Mayor Rahm Emanuel used his latest podcast episode, featuring Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, to caution about “hubris” that can prevent fundamental issues from getting resolved in Springfield because of Democratic supermajorities in the state legislature.
In the “Chicago Stories” podcast, Emanuel also sounded gleeful about Pritzker’s vow to encourage businesses to come to the city and the state in contrast to outgoing Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and complaints he bad-mouthed Illinois too much.
“That will be a fresh start, somebody will sell Illinois. There is a beginning. That’s a concept we haven’t tried in a while,” Emanuel said, not mentioning Rauner by name.
During the podcast, taped last week in City Hall, the mayor asked Pritzker if he was worried Democrats have too big a majority in the House and Senate. The party will have veto-proof margins over Republicans when a new class of lawmakers and governor take office in January.
Pritzker said “there are never too many Democrats” and that lawmakers and he “roughly share the same values,“ particularly involving “kitchen table issues that really matter.”
“We’ve got a lot of opportunity,” Pritzker said. “I mean is there danger? I don’t know. We’ll see, but I really don’t think so. I was very proud to lead the blue wave here in Illinois and I think we probably had the biggest blue wave in the country.”
But Emanuel recounted his tenure as White House chief of staff to President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress during Obama’s first two years as a cautionary tale.
“Sometimes when you think you have too much numbers (sic) you get a hubris that comes associated with that and a sense that you can just do anything and you don’t make real fundamental choices. But that’s not like a flashing light for you?” Emanuel asked Pritzker.
“Look, I made clear what my priorities are and I campaigned with many of these people that won and so their priorities, to many of them, are my priorities,” the governor-elect responded to Emanuel.
“So, I think having that cadre of new talent in Springfield, to go with some of the older talent that already exists, I think we’re going to get a lot done and I’m not as worried as you seem to be,” Pritzker said.
“I’m not worried,” Emanuel said. “I’m just asking about it.”
During the far-ranging interview, which included a discussion of how both men married women they initially met on blind dates, Pritzker also said he believed some people wrongly gave precedence to his role as a philanthropist rather than giving him credit for developing the 1871 technology incubator, or his longtime support for early childhood education.
“I think people sometimes assume it’s, you know, ‘J.B. wrote checks for some of these things,’” said Pritzker, an heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune who is worth an estimated $3.2 billion, according to Forbes.
Pritzker also said he learned from his losing 1998 bid for the Democratic nomination for a North Shore congressional seat when he finished third.
“Losing is often a bigger educational experience than winning,” he said. “And, so you know, you learn what your own failures are and you try to learn from those and try not to blame other people — but instead look inside and say, ‘What can I do differently?’
“So, I learned from that and I think one of the things I learned certainly from running for Congress is you can have all the best ideas, or feel like you have the best ideas and you can go fight for them, but you need more than that if you want to win public office,” he said. “It’s like somebody building like a small business. You need to build the infrastructure to win a campaign, and it’s not enough just to have good ideas and to try to go convince people.”
Pritzker also vowed to increase jobs in the state and city, including selling the state’s higher-education institutions, its geographical location and its people as an asset to recruit businesses.
“Look, I understand, it’s a little like family or anything else. You have your own challenges inside your home or you have your own challenges inside the state that we’re dealing with and so on. But that does not mean you need to be down in the mouth out in the world because we’ve got a lot going for us,” he said. “So I intend, as I have said along the campaign trail, the best chief marketing officer the state’s ever had.”
“That’s a fresh start,” Emanuel said, a veiled reference to his frosty relationship with his onetime good friend Rauner. “I can attest to that.”
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November 18, 2018 at 04:12PM