Graeme Zielinski Huge Embarrassment For Wisconsin Democratic Party

Once again the moronic actions of Graeme Zielinski made the news.

For some reason the Wisconsin Democratic Party has allowed Zielinski to remain the party spokesperson.  After his tortured reasoning and statements during the recall election I was hoping that someone would pay this guy’s bar tab and tell him to shove off.  Instead the political lightweight continues making scenes, such as that which took place at last weekend’s party convention.

The problem with Zielinski is that he makes the Democratic Party look silly.  By tossing an intern that works for a state news website out of the convention only confirms that the spokesperson is not able to make points and further the debate on equal terms.  If Zielinksi had a better grasp of the English language, and any talent at messaging there would be less reason to treat an intern this way.

Who knows, it Zielinksi had any reason to get up in the morning and be more than an ass in public the election returns this past week might have been closer to the mark for Democrats.

It is disgusting to see this play out.

Jack Craver, writer and reporter for the Capital Times penned the story.

I saw the party’s communications director, Graeme Zielinski, order hotel security to eject an intern from the Wisconsin Reporter, a state news website.

The Wisconsin Reporter, which was founded at the beginning of 2011, is a division of StateHouseNews, a project undertaken by a conservative group, the Franklin Center for Government, to report on state politics — particularly government spending — from a “free market and taxpayer point of view.” It describes itself as responding to the decline in local news coverage over the past decade.

The Franklin Center, which does not disclose its donors, coordinates many events with Americans for Prosperity and other right-wing groups.

Although its opinion commentary is predictably conservative, its slant in reporting is noticeable but not heavy-handed. Its reporters typically seek perspectives from Democrats and liberals as well as Republicans and conservatives.

Zielinski, who has kicked out one of Wisconsin Reporter’s scribes from at least one other Democratic event, insisted the organization did not do real reporting, that it had previously mangled Democrats’ quotes, and that it was “bought and paid for by the same people that bought and paid for Scott Walker.”

“We don’t want them here,” Zielinski told a hotel security guard as the bewildered reporter, Ryan Ekvall, stood by with a video recorder.

“Please don’t film me,” Zielinski told him.

“I just want a record of what’s being said, I don’t know what you’re going to say about it later,” Ekvall responded.

“Come over here and I’ll talk to you,” replied Zielinski, leading Ekvall out the doors of the hotel.

“Now stay out there,” he said seconds later, as soon as Ekvall was standing outside.

Squishy Democrats No Better Than Republicans

Hat Tip To Dan

Saying what needs to be said.

A squishy Democrat who feels the same about unions as Republicans do won’t either, especially when the Republican won’t mince words and the Democrat is scared to do the same for fear of scaring off independents; never mind that he loses some of his base. Barrett lost 38% of union households to Walker, because Barrett wasn’t their guy and proved it by taking collective bargaining off the table and out of the race. Oh, and the recall was stupid, because Barrett couldn’t frame it in a way to make it matter, and for him it was obviously a rematch of 2010, which didn’t convince anyone uncertain that it was actually worth it.

Voters won’t vote Democrats in when the policies they champion aren’t making their lives better, more secure, and they have to pay more taxes for the privilege.

Why Do Businesspeople Cheat And Lie More Than Most?

Ponder this for a while.

People have always lied and cheated. And businesspeople may have lied and cheated more than most: in a survey of American graduate students, 56% of those pursuing an MBA admitted to having cheated in the previous year, compared with 47% of other students. Cynics will not be surprised that people in ties sometimes tell lies—remember Enron? Plenty of executives have overstated their educational qualifications: Scott Thompson recently lost his job as boss of Yahoo! for it.

Yet businesspeople have given little serious thought to managing dishonesty. Managers tend to make two hoary contradictory assumptions. First, that there is a sharp line between good and bad apples, and that a manager’s job is to toss out the bad. Second, that everybody cheats if they have the right incentives and the wrong oversight, so managers must ensure that punishment is sure and swift.

A new book by Dan Ariely, “The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty”, may reinvigorate the discussion. Mr Ariely is a social psychologist who has spent years studying cheating. He also teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He has no time for the usual, lazy assumptions. He contends that the vast majority of people are prone to cheating. He also thinks they are more willing to cheat on other people’s behalf than their own. People routinely struggle with two opposing emotions. They view themselves as honourable. But they also want to enjoy the benefits of a little cheating, especially if it reinforces their belief that they are a bit more intelligent or popular than they really are. They reconcile these two emotions by fudging—adding a few points to a self-administered IQ test, for example, or forgetting to put a few coins in an honesty box.

The amount of fudging that goes on depends on the circumstances. People are more likely to lie or cheat if others are lying or cheating, or if a member of another social group (such as a student wearing a sweatshirt from a rival university) visibly flouts the rules. They are more likely to lie and cheat if they are in a foreign country rather than at home. Or if they are using digital rather than real money. Or even if they are knowingly wearing fake rather than real Gucci sunglasses. They are more likely to lie and cheat if they have been stiffed by the victim of their misbehaviour—companies that keep customers in voicemail hell are frequent victims. And people are more likely to break their own rules if they have spent the day resisting temptation: dieters often slip after a day of self-denial, for example.

Note To Wisconsin Legislators: Get Over Yourselves And Eat A Brat With Scott Walker

I am, regardless of what it might appear at times on this blog, always in favor of bipartisanship when it comes to shaping public policy.  I truly yearn for the days when a broad middle swath of a governing body was able to come together and address the needs of Wisconsin, and the nation.

Lately, and for many reasons, that has been less and less the case.  More and more  dysfunctional politics dominates these days in this state, and around the nation.  As a result the public suffers.

While it is true that the past 17 months in Wisconsin has been a bumpy and historic ride, there is also the fact made known to the most partisan souls that Scott Walker scored a solid victory last week at the voting booths.  How Walker views that win, and what he does with it is the test he needs to meet.  The public will be watching.

To help smooth the political waters, and give a nice landing to the recent upheaval that has plagued this state, a brat and beer summit is scheduled at the Governor’s Mansion this week.  There is something very midwestern about the idea of eating one of Wisconsin’s best products along the shores of Lake Mendota with your political opponents.

Most legislators will be in attendance, as everyone knows the routine at a time like this, and what is expected from being an elected official.

But there are some legislators–on both sides of the aisle–who are so fixed on their own self-absorbed personalities they can not find their way to attend the brat cookout.  I find this sad.

State Rep. Steve Nass, one of Walker’s fellow Republicans from Whitewater, said he would not show up at Tuesday’s event at the governor’s mansion because he didn’t like recent comments from two prominent Democrats.

State Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) said in a tweet he won’t be attending either.

“I’m passing on ‘Brat Summit’ photo op. We need cooperation & compromise from Gov., not brats & beer,” tweeted Pocan, who is running for Congress.

Let me say, using cooking-out vernacular, what a pair of weenies!

I recall the times, as described by former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, when President Reagan would have him over to the White House for a drink and some Irish story telling.  People might think that has nothing to do with crafting policy, or moving the nation forward.

Those people would be wrong.

Too often in our political culture it is common to cut down our opponents, and tar and feather them verbally.  But it is harder to demonize the other side if you find commonalities, or allow for smiles and laughs while having a beer and brat.

No one is pretending that a swaying version of “Kumbaya” will unfold at the mansion with legislators holding each other’s hand, or that  Walker will not attempt to pass, come next January, more draconian policies on state workers.   Tip O’Neill had no confirmation that Reagan would not pull out some wild-eyed policy, either.

But we do not sit down with our political opponents to map out the future. 

We sit down with them for a brat and beer knowing there will be tough days ahead where big policy goals will be up for debate.  It is at times when tempers start to flare with the other side that it might be important to recall that someone at a brat fest pulled a picture of his grand-kid from a wallet, or to remember the laugh when onions covered with mustard stained a tie, or reflect on a fishing story while standing on the Mendota shoreline.  Those memories might make an impact with the one that is facing you across the committee table.

That is why finding commonalities with our political opponents matter.

That is why Nass and Pocan would be better men–and better representatives–if they found it within themselves to attend the brat event.

Will everything be better due to a brat and beer at the Governor’s Mansion?

No.

But then it can not hardly get any worse, either.