With apologies to The Who, and unlike Jack Crowe [A Democrat who’s voting for Rauner, Viewpoints, Sept. 17], I won’t be fooled again by a conservative running for Illinois governor who dubs himself a “reformer.” The last time was in 1972 when the media depicted conservative Democrat Dan Walker as the “reform” candidate for Illinois governor against the “organization’s” candidate, Paul Simon.

Remember how that turned out? Like other conservative officeholders, Walker demonstrated that the terms “reform” and “conservative” are mutually exclusive. Paul Simon’s record in government had been one of genuine reform. But Dan Walker skillfully manipulated the media into echoing his self-proclaimed “reform” image so often that the public, including myself, bought it, despite the absence of anything in his history to suggest he even knew what “reform” meant.

Today it’s deja vu all over again. The media, including Jack Crowe, Wednesday Journal op-ed columnist, robotically repeat conservative Republican Bruce Rauner’s self-proclaimed assertion of “reform” despite the absence of anything in his business or political history to suggest he knows the meaning of the word. Once again, the candidate with an actual record of seeking government reform, Governor Pat Quinn, is portrayed as the enemy of reform.

Yet it is Rauner who is literally buying votes with his $1 million deposit in the South Side’s Community Federal Credit Union. It is Rauner who pushes the self-proclaimed “reform” of charter schools despite all the evidence that charter schools collectively are no better than public schools and serve largely to line the pockets of their owners. It is Rauner who pushes the straw man of term limits, which have destroyed competent government nearly everywhere they have been adopted. 

It is Rauner who is literally buying votes with his largely self-financed blitz of misleading advertising trying to falsely link Pat Quinn to corrupt Illinois politicians like Rod Blagojevich. The reality is that Quinn and Blagojevich are polar opposites on government ethics who disliked each other so much they rarely spoke. Quinn has demonstrated time and again that he is no ally of machine legislative leaders Mike Madigan or John Cullerton.

Unlike too many politicians, Pat Quinn has not used political office to enrich himself. For over 30 years, Quinn has had the guts to seek reforms in Illinois government. He’s not flashy; he’s not polished; and he lives in a racially diverse middle-class Galewood neighborhood. Most importantly for Oak Park and environs, Quinn is the first Illinois governor in 40 years to lead an administration that pro-actively supports affirmatively furthering fair housing — a policy essential to Oak Park maintaining its stable racial diversity and other communities attaining it.

Bruce Rauner’s approach to government is right in line with the rest of the POM, the Party of Misery, formerly known as the GOP. The reality is that Bruce Rauner ain’t no reformer. Never has been; never will be. 

Pat Quinn is the only candidate for Illinois governor who has pursued government reform. And unlike 1972, I hope the voting public won’t be fooled again.

Daniel Lauber of River Forest was 1991 Volunteer of the Year for the Independent Voters of Illinois – Independent Precinct Organization.

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