Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chicago CEO puts in ridiculously early stake in Illinois’ 2014 election cycle

A part of me thinks it is still too early to be seriously talking about who will run for president in the 2012 election cycle.
RAUNER: Governor, instead of chairman?

So I’m seriously offended at the concept that someone is already letting it be known he wants to run for governor of Illinois. That’s a political post that won’t be up for grabs until 2014.

TO PUT IT in perspective, Pat Quinn hasn’t even finished the first year of the term to which the people of the Chicago metropolitan area elected him to – and somebody seriously is thinking ahead to the next election.

If there is a true problem that our political system imposes on our society, it may well be that we have some people who are perpetually in election mode – thinking of politics and replacing the incumbents, rather than focusing on government and trying to figure out how it can be used to resolve the problems that confront our society.

Yes, I’m sure some think I’m being a bit of a goo-goo. Yet maybe the problem confronting us is that we don’t have enough of the goo-goo in our personality.

For the record, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday how Bruce Rauner, chairman of GTCR Golder Rauner LLC, has his dreams of becoming Illinois governor.

RAUNER, WHO IS 55, has never run for electoral office before. He did consider going for governor in 2010, but ultimately decided that the timing was not correct last year. Considering that the campaign for the Republican nomination had multiple candidates and ultimately came down to a fight between state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, and the ultimate GOP nominee William Brady – a state senator from Bloomington, I doubt that many people even remember that Rauner was involved.

As things turn out, political pundits already are considering both Dillard and Brady the front-runners for the Republican nomination the next campaign. But perhaps Rauner thinks he can play both of them off as damaged goods who had their chance, and that now it’s time to give him a try.

Reading through the Sun-Times account, it seems that Rauner is trying to portray himself off as a Republican who can work with Chicago types. For it is pointed out in reports that Rauner is a business colleague of now-Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and also accepted appointments from former Mayor Richard M. Daley as chairman of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau. He reportedly was considered at one point by Emanuel to be head of the Chicago Public Schools.

A Republican who won’t demonize Chicago. Perhaps he thinks he can get Chicago voter support to go along with the domination of the rest of the state that William Brady experienced in 2010 (and which he seriously thought would be strong enough to make him our governor).

THE PROBLEM IS that I can’t help but think that those people who were eager to see Brady get elected, and who are now thoroughly disgusted that the voters of three counties could post enough Democratic votes to overcome the Republican preference of the other 99 counties, would be thoroughly appalled at the idea of voting for someone who would think of Chicago favorably.

Combine that with the business ties he has with Emanuel (which are part of the reason that Rahm amassed personal wealth in the few years between his leaving the Bill Clinton-era White House and his election to the House of Representatives) and I could see the downstate GOP vote dwindling down to the point where he would still lose.

And no, I don’t think many Chicagoans would be that eager to dump on Pat Quinn – unless the governor starts making moves in the next couple of years that blatantly go against the city to favor the rest of the state.

All of this is to say that I’m not convinced the campaign of Rauner deserves to be taken all that seriously. Which may well be the lone reason why supporters of the concept of a “Gov. Rauner” are planting the idea now.

GET THE TALK going so early that by the time it really matters who is running for governor of Illinois in 2014, his name will just naturally seem like a part of the conversation.

But the potential for backlash also exists.

Start talking him up now, and people will be so disgusted at the sound of his name that they won’t want to hear about him any more come the end of 2013 – which is the point in time when we should start thinking seriously about who will challenge Quinn to be Illinois government’s chief executive.

Just like I wish we could go until about November before we seriously start contemplating who will challenge Obama for president in next year’s election cycle.

ABOUT THE ONLY thing more appalling than the fact that we’re considering Rauner for Illinois governor in 2014 is the fact that GOP presidential hopeful Michelle Bachmann backers are complaining about being on the cover of Newsweek magazine – because her followers think she has a crazy-looking stare in the photograph and it is a plot to discredit her.

Even though personally, I don’t see anything unusual about it.


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