Bruce Rauner, Duct Tape and Illinois HB 40
Lights up on the interior of a bright, well appointed tool shed. Our eyes meet a freshly sanded cedar workbench, adorned by a rusted clamp, an old school, battery-powered radio, and the kind of forged iron drill you can pass on to your grandson someday. This is a man’s man’s man’s man’s room, the kind of no BS, no PC, no nonsense, get ‘er done, common sense reigns supreme, “why is it bad to let a woman know she’s prettier when she smiles?” room that puts the Christ back in Christmas.
And at the center of this room stands one massive, gaping asshole… Governor Bruce Rauner.
Governor Rauner is wearing a red and blue flannel shirt with fake pearl buttons and two breast pockets where a man’s man can put man things like widgets and chewing tobacco and baseball cards and tiny little pictures of Carmen Electra in a bikini and the overwhelming sense that the America you grew up in is slipping away from you… you know… man stuff.
He looks fucking preposterous. It’s the kind of outfit a politician would wear if their entire understanding of middle America was shaped by watching one season of Home Improvement.
Governor Rauner begins to talk. Springfield is a mess….blah, blah, blah…government is broken…blah blah blah.
But Governor Rauner didn’t just accidentally become Governor Rauner. He became Governor Rauner by knowing that the average American thinks in terms of football plays and muscle cars and doesn’t understand fancy Jewish — I mean, elite media — terms like “budget”, “deficit”, “credit rating”, and “fiscal crisis.” If you want to connect with real Americans, you’ve got to speak to them using props they can understand…
No real reforms!”
He says as he takes three pulls from a roll of duct tape that he literally pulls out of nowhere, thus reminding us simple, television viewing dolts that at the end of the day, Bruce Rauner is just a guy who wants to tip back a couple cold ones, take in a ballgame, and manage the state’s $70B annual budget using the types of asinine, hairbrained analogies that make you want to throw hot gravy on your Uncle Terry during Thanksgiving dinner.
Truly, had the governor gone on TV and attempted to explain the challenges associated with underfunded pensions using the component parts a Wendy’s Baconator cheeseburger, it would hardly have been more insulting than this 30 second assault on our collective intelligence.
This new duct tape ad, which is airing in five Illinois media markets, is just the latest incarnation of Bruce Rauner’s dizzying array of public personas, which can at any moment cast him as a modern day Andy Griffith, Ronald Reagan, or Tim “The Toolman” Taylor. Of course, he is none of these things.
Bruce Rauner was raised in Deerfield, a suburb of Chicago and the 9th wealthiest town in Illinois. His father, Vincent, was a successful lawyer who eventually became a Senior Vice President at the Motorola Corporation. Governor Rauner was an outstanding student, attending Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School. After earning his MBA, he became a partner and eventually Chairman of the private equity firm GTCR, which specializes in leveraged recapitalizations — you know, the kind of work that calls on a man who knows his way around a toolshed — and today GTCR manages roughly $11B in total assets.
While Governor Rauner’s exact net worth is unknown, these three facts are: 1) He owns nine homes; 2) He is a member of a Napa Valley wine club that requires a $150,000 initiation fee; 3) He recently personally donated $50,000,000 to his own reelection campaign. If Bruce Rauner has a tool shed, it’s where he goes to burn money just to know how it smells.
Thankfully, at times, Governor Rauner’s duplicity catches up with him, as it has this week with the controversy surrounding Illinois House Bill 40.
To briefly summarize, during the 2014 governor’s race, in an effort to reassure Illinois’ millions of pro-choice voters, then candidate Bruce Rauner stated — in writing — his support for two specific pro-choice issues: 1) Repealing restrictions that ban insurance coverage for abortion services for state employees and Medicaid recipients, and 2) adopting laws to protect reproductive rights in Illinois should Roe vs. Wade ever be overturned.
This past week, the rubber met the road, or the duct tape met the leak, or the drill met the drill hole — whatever these kinds of analogies are dumb — when the Illinois House of Representatives passed HB 40, a bill that would bring into law the exact two pro-choice provisions Governor Rauner pledged to support three years ago.
Matters became more complicated however when social conservatives recently announced that if Governor Rauner signs HB40, they’ll no longer support his reelection campaign. This has left the governor in what Tim “The Toolman” Taylor might call a “urrrrrurrgh” situation.
Forced to choose between continued political support from conservative Republicans or honoring his pro-choice campaign commitments — and I know this is shocking coming from a man we’ve all seen wear a flannel shirt — Governor Rauner recently reversed course and announced that he will veto HB40, claiming that these issues, which again, he supported just three years ago, are now, “too controversial.”
Ultimately, Governor Rauner cares about two things: Fundamentally reducing the role government plays in society, and unleashing the free market so that it can operate at its maximum, heartless efficiency. His commitment to protecting reproductive rights, like his commitment to protecting environmental rights or workers’ rights, runs about as deep as my commitment to having my teeth cleaned: I know it’s the right thing to do, but I’ll cancel my appointment if literally anything else comes up.
Sorry, but can you please let Dr. Feinberg know that I can’t make it Tuesday. It’s my cousin’s 33rd birthday the next night and they’re finally replaying season 6 of The Carol Burnett Show on MeTV!
So as our next governor’s race begins to unfold, remember, Bruce Rauner may not be the straight-shooting, duct tape wielding, man’s man’s man’s man handyman he plays on TV, but he is definitely a hammer looking for a nail.
These analogies are stupid.