Here’s my thinkin’ on Common Man Bruce

SHARE Here’s my thinkin’ on Common Man Bruce

I’ve been thinkin’.

And wonderin’ why our new governor Bruce Rauner feels compelled to drop his g’s off words ending in ing.


This is one very smart man.

The Lake Forest child of a Motorola executive, he is exceptionally well-educated. A Dartmouth summa cum laude. A Harvard MBA. A near billionaire comfortable in the most elite boardrooms in the world.

And yet, before the Illinois Legislature on Wednesday in delivering his State of the State address, Gov. Rauner sounded like a latter-day John Wayne walkin’ through the saloon doors of Cheyenne lookin’ for the bad guys rustlin’ his cattle.

I wasn’t the only one to notice.

On WGN-AM radio that afternoon, host Roe Conn developed a quiz game around the speech, reading excerpts of the Rauner address as it was written and then asking callers/contestants to guess on which ing words the governor dropped his g.

It was pretty funny.

“Political dealing” became “political dealin’.”

“Fresh thinking” was turned into “fresh thinkin’.”

“Lobbying, and sitting across the bargaining table” was a trifecta of “lobbyin’ . . . sittin’ and bargainin’.”

However, “competitive bidding” remained intact.

“Yeah,” remarked someone on the Roe show, “because that’s about money.”

I asked one of our DePaul University journalism interns to count the number of dropped g’s vs. the full ings in Rauner’s speech.  Our intern reported back that the dropped g’s won by an even larger margin than Rauner defeated Pat Quinn. The score was 55-45.

To be fair, Gov. Rauner is hardly the first politician to affect a common man, folksy manner of speech.

Our Harvard-educated president, Barack Obama, does it all the time, depending on the audience he addresses. Like, for instance, a 2011 appearance before the Congressional Black Caucus in which the line “stop complaining” on the telePrompter came out “stop complainin’ ” when spoken.

A big debate erupted on MSNBC when the Associated Press transcribed the president’s words as they were spoken rather than how they were written. And some commentators declared that racist.

I never thought the transcription was racist, just accurate.

And Obama’s delivery affected.

Not unlike the time then-governor James Thompson addressed an African-American church years ago and fell into a fairly startling black preacher pattern of speech.

Or when Hillary Clinton in 2007 did an agonizing oral interpretation of the old spiritual “Can’t Give Up Now” to an audience in Selma.

But we must remember this is our governor’s first rodeo as a politician. So there’s a learning curve in this and all things.

The biggest, steepest climb for him will be on the budget. Findin’ the fundin’ to keep the state runnin’. Not to mention linin’ up the votes to pass his plan.

The CapitolFax’s Rich Miller reported that behind closed doors last Monday, the governor put “the hammer down” on Republican lawmakers warning them they better deliver votes on their side of the aisle or “they’d have an [expletive deleted] problem” with him.

The expletive in question, when written, ends in ing.

Did the governor drop his g?

I am told he did.

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