Is it the rejection of his anti-working families schemes by Attorney General Lisa Madigan?

Is the failure of his phony “empowerment zones” idea to even get a vote at an Oswego village board meeting last week?

Whatever the reason, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner sounds like a man trying to convince himself that, despite being part of a democracy, he will have his way; regardless of what the people, the legislature and the legal system all think.

The latest leg of the Rauner campaign to destroy unions and inflict substandard wages on working people in Illinois started Monday in the editorial board room of the Chicago Tribune. There he found an audience that was loving every macho threatening phrase he tossed their way.

One such moment came when Rauner railed against public worker unions that donate heavily to further their political aims. Asked how he intended to get a ban on union campaign contributions through a legislature that is heavily backed by organized labor, Rauner pointed to the binders his staff had prepared.

“Read it,” he said. “Change the law … that’s what our proposal is.”

Pressed to explain, Rauner simply said: “Crisis. Crisis creates leverage.”

Rauner racheted up the tough talk in the same session, telling the Trib board…

“I am one of the baddest, you know, enemies anybody can have. And when I set a goal, we do it. I don’t care what the headline is. I want the results. 

The working people of Illinois are up against a man who’s, unashamedly, willing to inflict debilitating pain on those least equipped to deal with it in order to achieve his goals.

On Monday, Rauner was asked if he would consider reinstating any of the suspended grants, which include money for teen programs, autism, HIV and AIDS and smoking cessation. The governor pointed to his reform package, which does not include any proposed tax hikes or closing of so-called tax loopholes.

“Get these structural reforms done, we’re going to have a lot of money and we can prioritize it,” Rauner said. “I just had to put the brakes on. … Some of those grants should be reinstated, some probably shouldn’t. We’ll make that assessment in due process. But the key is structural reform.”

There is still time to schedule a meeting with your state representative and senator this week. Here is information on how to do it.

Bruce Rauner is serious. We’d better be.

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More reading

Tribune editorial

“Highlights” from the Rauner editorial meeting

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