-By Warner Todd Huston
Doug Ibendhal over at RepublicanNewsWatch.com has a very interesting observation about Illinois GOP outsider Bruce Rauner’s claim that he stands against “career politicians.” Rauner is actually supporting one of the biggest career politicians in the country quite despite his posturing against that class of public servant.
Of course, we know that Rauner has spared no expense out of his large personal fortune to launch TV and radio ads saying that he is fighting both the profligate Democrats and the slothful career politicians that have enabled them on the GOP side. We’ve heard his ads all over the state, to be sure.
In fact, that’s about all anyone knows of the GOP race for governor thus far, Rauner is against career politicians and he’ll somehow magically institute term limits. The good people of Illinois have been inundated with Rauner’s ads to the point where he’s practically sucked all the oxygen out of the room for the other three Republican candidates.
There have been a few dents in Rauner’s domination over the last few weeks with his flip flop on cutting, then not cutting the minimum wage and his supposed pay-to-play donations to his daughter’s exclusive school so that she would get accepted as a student there.
But my sense is that these two “scandals” have only been noticed by the wonks that have really been paying attention to the race for the GOP nomination for Governor. Few voters have noticed, I’d reckon.
But, all that being said, Ibendahl has found another chink in Rauner’s claims of being anti-career pol.
Now, as I mentioned above, Rauner has been slapping at his GOP opponents since day one calling them “career politicians” and saying that he stands against such people no matter who they are. Further, he says that politicians should serve only up to eight years and then go home.
Here is Rauner’s most common ad:
But, does he really believe that it should be 8 years and you’re out?
Maybe not so much… or at least not as exclusively as he tries to make people believe in his ads.
It turns out that Rauner put his money where both sides of his mouth is, at least in Kentucky. As Ibedahl notes, in the Bluegrass State Rauner has the chance to support a new, conservative candidate who is primarying a long-time, career politician. Unfortunately, Rauner has opted to support the career politician.
In Kentucky, a fellow named Matt Bevin is running in the GOP primary to upset longtime GOP Senator and current GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell has spent the last four or five years upsetting conservatives from coast to coast with his establishment-styled leadership in the Senate and his behavior has garnered the challenge from Bevin, a former Captain in the U.S. Army.
“In some ways, Bevin is sort of a more impressive version of Bruce Rauner,” Ibendahl reports. “Bevin is a successful business man in his own right who among other things saved his family’s bell manufacturing company from pending bankruptcy. Today that company, Bevin Bros., is doing fine and continues to make thousands of bells a year, including those used by the Salvation Army and Macy’s.”
Yet, instead of donating his money to Bevin, Ibendahl discovered that Bruce Rauner, the purportedly anti-career politician candidate, sent his money to career pol McConnell.
Ibendhal found that Rauner gave McConnell $1,000 for his primary campaign on June 28, 2013.
Granted McConnell is a powerful Republican and having him on your side is probably a good idea. Further, at this point he looks strong enough to defeat Bevin in the primary.
But one would think that Rauner might want to stay out of a primary between a politician with a 28-year-long career and a reform-minded new comer, especially when Rauner is making his pitch to Illinois as being anti-career politician!
Would it be bad that Rauner donate to McConnell after he won a primary? Not especially. It might even be prudent. But it certainly looks to go against his claims of being against career politicians for donating money to help a career politician beat a challenger in a primary! Especially when that challenger is a good, solid conservative candidate.