Politics & government: The Rauner years
Illinois has had a few very good governors, but the rest have been, to borrow from Robert Howard’s 1988 history of the state’s chief executives, mostly good and competent men. Even ordinary goodness and competence was conspicuous by its absence from the governor’s mansion in the years between 1991 and 2019. In those 28 long years, an entire generation of Illinoisans were soured on politics.
Among the authors of this disillusionment was Bruce Rauner, the vulture capitalist and political dilettante who was elected very narrowly in 2014. Rauner promised to lower taxes, liberate business, energize the bureaucracy, and chastise the public employee unions. Promise was all he did do. Uninformed, dishonest, inattentive, and arrogant, he proved to be easily the worst Illinois governor in the modern era and arguably its worst ever. He hired fools to manage the state. Public debt skyrocketed. The bureaucracy was not energized but gutted. The voters of Illinois usually require eight years to recognize a fraud when they see one but they had enough of Rauner after only two or three. He was driven out of office in 2018 by an election margin of 15 points by a man his better in every way, and fled Illinois.
I did not usually write much about Rauner’s predecessors, but he was an uncommonly provoking public figure. The best of the pieces I did probably was the first. Sadly for Illinois, everything I feared about him on election night proved true.
If you liked Dan Walker, you’ll love Gov. Bruce Rauner
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times March 13, 2014
Rauner wants to give ailing Illinois a dose of California
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times September 11, 2014
“My way is the highway,” says the governor
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times March 12, 2015
Should the State of Illinois sell the Thompson Center?
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times April 9, 2015
The governor doesn’t want to pay to bury the poor
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times April 16, 2015
Rauner’s property tax freeze plan hides a nasty surprise
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times June 18, 2015
Getting labor back into politics
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times August 13, 2015
Has the governor taken the wrong guy hostage?
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times October 15, 2015
It’s capital vs. labor again in the capital
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times November 19, 2015
The return of the businessmen-reformer
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times February 4, 2016
Does the French Revolution hold lessons for Citizen Rauner?
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times January 7, 2016
Judging our elected emperors by their clothes
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times March 10, 2016
Rauner’s principled opposition to SB 1
“Dyspepsiana” Illinois Times August 2, 2017
Are the Rauners giving Illinois a mansion it really wants?
"Dyspepsiana" Illinois Times July 28, 2016
Term limits are bad politics and worse government
"Dyspepsiana" Illinois Times September 26, 2013
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