Friday, September 21, 2018

Edgar an old-school “real” Republican, instead of an "Age of Trump" character

It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that Jim Edgar (the Illinois governor of the 1990s) doesn’t think much of incumbent Bruce Rauner, and is actually offering up some advice to Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker.
EDGAR: A political adviser to all

That was the BIG STORY offered up this week by WCIA-TV in Champaign, that Edgar won’t endorse Rauner’s re-election and is almost something of a counselor for Pritzker – whom it seems he knows firsthand from when the two of them served on a board over a decade ago promoting gambling interests connected to horseracing.

IT IS THE kind of political tidbit that will get the conservative ideologues who have taken over the Republican Party all worked up. They’ll spew a whole lot of nasty names – the nicest of which may be that he’s a “RINO” (a so-called “Republican in Name Only”).

As in one of those people whose refusal to be ideologically rigid is what is wrong with politics these days.

Yet I can see where Edgar is so different in background compared to Rauner – and most definitely to President Donald Trump that the real news would be if Edgar could find a way to be supportive of either man.

Or any of the ideologues determined to use party politics and government for the sole purpose of wiping out the opposition on just about any issue.
RAUNER: Lost the leanings of Gov. Jim

THE TRICK TO comprehending The Edgar Years (which coincide closely with the Bill Clinton era) is to remember that Edgar was a man who worked the bulk of his professional life collecting paychecks from Illinois state government.

He was a guy who went from being an intern within the Illinois Legislature all the way up to two terms as governor. I remember I used to joke to people that Edgar was the equivalent of the mythical guy who went from working in the company mailroom to being CEO – except that his company was Illinois state government.

He also served as an Illinois House member(from his hometown of Charleston, the college town that gives us Eastern Illinois University), on the staff of Gov. James R. Thompson and also as Illinois secretary of state.
PRITZKER: Will he listen to Edgar advice?

Edgar was definitely someone who worked his way up through the system, learned how it works and took a strong interest in preserving it.

I CAN SEE where a person like that would find someone like Bruce Rauner distasteful.

With Rauner being the venture capitalist who developed significant personal wealth, then decided to run for a top government post (none of that working his way up politically) because he thinks government made things difficult for his business-self entity.

Just like I’m sure a significant part of the Trump presidency is about trying to change all the government regulations that see sees as having interfered with the business interests of himself, and people like him.

Never mind the fact that many of those regulatory functions were meant to protect the public from the harm that could be caused by Trump’s every little precarious whim.

SO IS THE fact that Rauner let state government go for multiple years without a balanced budget in place an act of irresponsibility that would lead Edgar to say he’s endorsing nobody this year – and certainly not Gov. Bruce? Very likely yes!
Edgar an antique in this Age of Trump

Does the fact that Edgar has always had a strong interest in horses and racetracks and the fact that he got to know Pritzker mean he’s willing to sit down and advise him on how to conduct himself responsibly during a campaign? Probably.

So for the Champaign-area CBS affiliate to report that there have been meetings between Edgar and Pritzker – with the former governor advising J.B. not to get too tied into details now because the realities of governing could cause him to have to change his stance on issues – shouldn’t be shocking.

Because I don’t doubt Edgar is a “Land of Lincoln”-style Republican at heart, and he’ll probably be the first to publicly lambast a “Gov. Pritzker” the first time J.B. screws something up.


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