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Illinois gov. race: Rauner - who's out of touch - or Quinn - who's out to lunch

Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn (l) and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner
Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn (l) and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner
Chicago Tribune

Now that the Illinois gubernatorial primary is history, Illinois looks to a future which will have a governor after the general election in November who is either out of touch or out to lunch.

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Bruce Rauner is the beyond-wealthy Republican candidate who outspent his GOP competitors and claimed a narrow victory over state Sen. Kirk Dillard. Pat Quinn is the candidate who glided into victory as he had no serious competitors for the Democratic nomination.

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Because Rauner is a man who has extreme wealth, Quinn is already saying that Rauner is out of touch with everyday Illinoisans. Yet, one wonders how in-touch Quinn is with Illinoisans with the actions he has and hasn’t taken over his years in office since his fellow-Democrat Rod Blagojevich was shown the exit door. For example, what’s with the raise in taxes that have occurred under Quinn that shows he can relate to the financial struggles of the everyday Illinoisans? Maybe he can afford his taxes, but everyday Illinoisans are being challenged.

However, every time Rauner says something that may take money away from Illinoisans as Quinn has done himself while in office, Quinn is going to cry “out of touch.” It’s one of many political disadvantages of being successful. The words “out of touch” are thrown at you without good reason. Rauner is new to politics. How does anybody – including Quinn – really know how out of touch Rauner is? Rauner has said that he was a busboy back in the day. Sounds like he started out as a person who was in-touch – but found great success since then. Success is a good thing – not a bad thing. And, if elected, Rauner may show his successful strategies to improve Illinois.

Because Quinn has a worse-than-shabby track record after having had some five years at the job, Rauner only has to point to where Illinois was when Quinn became governor and where Illinois is now with Quinn still at the helm. Rauner is easily demonstrating that Quinn stepped out to lunch years ago and never quite found his way back to his office.

Illinois is a political joke throughout the nation. Though some Illinoisans may be getting used to being the butt of jokes and being continually laughed at, many voters are not. And Rauner is easily saying that Illinois will not change course and finally show improvement with Quinn remaining in the governor’s mansion. The home state of President Barack Obama is embarrassed by its politics, its politicians, its incredibly over-the-national-average unemployment rate, its credit rating, and its economic status – which is – in a word - broke.

For the next seven months, the message from the two candidates for Illinois governor will be clear. Quinn will tell us that Rauner is “out of touch,” and Rauner will tell us that Quinn is “out to lunch.”

Illinoisans can expect to hear Rauner continually remind them that Quinn is a political insider who had hands-on experience at messing up the state, and Illinoisans can expect to hear Quinn remind us of how wealthy Rauner is - though, unfortunately for Quinn, with all the ads Rauner will be running, one really won't need a reminder about Rauner's wealth.

Obviously, there are many who believe Illinois residents will be better off with the politician that allegedly can’t touch us than the one who is totally out to lunch.

Unless these two men change their positions drastically during the campaign, here are a few positions we can expect from each candidate on the interests-of-the-day among voters. Regarding pensions, Quinn is all for cutting retirement benefits for state workers and teachers while Rauner wants to move public workers’ future retirement contributions to other financial plans - as Rauner asserts that Quinn’s and leading Democrats’ way of dealing with the problem is messing up Illinois’ finances. While Quinn favors the current income tax structure in Illinois, Rauner wants it to expire as planned on Jan. 1, 2015.

For those who look beyond the financial state of Illinois and its citizenry when voting, there are other issues. Rauner supports concealed carry of guns but doesn’t support same-sex marriage. Quinn doesn’t support concealed carry of guns but does support same-sex marriage.

On the flavor-of-the-day issue of minimum wage, Quinn is all for $10 an hour as if he owns a business and knows how he would handle such a financial increase to a business owner. Rauner – who recently back-stepped on a minimum wage reduction to favor business owners – now says that he would favor a minimum wage increase as long as there are accompanying business reforms to help business owners survive the added expense.

Rauner is new to the game of politics and has fresh ideas and experience at dealing with Illinois’ biggest concern - finances. Quinn has given the governorship the ole-Springfield-try and, to say the least, has not done very well.

The midterm general election is Nov. 4, 2014.

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