What we need most in the primary between Bruce Rauner and Jeanne Ives may not be in the cards: a debate. Rauner today would not commit to one and focused his anger on Michael Madigan, avoiding specifics about Ives.
Maybe that’s smart political strategy for Rauner, which would be a shame, because just getting people up to speed on the scope of Illinois’ financial challenges remains a priority. A debate can get attention, especially if it includes a firebrand like Ives who doesn’t worry about scaring the children.
More importantly, a debate would indicate whether Rauner has lost a few marbles, and that’s a real concern. A number of reporters in recent months have shown surprise at how uninformed Rauner has been, and how he’s often wrong on important facts. He just doesn’t seem to have the same mental capacity as four years ago.
Maybe it’s strategic. “I’m just a sound bitin’, platitude shootin’, Madigan hatin’ guy” — that seems to be his message. Is that because he thinks it will work or because he can’t talk substance anymore? I don’t know, and hiding from a debate isn’t helping.
UPDATE 12/5/17: Further to my concern about whether Rauner has lost a few marbles, he said on Monday that he was unaware that the Senate had passed a tax bill. See the Tribune’s article here.
-Mark Glennon is founder and Executive Editor of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.