to say, not responsible at all - and least able to bear it. Those who are responsible will feel no sacrifice at all. And if Rauner is successful getting his program enacted, the wealthiest among us, in the cabal or not, will prosper even more when their taxes are cut.

That's the family pulling together alright - if the family is the Bluths.

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"Our chief disagreement came with Rauner's assertion that, 'I'm nobody nobody sent.'"

He's the guy doing the sending! For years Rauner has contributed to the campaigns of the very bipartisan cabal the Tribune thinks he's going to destroy.

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"We appreciate the independence of a wealthy man who doesn't owe debts to this state's political class. Many of them are frightened that he'll do exactly what they've done, steering campaign money to legislators who vote his way."

The state's political class is frightened that Rauner is going to, um, behave in the same manner as the state's political class?

*

"On Monday those voters heard what they've been hoping for: a pledge of Statehouse accountability."

Because voters - who, believe me, weren't paying attention - have never heard a governor (or any elected official) pledge accountability before.

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"Rauner spoke of freezing nonessential spending and of reviewing contracts signed during his predecessor's lame-duckery. We expect him also to use performance metrics of what state spending does or doesn't achieve. Friday's Tribune disclosed the latest of many examples of lawmakers throwing money at a problem and declaring it solved. We're talking about the $20 million Illinois has invested to develop 1,000 teachers to work in distressed public schools. That generous if poorly monitored revenue stream for colleges and community groups has produced . . . only about 80 teachers."

First, here's the article the Trib won't link to.

Second, the $20 million the state has spent on the program over 10 years hardly comes close to the $66 million Rauner just spent to attain his job.

Third, the program may indeed have been a Democratic ruse to gain the favor of minorities, but then again so was Rauner's deposit of $1 million in a South Side credit union.

If anyone thinks money can solve problems, it's Bruce Rauner.

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"Illinois as it's been run, Rauner told the people of his state, would be morally corrupt. We imagine there was some shifting of fannies in tailored suits when the new governor said his administration will make decisions based on what's best for the next generation, not what's best for the next election."

Really, Tribune? You really think there were fannies in tailored suits who have never heard Rauner's rhetoric and expected to hear - publicly - about the goodies they would receive in his administration who shifted nervously upon learning that this good man would make the best decisions for the long term and that they would be left out of the equation?

*

"The new governor's speech was a smart outreach to a state tired of losing. He spoke of an economy that creates growth and jobs. He spoke of opportunities that will bring Illinois' sons and daughters home. He wants a state that's as competitive as it can be, so it can be as compassionate as it wants to be."

Like every governor in the history of history.

*

What is there to say in an editorial about an inauguration? Well, you could comment on the donors who paid for it and read like a who's who of the evil cabal the Trib speaks of. You could reflect on the events closed to the media by a governor who so often refused to answer key questions during his campaign. You could raise once again those unanswered questions and how unsatisfying it is to begin a new era of governance this way. You could point out that - despite the utterly mundane rhetoric that only the Trib found inspiring - every serious person who has looked at Bruce Rauner's budget proposals has walked away laughing and how the new governor is already behind because of his refusal to seriously engage the state's finances during the campaign. You could even say nothing.

I would rather the Tribune dispense with the nonsense and simply say: "A Republican was sworn in as governor on Monday, and we're glad."

*

Meanwhile, the Sun-Times editorial board pretends it endorsed Bruce Rauner of its own volition, even as it makes Pat Quinn out to be the greatest statesman since Cincinnatus.

This was a day that neither paper wanted to be real.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Linkage.



Permalink

Posted on January 13, 2015


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TV - No Rehabilitating Vietnam.
POLITICS - Trump's Farmer Heavily Subsidized.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Maddon's Lousy Playoff Managing Exceeds Playoff Pleasure

BOOKS - Dots & Dashes.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: My Bastard Heart.


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