In need of a “voter carwash” after governors’ debate

In need of a “voter carwash” after governors’ debate

In need of a “voter carwash” after governors’ debate

The personal attacks in the first debate between Gov. Bruce Rauner and three challengers including J.B. Pritzker is disheartening for the future for the state of Illinois. Isn’t there anyone out there who has a great idea to save this state?

Ray Hanania

Wake up people! When it comes to politics, this is Chicago. Rough and tumble street fighting where “brawn” means more than “brains.”

Did anyone who watched the gubernatorial debates last week really thing we would be enlightened about “the issues” rather than “entertained” with a continuing onslaught of name-calling, accusations and “gotcha” moments?

There they were, two candidates who have inundated out TV entertainment with vicious, venomous and vitriolic mudslinging, and two candidates whom no one has ever heard of: Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker, Republican State Senator Sam McCann and Libertarian Kash Jackson.

(A “Libertarian?” Well, that’s a well-meaning person who lives in another world but has no idea about what this world is all about.)

It was the first of four “debates” – maybe we can come up with another name for them. When “it” was over, people throughout the state were left with a slimy residue of mud-like film on their minds.

J.B. Pritzker receives endorsement from UFCW. Pritzker's Facebook Page

J.B. Pritzker receives endorsement from UFCW. Pritzker’s Facebook Page

The best line from the Sept. 20 debate came from Pritzker who remarked that Rauner “has a casual relationship with the truth.” Well, it’s meant as a slam, but Pritzker is confirming that Rauner has some kind of a relationship with truth, which is more than I would give any of the candidates in the debate.

This reflects “Chicago” politics because that’s what Chicago politics has become over the past century, mudslinging, name-calling avoidance of the real issues. And it has spread throughout the region.

Has ANY candidate explained some genius action they will take if elected? Is there one candidate who can ignore the mud from their rivals and instead focus on the needs of and speak to the voters?

Honestly, if ONE candidate for governor had just smiled and showed the strength of conviction to ignore the mud thrown at them – telling us instead what they wanted to do for the voters – I’d vote for them.

But as it stands, none of the candidates are “speaking” to the voters. None of the candidates have come up with something new, something creative, something ingenious to help the real targets of the $70 million dollars spent on TV “mud-vertisng” rise up from the oppression of Illinois’ economy, which is in the lower 3rd of the nation.

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoes legislation that would force suburban taxpayers to pay for waste and corruption at the Chicago Public Schools. The bill would take the majority of school funding from the suburbs and earmark it to bailout Chicago Public Schools, which are in debt to the amount of more than $17 billion. Photo courtesy of Governor Rauner

Gov. Bruce Rauner. Photo courtesy of Governor Rauner

Illinois has sent four of its last seven governors to the Hoosegow!

There are three more debates scheduled, the next one is Oct. 3 at WLS TV.

Isn’t there one candidate who has the strength to rise above the mud and not respond to their opponent by saying “he’s lying. He’s lying.” It’s like the F-word. The candidates used the words “lie” or “lying” or “liar” 29 times during the debate!

You have to blame the major news media as being part of the problem. No one wallows in the mud better than the big news media. And for a reason. They are the ones profiting from all this, not the voters. Who do you think got the $70 million in advertising spend? And depending on the media’s politics determined how they covered it with pro-Rauner media slamming Pritzker, and pro-Pritzker media slamming Rauner, both ignoring the other-two-dudes!

Don’t think that all this is going to change when the votes are counted on Nov. 6. It won’t. We’ll pivot right away into the next mudslinging hootenanny when the 30 candidates for mayor start duking it out in the Spring.

Isn’t there just one candidate who has the courage to ignore the personal attacks – I mean totally ignore the name-calling without responding, and instead focus on addressing the needs of the voters? Give us one brilliant idea to give us hope that something might change?

That’s the candidate I want to vote for.

Until then, I’m looking for a voter carwash where I can rinse off the mind-slim that is only going to build up.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. You can reach him at his personal website at or by email at

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Click Here to LISTEN to Hanania's live radio show on 2nd Friday every month 7 AM CST. Click here to listen to Ray's Podcasts. 

His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

Email Ray Hanania at

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2 comments on “In need of a “voter carwash” after governors’ debate
  1. Eliyahu Neiman says:

    Jackson was the only adult on the stage.

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