Carol Felsenthal
On politics

Rauner’s Illinois: From the Mountains, to the Prairies

Bruce Rauner’s vision of Illinois includes lower taxes, a pro-business environment, and purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.

Photo: Courtesy of Bruce Rauner

The mountains of Illinois in Bruce Rauner’s promo video.

Bruce Rauner, the just-announced Republican candidate for governor, must have been furious when his rollout video got stomped on by a stock photo of a farmer in a field with a mountain range in the background. (See the 1:47 stop.)

The campaign keeps touting Rauner’s three month, 18,000-mile-by-auto “Listening Tour… across the state,” leading the viewer to imagine that the photo was taken during one of the tour’s “65 stops.” Actually it’s stock footage of the sort that marketers, political and otherwise, often purchase. When I read about the Rauner mishap all I could think about was New York’s Anthony Weiner. 

On May 22, when humiliated—but apparently not that humiliated—former congressman Weiner launched a campaign for New York mayor with a similar-type rollout video on his website, viewers quickly noticed that a lovely view of a city skyline was of Pittsburgh, not New York.  A vice president of the campaign tech firm that made the video took the blame or rather blamed one of his designers and noted that no one on the firm’s “team” watching the video caught the mistake.

I watched the Rauner video and have to admit that I didn’t notice.  I first became aware while reading the New York Times on my iPad in the middle of the night and the headline “Mystery Mountains in the Illinois Governor’s Race.” caught my eye. Chicago girl that I am—growing up in West Rogers Park the only mountain I ever saw was a landfill we called “Mt. Trashmore”—I had to wait until my husband woke up to ask him, “Are there any mountains in Illinois?”  “No,” he immediately answered.

Capitol FAX’s Rich Miller wrote about the Rauner mistake and credits a reader with noting that the shot comes from a Canadian company and is “posted on a stock video site.”

The  Sun-Times’ Mike Sneed also wrote about it, and asks, “Could this be near Rauner’s ranch in Montana?”

Small favors: In the Rauner video, at least the farmer isn’t inspecting his grape vineyards. Anthony Weiner, I think, had cause for greater upset. Mistaking a panorama of Pittsburgh for New York? Since his bone-headed distribution of underpants photos ended his career in congress, Weiner may qualify as a shrunken figure, but not quite in the New York/Pittsburgh range.

I’ve had a couple of Rauner-related comments worth sharing. I was talking about him with John and Amy on their WIND-AM radio show Thursday morning and I was explaining that Rauner wants to appeal to down-staters with his talk of boyhood memories of fishing, milking a cow, hunting. “He grew up in Deerfield!” Amy interjected.  This morning, when I emailed my editor the subject of this post he suggested the above title and then quipped, “If Rauner promises to bring mountains to Illinois, I’ll definitely vote for him.”

An email to Mike Schrimpf, Rauner’s communications director, was not returned by post time.

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1 year ago
Posted by the exhile

Carol have you never been to joedavies county. The alps of lllinois. In extreme nw part of the state.

1 year ago
Posted by SKEPTICAL

I would agree that Jo Davies County (the Galena area) is very hilly, but you can't really suggest that those hills be called mountains, can you? In Pittsburgh or Cincinnati or San Francisco they would be cityscape.

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