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Rauner begins major office staff renovation; panic spreads among Springfield insiders

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Monday, July 17, 2017  |  Commentary  |  Illinois Review

Governor (44) , Legislature (56) , Political Parties (Incld Tea Party) (39a) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
SPRINGFIELD - While Illinois' historic Governor's Mansion undergoes major renovation, Governor Rauner has commenced with an historic office staff remodeling.

Springfield insiders are in panic mode, according to the spokesman for Springfield insiders, CapitolFax's Rich Miller. Referred to by many newly-elected newbies as Illinois' own "Swamp," Springfield is facing its first real challenge in decades.

After he was betrayed by 15 Republicans when they jumped ship to uphold Democrat Speaker Mike Madigan's out-of-balance budget and again when 10 of them stuck with Madigan against his budget veto, Governor Rauner is taking the logical steps any businessman would take when the previous plan failed.

The governor's starting over again - this time with a through rejuvenation of his office staff.

The office staff renovation is stunning and apparently unexpected, Miller writes in this week's syndicated column. All last week, the CapitolFax website - where Springfield insiders anonymously pontificate against any government change and swathe on layer after layer of gooey Madigan worship - bemoaned the Governor's plans.

First it was the announcement of a new chief of staff. Then a new policy director. A new communications director. More. More and more. Even Rauner's longtime political director resigned.

The house cleaning after budget veto override was like watching a remodeling demolition on HGTV. It was exciting to see a sledge hammer taken to a moldy bathtub, outdated kitchen cabinets and worn, smelly carpeting removed.

Sure, it may have been sad to see some of the old go - but nothing's better than a new start.

The Springfield insiders hate the Governor's taste, though - and they're furious that he's turning to a new mindset to remodel his office. He's turning to people he trusts - those who've been helping him all along behind the scenes. The remodeling crew he's bringing in are people who've worked together to give House Speaker Mike Madigan and the Springfield insiders their first real challenge ever.

Miller is furious because he liked the way things were before. He writes about the new staff, many being called in from Illinois Policy Institute:

    And so we're about to embark on an adventure that I don't think any state has ever experienced. A governor of a large state is outsourcing the operation of his government to a libertarian-minded activist "think tank" that he helped fund before he was elected.

    The organization is hostile to unions, public pensions, taxes and government regulations. It has railed against this state's governance for at least a decade, building up an impressive operation that supplies free news stories, opinion columns and even cartoons to cash-strapped newspapers throughout the state.

    It has a legal arm that has filed or is handling anti-union lawsuits. It has mastered social media to spread its gospel and whip up the public and lash out at opponents online.

    It took over a statewide radio news network. It employs researchers who regularly spit out pieces about how Illinois lags other states, particularly Indiana.

    In other words, it's the perfect fit for Rauner, a man of almost identical ideology who nurses a constant obsession about "messaging."

Sounds like Rauner's plan has been thought out, well-funded and implemented shrewdly. Illinois is about to witness a policy shakeup from the top down.

But there's one difference between this and watching HGTV: if Illinois taxpayers think they'll be able to munch on popcorn and watch for Rauner's final "reveal" at the end of the show, they're mistaken.

Here's a hint of what's coming: The plan won't work unless those who've been paying higher and higher taxes to uphold exorbitant six-figure public worker pensions, comfort ailing public sector unions, and nurture more tax dependency hit the streets, social media and talk shows to bolster the Springfield swamp drain.

This renovation could be the last great hope for Springfield and the state of Illinois.

The only alternative if Rauner's plan fails may be total demolition.