By Scott Reeder -
Please don’t read this as a candidate endorsement, I don’t do those. This is an endorsement of the truth, which all good journalists should do.
I have covered the Illinois Legislature for more than 20 years. I’m hard pressed to point to an individual lawmaker who has a stronger record of opposing House Speaker Mike Madigan than state Rep. Jeanne Ives.
Depending on your political perspective, you may think that is a good thing or you may think that is a bad thing.
Regardless, it is true.
I’ve covered Ives during her six years in the Illinois General Assembly. She is about as conservative as they come.
Gov. Bruce Rauner is spending millions of dollars to portray her as a toady of the powerful speaker.
It is a lie, wrapped in a prevarication, enveloped with deception, packaged in falsehood and bound up with a fabrication.
In my 30 years as a reporter, I’ve seen politicians tell some real doozies and usually there is some tiny fragment of truth to base it upon. In this case, I can’t find even that.
If polls are to be believed Madigan is about as popular with Illinois voters as tooth decay. So, it is understandable that Rauner would want to tag his political adversaries as friends of Madigan.
Here is what Rauner said to a group of Effingham County Republicans: “No state has a guy as corrosive and as corrupt and as destructive as Mike Madigan. And we are going to hang every candidate on the Democratic ticket with Mike Madigan around their neck and we’re going to take them down. And we’re going to beat ‘em. The people of Illinois want Madigan gone almost as much as Republicans do.”
My question is why would any voters believe Rauner?
After all, he has spent last month essentially saying the same thing about Ives. And that allegation has no foundation in reality.
So, when he says it about Democrats, why would anyone believe him come November?
But don’t just take my word for it.
Other journalists are taking the same stand. Greg Hinz at Crain’s Chicago Business; Terry Martin at the Illinois Channel; and John Kass at the Chicago Tribune all have all have pointed out the same thing: When it comes to Ives, Rauner just isn’t telling the truth.
Rauner campaign strategy appears similar to the one Rod Blagojevich employed against Judy Baar Topinka. During that campaign, Blagjevich outspent Topinka. He attacked her honesty and her intellect. Topinka just didn’t have the money to respond to these false charges with ads of her own.
By the time the campaign was over, Illinoisans re-elected the most corrupt governor in the state’s history. And a bright woman of high integrity was unfairly maligned.
Let’s hope voters this time around have the wisdom to know when a candidate is lying.
Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse journalist, who has covered government for almost 30 years. He works as a freelance reporter in the Springfield area. He can be reached at ScottReeder1965@gmail.com.