Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Ballad of Bruce Rauner": Shakin' up down Springfield and bringing' back Illinois, one plutocrat at a time ** UPDATED x1 **

Judging by the way the polls are trending, it looks like hedge fund manager Bruce Rauner is about to buy up another distressed asset. The last three surveys show Republican gubernatorial candidate Rauner leading incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn by as much as 3.8 percent, and I'm starting to look for "Don't Blame Me -- I Voted for Quinn" bumper stickers.

So a new Johnny Cash-style talking blues titled "Plutocrat: The Ballad of Bruce Rauner" was -- literally -- music to my ears:

Lyrics at http://bluestatecowboys.blogspot.com.

Written by a Chicago lawyer named Matt Farmer who fronts a band called the Blue State Cowboys ("Chicago's Most Litigious Band"), the song went up Thursday. I saw it on Fred Klonsky's school "reform" blog, and a little while later a link appeared on the Capitol Fax political blog. (CapFax crashed that night, and Thursday's posts are no longer available, but blog administrator Rich Miller blames technical issues rather than Rauner, or Rauner-inspired hackers, for that.) The song hits all the campaign themes -- from the way Rauner clouted his suburban daughter into an elite Chicago magnet school to the the negligence and wrongful death litigation that has dogged Rauner's nursing homes.

The chorus:

So, Springfield, get out the welcome mat
What this state needs is a plutocrat
A slashin’, burnin’, union-bustin’ guy

I’ll hammer and shake that capitol dome
Like it’s a grandma stuck in a nursing home
Hey, grandma, it’s time to say goodbye

I could say more, but I probably shouldn't.

LATER: Ben Joravsky, education (and Chicago city politics) reporter at The Chicago Reader, has linked to Farmer's video. "Hey, Matt," Joravsky writes, presumably with tongue firmly planted in cheek, "have you considered the witness protection program?"

What is it about Rauner that makes so many people think, even in a joking way, he's out for retribution?

Could it be the way, in Joravsky's words, that "Rauner blew his stack when former Sun-Times reporter Dave McKinney cowrote a mildly critical article about something someone said about him many years ago?" McKinney resigned last week after Sun-Times owner (and Rauner pal) Michael Ferro blew his stack and pulled him off the Statehouse beat, and Farmer did dedicate the song to McKinney. But, gee whiz, it couldn't be that.

Whatever. At any rate, Joravsky put in a good word for the singer-songwriter:

OK look, Mr. Rauner, please allow me to make an appeal on Matt's behalf.

He's a nice guy. A lawyer by day. On nights and weekends, he frequently plays guitar and sings old rock, blues, or country songs at bars around town.

He's made a bunch of satiric country-western videos, including one about Blago. You'd like that -— right?

That song about Blagojevich is a classic, by the way. It's titled ""Pay to Play (But Keep Love in Your Heart)," and it's available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBqXbLKx4No.

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