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Problem With Sen. Tim Cullen’s Withdrawal Announcement

February 2, 2012

I like Wisconsin State Senator Tim Cullen.  He is wise, seasoned, and truly interested in public policy and making government work.  It is not always easy to get the trains running on time when the political temperature is on a constant boil, but Cullen strives to make a difference, and for that I applaud him.  We need many more like Cullen under the statehouse dome.

But having said all that about him, I was less than impressed with the announcement upon his withdrawal from the upcoming recall election against Governor Scott Walker.

Reading his remarks makes one think Cullen was not aware this whole recall election was always going to be one big pie-tossing affair.  There was no way to pretend that any of this was going to be bi-partisan or wholesome family fun.

That is why these words are just strange to hear from Cullen, a man who knows a great deal about state politics.

Cullen, a moderate who once served a top position in Republican Gov. Tommy  Thompson’s administration, said he wants to try to bring the two parties  together. But he said a recall election against Walker would be a “non-stop  political war.”

“The person who comes out of that race is going to be in a terrible position  to bring this state together,” the 67-year-old Cullen said. “I came to Madison  as a centrist and I discovered there was no center.”

Surely Cullen fully understood the reality of the matter when he threw his hat into the recall race, and knew this political war was unavoidable.  To make it seem otherwise looks minor-league.  And while Cullen was not the major recipient of union hugs for the recall,  there should have been a more honest way to announce his plans not to run.

What Cullen stated makes him look far less bright than he truly is, and that is what I do not like.  As I said I like Tim Cullen, and know we need more like him serving this state.  As such I want him to come across in the best light possible.

His withdrawal announcement did not allow for that.

6 Comments
  1. February 3, 2012 9:24 PM

    Craig,

    Actually there was a very strong isolationist thread that ran across the country and Truman’s’ aid plan to Turkey and Greece had to be sold strongly to even get it passed. So it is not correct to say that the massive aid needed for Europe was something the American people just readily understood and accepted as policy.

    But this is where the center in politics mattered, as it was Republican Congressman Richard Nixon ( for one) who would rally the public to pass it, and also to assist in getting the Marshall plan passed. I have long felt, in light of RN’s own constituents being very opposed to the aid, and RN knowing it had merit, that he devoted himself to educating his voters, and others about the need to spend the money and make a difference overseas. He stood up to the uneducated and told them (in polite terms) they were wrong and had to adjust their thinking.

    You state…”I don’t think I’m interested in finding a center and I’m pretty sure that a ‘level playing field and fair play’ is delusional fantansy and definitely not in the hearts of human nature”

    Human nature is flawed, but the type of government we have, with its divisions and checks and balances makes the human flaws less an issue when governing.

    But after that I do not agree with your premise.

    Had there been no center—no art of compromise–the Constitutional Convention would have failed. There would have been nothing for the states to ratify.

    The whole process of government is about compromise, and getting the ends to meet in the middle, and the center to then move forward.

    History is a showcase of the center winning out, and compromise working.

  2. Craig skip Weis permalink
    February 3, 2012 12:58 PM

    “The smashing of the working center that has been one of the goals of Conservatives and teabaggers over the past years has worked, but that does not allow for history to be re-written to say there never was a working center. That is just plain wrong.’

    Correct, I am wrong by not including the memories of the past.

    History is made each day. The old ways have gone. The art of compromise has made…ohhh let us say, wishy~washy entitlement programs into a huge financial blight on the Nation’s gross national product. A blight that has eroded ‘Baby Boomers’ retirements and highly exasperated the funding of peoples lives. This is a World problem now. Business is the road to piece.

    “Truman was able to get the aid programs for Europe off the ground and passed in Congress without a working center?” Yes,Truman didn’t need a center. Times were bad and when sifting through the ashes of a crushing war, it was evident to Congress, no all people, that not only Europe but Japan [with the exclusion of Russia, and China] needed massive help to recover from the attrition’s of war. As Americans, as winners, we chipped in. We were the only Country who could do this and our ‘Can Do’ attitude let nothing stand in the way. This desire get ‘er done still boils but the ability is gone now, fizzled out.

    I always remember our first President, George Washington, who said, “No Nation is an island.”

    Neither one of us are going to win this argument as both parties won’t bend anymore. But why should they? I point to the ballot box and say when ‘you’ win ‘you’ have your way..because having so much taken away by both parties has lead to an oppressive government and burdensum programs leaving one feeling less then benevolent toward the opposing party.

    I have not read the fantastic book of compromise otherwise we would not be having this discussion. I don’t think I’m interested in finding a center and I’m pretty sure that a ‘level playing field and fair play’ is delusional fantansy and definitely not in the hearts of human nature because if it was there would be no ladder climbing. Thoughs who climb will be looking down on the rest of us and that’s just fine.

    skip.

  3. Danre permalink
    February 3, 2012 12:03 PM

    The reason Tim Cullen has withdrawn is simple, the unions are only going to back one candidate and that is Falk. Unions know that she is a puppet that they can control and she is the only person the people who are behind this entitlement recall will support,

  4. February 3, 2012 11:52 AM

    Yes, there was once a center in politics, and also a working center.

    One has to ask if there is any hope for compromise between the parties? History would say there is a way for compromise to be shaped if a leader can be found who can speak to all parties and be seen as a fair player, and if there are thoughtful and dedicated public officials.

    All this leads to me a book. A fantastic book.

    https://dekerivers.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/what-does-political-compromise-look-like/

    Take a look at the center that allowed for much progress to be made following WW2.. How do you think Truman was able to get the aid programs for Europe off the ground and passed in Congress? He did it with a working center?

    The smashing of the working center that has been one of the goals of conservaties and teabaggers over the past years has worked, but that does not allow for history to be re-written to say there never was a working center. That is just plain wrong.

  5. Craig skip Weis permalink
    February 3, 2012 11:32 AM

    Wisconsin State Senator Tim Cullen, 15th district Democrat, said, “I came to Madison as a centrist and I discovered there was no center.” He’s smart, he’s 67 years old and he knows this.

    I agree. Never has been “a center”. Can’t be. Legislators are either left or right and expected by the voters to implement left or right policies embraced by the winning party.

    Voters finding this objectionable can choose again in the next election cycle.
    And legislators ought never give up on their core values, it impales them as well as the voters confidence in these elected individuals. This is why we saw a ‘clean sweep’ in Wisconsin’s mid-term elections.

    I guess we are not going to hear Scott Walker take the side of the unions nor are we going to hear Tim Cullen not take the side of the unions. Clear evidence of ‘no center’.

    “Cullen was not the major recipient of union hugs for the recall” does this mean that without union support the Democratic recall candidate can not win?

    If it’s true that Union’s are 8% of Wisconsin’s working population. Are these 8% going to select a state Governor for the rest of the 92%…hows that work? If the the recall candidate wins without union support then I’m befuddled.

    skip.

  6. Gern Blanston permalink
    February 2, 2012 4:44 PM

    The party won’t wanna “waste” money on a primary so since they and ONLT THEY are the arbiters of WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE they will of course pressure those who might run to withdraw or never declare, choosing from within “what the people want” Much like the brilliant Julie Lassa Confab of Fail.
    I hope like hell “forces” are not aligning behind Botox-faced Falk. She is unpleasant I don’t care if you like her, she is the quintessential Madison Insider who will NOT contrast positively against Scott Walker and will LOSE outside the big city (except for union die-hards) She has NO APPEAL for the independents and disillusioned conservatives. Even Rachel Maddow’s lead-in was themed “lower your passion level folks, it’s gonna be a real switcherroo here” and then Falk drones on in a self-satisfied way, impossible to even pay attention to what she was saying, zero down-to-earth demeanor there.

    But, you know how it is – you lounge around The party for enough years you become “entitled” and feel you’ve “Paid your dues” and so – now its’ YOUR turn. You deserve it, you own it.
    The race is turning out to be a showcase of Wisconsin’s’ LEAST appealing Democrats. Those most into the insider games.
    That is not what Democracy looks like, but only Dem Party heads can tell us all what democracy is, right after they “reduce the field”.
    blaargh.

    p.s. I hear Kathleen Vinehout is going around being “genuine” and “hugging everyone” , well now there’s a reason to vote for someone. Hard to believe ppl are sticking w/ that same old line, they must figure it was what got her in last time.Hugs, that’s Governor material right there. Yup.
    Welcome to Wisconsin, home of Thugs n’ Hugs.
    Thank god no real leaders are stepping up – Obey, Feingold, Erpenbach. nooooo that would be bad, give us weenie candidates. And then have them back down and waffle and wobble in office for a few years. grrrrrr All thos e people working hard and then the party says “Okay kids, we’ll take it from here”
    All aboard the USS Failboat

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