In defense of Bruce Rauner | Bleader

Friday, January 10, 2014

In defense of Bruce Rauner

Posted By on 01.10.14 at 05:00 PM

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Bruce Rauner is a tough guy to defend.
  • AP Photo/The Southern, Steve Matzker
  • Bruce Rauner is a tough guy to defend.

As part of his resolution to show pity on me in the coming year, CAN TV host Ken Davis invited me to appear on his show, thus getting me out of my home where, stricken with the flu, I had remained hidden in isolation for over a week.

Thank you, Kenneth—thank you!

My job on the show was to join Community Media Workshop cofounder Thom Clark in a robust discussion of the week's big events.

Good thing I was wearing four layers of clothing—'cause, people, it was freezing in that studio.

My greatest challenge came when I offered to defend Bruce Rauner's ever-shifting position on the minimum wage.

As soon as I uttered those words—"in defense of Bruce Rauner"—all eyes turned to me in utter astonishment to see what in the world I could possibly come up with.

To refresh your memory, Rauner is the hedge-fund gazillionaire—he made about $53 million in 2012 alone—who has advocated cutting the state's $8.25-an-hour minimum wage.

He's also running for governor from the Marie Antoinette faction of the Republican party.

Folks, let me tell you—there are few things in life that are harder to do than defend Bruce Rauner's position on the minimum wage, as Mr. Rauner is discovering himself.

The best I could come up with is that Rauner was for cutting the minimum wage before he was for raising it, and now it's one of those things where he'll have to get back to you to explain what he thinks.

In my own defense, I might have come up with a better defense had it not been like a frozen tundra in that studio. Did I mention I was wearing two pairs of socks?

The show also included Mr. Clark's rip-roaring defense of Mayor Emanuel's performance during the recent polar vortex, which, as near as I can tell, boiled down to this: Hey, my street got plowed.

As always, the bar's a little low when it comes to voters' expectations in this city.

Thank goodness Ken did not ask me or Thom to defend Chris Christie.

For those living in a cave, he's the governor of New Jersey whose aides closed three access ramps to the George Washington Bridge in order to punish the people of a nearby town whose mayor had not endorsed Christie's reelection.

All of which raises a burning question. Who's the biggest asshole: Rahm, Rauner, or Governor Christie?

It's a topic I hope Ken and his guests will discuss on the next show.

Let me tell you another thing, people—defending politicians is not as easy as you might think.

In fact, I'm almost in awe of writers who are good at it. Like David Brooks, the New York Times columnist who once wrote a column—that he probably wishes he could burn—in which he exalted Emanuel and Christie!

I will now quote just one of my favorite passages from that column: "It's almost physical. Christie relies on power and mass. Emanuel relies on dexterity and speed. Both have begun their administrations in spectacular fashion."

In another column, Brooks described Emanuel as "a full human being, rich and fertile from the inside out."

Your guess is as good as mine as to what Brooks was getting at there, but I think we can all agree his love for Mayor Emanuel is almost as intense as the love I have for Denzel Washington.

Speaking of which—during my weeklong recovery, I watched Training Day at least three more times.

Enjoy the show, everybody.

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