Friday, September 20, 2013

Chicago Republicrats

There are no real Democrats or Republicans in Chicago. The only symbol saluted here is neither the donkey nor the elephant, but the dollar sign. They've even abandoned the two-party system, for electing the mayor. And statewide, now you have two former Obama chiefs of staff and his former Secretary of State, seemingly cutting a deal to help a Republican venture capitalist candidate for governor defeat an incumbent Democrat.

Sneed reports that Bill Daley, the man from J.P. Morgan and former White House Chief of Staff, upon pulling out of the gubernatorial race — called incumbent Quinn "a loser" and pumped Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner as "the strongest contender". Rauner is also a long-time pal and patron of the mayor -- himself a former Obama COS -- who has been telling insiders he wants Quinn out. Then into the fray jumps Hillary Clinton, to fire a barb at Quinn ("He's the luckiest politician...").
Daley drops out of race.

I haven't seen anything like this since 1983 when the entire Democratic Party machine turned Republican overnight, following the primary election victory of Harold Washington, who would become the city's first African-American mayor. Their slogan was "Bernard Epton before it's too late."

Funny thing is, there's hardly a dime's worth of difference between Rauner, Quinn, Daley or Rahm on the main issues of the day, which include raiding retirees' pension funds and protecting the corporations from having to pay their fair share of taxes to support public education and solve the budget crisis. This is a falling out among thieves.


After trying like hell to get rid of his Inspector General Joe Ferguson, Rahm retreated under public pressure and allowed IG Joe to stay on. But only on the condition that Ferguson abandon his 4-year contract after one year and limit his "investigative work" to helping Rahm get out from under Shakman constraints on political patronage.

I don't know why Ferguson agreed to such a deal, but if there was ever a good reason to keep Shakman intact, it's Rahm Emanuel. Greg Hinz at Crain's gives us the most recent example.
The successor to indicted Chicago comptroller Amer Ahmad has jumped to a private company that he may have helped extend and expand a lucrative city contract... Earlier in the week, I reported that acting Comptroller Andy Sheils is moving to Florida to take a job at a Fort Lauderdale medical-services provider. What I didn't know then was that the company, via a subsidiary, is a major vendor for Chicago, netting nearly $19 million since 2007 on a controversial contract that Mr. Sheils administered and worked on extending.
Says the BGA's Andy Shaw, “Since this is indirectly connected to the alleged criminal activity in Ohio of Chicago's former city comptroller, the BGA hopes that federal investigators here in Chicago are watching these new local developments with their usual microscopic vision."

I hope so too. Where are you, feds? You don't need a microscope.


  1. Brilliant post, Mike!
    While I can't think of a better moniker for the Republicans (isn't what that name signifies bad enough?), I have taken to calling the non-Blues
    (as opposed to the Alan Grayson, Elizabeth Warren ACTUAL Blues)
    who are SUPPOSED to be Blues Demoncrats. I may be prejudiced, here, but I think I'd win in a contest.
    Oh, wait--here's a good one for the Reps.--T.F.O.O.T.M.O.B.--Taking Food Out of the Mouths of Babies--or--how about just plain WICked?

  2. A fine post with one exception. To say that Gov. Quinn believes in "protecting the corporations from having to pay their fair share of taxes" is absurd to the point of being laughable. The truth is exactly opposite. Efforts to close tax loopholes by the Quinn administration usually die in one of the committees of the General Assembly.

  3. Anon,

    It's true that Quinn wants to "temporarily" suspend a $100 million tax loophole enabling major corporations that produce good outside the state to shield a portion of their income from taxation under the Illinois tax code. But, this is not just about closing tax "loopholes."

    All corporations like Sears or Motorola have had to do was threaten to leave the state and move to Ohio or N. Carolina and Gov. Quinn would rush in to offer them huge tax breaks to placate them. This at a time when thousands of teachers were losing their jobs and hundred of schools were being threatened with closure or massive budget cuts. Last year he signed a bill giving hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax breaks to big corporations like Sears -- which turned around and laid off hundreds of Illinois workers themselves.

    Quinn gave a $7 million tax credit to "keep" U.S. Cellular Corp., a $19 million tax break to Continental Tire, $65 million in tax breaks to "keep" Navistar and $100 million in tax incentives to retain Motorola Mobility’s Libertyville headquarters. The Gov. has also shuffled to assure Caterpillar that Illinois is a "business-friendly" state.

    He's also been doing lots of job poaching from other states at taxpayers' expense. This month he offered German-owned Rittal Corp. $624,113 in tax credits over the next decade to move its U.S. headquarters from Ohio.Over the next decade, the state will likely provide $15,602 to Rittal for each of the 40 jobs it is expected to locate in Schaumburg.

    In 2011, Quinn signed a 10-year extension of the Illinois Film Tax Credit, which gives tax breaks to production companies that film in the state. He also also contributed $5 million to help construction at Cinespace Film Studios, which opened in May 2011. Caterpillar, John Deere, Boeing, Ford, Diamond Star (Mitsubishi), Nabisco... the list goes on and on.

    Quinn's support for pension-bombing bills, to the point of withholding legislator's pay until they pass one, shows the efforts he will go through to force the burden of the pension crisis onto the backs of retirees and off the state's wealthy and corporate interests.

    Now, with no Democrat opposition in the primary, and facing billionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner in the final election, look for Quinn to move even further to the right and drop any mention of taxing the wealthy or even closing more loopholes.

    Laughable? Not if you're one of those teachers.


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