Someone check the weather forecast for hell and see if it calls for falling temps because the liberal Chicago Sun-times newspaper just endorsed Republican Bruce Rauner for governor.
The other Chicago paper, the Tribune, endorsed Rauner earlier this month.
Incumbent Governor Pat Quinn, who calls himself the “jobs governor,” has presided over the worst economy in the Midwest. He forced the state legislature to pass ruinous tax increases in 2011, promising that the measure would only be temporary.
Last April, he proposed making the increases permanent. His own party shot him down.
His opponent, Bruce Rauner, is a private equity fund manager worth billions. He’s a political novice who promises to “reform” state government. Illinois residents shrug their shoulders and yawn at that kind of talk. They’ve heard it all before and nothing ever changes.
The race isn’t quite as dirty as the Florida governor’s race, but it’s rancid enough for any oppo researcher’s taste. Quinn is portrayed as a crook, a clown, and part of the culture of corruption in Springfield. Rauner is your typical evil businessman who got his wealth illegally, tries to kill poor people and old folks, and wants to get into office so he can cut his own taxes.
The pick of the crop of Illinois politicians.
The Sun-Times endorsement is interesting because the newspaper swore off endorsement two years ago.
This one contest, the race for governor, is simply too important to the future of Illinois for us to stay silent. It may well be the most important election in our state’s modern history. On Nov. 4, voters will decide if Illinois is to grow and charge ahead, reclaiming its place as one of the great states in the Union, or to settle — once and for all — for defeat and decline.
We do not exaggerate. The stakes are that high, and Illinois has just about run out of time for a comeback. We cannot stand on the sidelines.
Today we are endorsing Bruce Rauner for governor. Today we are putting our chips — we’re all in — on an extraordinarily capable businessman who just might have what it takes to break the stranglehold of uninspired, self-serving, one-party rule in Springfield.
We look across Illinois and we despair. We see struggling small towns and an antiquated tax structure, monstrous pension debt and population decline, government incompetence and public corruption.
We see an entrenched political class bereft of fresh ideas, basic business acumen, and independence from unions and other special interests. We see professional politicians, beginning with Gov. Pat Quinn and House Speaker Mike Madigan, who have failed to do what must be done before all else — promote economic growth and help create many more new jobs. We see a political status quo that is ruining Illinois.
Then there is Bruce Rauner. In him, we see everything the current occupant of the Governor’s Mansion is not — a smart businessman, skilled executive and born leader beholden to nobody but those of us smart enough to vote him into office. We see that rare candidate who has but one agenda, to get Illinois roaring again for the sake of us all. It’s not like the man needs the money.
That’s a pretty serious indictment of the Democratic party in Illinois. And it’s deserved. The IRS published a study that showed one person left Illinois every ten minutes. People, businesses, jobs, and wealth are all fleeing the state:
“I thought it was going to be a lifetime thing — living in the Chicago area,” said Ciaburri, 28. “But I just don’t see us getting ahead by staying here.”
Sky-high property taxes make homeownership a pipe dream, she explained. And the job market — terrible. It seems there are always more headlines about companies leaving Illinois than moving in. She and her husband both have jobs now, but what about in five years when there might be kids in the picture?
As Ciaburri laid out all the reasons why it made sense to move, my heart ached.
I was born in Chicago, raised on Superdawg and Portillo’s. In my early 20s, I made a hard pitch for Illinois to my then-boyfriend-now-husband.
“It’s better here,” I told him.
It should be. But thousands of people just like Ciaburri have decided it’s not.
A startling pair of Gallup polls recently suggested that Illinoisans are an unhappy lot. Half of us would move elsewhere if we could. One in 4 says Illinois is the worst possible place to live in the entire U.S.
Naysayers claim it’s all talk. It isn’t.
Not long after the Gallup polls came out, the Internal Revenue Service released fresh numbers showing which states people are moving to and which states people are fleeing.
Spoiler: Illinois didn’t earn any positive marks in this report, either.
According to the IRS, Illinoisans don’t just want to move; they are moving. And they’ve been moving for a long time.
From 1995 to 2010, Illinois lost more than 850,000 people to other states. That’s after you offset the number of people who actually moved in.
That Gallup poll showed that one in four Illinoisans would rather live somewhere else.
Rauner would have to be a miracle worker to turn this around. And he will be fighting against the most entrenched, the most corrupt political system in the country. It won’t just be Democrats he’ll be battling. Republicans, too, benefit from and lustily take part in the shenanigans that allow politicians to line their own pockets and feed the special interests that warp, twist, fold, spindle, and mutilate politics in the state.
Illinois residents have resigned themselves to their fate, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when the politicians carry on with business as usual. Where pitchforks and tar and feathers is called for, residents just throw up their hands and walk away.
Apathy aside, if Rauner wins — the race is virtually tied 2 weeks out — it will be interesting to see what he can do. If history is any guide, it won’t be much. But perhaps he can start something that the next governor can build on and finally bring some hope to the long suffering citizens of the state that Abraham Lincoln called home.