Rep. Sauer was forced to resign
Until now in Illinois government, the #MeToo movement has largely caught Democrats behaving badly.
And that has been exploited by any number of Republicans who have charged that the atmosphere in state government created by House Speaker Michael Madigan has fostered inappropriate comments and behavior toward women in politics and government.
Only last week, the tables were turned a bit. Republican Rep. Nick Sauer of Lake Barrington was forced to resign after a former girlfriend accused him of posting nude pictures of her on the Internet. So now the problem wasn’t just among Democrats, although no one should have assumed that all Republicans were somehow above this stuff.
At an appearance last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner was asked whether maybe he helped create an atmosphere that fostered this behavior, just as he said Madigan created that atmosphere when Democrats were getting caught.
Nope, the governor said.
“There’s no culture that I’ve created,” he said. “Madigan, in the Legislature, has created a culture of abuse.”
The guy does know how to stay on his talking points.
• A BIG PART of Rauner’s re-election campaign is to make Madigan the ultimate boogieman and thereby taint anyone with connections to the speaker. That obviously includes Rauner’s Democratic gubernatorial opponent, J.B. Pritzker.
Pritzker tried to respond with a new ad which is, um, unusual.
It opens with side-by-side pictures of Madigan and a puppy with a voice over that says Madigan hates puppies. It goes on to say Madigan hates sunshine. The kicker says Madigan and Pritzker are both Democrats so they both must hate puppies and sunshine. Pritzker then appears on screen to say how ridiculous the whole idea is.
Maybe it will work, but the whole thing – especially the opening – seems kind of odd.
• RAUNER VISITED Vienna Beef last week to celebrate the company’s 125th anniversary.
During the visit, the governor recounted the 2014 incident that caused an uproar in his campaign for governor against Pat Quinn.
It was October, just before the election, and Rauner visited a Portillo’s in the Chicago suburbs. Portillo’s is a chain that specializes in Chicago-style hot dogs. Rauner ordered three hot dogs, one of which he ordered with ketchup (pause here to gasp). As you may know, the Chicago area believes it is sacrilege to have ketchup on a hot dog.
Big deal. It’s your hot dog and your mouth. If you want ketchup, do it. Just don’t be gauche enough to hold a neighborhood weenie roast and make everyone else eat it that way.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Rauner said, “You would have thought the Earth stood still. There were reporters standing there. They said, ‘What just happened?’”
At the time, Rauner said he ordered the offending hot dog for a staffer, not himself, thereby preserving his credentials as fit to be the state’s chief executive.
• THERE’S A NEW addition in the basement of the Stratton Office Building that’s sort of hard to miss.
It’s a large machine called a wellness kiosk where a person can take their blood pressure and keep tabs on their weight. It looks a bit like those blood pressure machines you can find in drug stores, only on steroids.
The kiosk is part of a partnership between the Department of Central Management Services, Aetna and the Higi company, which makes the machines. CMS handles state employee health insurance, so it has an interest in workers staying healthy.
Workers can use the machine to get their blood pressure and weight, and then have the machine store the information in an account. That way they can keep track of changes over time. CMS said the information is secure.
Nothing wrong with the idea. Just can’t wait until the next high stress time in the Capitol to see how well the machine holds up.