Who do you want in your foxhole?


In addition to a won/loss record (923–324) that placed him among college basketball’s elite, legendary coach Don Meyer is remembered for devising “The Foxhole Test”  as an aide for coaches.

“Have each player draw a circle to represent their foxhole…

…they write the names of teammates they would want in their foxhole if they were fighting a life and death battle.”

Meyer believed the test reflected a simple truth:

“There are many people who you would love to have around on the golf course or in a duck blind but deep down you know that defeat is assured if they are in your foxhole”

How do the major party choices for Governor of Illinois look in the metaphorical foxhole?

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been in your foxhole for nearly four years. In that time,  the foxhole has gotten deeper and far more treacherous.

Rauner, a rich man with no political experience, used his wealth to purchase name recognition, then convinced voters he had what was needed to work with the General Assembly, including the 400 lb. gorilla named Speaker Madigan.

Gov. Rauner held the state budget hostage for two years in to try force his unpopular anti-union, anti-working family “Turnaround Agenda” through a Democrat-dominated legislature. In the process, he severely damaged state colleges and universities and forced not-for-profit organizations that serve Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens to cut services or shut down entirely.

Eventually, with the help of fed-up Republican legislators, a budget was passed over Rauner’s veto, saving the state from total disaster.

It’s difficult to assess JB Pritzker‘s “foxholeworthiness,”as this is the billionaire philanthropist’s first run for political office.

We can look at his campaign website and see what he hopes voters will focus on.

Screenshot 2018-08-30 16.46.36

Pritzker’s avoided specifics about important policies like taxation because he knows that a dishonest opponent who’s willing to demagogue issues will distort information, then use the distortions to mischaracterize and damage the opposing campaign.

For example, Pritzker supports a graduated income tax, one that will have the wealthiest people paying higher tax rates than low and middle income earners. The graduated rates would be determined, with legislative input, later.

Changing from a flat rate (everyone pays the same rate) to a graduated system requires an amendment to the Illinois Constitution. That will take time and the ability to work with the legislature and Speaker Madigan.

The voters’ dilemma: go with Pritzker, the unproven rich guy, or go withGov. Rauner, the rich guy who spent four years trying to force his agenda on the state.

That man not only did great damage, he also didn’t pass his agenda. When confronted with his failure, Gov. Rauner said, “I am not in charge. I’m trying to get to be in charge.”

Four years after his election and he was never in charge? 

Is that the guy you want in your foxhole?

When you go to your polling place, remember what Maya Anjelou said:

‘When people show you who they are, believe them the first time,'” 

Don’t forget to vote.

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McBarronBlog Bonus: Find your polling place.

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