Thursday, November 13, 2014

Political peace? Or cheap talk?

It seems that Gov. Pat Quinn picked up the telephone on Wednesday to place a call to Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner. The two have finally spoke!

Not that I’m sure anything of significance was said. Or that the call was all that essential – unless you’re one of those who needs the mental picture of Quinn being vanquished, kneeling before his new master!

WHICH, WITH ALL the problems state government faces, strikes me as being a very petty concern.

But the two have talked, at least for a few minutes. According to both the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune.

The latter indicates the two men talked about the Affordable Care Act, while the Sun-Times indicates that Rauner aides characterized the conversation as “cordial.’

Don’t we all feel enlightened now?!?

I AM AWARE of the fact that some people felt like Quinn snubbed Rauner when he refused to make a concession statement publicly on Election Night. Although I always like the idea of a political person who keeps his mouth shut, rather than blathering on with a lot of verbal nonsense.

Rauner appears to have won the gubernatorial election with a solid margin (we won’t officially know until Dec. 9, but it would be a miracle if enough votes turn up to overcome the unofficial totals we learned last week).

Which means his staff is now in transition mode, trying to move from becoming the people who spout out a lot of cheap talk about Quinn to being the people who actually have to come up with solutions to the state’s problems – then try to figure out how to implement them despite having an executive branch of the opposition political party.

And one that would be inclined to be hostile toward anything Rauner might want to do.

THERE WAS THAT whole debacle where Rauner tried to give the impression on Nov. 4 that he reached out to the General Assembly’s leaders to talk about the future. When all he really did was have his aides try to make cell phone calls to aides of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and state Senate President John Cullerton, both D-Chicago.

That also would have been a case where a political person would have been better off keeping his mouth shut. Rauner could have made an equally-boastful victory speech without mentioning either Madigan, Cullerton or the legislative process.

I’d have to say he brought whatever ridicule he has received in recent days upon himself.

But back to the latest call – the one between the two “leaders.” If there’s anything that Quinn should do in coming weeks before he leaves office in early January, it’s probably nothing.

AS IN HE should try to stay out of the way – just as if he were an incoming governor who would not want someone else trying to impose remnants of their will upon his desires.

There is a certain amount of cooperation that should occur between the respective staffs of Quinn and Rauner so that the people who actually do the work of government know the basics of procedure and routine.

Although somehow I suspect Rauner is going to be the type who’s going to go about claiming he doesn’t care about the way things are done, because he wants them done his way.

Which would be the way a CEO would behave in overseeing a business interest.

BUT SINCE GOVERNMENT is not a business, there will be a certain amount of oversight. Which will come from Madigan, with assistance from Cullerton. People wishing to prevent Rauner from overstepping boundaries ought to expect those two to keep the new governor in check, rather than thinking Quinn has much more to say.

Because it will be up to Madigan and Cullerton who will decide if there are any “final actions” (ie., a minimum wage hike?, etc.) to take place when the soon-to-be former General Assembly has its final veto session later this month, and its final days of existence in early January.

 Cheap talk now merely complicates things later, when they really matter.


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