Quick Hits – June 12, 2018

As promised, here’s what shoulda gone up yesterday. And BTW I would not recommend an emergency root canal to anyone. My favorite part was, with my immunity to Novocaine in full bloom, they had to shoot it directly into the heart of the infected tooth to get me numb.

But thankfully, my jaw actually hurts more than the tooth does today! So let’s get back to far more important things.

Rauner Pritzker

This one’s gonna get ugly!

Whaddaya get when you cross two billionaires with another Illinois gubernatorial race? That’s right! A campaign that makes Bill Sherman’s jaunt through the South look like a Sunday stroll. And there’s six long months to endure before election day mercifully puts us out of our political pain.

Governor Bruce Rauner came out swinging with a reprise of his J. B. Pritzker – Rod Blagojevich wiretapped conversation in which the Democratic gubernatorial nominee salivates over the prospect of being appointed Treasurer.

It was quite effective when it first hit, but I don’t understand why Rauner wasted it on the primary. That kind of revelation would’ve been far more propitious being released three weeks before November 6th.

But now the initial shock has worn off and voters have resigned themselves to the reality that these kinds of political deals happen all the time. Put more simply, the spot has lost its pizzazz!

Meanwhile, Pritzker’s counterpunch resonates on all counts, a somewhat surprising stipulation considering his eminently lackluster primary effort. Don’t get me wrong, it’s clearly an attack ad, but it does make an effort to highlight Rauner’s abysmal governing track record.

Finishing off that litany of charges with the National Review cover labelling Rauner “The worst Republican Governor in America” is a really nice touch, too. Pritzker isn’t going negative, Rauner’s fellow conservatives are calling him out. And the time to remind Republican voters of how dismal his rein has been is right now.

But what still worries me is, like State Sen. Bill Brady before him, Pritzker’s “I’m not the other guy” strategy is leaving the window wide open for Rauner’s team to frame him as they see fit. They just haven’t done a very good job so far.

At some point, if they want to have any shot, both candidates are going to have to start telling us who they are.

 

And speaking of former Illinois governors …

…Rod Blagojevich is back in the news! It would appear that, as President Agent Orange plays pin the pardon on the donkey, the roulette wheel has finally rolled around to our most infamous incarcerated former governor.

But just like that inert chronograph that’s correct twice a day, I think the Cofeve-in-Chief is onto something here. He should commute Rod’s prison stay if for no other reason than the taxpayers shouldn’t have to cough up all that room and board cash.

I’ll say it again! The only thing Rod Blagojevich is guilty of is actually saying the words that every other politician in his position would’ve been thinking. The power to appoint a “friend” to a U.S. Senate Seat really is “f*****g golden!”

He certainly wasn’t gonna trade that seat away for a player to be named later!

As for the fed’s contention that his overly long sentence will act as a deterrent to other nefariously minded public officials is laughable. The only lesson they learned from is never to say such things out loud.

Once again, if you truly want to punish Rod, send him back to his foul-mouthed wife. Though that could be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

 

If you need further proof…

…of my contention that former Governor Blagojevich’s sentence is no disincentive to the kind of political shenanigans for which Illinois is famous, look no further than Governor Rauner appointing Ken Dunkin to a Metropolitan Water District seat.

If you recall, after he was provided with certain assurances, State Rep. Dunkin rebelled against the Madigan Machine long enough to disrupt the Springfield Democrats’ veto-proof majority. But it didn’t end well for our intrepid hero, who lost to the Obama- and Madigan-backed Julianna Stratton by two-to-one.

The water reclamation spot was supposed to be the consolation prize.

But just three weeks into the gig, a long-time state worker contended that then State Rep Dunkin once exclaimed to her and another female staffer, “I want to take both of you home and see of you will be the naughtiest.”

Of course, Dunkin called the accusation “baseless.”

If he didn’t further purse those women or use his power for payback purposes, then it’s just a really bad come on. But when it comes to a purely patronage hire like this one, that kind of backstory put Rauner directly between that #MeToo and election year Scylla and Charybdis.

So, the Governor asked him to resign, but Dunkin told him to pound sand because, while it’s certainly within his purview to fill those vacant board seats, the Governor lacks the power to send one of ‘em packing.

And didn’t Governor Rauner excoriate former Governor Pat Quinn for engaging in the very same kind of patronage politics?

I suppose we should look on the bright side. The State of Illinois is never boring!

 

A life well-lived

I am not a fan of Washington Post columnist and Fox political pundit Charles Krauthammer.

His writing is too dense, his leaps of “logic” completely confound me, and his world view is beyond bizarre. I understand that we all evolve, but how Krauthammer could go from a flaming liberal to a diehard conservative in one short lifetime is a mystery to me. My philosophical and ethical underpinnings aren’t nearly that fluid.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t admire the man.

Paralyzed after an errant college swimming pool dive, he would not relent in his pursuit of a Harvard medical degree. Then he gave up a lucrative, cutting-edge psychiatry practice to change the world through writing.

Then, a battle with cancer rendered him absent from the Post for the last ten months. And he never bitched about any of it.

As we all do, Krauthammer did have his good points. He was one of the first conservatives to warn us about Donald Trump’s inherent instability, and he eschewed the current political shouting matches for a reasonable and meaningful debate. He implicitly understood that disagreement isn’t a crime.

But now that insidious disease finally got the best of him, and with only weeks left to live, Krauthammer issued his final statement. Here’s the best part:

“Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work. I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.

I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”

And that’s certainly not subject to debate!

7 thoughts on “Quick Hits – June 12, 2018

  1. Nice pre-eulogy to K-Hammer! — Count me among those who feel that comparatively speaking, Blago has done enough time for the crime of which he was convicted. My problem with unleashing him is that he won’t shut up. He’ll be everywhere, mistaking his pardon for general public desire to hear him yap again.

  2. The Blago case was ridiculous from the start. 14 years and nothing was ever exchanged but just words….

  3. Rauner might have a harder time “framing” Pritzer than you think. What’s he going to say? “This guy is nothing but a rich dilettante with no experience, qualifications or ideas”? Gee, I wonder whom that might remind the voters of?

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