Random thoughts. The governor in 2018?


Two years before former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn lost to Bruce Rauner it was becoming obvious that Quinn had created the conditions for his own defeat.

Remember the day at the State Fair when AFSCME members chased the Governor off the Fairgrounds?

Although they might not have agreed on much, both Quinn and Speaker Michael Madigan agreed on the plan to go after public employee pensions. In addition, Quinn had established his anti-union bona fides when in 2012 he became the first Illinois governor ever to unilaterally terminate a union contract.

But the state’s public employee union leadership, the two state teacher unions included, ignored the anger of the rank-and-file and of their retired members and retired non-members and doubled down on Quinn.

First they backed a Republican challenger to Bruce Rauner in the form of Kirk Dillard, the Illinois co-chairman of the anti-union American Legislative Exchange Council.

It was ALEC legislation that led to the wide-spread enactment of Stand-Your-Ground legislation across the country.

We know what happened with that: The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.

Dillard was badly defeated in the Republican primary in spite of union support.

After flushing millions of campaign dollars down the toilet in Dillard’s losing effort to stop Rauner, the state union leadership spent more millions of PAC dollars to try to save the pathetic Quinn.

Yet tens of thousands of our own union members refused to listen to our union leaders and left the governor’s line empty, choosing none of the above rather than choosing between Quinn or Rauner.

Bruce Rauner and the chaos he has created is part of the lasting legacy of Pat Quinn and the failure of state union leadership to provide a working family, progressive alternative early enough to be effective.

Now they are forced to rely on Michael Madigan as their leader in the fight against Rauner.

Does any union member feel confident counting on Madigan as their leader?

In about two years the race to replace Bruce Rauner will be full on.

Will this be a case of here we go again?

Have the state’s union leaders learned nothing from their previous failure to organize far enough ahead to prevent another Rauner disaster?

Nothing I’m seeing suggests that they have.

2 Replies to “Random thoughts. The governor in 2018?”

  1. Patrick Quinn and Bruce Rauner: Just a few quotations and commentary from the IEA forum held on April 14, 2014:

    Quinn: “My mom worked for 33 years at a middle school [as a para-professional], a public school in Illinois. Our family believes in public education.” [However, I (Governor Quinn) also believe in stealing money public employees have earned for retirement so I can continue to give exorbitant tax breaks to wealthy, extortionate corporations that support me, and so I can also continue to ignore the state’s seriously-flawed revenue structure and pension debt problems]…

    Quinn: “I believe in investing in public schools… With the help of the IEA, I was elected in 2010.” [Despite the fact that I have severely cut the budget for public education while serving as governor, the IEA and other unions will support me unconditionally in 2014 since Dillard lost!]…

    Quinn: “I believe in making sure that our teachers have a properly-funded pension as governor. I’m the first governor in a very long time to pay every year the proper amount of money into the pension fund.” [Though I have borrowed money to fund the system, I have also shorted TRS (its actuarial requirement) over $3 billion; thus, the state’s debt service continues to grow. Moreover, even though I did not uphold Article XIII, Section 5 (Pension and Retirement Rights) of the Illinois Constitution (after all, why should I?), ‘I didn’t create the (pension) problem. But I’m here to solve it. I know that I was put on earth to get this done,’ and I got it done! Of course, if I have to do it again, I will with union funding. You can bet on it!]…

    Quinn: “I made a decision [to sign Senate Bill 1], and we’ll let the courts decide whether it was the right decision or not… We’ll accept whatever decision [the Illinois Supreme Court] makes. If that particular law is not upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court, we’ll go back and work with you [the IEA and other weak union leadership] on a law that will be upheld. Though it did not matter to me in December last year whether I upheld my oath of office and challenged Article XIII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution, I am looking forward to signing another bill (perhaps just like Senate Bill 2404) into law with the approval of the Illinois General Assembly and the IEA and other unions of the coalition, so I, the General Assembly and the unions can legally diminish and impair both the retirees’ and current teachers’ constitutional rights and benefits, via another faulty attempt at consideration]…

    Rauner: “You [teachers] are the most important profession in our society.” [And that is why I want to put all of you in a 401(K) so my vulture capitalist friends and I can make even more money off of your pension earnings (like I did in the past). Who cares if you are not eligible for Social Security benefits, or that a defined-contribution savings plan shifts all of the responsibilities and all of the risk from the State to you and; thus, your benefits are not guaranteed for life? After all, you should have control of your insignificant investments even though you’ll run out of money in a few years after your retirement; that’s if you’re lucky]!

    Rauner: “After my parents and grandparents, the number one person in my life… was my third-grade teacher… I think about her all the time, [especially when I am making a disproportionate amount of money as a billionaire, private equity businessman and venture capitalist]…

    Rauner: “Quinn has broken his promise to you [public employees]… Years ago he said he would not change your pension, and he did! Years ago he said, ‘I will treat education funding as the top priority.’ What did he do? He cut education funding when he did not have to… We are a wealthy state. We’re 49th of 50 states in support for education… I am the one political candidate… who does not want to change the deal [a cavalier expression for constitutional contract?] for existing retirees or the existing accrued benefits in the pensions… I want to create a second pension plan in addition to the existing pension plan.”

    From Fred Klonsky:

    “I will not join the over-the-top Rauner panic instigated by union leaders who spent four million dollars on ALEC’s chairman [Kirk Dillard]… Not one word of criticism of Quinn, the most anti-labor governor in 50 years? Tons of speculation about Rauner, but not a word about what the next four years of Quinn might look like?

    “…If you feel compelled to vote for that pension thief, go to it. But [do not] suggest it is an obvious political act, as if those of us who view it differently are just too blind or stupid to get it is to put it bluntly: total bullshit… [Indeed], voting takes a few minutes. Vote or don’t vote as you wish. The differences are small and each is worse depending on the issue. What matters is what we build before and after…”

    Fred is right. We should start now and “build” a progressive base for a candidate that truly represents the working class. It is unfortunate our unions did not support such a candidate several months ago. As the author and brilliant activist Chris Hedges once stated: “Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class struggle and filled with those who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated partners of the capitalist class. They have been reduced to simple bartering tools.”

    All Quotations are from the following link: Bruce Rauner and Gov. Quinn Face Off in First Debate.
    Originally posted on my blog August, 29, 2014

  2. I think, if support for Bernie Sanders is any indication, that the progressive base is already there, waiting anxiously for someone to emerge. So, who? A progressive candidate who will fight for working folks must be found and supported for the next three years. The state teachers unions will certainly not find a candidate. They are so out of touch no one pays any attention to them and many of us haven’t for quite some time. Hopefully someone will emerge soon. Time is going quickly.

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