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News Roundup: Rauner’s Right-Wing Reset

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Rauner’s New Staff Signals Conservative, Combative Office

In the wake of his bipartisan budget defeat, Governor Bruce Rauner is on Day 3 of a total Right-Wing Reset. On Monday, Rauner’s office announced it was bringing in a new Chief of Staff from the far-right, Koch Brothers-affiliated Illinois Policy Institute. Yesterday more staffers either departed or were fired, and their replacements all came from either IPI or worked for the Koch Brothers’ favorite Governor, Scott Walker. “Compromise” is not a word all too familiar with this group of people.  

Rauner’s right-wing reset has not gone unnoticed in the press: 

NBC5 Headline: “Rauner Staffer Fired as Shakeup Continues in Governor’s Office.” 

NBC5: “Insiders said the morale inside the Rauner office and campaign is very low among those who do not agree with the governor’s decision to shift his strategy to a more conservative tone.”

WGN Headline: “Another shakeup in the governor’s office: More Rauner staffers call it quits.”

WGN: “After a stunning set-back featuring Republican defections, Governor Bruce Rauner is facing more upheaval among his own staff.”

WGN: “There’s a sense among some Rauner loyalists that the governor, discouraged by defeat in the Illinois legislature, is now being influenced to go to the right rather than the middle.”

State Journal-Register Editorial: “Instead, the state has struggled through an unnecessary two-year budget impasse. Rauner hasn’t been able to change the status quo and his sought-after reforms will not be realized if he digs in deeper ideologically, which is what a shake-up of the governor’s staff in the wake of the budget’s passage could signify.” 

Chuck Sweeny, Rockford Register Star: “Rauner has now decided to move to the libertarian right, by hiring Illinois Policy Institute President Kristina Rasmussen to be chief of staff. Rasmussen has been a harsh critic of Rauner’s willingness to consider revenue increases. Now she’s working for him.”

Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times Headline: “Rauner brings in new (far) right hand for re-election fight.”

Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times: “For those who thought Bruce Rauner has governed Illinois like a conservative ideologue, and a pigheaded one at that, it looks as if we ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times: “The important thing is that Rauner is replacing Goldberg with somebody who has helped build an organization of conservative true believers dedicated to dismantling government.”

Greg Hinz, Crain’s Chicago Headline: “With new chief of staff pick, Rauner signals war.” 

Greg Hinz, Crain’s Chicago: “If you think Illinois’ budget wars have been mean and nasty so far, just wait. That’s the unmistakable message Gov. Bruce Rauner sent today in pushing out his chief of staff after last week’s budget override fiasco in favor of a no-tax-hike hardliner who almost makes the boss look moderate in comparison.”

Greg Hinz, Crain’s Chicago: “But for a governor who already thinks losing the tax-hike override was good politics for him, selecting Rasmussen may encourage him to dig in his heels even more than he has.”

Chicago Tribune Headline: “Rauner staff changes could signal a sharper tone.”

Chicago Tribune: “Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner continued a shakeup of his top staff on Tuesday, hiring two more people from the state’s highest-profile conservative think tank and an alum of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s administration. The changes could further signal a new, more aggressive tone from the first-term governor in the days after lawmakers voted to raise taxes and pass a budget, overriding his vetoes.”