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Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is getting his share of praise these days for being one of a few Republican political people who voted “no” to the latest crazy scheme by which President Donald J. Trump wanted to do away with the health care reform proposal whose biggest drawback was that it was an accomplishment of former President Barack Obama.
YET JUST AS some political operatives are wanting to say that Republicans will now start distancing themselves from the president (the Chicago Tribune went with a front-page story Sunday headlined Republicans rethink their reticence to resist Trump), there are those political people who seem to be making their moves to a hard-right in hopes of ensuring their political future.
Take Gov. Bruce Rauner, whose hard-lined ideologue moves are managing to offend the large segment of Illinois’ voters who live in or near Chicago.
Rauner in recent weeks (ever since losing his two-year fight to pressure the Democrat-led General Assembly into backing his anti-organized labor desires) has canned many of his gubernatorial staffers.
In many cases, they were replaced by people who had spent the past couple of years working for the Illinois Policy Institute – a conservative activist group that was about the only portion of the Illinois electorate who thinks Rauner was being responsible in putting state government on hold just to try to score a partisan victory.
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MANY OF THESE Institute types are from the segment of Illinois that gave its support in the 2016 election cycle to Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton for U.S. president. I have no doubt it means many of the people who now will be the basis of Rauner’s voter support for re-election come 2018 will be the kind of people who want to see Rauner move closer to Trump on various points.
Which is a radical change, since Rauner during his two years as governor has gone out of his way to distance himself from the president. He doesn’t come out and criticize him, or praise him, on anything!
Even when Illinois-based interests come out and criticize Trump for his latest nonsensities, Rauner maintains silence – almost like a submarine in wartime goes quiet so as to try to avoid being detected by the enemy's sonar equipment.
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But it could turn out that with the Chicago metro population (about two-thirds of the state’s people) potentially turning more and more hostile to Rauner, he’s going to need all the ideologue Trump-ites he can find so as to avoid an Election Day blowout come next November.
WHICH COULD BE just the opposite of McCain, who is now getting the praise of many people who were eager to lambast him back in 2008 when he ran unsuccessfully for president against Obama.
Back in that campaign, McCain made the hard-right adjustments so as to try to get the votes of the conservative ideologues. Particularly with regards to immigration, where he had been a GOP supporter in the past of some serious reform measures but in that campaign backed away from his past talk on those issues.
Now, he’s willing to express some support for serious immigration reform (which excludes anything whose prime focus is to increase the number of deportations from this nation). And he went ahead and took the vote last week that keeps some people (possibly even myself) remaining with some form of health insurance.
There are those who say that the bout of cancer that McCain is coping with these days (he made a special trip to Capitol Hill to be on hand for the negative – from Trump’s perspective – vote) gives the senator the ability to vote his conscience on the issue.
WHILE IT ALSO is leading to many snide comments on the Internet from people whose idea of a sense of humor is to say that McCain can’t die fast enough – on account of him selling out the ideologues on this particular issue. I’m not about to become a McCain apologist. I was offended enough by his reversal back in ’08 on immigration reform that I will forevermore be convinced I made the right choice in backing Obama.
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But it was impressive to see that some people were capable of putting aside their politically partisan ties to vote in a way that the bulk of the people wanted. Only the ideologues are all that worked up about repealing the Affordable Care Act.
After all, if it has its flaws, they’re mostly because of the ideologues who have spent years trying to thwart its implementation and who probably deserve the blame for not trying to revamp it into a more formidable policy.
Those ideologues will have to settle for the electoral chances of Rauner in Illinois – who could always wind up victorious if problems arise amongst his Democrat challengers. We’ll have to see whether backing, or backing away from, Trump is the appropriate stance for the future.