Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why Quinn will defeat Rauner

While I rarely publically predict election winners, I'm confident Governor Pat Quinn will defeat challenger Bruce Rauner next Tuesday.

Just as his huge early lead in the GOP Primary melted away in proportion to personal millions spent, I sense the more money Rauner spends in the general election, the less likely he is to win. The reason: all that personal Rauner wealth spent goes to the overriding issue in this campaign: character.
First a word about Governor Quinn's character; two words actually: ROCK SOLID. Anyone who has, like me, followed his sterling public career for the last 40 years, knows his accomplishments are many; his shortcomings are few. Consider these accomplishments: passing the Illinois Initiative making public referenda easier; creating the Citizens Utility Board; cutting back the State House from 177 members to 118, and stopping state representatives from collecting their entire two year pay on Day One. Any reputable public servant would be proud to achieve one of them. Quinn achieved them all. He is not among the most revered governors in the country from spending millions promoting that status. He's earned it by saving the public millions, and staying modestly middle class in the process.

Now a few words about Mr. Rauner. Before he announced for the governorship in March, no one aside from his business circle knew much about him. Now, after spending $23 million of his fabulous wealth on the race, we know more than necessary to determine he's not fit to run Illinois. Rauner hasn't created jobs, he's eliminated them. In his race to the top of the business shell game, Rauner and his partners end up with millions every time; the rest end up with little or nothing. When Rauner tells us he doesn't have a 'social agenda', we know that is code to the greedy rich and the despisers of the less fortunate that he's their guy. When Rauner says marriage equality should be put to a referendum; then runs from the reporter asking his personal view of gay marriage, we know he is incapable of showing compassion to the marginalized. When he brags to his wealthy base of the need to lower the Illinois' minimum wage; then lies about his view when challenged, we know he's a phony who's out of touch with the millions of Illinoisans struggling to get by, if not survive. When he says he wouldn't have expanded Medicaid in Illinois, which has given hope and even life to hundreds of thousands shut out from the fabulous health care system Rauner enjoys without thinking, we know he's got a big wallet but a tiny heart. When we hear Rauner trash the entire legislature as a bunch of stupid, dishonest and unsuccessful losers, we know he's tone-deaf because pandering to the electorate on the backs of lawmakers will have its consequences.

But if, by some fluke, Rauner emerges as our 42nd governor next Tuesday, I can imagine him looking sheepishly at his close advisors and repeating the words of Robert Redford, the empty suit in the movie 'The Candidate' who won a California senate race on big money and big marketing: "What do we do now?"

Christie's decision process needs to be quarantined

Nurse Kaci Hickox knows first hand how egregious a Chris Christie presidency would be. Retuning to New Jersey from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, Hickox, healthy as a new born babe, had her nice threads replaced with uncomfortable hospital scrubs, escorted into an unheated tent outside a New Jersey hospital, and told to cool her heels for 21 days so Christie could burnish his 'tough guy' bonifides with an ignorant electorate. Christie, who only possesses a doctorate in 'bullying', said next day Hickox was "obviously ill." A firestorm of criticism from the White House, the medical community and Hickox's attorney caused Christie to reverse course and release her after three days. Besides playing despicable politics, Christie's actions virtually guarantee the growth of Ebola in West Africa and possibly the world because the front line health care professionals treating it at its source will refrain subjecting themselves to such inhumane treatment by thuggish politicians.

There is a quarantine that is called for here. Any time Christie contemplates a decision affecting public safety such as closing the George Washington Bridge or quarantining healthy health care workers, he should be required to undergo a 21 day quarantine so he can assess the likely damage. The only difficulty in quarantining Christie might be finding a big enough tent.