Thursday, March 22, 2018

Night of the Living Politically Dead

"A witch carrying a child on her broom,"
by José Guadalupe Posada (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

      
    There was considerable good news from Tuesday night's primary, so I'll limit myself to the top two. No. 1 the dispatch of Joe Berrios to the dustbin of history, just for the promise of real reform to a sinkhole of nepotism and corruption, followed closely, No. 2, by crude Republican hatemonger Jeanne Ives, who just now came blinking onto the statewide stage, underfunded and lacking a soul, and yet nearly unseated the most unpopular governor in America, Bruce Rauner, through the sheer force of her appeals to the lowest kind of fear and bigotry endemic in fearful, bigoted Red Illinois. 
    She lost, but it was a near thing, 51.4 to 48.6 percent. The Resentment Wing of the GOP promptly announced they were taking their ball and going home. Ives refused to phone Rauner to congratulate him, another small kick at civilized society and democratic traditions, the kind of scorched earth gracelessness that has come to define the party.
     “Governor Rauner can talk to himself in the mirror and look at himself and decide whether or not he’s proud of what he’s done all around, from his governorship to the way that he ran his campaign," she told fawning radical right cheerleaders Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson. "I really don’t care, to say anything to the Governor at this point, quite frankly."
     Then, asked if she'd vote for Rauner nevertheless, Ives showed must how roiled her resentments are.
     "I've said I will vote for him," she replied, her voice dripping contempt. He sucks, but he's got my vote.
      I dipped into the show to check Ives' quotes and, as usual with conservative radio, it was an earful of malice and self-immolation.
      "You want the Rauner Republican party, you can have it," said Proft. "Bumbling idiots, cowards and sell-outs."
      Every bullfrog tries to puff himself up into something bigger, but it had a whiff of truth when callers suggested they represented an army of fellow Illinoisans who find Bruce Rauner too much of a hippy-dippy liberal to bother voting. 
   
     "They're not going to get anybody out to vote now that Jeanne lost," said Joe from Mnooka.
     Some couldn't bear the prospect of surrendering just because they lost.
     "Why are we talking like this is over?" said Nicole from Bourbonnais. "Why aren't we talking about a write-in campaign? We shouldn't be giving up. There's still enough of us left that say, 'No matter what, we do not want Rauner back.'"
     We're of a mind on that one, Nicole.
    I had never listened to Proft's program before, but was the same tissue of bluster and ignorance that's de rigueur (“required by custom,” Dan) in far right talk radio. Proft was waxing on how close the primary was. then ventured: "I don't believe there's an incumbent governor who's ever lost in the primary. I don't think so."
      Umm Gov. Dan Walker in 1976, paving the way for Republican Jim Thompson. Both within human memory and kind of a big deal really, though admitted 42 years ago, and thus over the edge of the event horizon for some, apparently, vanished into the unknown, forgotten and unaccessible land of the past, next to the Here be Dragons on the mental map. 
     Ives' phone call to the station was the highlight. She predicted this is only the beginning of her tremulous hordes rising up and marching boldly back toward the lost Eden of 1950s America, where they're more comfortable.
    "The grass roots is waking up," said our latest Joan of Arc. "This is not the end."          
    Really? It sure smells like the end, both for Ives and, come November, Rauner, who will go back to being an obscure rich guy with nine houses and a heart the size of a gumball. 
     Still, if the Trump fiasco has any lesson, and it has 100, it is that confidence is risky. The wounded serpent is the most dangerous, and just as Ives clutches at the curtains and refused to leave the stage, so we can't expect Rauner to go quietly, and one hopes that J.B. Pritzker is smart enough to keep campaigning hard, to run as if he's afraid he might lose. Don't ease up just because your opponent is a political corpse being gnawed on by the cadaver from the next GOP grave.
     The Democrats shouldn't underestimate Rauner, or give up on him, even if half the Republican Party has. At least for the moment. Never underestimate the Right Wing talent for lying in order to create an effect. Give them eight months to contemplate the prospect of Gov. Pritzker, and perhaps Bruce Rauner won't look quite as loathsome as he does today. Ives' inability to see that would be in keeping with her general myopia toward all things human.
     "He's ruined his run in November already," Ives said. "We said that on the campaign trail. It's not like I was lying to anybody... He's unelectable in 2018. My husband's not going to vote for him. There's no way. He cannot be elected."
     From your lips to God's ears, Jeanne. 


20 comments:

  1. I agree that Rauner will lose to that Democratic billionaire & amateur, Pritzker, unless Rauner is willing to spend millions on some serious quest to discover & reveal if there's any real dirt on Pritzker. Other than the toilet caper with the mansion, it appears he's just a fat, rich heir, who thinks he can run this thoroughly dysfunctional state, even though he has zero experience at running anything more complicated than a coffee maker. As long as Mike Madigan is around, that ain't gonna happen!

    Now Madigan has got to be really pissed that his stooge & rainmaker Berrios has lost. Madigan's income is going to take a huge cut, once Fritz Kaegi reforms the assessment procedures. I expect some sneaky attempts from Madigan to quietly pass some laws to make Kaegi's job difficult to complete.
    The same goes for that appalling sore loser Andrea Raila, who has this truly sick & bizarre belief that she could've won the assessor's race, if only her petitions weren't rejected, unreject & so on. So now she wants to have the courts to order a new election for assessor, which would cost the Cook County taxpayers millions, just so her income won't be reduced for the same reason as Madigan's.
    Raila ran as a spoiler for Berrios & it didn't work. If Raila hadn't been on the ballot, it's likely Kaegi would've gotten over 60% of the vote & a genuine mandate to rebuild the rotten to the core assessment procedures of Berrios & his shyster allies in the assessment reduction business!
    If I remember the Trib series on the mess Berrios & his predecessors created, Cook County has more assessment appeals than the rest of the country combined!
    Just ridiculous, expensive for the taxpayers, who are stuck not only for paying for all the do-nothing employees in the Board of Review office, but on top of that, all of us homeowners that have assessment far too high, while downtown office buildings that sell for in the hundreds of millions are assessed at absurdly low numbers.
    The new Apple Store is expected to sell for in excess of $170 million, but if it's Berrios that gets to reassess it, it will undoubtedly be assessed at under $20 million!!!

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    1. I follow what is going on from 70 miles away in Wisconsin. The toilet caper did bother some people, mainly Kass. But I think it is indicative of a rich guy trying to save some bucks. Not a good look. I understand that a republican has never controlled the assessors office, so it will be interesting to see if a democrat changes things. Politicians promise all sorts of things and rarely follow up.

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    2. Good column, NS.

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  2. I hate to stray from the subject of this column, but I'd like to comment on how beautifully it's written. Just one example is the perfectly crafted, second sentence in the first paragraph. Masterful! Few writers learn that technique, and of those few, only a handful know when to employ it. Well done, Neil!

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    1. It is indeed a sentence and a half. Intentional or not Neil seems to be giving us a tour of literary archetypes: from Hemmingway in Philadelphia the other day to Henry James back here in Illinois.

      Tom

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  3. I wonder if Rauner is dumb enough to believe that he won the primary because of, and not in spite of, his addlepated strategy of trying to tie Ives to Madigan. I'm guessing he is, and that we'll see nothing but Madigan Madigan Madigan out of him from now until November. It's basically the only strategy he knows. I think Illinois voters are sick of it by now and see it for the lame excuse that it is, but we'll see.

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  4. I was thrilled Berrios got the boot, and surprised Ives came so close to upending Rauner; that would have been disastrous.

    Tony Galati: Well said!

    SandyK

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    1. I think if Ives would have beat Rauner it would have been game over .Even Pritzker could beat her. I'm not so sure he'll beat Rauner . The madigan connection bugs a lot of voters .

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  5. You're missing some unintended humor if you don't tune in Dan and Amy every so often. It's like Don Wade and Roma 2.0 except Dan often sound like that annoy guy in college that just discovered the National Review and joined Young Americans for Freedom.

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  6. I am happy she is done-- she is a loathsome Snake...

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  7. I grew up on the political truism that Republicans always turned out for elections come hell or high water, so was happily surprised at how many more people voted in the Democratic primary than the Republican one, esp. in the governor races -- surely that should be pleasing for Pritzker and worrisome for Rauner. Given the craziness on the Federal level, I can't imagine Democratic voters becoming complacent between now and November and not turning out to vote.

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  8. What Tony said. Unfortunately, the state is filled with way too many other snakes, who uncoiled and voted for her.

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  9. Now that Ms. Ives is out of the picture I suppose the conservative cause will have to be upheld by the inestimable Arthur Jones, in his coming battle of the Titans with Dan Lipinski.

    Tom

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  10. I wonder if Ives hadn't run on hate and bigotry she might have prevailed; her ugly commercial repulsed quite a few Republicans as well. The DGA ads gave her more credibility as a conservative and an anti-Rauner change candidate than anything she tried to sell to voters. Ives sabatoged her own campaign, but considering the scorpion she is, it was inevitable.

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  11. I wish I could be as confident as you on a Pritzker win, NS. But come November, the right may figure better Rauner than a Dem. Then DuPage county Repubs and central and southern IL folks will go to bat.

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  12. Arthur Jones was uncontested, wasn't he? But doubt he can beat the Dem. in this case, if he's that neo-Nazi one.

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    1. He’s the well-known Holocaust denier and anti-Semite. But don’t count him out. Remember all those folks who stood up for Roy Moore in Alabama, saying they’d rather vote for a pedophile than a Democrat? Well, there are certainly folks in Illinois who would rather vote for a Nazi than a Democrat.

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  13. Well if she wants to go back the the 50's, Ms. Ives, then she should know that woman don't run for governor at that time. ;)

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  14. Yes, B. Scribe, Rauner' s attempt to tie Ives to Madigan was bs and obviously the far right didn't buy it. But it seems he's suceeded in making Madigan out to be a beast, more than he really is. That and the beating Madigan took for not stopping the harassment on women that his underlings committed leaves him wounded. Yet. I'm glad he's not down and out. We need that power against the Repubs in the Gen. Assembly.

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