I’ve learned my lesson in one regard (and only one!) and that’s to plainly stipulate that any prophecies contained herein are subject to immediate revocation upon the receipt of an unforeseen major scandal aimed directly at the candidate upon whom I’m willing to wager.
So with that legalese out of the way and the opening campaign salvos already fired, I’m not sure what song they play, but Pat Quinn’s gonna be hearing a lot of “Hail to the Governor” in the future. Sorry Bruce! Didn’t your mother (or at least the Beatles) tell you that money can’t buy you love?
Scott Lee Cohen actually thought you could, but we all know the sad end of that hooker girlfriend story.
A good friend and proficient political prognosticator keeps tryin’ to tell me that Bruce Rauner’s got this one sewn up. Despite the fact it’s frequently folly to ignore his political propositions, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.
Because even though I’m not terribly enamored of the man who gave us Squeezy the Python, Pat Quinn will win in November. It may not be a landslide, but he’ll do better than he did against Senator Brady and here’s why:
1. No Illinoisian with half a brain believed the state income tax hike was temporary.
If you did, then you probably think Chicago-based reality shows aren’t staged. The truth is the average US citizen remits state income tax at a 5.6 percent rate which actually puts our illustrious 5 percent state at 7 percent below the norm.
If you’re counting border states, then the average tax rate is 6.4 percent with only Indiana undercutting the Land of Lincoln. And who wants to live in Indiana? Now, I’m not advocating for higher taxes nor am I supporting Pat Quinn, but there’s a reason that flock of corporations fleeing to Wisconsin never took place.
It’s also important to note that one of Governor Quinn’s 2012 platform planks was, “I’m going to raise taxes.” Personally, I thought he was nuts, but the results speak for themselves. And all he’s saying this time is “I’m not going to cut taxes.”
2. The anti-violence slush fund will do him in!
Yeah! And Benghazi’s gonna make the President resign tomorrow. Every single bleepin’ elected official, from the White House on down to a township supervisor, has money hidden in various vague line items that can be applied to a pet project at a moments notice.
So despite my best intentions, whenever I start reading anything on this “scandalous” slush fund topic, I immediately fall into the kind of coma that would make Rip Van Winkle jealous. Nobody cares.
3. Two words will do Rauner in; children and senior citizens.
A. The charter school thing
OK! It’s actually three words, but when you live in Illinois you tend to avoid counting because it’s too depressing. Voters may have short memories, but that’s only when it comes to things like slush funds and tax hikes.
Ah! But what the voters will not forget is that Bruce clouted his daughter into the Walter Payton Charter School. And all those folks who defended him with “but he just wanted what’s best for his daughter” would be correct if his daughter had been attending a school that sucked. But she wasn’t. She was going to New Trier, which frequently finds itself ranked among the nation’s top prep schools.
That’s a lot like paying five grand to get the top spot in the Jewel deli line even though you already held the number two ticket.
And the gut wrenching feeling you get from thinking about that more deserving minority student who didn’t make the charter school cut will not go away before November, especially with the Quinn campaign’s capacity to refresh our memories.
B. The nursing home thing
This one’s even worse. Not only did our 53 million dollar a year man heavily invest in nursing homes when he was chairman of GTRC in 1998, when faced with $1 billion in wrongful death and neglect damages, Rauner put those homes into 2010 receivership to avoid paying those settlements.
Thankfully, a federal bankruptcy judge didn’t quite see it GTCR’s way and the litigation continues. This, of course, gave Governor Quinn the opportunity to say, “This was an elaborately orchestrated scheme to cheat the legal system, defraud families and take advantage of those who were too vulnerable to care for themselves in order to make a buck.”
With all due respect to gentler gender, there goes the female vote.
Candidates can make all manner of mishaps and, given our collective ADHD, nothing much will ever come of it. But if you mange to evoke the kind of visceral reaction that the image of neglected old folks almost always does, then you’re toast!
4. Rauner’s people don’t know to handle the press.
It may be true that the print media ain’t what it used to be, but they will apply their vastly diminished resources to a gubernatorial gaggle. And those older folks who still read newspapers also happen to be the ones who consistently vote.
So will someone please tell me what Rauner’s people were thinking when, in an attempt to control their message, they barred certain press members from a proceeding and they’ve done their damndest to ignore them at every turn.
And their general reaction to being regularly snubbed is usually something along the lines of Alex Forrest’s, “I will not be ignored, Dan!” It’s not a problem for regular folks, but it can turn around to bite those trying to win a major election in the butt.
Conversely, given their vast egos and the economic need for stories to fall in their lap, if you play nice, they’ll generally embrace you. I do not understand political hopefuls who do not understand that the quickest way to offset that statewide incumbent advantage is by getting the press to promote your message while believing it was their idea all along.
The problem is, that kind maneuver takes a modicum of finesse that arrogant folks like Mr. Rauner can’t seem to muster.
Thus, with our paragraph one caveat still in mind. The Pat Quinn gubernatorial band should start warming up because Bruce Rauner’s fat lady is about to start singing.