Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has been named the “Worst GOP Governor in America” and for good reason. Illinois Democrats successfully beat back every single reform he tried to enact, even refusing to pass a budget for two years. Liberal courts in Illinois did the rest, stymieing his pension reform efforts, guaranteeing that the state will edge closer to pension Armageddon, and blocking his public union reforms.
Rauner promised four years ago to “fight business as usual.” All he did was prove how inept he is.
The fallout from a governor who has caved in to every Democratic demand, including state funding for abortions and making Illinois a sanctuary state, has given rise to a credible challenger. Jeanne Ives is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and has served in the Illinois House since 2012. She has been gaining traction on the right with withering attacks on Rauner for his many concessions to Speaker Mike Madigan and the Democrats. They include a huge tax increase and a half-billion dollar bailout of the Chicago Public Schools.
When Rauner ran in 2014 he promised a 44-point “turnaround agenda” for the state. He had failed to deliver on any single one of those agenda items.
Obviously, Ives and conservatives think they can do better. To that end, Ives has challenged Rauner to a debate. He has so far refused, but if Ives keeps the pressure up, he may be forced to defend an indefensible record on live TV.
But Ives has little name recognition outside of conservative activists circles. That may change after Illinois residents get a hold of this new ad released by the Ives campaign this weekend that absolutely savages Rauner.
It’s being called “racist,” “transphobic,” “anti-woman” — what they don’t call it is “funny,” which is what it is.
“Thank you for signing legislation that lets me use the girls’ bathroom,” says an obviously masculine man dressed up in women’s clothing. The rest is even better.
The ad takes Governor Bruce Rauner to task for signing House Bill 40 which provides taxpayer funded abortions to poor women and state employees. It was a bill Rauner told party conservatives last Spring he would veto.
Another portion of the ad says, “Thank you for making all Illinois families pay for my abortions.”
Ives ad also attacks Rauner over the so-called Sanctuary State law he signed and over the bi-partisan school funding bill he approved that contained what critics called the “Chicago bailout.”
Another part of the ad says, “Thank you Bruce Rauner for making the rest of Illinois bail out Chicago teacher pension. And for giving Rahm everything he wanted and more.”
ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington said Ives is playing to discontent among many Illinois Republicans.
“This one is very edgy. She is really going for the jugular on this one, and she’s going for the heart of Rauner’s conservative base,” Washington said. “It’s going to anger voters who are upset with Bruce Rauner.”
Trans activists don’t like the ad because it points out the absurdity of their position. I don’t see where it’s racist either, except that it is simply not allowed these days to make fun of black people and, I suppose, teachers. But I think ordinary citizens will get a laugh out of it and think about its message.
What makes the ad doubly devastating is that it mirrors a Rauner ad that featured several neighboring state GOP governors thanking Illinois Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan for sending all the businesses and residents their way.
Rauner’s only defense — and it’s not a good one — is that the Democrats blocked him at every turn. But they did much more than that. They were brilliantly successful in turning their obstructionism into a political plus.
Neither Ives nor Rauner is likely to win. A skunk has a better odor than Republicans in the state of Illinois these days and what is already a deep blue state will get even bluer in November.