Bruce Rauner Keeps it in the Daley Family
As one of the only people around who actually reads newspaper editorials—well, someone's gotta do it—I took one for the team and read the Tribune's gushing ode to Bruce Rauner's gubernatorial triumph.
You owe me, Chicago!
As you might imagine the Trib's joy over Rauner's victory goes beyond happiness and borders on ecstasy. It's sort of like the part in Lady Chatterley's Lover where Lady Chatterley and the gamekeeper hook up in the woods. If you follow my drift.
Let me just quote a few choice sections . . .
"She clung to him unconscious in passion, and he never quite slipped from her, and she felt the soft bud of him within her stirring, and strange rhythms flushing up into her with a strange rhythmic growing motion . . ."
Oh, wait—that is from Lady Chatterley's Lover. My bad.
Here we go. "Illinois voters demanded a new direction" and "this blue state rose up angry."
Wait, they're just getting warmed up.
"Businessman Bruce Rauner said he would shake up Springfield, and voters said: Bring on the earthquake . . ."
"We trust that the power structure—House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, the lobbyists and the state employee union bosses—will not be able to ignore Rauner."
You know, like it's those evil union bosses who really call the shots in this state.
"Too many people in Springfield don't trust employers enough to give them the tools to grow and prosper so people can work and, yes, generate revenue to pay for the government we need."
For the life of me, I can't figure how any writer who survived the untrammeled excesses of Sam Zell's reign at the Tribune could retain such faith in capitalism.
"Rauner, he gets it. Springfield, get ready to rock and roll."
Somewhere, someplace, Joe Strummer—one of the real rebels of rock 'n' roll—must be turning over in his grave.
Here's the editorial, if you want to read it.
Anyway, having read the party line, I was eager to see just which brilliant, cutting-edge, firebrand of capitalism Rauner would recruit to lead us down the path to salvation.
Maybe he intended to bring Ayn Rand herself back from the dead.
And the answer is . . .
Okay, I realize memories are short these days. So let me remind you that Bill Daley's the younger brother of Mayor Richard Daley, who's as much, or more, responsible for our state's financial woes as anyone else in or around Illinois.
Or at least the Chicago part of it.
But there Bill Daley was, standing front and center as part of the transition team Rauner introduced at yesterday's press conference.
As long as we're working with rock 'n' roll metaphors, meet the new boss, same as . . . well, you know how it goes.
Aside from being the brains of the Daley clan, Bill Daley is also—surprise, surprise—an investment banker, who made a small fortune working for JPMorgan Chase. He now works as a managing partner for Argentiere Fund LP, a Swiss-based hedge fund "whose principal place of business," according to a recent Tribune article, "was a post office box in the Cayman Islands."
No wonder Rauner likes him so much—they got that Cayman Islands thing going.
In all likelihood, Bill Daley also helped broker the deal in which President Obama dumped Rahm as chief of staff and sent him home to be our mayor.
For which I believe Bill Daley ought to be doing some kind of community service—as opposed to helping chart our state's political future.
In any event, Bill Daley is as about as much of an outsider to Chicago and Illinois politics as Alderman Ed Burke. So much for that earthquake.
I think this is a good time for all of us—Tribune included—to stop pretending that Rauner was the nobody from nowhere as depicted in his campaign commercials as opposed to a consummate insider whose firm once made millions managing state pensions funds during Governor Blago's reign.
I realize that by putting Bill Daley on his transition team it doesn't mean that Rauner's about to hire, oh, Donald Tomczak as his chief of staff.
But the transition team is a sign of where Governor Rauner wants to lead this state.
For instance, by putting a big voucher supporter—like the Reverend James Meeks—on the team, Rauner's signaling that he intends to make good on his pledge to privatize public education.
That means higher salaries for charter school administrators, and lower pay and benefits for teachers.
Apparently, Rauner and Meeks have figured out a way to grow a strong economy without a middle class.
And what message does Bill Daley's appointment send? Oh, I think we all know the answer to that.
It's business as usual in the state of Illinois.