Kristina Rasmussen resigned today as Gov.
Diana Bruce Rauner’s Chief of Staff.
Remember the claim a couple months ago by Dems and certain friends in the press that right wing extremists had taken over Rauer’s staff? Rasmussen, formerly with the Illinois Policy Institute and definitely conservative, was at the top of their list.
Maybe a different theory is in order now: that the appointment of those conservatives was cover for Rauner’s lurch to the left and that Mrs. Rauner, a liberal Dem, is the ascending superpower on the staff. That lurch began about the same time and turned Republicans in the General Assembly against Rauner. I have yet to see even one GOP lawmaker or other bigwig standing up for Rauner now, though maybe I’ve missed one or two. John Tillman, who runs the Illinois Policy Institute and had been a major ally, now calls him “Benedict Rauner.”
Rauner’s head-scratching video released a couple days ago seems relevant. It gloats about the new education funding bill. “It’s been called ‘nothing short of a miracle,'” says the video. Well, the miracle will be where Illinois will come up with the additional funding of at least $350 million per year for ten years as called for in the bill. And overlooking the bailout for Chicago that’s in it, which Rauner said he opposed, is pretty miraculous, too.
Rauner let the bill develop into a monstrosity of unknown proportions, praised it, then criticized it and finally amendatorily vetoed it. Now, it’s a miracle? That has Democrats now complaining, understandably, that Rauner is claiming credit for something he actually opposed.
Maybe that different theory is wrong. I sure don’t know what Rauner will do next. I don’t think he knows, either. He seems to have no memory or concern about contradictions from day to day and no coherent sense of where he is going. That has had me, for several months, asking those who know him whether he’s, well, OK. He sure doesn’t look well. They unanimously say he’s fine.
State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) recently offered another theory. “It just feels he was the Manchurian candidate all along and we’re just now figuring it out,” she said.
Maybe that theory is wrong, too. I just don’t know. Irrationality and erratic behavior are hard to explain.
–Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.