Candidate Bruce Rauner promised that his success in business would be transferable to the little people in Illinois; that, as governor, the same things that made him a near-billionaire with many residences would bring prosperity to the entire state.

In the weeks since he took office, Gov. Rauner is sharing the secrets of his success.

#1 apparently is, “Intimidate your subordinates.”

In a speech to the Illinois Farm Bureau last week, the governor made it clear that he’s a “My way or the highway” kind of guv. As Doug Finke reported in the State Journal-Register,

“The good legislators, we’ve got to let them know we’ve got their backs,” Rauner said. “We’re going to protect the good ones and go after the bad ones.”
Nice choice of words. You don’t share Rauner’s view of the best way to solve the state’s problems, so you are bad. Violating the public trust by committing a crime in office makes you bad. Not having the same political beliefs does not.
When you need someone’s cooperation on potentially controversial issues, it’s always a good idea to start out threatening them if they don’t go along.

Is it possible a man could spend more than $27 million to win the governor’s office and not understand how policy is made in a democracy; that representatives and senators aren’t employees of the governor and can’t be fired at will for recalcitrance?

While unusual, the attitude “I’ll just end-run the legislative branch” isn’t unprecedented. He might want to talk to the last governor who tried it.

I think Thursday is Visitor’s Day.

At the 2014 IEA Representative Assembly, candidate Rauner said he’d “studied with many governors” including, and especially, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.

He didn’t mention Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. But he should have.

Minnesota’s been eating Wisconsin’s lunch.


More from Mother Jones.

Supplemental reading material: Charlie Wheeler covered the statehouse for decades for the Sun-Times, so he has a sense of history and isn’t easily persuaded that unions are the biggest problem facing the state.

Wheeler has looked at the data and understands how we got in this mess. He says the governor ought to work on real fixes and forget the union-bashing.

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