A joke about placing duct tape over the mouth of a politician is unacceptable speech and the language of a rape culture. Actually placing duct tape over the mouth of a politician in a web ad is a sharp way to get your point across.
These divergent points of view are brought you by Illinois Democrats, who less than a month ago were apoplectic about an effort at a bad joke by Chicago radio host Steve Cochran. While Governor Bruce Rauner was on the phone line as a guest on his show, Cochran referenced a Rauner ad featuring duct tape as a metaphor for short-term fixes in Springfield.
“I was going to suggest that maybe you take some of that duct tape you are working with and put it over [Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s] mouth,” Cochran said. He then continued: “But that probably wouldn’t be appropriate.”
Rauner and Mendoza had been involved in a weeks-long war of words over when and how the Comptroller was spending funds. Cochran was asking for less talk and more action on a long-term solution. Was it a poor choice of words? Of course. Cochran later apologized and admitted as much.
But it was enough to send media members, and the Comptroller, into a frenzy. The Tribune ran a story about a hastily-thrown-together press conference hosted by Mendoza. She said the language used by Cochran was “inappropriate” and called on both Cochran and Rauner to apologize.
According to the Trib, at least two speakers at the press conference seemed to believe Rauner had made the remark, not Cochran. Can you be offended if you don’t actually know what happened?
Meanwhile, Politico’s Illinois Playbook columnist Natasha Korecki spent six paragraphs in her newsletter talking about what she deemed “Rauner’s duct-tape debacle.” Never mind, of course, that Rauner didn’t say anything. The fact he might have released a small chuckle at the comment and didn’t repudiate Cochran’s statement was enough to join the pile-on.
Fast forward to this morning, when I awoke to this news item leading off Korecki’s column:
THE BUZZ — In advance of today’s Women’s March in Springfield, Personal PAC posted a video skewering Gov. Bruce Rauner on abortion. It had 3,000 views in three hours. In it, Rauner’s voice is heard from a 2014 debate in which he says abortion is an issue between a woman and her doctor. As he’s talking, the video shows state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, HB40 chief sponsor, walking into a store. It continues, music building up. It cuts to Diana Rauner from those 2014 TV ads saying “Bruce doesn’t have a social agenda” and turning to Rauner’s latest spot referring to “duct tape solutions.” What’s Feigenholtz buying at the store? Duct tape. Enter state Rep. Kelly Cassidy: “We’re taking duct tape to Springfield to help Bruce Rauner stick to his promises to defend women’s health.” The video ends by slapping duct tape across Rauner’s mouth. See the video here: Video
Do you see what I see? “The video ends by slapping duct tape across Rauner’s mouth.” Watch the final few seconds:
Korecki did not refer to this as “Feigenholtz’s duct-tape debacle” or “Cassidy’s duct tape debacle.” In fact, there’s not another word in the column about literally placing duct tape over a the mouth of a politician in a web ad.
Three weeks ago, that action was described by Mendoza as “violent imagery that’s used to intimidate, or language that dehumanizes an individual.” Today it’s merely a footnote in the left’s fight to pressure Gov. Rauner into signing a bill that would allow taxpayer funding of abortions in Illinois.
Here’s hoping Rauner stands his ground.