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Editorial: We can’t unscramble Rauner’s mixed messages

Gov. Bruce Rauner | AP file photo

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Gov. Rauner, what do you want?

And how do you plan to get it?

Honestly, we are at a loss to know.

You’re running all over Illinois again bad-mouthing your political foes, implying again they are corrupt, pitting virtuous Downstate against bad Chicago, while insisting you want to strike a deal.

Those two things don’t go together.


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You say you want to work with the Democratic-controlled Legislature to pass a short-term budget to keep the state on its feet. You say you want to pass a separate bill to fund the public schools. Both worthy goals.

But your rhetoric says no such thing. Your rhetoric says you want a fight. It says you cannot be trusted.

In Bloomington this week, you ripped House Speaker Mike Madigan’s personal integrity, saying he opposes change because “he makes his money from the status quo, he makes his money from big, expensive government.”

Inexplicably, at the same meeting, you said you had a pleasant conversation with Madigan and his Senate counterpart, President John Cullerton, earlier that very day and continue to negotiate.

Again, Governor, those two things don’t go together.

You ran for governor two years ago promising to roll over Springfield like a Sherman tank. You called your opponents “corrupt” and made it clear you would not so much negotiate with them as defeat them.

But you didn’t defeat them because you couldn’t — welcome to politics, Mr. CEO. And now you blame them — the same people you promised to crush — for failing to work with you.

You threw away the possibility of trust during a slashing campaign, right up to the night you won. Remember how you said in your victory speech that you had called Madigan and Cullerton minutes earlier to urge them to work with you? They said the next day you never talked to either of them.

You continue to throw away trust. Last Thursday, you blamed the Legislature for failing to pass a bill that would keep open a nuclear power plant in the Quad Cities, saving jobs. You said you had been “fighting hard” for the bill. Which was false. As the Quad-City Times wrote in an editorial this week, the paper’s reporters couldn’t even get a straight answer as to whether you supported the bill.

Here’s our fear, Governor: You’re not interested in ending this impasse. Not yet. Not if throwing the state into complete crisis, with schools failing to open in the fall, might finally break your opponents and get you part of your cherished anti-union Turnaround Agenda.

But that’s just a guess.

You have sent so many contradictory signals in just the last two weeks.

We don’t know what you want anymore.

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