By:  Mark Glennon*

Governor Rauner, you know.

You know our fiscal crisis is far worse than you’ve let on since you were elected.

I know you know.

I know you know because I was among your active supporters early in your first campaign some five years ago. [Wirepoints subsequently adopted a policy under which all of us avoid campaign involvement.] Then, you were blunt, crisp and accurate about how broke Illinois was. You weren’t afraid to talk about pensions and other things you now think are politically off limits.

This probably won’t be enough to overcome your fifteen to twenty percent deficit in the polls, but it’s the best thing you can do now for Illinois, your successors and your personal legacy:

Come clean. Go back to the message you launched with five years ago, which worked, but you abandoned it. Tell Illinois how severe its financial problems are, how the forces of politics have driven most elected officials, including you, to deny how drastically the state must act.

The change in you started after you won the primary in 2014, when the professional handlers got hold of you.

Fire them.

Start with your communications people who are so miserably incompetent I’ve seriously wondered whether they are plants working for your opponents. Next, fire your political advisors who have ripped you off for millions. They’re more concerned about their next lobbying and campaign gigs, which accounts for their go-along, get-along impotence.

Then, gather all the press in that big room in the Governor’s Mansion. Let the cameras roll. Tell them all to sit down, get comfortable and listen up.

Speak from your heart. Provide the sort of cold, factual financial assessment you’d have demanded from a CFO of a portfolio company in distress back when you were an investor. Speak like you did five years ago when I heard you often.

Start by saying you haven’t turned out to be a good politician. That’s forgivable. Tell them you haven’t been forthright. That’s not forgivable, but say it. Admit you’ve been wrong that a tax cut would be an easy matter. Tell Illinois why it will take years to restore competitive levels of services and taxes. Feel free to repeat that the other guys, not you, caused most of Illinois’ problems, and that Pritzker has sold Illinois on impossible promises, because that’s all true.

But be very specific on Illinois’ challenges and how everybody has been ducking them. Tell them, for example, that the “consideration model” of pension reform you and Cullerton have been promoting won’t solve much. Explain why property tax rates over three percent aren’t sustainable and must be slashed, not frozen. Detail why our “balanced budgets” are fraudulent, just as you did before you were elected.

Forget the Hail Marys like your new ad using a muddled F-bomb. An Act of Contrition is what you need.

It will earn you at least some forgiveness and the state will be much better for it.

-Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

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Illinois Entrepreneur
2 years ago

Mark, you may have a policy against getting involved in campaigns now, but I don’t.

And I would happily work on your campaign.

2 years ago

Everyone (with a working and unbiased brain) knows that Illinois is on the verge of collapse. Illinois, in my opinion, will in fact collapse before anything is done. The public unions run this state, and it is set up to stay that way – with very little hope of any meaningful change. Rauner getting nothing done should of been no surprise; he had no chance to. Taxpayers are tapped out. Galesburg, Rockford, Chicago and Peoria are bankrupt now – among others. People cannot move (unable to sell their homes due to property taxes), and yet cannot afford higher taxes either.… Read more »

Wally the Wise
2 years ago

Stop taking political and social advice from your spouse. She is more lefty than some Democrats.

2 years ago

He’s in denial. Or in a “rich guy fog.” Yes, we saw him meeting with this and that group of hard-workin’ folks but he doesn’t understand that citizens actually do have a breaking point beyond which they cannot survive here. They don’t go home from those meetings and just plod through, they can’t pull up a floorboard to access disaster funds. Yet, they’re expected to come up with more to avoid municipal and state collapse. Although our nightmare situation was long in the making, it still dropped on us without much of an incoming whistle and SURPRISE, Squeezy, the Pension… Read more »

northshore cynic
2 years ago

very well stated Mark….though you didn’t mention how he completely destroyed what is left of the Illinois Republican Party and how it will take decades to restore a two party system in this state.

2 years ago

He could say all of those things and our local press (The Pantagraph) wouldn’t cover it. I blame the press mostly for the shocking ignorance of the vast majority of Illinois voters.

2 years ago

Hard to imagine he would listen…