Brown: Rauner opts for ads over dragons in Illinois game of thrones

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Gov. Bruce Rauner walks into a meeting with his cabinet members in Springfield earlier this month. File Photo. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP, File)

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Tuesday should have been reserved for smiles and good feelings, thanks to the Blackhawks’ championship and fresh, dry air from the north.

But Gov. Bruce Rauner, perhaps taking both as signs that winter is coming, picked the occasion to launch his advertising assault on House Speaker Michael J. Madigan as part of their ongoing game of thrones.

Rauner, who has convinced himself he is the one true king, wants the People of Illinois to choose between him and the evil Madigan.

OPINION

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We know Madigan is evil because he is depicted in the Rauner commercials in sepia-toned images in a desolate urban setting, while Rauner emerges on screen Oz-like in Technicolor in happy middle America.

Is manipulating public opinion really that easy with millions of dollars at your disposal?

Of course, it is. It works nearly as well as having dragons.

You know nothing, Jon Snow!

(Sorry for the outburst. Not even the Blackhawks’s victory has cured my state of shock over the Thrones’ season finale.)

Some seem surprised Rauner didn’t go so far as to cast Democrats in his commercials as Madigan’s zombie-like army of the dead, following along blindly while ravenously devouring tax dollars. But I’m sure the governor still has time and money for that later when this softer approach fails.

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I would never try to tell you Madigan is one of the good guys. As I’ve said previously, I wish he’d hang it up.

But for right now, I’m really glad he’s down there in Springfield to stand up to the bully king, even if he’s doing it for the wrong reasons.

Madigan, a bully in his own right, does not currently see it as being in his best political interest to sell out the little people who rely on Democrats to protect their viewpoint in Springfield. That could change, for which I’m equally grateful for the Democratic majority in the Senate.

As it stands, though, if what is needed now is for everyone to choose between Rauner and Madigan, as daily missives from the Illinois Republican Party keep demanding, then I pick Madigan.

In the Game of Thrones, the people of Westeros learn that it is wiser to make their alliances with the bad guy who is least likely to have them killed immediately. Better to survive for another day and go from there.

Rauner may have convinced a majority of this state’s voters that he is on their side, but are they really foolish enough to believe the same of billionaire jerk Sam Zell, who is bankrolling this ad campaign to the tune of $4 million?

Neither Rauner nor the Democrat-led Legislature has come up with a balanced budget for the state’s new fiscal year, which starts July 1. If they don’t get something worked out, we start getting into the ugliness of a government shutdown.

For reasons I don’t quite understand, all the state’s newspaper editorial boards say this is entirely the Democrats’ fault, because they won’t capitulate to Rauner on a few (or few dozen, depending on the day) items that he believes would help businesses in Illinois make more money.

In theory, this money will then trickle down to average folks in the form of more (lower paying) jobs.

I understand we need to take steps to improve this state’s business climate. I understand Rauner’s election gives Republicans a strong say in how we do that.

I don’t accept that government services for the poor, elderly and disabled should be used as leverage for him to dictate a path to improved corporate profits that requires fewer legal protections for workers and consumers.

In Rauner’s commercial, the narrator says: “Mike Madigan and the politicians he controls refuse to change.”

I would translate that to mean Rauner doesn’t control enough politicians yet, but just like Madigan, he’s working on it.

Follow Mark Brown on Twitter: @MarkBrownCST

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