Apparently, Bruce Rauner neither forgives nor forgets!

Apparently, Bruce Rauner neither forgives nor forgets!

First, I’ve got to stop referring to almost former State Senator Kirk Dillard as the new Metra Chairman because he’s actually the new RTA Chairman. Regardless of my error, both gigs are equally Sisyphean and you‘d generally have to be nuts to want either one.
That said – and all potential mental evaluation requirements aside – Dillard did get the unanimous board member nod and, for all the reasons we’ve already discussed here, it will certainly take someone with his political savvy to get anything done.
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But despite that unusual unanimity, Dilliard’s leap to RTA leadership wasn’t nearly as uneventful as you might think.
Because, still smarting from the heated GOP primary contest, gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner did everything short of bribing individual board members to deny Dillard that post.
Again, being the always astute politician, Dillard did his best to keep his RTA intentions on the down low so that when Rauner finally got wind of it, he already had the necessary support sewn up. But that didn’t stop Rauner, who clearly doesn’t understand when he’s beaten, from coercing former DuPage County Chairman Bob Schillerstrom into giving it a go.
But Schillerstrom also knows where the political winds blow and, after quickly determining the U.S. had a better shot at winning the World Cup, he gracefully bowed out of contention.
Undaunted, unrelenting, and unforgiving, Rauner then turned to long-time Lake County RTA Board Member, Dwight “Ike” Magalis, who apparently was the only one who could be conned into undertaking this Quixotic endeavor.
It was at this absurd point that Rahm Emanuel finally stepped in to put a merciful end to the charade by openly declaring his support for Dillard.
To quote one insider, “Ike got played simply because Bruce wanted anyone but Dillard. Even Rahm finally had enough of this monkey business. Frankly, I think Bruce Rauner has far more important things to worry about than the RTA Chairman.”
Meanwhile, while Bruce was doing his best Captain Ahab, the Democrats, under the guise of the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force, were making their move.
You see, the Governor would like nothing more than to get his grubby hands on that $6 billion in RTA operating and capital funds and the folks that Quinn appointed to that board had already come to some interesting conclusions.
They firmly believe the Guv should have far more input into who serves on the RTA board and that IDOT should have more oversight over the entire shebang. Of course, once IDOT’s involved, that would be the conduit through which some of that $6 billion could be funneled into other endeavors.
And we all know IDOT is beyond reproach. Didn’t their Director just resign?
According to another insider, “The only reason Quinn wants to insert himself in the RTA process is to access those funds. But Rahm was smart enough to see the Task Force for what it really is and he publicly dismissed them as “a bunch of propeller heads.”
Here’s the truly tragic thing. Because Rauner was so intent on sinking Dillard’s chances for a job nobody wants, it took the eminently Democratic Mayor of Chicago to foil another Democrat’s nefarious scheme.
And that does not bode well for the future.
I’ll keep saying it till I’m blue in the face. The governor is not the CEO. For any governor to succeed he has to be able to consistently pull 89 General Assembly votes. Had Rauner’s RTA efforts succeeded, Dillard would’ve stayed in the Senate to return the favor on any number of occasions.
So, once again, it’s Rauner’s complete incapacity to foresee the deleterious consequences of his political actions that truly troubles me. Whether you like Kirk Dillard or not, you simply cannot underestimate what he brings to the conversation.
But instead of making an effort to mend fences with old foes, a requirement if you want any chance of actually governing, Rauner is focused on settling old scores to the point that he’s giving the Democrats all sorts of openings.
Bruce loves to answer any reporter concern with, “I’ve succeeded at everything I’ve ever done.” Given how he handled this one, I can tell you with certainty that his first failure is gonna be a real doozy.
Either he loses and we get four more years of Quinn or we get a governor who’s perpetually bent on retribution and believes you can rule by sheer force of will. Talk about choosing between Scylla and Charybdis.

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