Most everyone knows the sorry state of Illinois: runaway deficits, billions behind paying its bills, high unemployment, public employee pensions that are as much as $150 billion in the hole, high taxes, rampant corruption. Shall I continue?
Anyway, Illinois being Illinois and largely because of the Democratic stranglehold on Chicago, this is a “blue state” and one that despite the state’s sorry condition still will be tough for a Republican to win in November. Four Republicans have sought to be the nominee to face the ill-equipped-for-the-job Gov. Pat Quinn: Treasurer Dan Rutherford, State Sen. Bill Brady, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, and independent businessman Bruce Rauner. Of these four, I settled on Bruce Rauner last summer.
From the beginning I discounted Brady because he blew a very winnable race in 2010. I had concerns about Rutherford being able to survive the election process, which unfortunately came true. I do believe if Kirk Dillard was the GOP nominee in 2010, we would be fighting to get him re-elected governor right now. Rauner, from the beginning, seemed like fresh air, something different this state sorely needs.
Dillard is a fine man and probably would make a good governor. My biggest issue with him is not that he did a campaign ad for Barack Obama in 2007, but that he seems too tied in with the public employee unions. In the grand scheme of things, that isn’t necessarily a good thing. However, it might come in handy come November because those same unions – while not necessarily friendly to most Republicans – are not particularly happy with Quinn. They booed him big time at the Illinois State Fair in 2012.
Having said all of that, I am going for Rauner for these reasons:
1. He is the only one who is speaking of reform; true reform.
2. While I have never been a term limit kind of guy, Illinois needs term limits and he is pushing for a referendum on the November ballot of which if it gets the votes becomes binding.
3. He has helped spearhead another referendum push: getting the redistricting process out of the hands of the politicians and into an independent commission. If you were to look at some of the maps for Congressional districts as well as state representative and state senate areas, you would see why we need to change the redistricting process.
4. He is for school choice and charter schools. Rauner has donated millions to the cause so he has put his money where his mouth is.
5. He has vowed to take on the special interests, which is sorely needed in this state.
6. He is not part of the Illinois ruling political class that has messed up this state.
I know some conservatives whine that he is friends with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Big deal. So they are friends. Conservative Jimmy Stewart was best buds with liberal Henry Fonda. Some might find this hard to believe, but I have liberal friends. I’ve even gone on vacation with some of those liberal friends. Yes, we duke it out on occasion (verbally), but at the end of the day we’re still friends. I don’t choose my friends based on politics nor religion nor color nor orientation.
I also know that some conservatives have concerns about donations he and his wife made to Democrats. On that issue, I am in agreement. But I have heard Rauner’s reasons and they are good enough for me. Some social conservatives have voiced their opposition because Rauner, in most instances, is pro-choice. I am pro-life and would prefer it that all people are pro-life, but that is not the case nor reality. But what would change in Illinois if we had another pro-choice governor over a pro-life one? The Supreme Court ruled abortions legal 40 years ago. Some constrictions can be put on abortions such as late-term abortions, parental notification and the like. Perhaps some of those conditions can even occur with a pro-choice Rauner; about 80 percent of folks in this country are against late-term abortions. But this election isn’t about abortions. It’s about the state’s economic health, its unemployment rate, its business unfriendliness, its spending and taxing, its overall competency. On those notes, the only choice is Rauner.
For U.S. Senate, the choices are between independent businessman and military veteran Doug Truax and businessman and State Sen. Jim Oberweis. Here, the choice is clear: Doug Truax.
Oberweis is a nice enough man. I thought he should have been the U.S. Senate GOP nominee in 2004 after Jack Ryan dropped out. He did come in second, after all in the GOP primary. His ice cream is awesome and he is a savvy businessman. But he also has lost many times statewide and twice in his bid to become a Congressman. He also shows poor judgment as he did when he flew down to Florida for a week right before Tuesday’s election to be with his wife on “her birthday.” Her birthday is very important to her, he says.
Oberweis won’t tell us her age, but is she 5? 10? 16? 21? Sorry, but as a 51-year-old man, I could care less about my birthdays! It’s a birthday! I’ve had 51 of them and hopefully will have several more. You’re in the middle of a campaign to represent 11 million people in the U.S. Senate and you need a week off to celebrate your wife’s birthday, which by the way lasts 1 day?!?!?!
Doug Truax is clearly the best choice. Truax is a West Point graduate. He was an Army Ranger. He served this country. Now he is a successful businessman in his own right and a health care expert. He is 43. He seems to be in touch a lot more with the folks than is Oberweis.
Oberweis never should have gotten in this race and I hope that if he does win the primary, he will drop out. And hopefully the Illinois GOP will then install Truax as the Senate nominee. He can go toe-to-toe with the incompetent, but for whatever reason popular Dick Durbin. Oberweis cannot.
So, there you have my choices for the two biggest spots on the GOP ballot: Bruce Rauner for governor and Doug Truax for U.S. Senate.