Edward Hadnott, a 61-year-old real estate appraiser and broker from Glenwood, got his 15 minutes of fame Tuesday and almost missed it.
Hadnott posted a question to Gov. Bruce Rauner a few days ago on the governor’s Facebook page, which Rauner chose to answer Tuesday during a Facebook Live chat session.
It was a good question about political compromise, and prompted an insightful answer, although not necessarily in the way the governor intended.
Neither Hadnott nor I actually witnessed this in real time.
As I later explained to Hadnott, I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a fidget toy than watch Rauner — or any of the Democratic candidates for governor, as far as that goes — campaign on Facebook Live. Hadnott allowed he was busy, too.
But the expert political journalist Rich Miller posted a transcript of Hadnott’s question and answer on his popular CapitolFax blog, which as is the norm, prompted a lively succession of comments.
It got me to thinking that I’d rather hear more of what Hadnott had to say than to listen to another day of everyone blaming each other in Springfield, so I tracked him down.
Here was the even-handed question Hadnott originally posed:
“What happened to the art of compromise? I know it’s not perfect but I feel that you, [House Speaker Mike] Madigan and [Senate President John] Cullerton should work out a budget where the people win. I feel that you, Madigan and Cullerton let your egos get in the way of progress. Remember you, Madigan and Cullerton were elected by the people. Serve the people period.”
Rauner’s response was too long to reprint, but this will give you the gist:
“You know, in order to compromise you need two sides who are willing to compromise, who want to come to a middle ground, and the tragedy in Illinois — we’ve had people who’ve controlled our system, and who’ve controlled our General Assembly, and who’ve controlled our Democratic Party, they’ve been in power for 35 years,” Rauner said.
“And, they created the system and they have no interest in changing it, not even a little bit, because that would admit that they have failed, that would admit that they needed to change, and they don’t want to acknowledge that. That’s our fundamental challenge, but we’ve just got to stay persistent. We’ve got to find common ground, and compromise so we can move forward.”
Some of you are saying “Amen,” and some are wondering how anybody could compromise with a fellow with that kind of tin ear.
Hadnott, though, isn’t really interested in picking up sides.
“My only bias is for the people of Illinois,” he said.
His premise is simple: “I feel like three reasonable people should be able to sit down and work this out. It wouldn’t be perfect. But it would be better.”
“You can’t just have it all your way,” Hadnott said.
“In a compromise, I get A, B and C, and you get D, E and F. They keep saying win-lose. I’m a big believer in win-win.”
I think that’s how a lot of people see it, and while those of us who follow these matters closely might get bogged down on the details, Hadnott is expressing the essence of the common man’s frustration over living in a state now on Day 694 without a budget.
Senate Democrats on Tuesday pushed through a state budget, complete with tax increases to help pay for it, but in the process pulled back on some prior compromises with Republicans, without which makes it just another chess move.
Hadnott said he believes Rauner really does want to find a middle ground, but noted it wasn’t helpful for the governor to dwell on what he sees as Democratic failures.
“No one wants to hear about the past mistakes. The issue is where do we go from here?” Hadnott said.
I’m still guessing we proceed directly to the 2018 election. Do not pass go.