Thursday, July 20, 2017

Illinois Republican Governor – Mini Donnie – Can Stand Losing a Political Battle

Appears to Turn Mean and Angry

Illinois is a basket case, and an example of government failure.  Much of the blame can be put on Democrats who have controlled the state for much of the past, but Republicans share that blame with their having held the Governor’s office for a lot of that time.  In 2014 a conservative, combative rich guy won the governorship and vowed to shake things up, get everything right by attacking the unions, cutting taxes and imposing the conservative philosophy on everyone.  It did not go well and he is not popular.

The state has not had a budget for several years, and did not pay vendors to the tune of billions.  So finally the legislature had enough, and Republicans joined Democrats to pass a budget over the Governor’s veto.  The Governor, that spoiled rich guy has not taken it well.

CHICAGO — Bruce Rauner, the most vulnerable governor in the nation, is cleaning house in a radical office shake-up that has members of his own party fearing the blue-state Republican is making a hard move to the right.

Since Monday morning, the first-term governor has fired his chief of staff, deputy chief of staff and his spokesperson, among other aides. At the same time, he pushed through the demotion of a GOP state House legislative leader. In another sign of the turmoil gripping Springfield, state Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, who helped lead a grand bargain attempt to resolve the recent budget stalemate, resigned from office July 1.

And instead of trying to work with everyone, he is turning hard right and alienating everyone including his own party.

Rauner is replacing his staff by opening the doors of the governor’s office to an influential — and controversial — conservative think tank: the Illinois Policy Institute. He hired its president, Kristina Rasmussen, as his new chief of staff, and its vice president of policy, Michael Lucci, as a deputy chief. He’s also bringing on Laurel Patrick, a former spokesperson for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, as his communications director, according to an internal office memo. More staffing changes are expected this week.

This think tank has a history, and not a particularly good one.

Privately, Republicans who have in the past allied with Rauner fear he’s straying from his personal principles and alienating lawmakers he needs by pairing up with a conservative group that’s out of step with many of their constituents. They blame the IPI for contributing to a toxic atmosphere on social media, so much so the institute issued a warning to its followers last week to keep the conversation civil.

It looks like an opportunity has been missed.  A constructive administration operating on a bi-partisan basis might have helped Illinois not become the poster child of ineffective governance.  But the ego of the man is not totally but large responsible for the mess.  Hmm, any parallels to Washington?

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