It’s a lot like watching the movie Highlander II a second time. You really don’t want to subject yourself to it, but because no movie could possibly be that bad, you flip on the first five minutes just to prove it’s not you.
Oh lord! I thought we’d forever disavowed ourselves of the notion that you can run on the “I’m not the other guy” platform and somehow win statewide office. Sure! Sen. Bill Brady almost beat Pat Quinn with that strategy, but there ain’t no wildcard in politics.
Unless you count Ted Cruz.
Having learned nothing from Brady’s heartbreaking defeat to a guy who actually promised to raise taxes, not only has Rauner picked up the I’m not Pat Quinn baton, but he’s running with it. And this time, the governor has only promised not to cut taxes.
Given the general state of the press, if you’re good at it, evading reporters in an effort to prevent them from painting you into a corner isn’t always a bad thing. But Bruce absolutely sucks at it and this bizarre exchange with Tribune reporter Rick Pearson proves it:
Pearson: You’ve not presented any kind of alternative plan. You say you’re not going to do that until after the legislature has gone home. … (But) don’t you have a responsibility to actually say what you stand for, so that Republicans in the General Assembly might have an idea what you actually stand for in specific terms?
Rauner: We will be coming out with our plans and our recommendations long, long before the election. And the voters will have a clear choice.
Pearson: What’s taking so long? You’ve been a candidate for 15 months. … You knew that the tax was going to expire in 2015 as scheduled, as you propose. What is taking so long?
Rauner: We will be coming out with our plan in due time, long before the general election.
Pearson: What is due time? What is due time?
Rauner: At the right time.
Pearson: What’s the right time? I mean, you’ve said this for months.
Rauner: OK, I understand, all right, next question.
Who the heck is advising Rauner to be Bill Brady? All he had to do was offer a date or said something like this; “Rick. We’re going to have our budget and pension plans on the table by August 15th. It’s taking some time because we want to get it right. You’ll be the first reporter to get a copy of both.”
But no! In a tailspin state where it’s easy for challengers to get the press on their side, Rauner thought baiting an old school reporter like Pearson was a good move. And that never turns out well. Even Green Day said you “gotta know your enemy.”
Not only that, but if you’re plan is to dodge the press, then do it! Don’t engage in a debate in which you refuse to provide any answers. Now you’re the one who’s set the terrible tone for the rest of the campaign.
So now Rauner’s reduced to regurgitating the same kind of doubletalk that doomed Brady. “We’re gonna cut taxes, shore up pensions, spur job growth, and make education a priority.” Why does the phrase “fiscal mutual exclusivity” suddenly come to mind.
But it’s only when you listen to the Pearson interview that you realize just how hard Rauner’s tying to be the antithesis of Norman Vincent Peale. Then you hear how he intersperses his non-sequiturs with a healthy dose of derisive chuckles.
It’s as if he believes Pearson should already know his plan and the fact he has the nerve to ask the question renders him completely worthless.
Now, normally, I don’t go all religious on you because I gave that up for Lent. But sometimes the Bible makes a lot of sense, especially with that whole camel through the eye of a needle thing.
It really isn’t the indictment of the rich some folks purport it to be. No! What Jesus was really saying is that a vast amount of cash tends to enable an individual to create their own reality, and then reside in it. So if “heaven” is connectedness to others, then wealthy folks have a far easier time opting out.
Thus, the real problem is that wealth breeds arrogance. Or more simply put, the “other guy” is going to clean Bruce Rauner’s clock.