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Wisconsin Republicans Mock Bipartisanship, Voters Not Pleased

August 22, 2011

I strongly suspect that if you gathered a group of citizens from any of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and asked them if they wanted their elected officials in Madison to compromise on the issues of the day, and find a bipartisan path forward, it would be met with resounding approval.

With the contentious collective bargaining issue at the state level, and the needless debt ceiling debate in Washington there is ample reason for all to understand the necessity of finding common ground.  The lack of consensus among our politicians has angered and frustrated the voters. 

Politicians are in for a rude surprise if they  think this anger going forward into an election year can be tamed or marshalled in some way.  The 2012 elections could very well be another very rough one for incumbents as voters sense that no one is looking out for the greater good.

Therefore I am baffled over  the actions and statements from Wisconsin Republicans at the Capitol over the past few days as they seem to trip over themselves in an attempt to walk–make that run–from bipartisanship.

Last Thursday the Wisconsin State Journal ran a story where quotes from major Republican players in Madison made no attempt to hide their disdain for working with the Democrats.

State Senator Grothman commented that when Democrats and Republicans agree on some policy it “ends up increasing the size of government.”   In others words, do not attempt a compromise with the minority party.

In the same news story Assemblyman Robin Vos stated he never felt bipartisanship should be his goal.  He was quoted as saying “I want to score, not be on the 50-yard line.”   In other words total partisan victory is the only reason to be in the job.

Last week Governor Walker scheduled a meeting of the legislative leaders to discuss how to move forward with more emphasis on bipartisanship.  Senate Minority Leader Miller and Assembly Minority Leader Barca showed up at the Governor’s Mansion. 

However, the Republican leaders were no-shows.

Sen. Fitzgerald begged off the meeting as he claimed to have to meet with his caucus before talking with Walker, and Speaker Fitzgerald said the meeting didn’t mesh with his schedule.  In other words, one seemingly can not act as a leader without permission, and the other just needs a better secretary to arrange his appointments.

Republicans continually announce that they are so in touch with the average taxpayer, and looking out for the best interests of the state.  They want to convince us they know how to handle the levers of power in Madison, now that they have been granted them after the 2010 elections.

But I must say that in my conversations with those same average people who the GOP are trying to convince I am getting a different political vibe.  One that the Republicans might pay attention to.

What I am sensing is that the voters around the state think that the lack of bipartisanship is a lousy way to run government.  They want more consensus from the ones who salaries they pay.

Knowing that the political pendulum always swings, and in recent cycles has swung more wildly, might it not be a good idea for the Fitzgerald brothers to find some time on their schedule to meet their legislative counterparts for a meeting?  Or for Vos to understand good sportsmanship is also a virtue in politics?

2 Comments
  1. August 22, 2011 2:15 PM

    A great job connecting the dots. These guys are even lousy fakes.

  2. August 22, 2011 1:35 PM

    Personally, I think Walker’s olive branch is a thorn bush. Grothmann called the protesters slobs. I have no respect for him. The Fitz’s are hardcore ALEC folks as is Walker. Beware when and if they extend an olive branch.

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