The Corner

Politics & Policy

Rauner’s Latest Dishonest Attack on Conservative Challenger Ives

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (Leah Millis/Reuters)

With the Illinois primary elections mere days away, incumbent GOP governor Bruce Rauner is still slinging attacks at primary challenger Jeanne Ives.

The governor’s latest ad has been denounced as inaccurate by several local political analysts. Among other charges, Rauner’s ad claims that Ives is a “lackey” of Illinois’ speaker of the house, Michael Madigan, a prominent Democrat who has been a party leader on the left for decades.

Rauner’s attempts to fend off Ives’s conservative challenge have largely centered around this theme, repeatedly calling the state legislator “Madigan’s Favorite Republican,” despite the fact that Rauner’s policies as governor have hewn much more closely to the Democratic party than anything Ives has proposed or supported.

As Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn noted earlier this week, media commentators have called the governor’s latest attack ad “the most inaccurate” and “perhaps the most ludicrous” of the campaign season, as well as “a lie, wrapped in a prevarication, enveloped with deception, packaged in falsehood and bound up with a fabrication.”

Zorn’s column goes on to explain the specific instances of dishonesty compiled in Rauner’s latest ad, all of which involve taking Ives’s remarks out of context or misrepresenting legislation she has supported at the state Capitol. Here is one example that Zorn uses to illustrate the unfairness of Rauner’s attacks:

Claim: “Ives even defends Madigan.”

The commercial cuts to a video clip of Ives saying, “I don’t think that’s any way to deal with the powerful speaker of the House, Mike Madigan,” during a joint interview with Rauner at the Tribune Editorial Board. A different Rauner commercial, one that calls Ives “another Madigan lackey,” shows a clip from that same session in which Ives says Rauner is “picking on Mike Madigan again.”

Truth: Ives was not defending Madigan in these clips but criticizing Rauner’s intemperate, immature and highly unsuccessful attempts to browbeat Madigan into submission by calling him names. Rauner’s 3½-year record of failure and futility — an unblemished 0-for-44 on his “turnaround agenda” goals — shows that he has no idea how to deal with Democratic majorities in the General Assembly and that re-electing him promises more of the same.

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