Apparently, in Illinois politics $500,000 doesn't buy you a whole lot of policy positions.
The campaign of wealthy Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner released a new political ad Tuesday called “Toast”—and to say it’s short on specifics might be an understatement.
In the ad, Rauner mixes metaphors, adopts a folksy demeanor and offers the vaguest possible promise of change.
What he doesn’t do is say how he plans on doing, well, anything.
Which is perhaps surprising, considering that venture capitalist Rauner recently donated $500,000 dollars of his own money to his campaign in an effort to rap up his appeal to voters and support his campaign.
Much of the Rauner’s money will be spent on a new series of ads set to begin airing Friday on broadcast and cable TV, two sources close to the campaign said Wednesday.
The commercials will mark the beginning of what one of the sources described as the start of an “intensive and sustained” presence on television as the first-time candidate tries to introduce himself to potential voters. It’s also a further display of Rauner’s campaign wealth relative to his Republican rivals.
But scratch the surface of Rauner’s campaign and you find that the ad actually fits well into a theme seemingly built of political clichés and vague generalities.
On his web site, the campaign lists just six topics under the heading of “Issues”: Jobs, Spending, Taxes, Pension Reform, Government Reform and Education.
Each is filled with empty phrases such as “Overhaul the tax code so that is fair to all taxpayers,” “Education is the most important thing we do as a community” and “We must boldly reform our pension system”.
It’s one of the oldest political campaign strategies in the book: wave your rhetorical hand near some platitudes that sound like actual policies and hope no one notices there’s little or nothing of substance behind them.
Rauner’s new campaign ad has exactly 80 words in it, 56 of them spoken by the candidate himself (transcript below).
That’s 56 words to help introduce a man who hopes to become the most powerful elected official in the state, and tell voters how he expects to be a leader.
Fifty five if you don't count the word “toast.”
Rauner: Career politicians are running our state into the ground. And Pat Quinn, he’s at the top of the heap.
Announcer: Bruce Rauner. Not a politician.
Rauner: Here’s the deal. If we don't fundamentally change direction, we’re toast.
Announcer: The guts to cut spending and deliver term limits. Bruce Rauner.
Rauner: Right now we have a governor that won't stand up to career politicians and government union bosses. Let me tell ya—that’s gonna change. Big time.
Announcer: Bruce Rauner. Shake up Springfield. Bring back Illinois.