One line in a news story in the Wisconsin State Journal stood out for me this morning.
Writing about the John Doe probe looking into the cozy dealings between the campaigns of Gov. Scott Walker and obviously state senate candidates, the state Republican Party, and a bevy of conservative political groups comes this line that made me turn reflective.
There is no indication that Democratic candidates or liberal groups are also being investigated in the probe — which has incensed conservatives.
Look, I am well aware that politics can be a feisty exercise of power. I recall with vivid recollections the way each political party used tax-paid employees at the statehouse for political purposes. Good Lord. I was one of them at various times.
What amuses me, even after all these years of watching and reading about political tactics that run afoul of the law is the fact that the same mistakes keep getting made. Younger and less-seasoned strategists now make the same blunders, perhaps in more technologically savvy ways as their predecessors, but in the end crossing that same line that is clearly drawn.
My campaigning on state time for a Democrat was no less offensive than the illegal coordination that the John Doe probe is now investigating. Each of us that played some role, at whatever time, in the blurring of lines or the outright crossing of what was right or wrong knows at the heart of this matter we were wrong.
The political process can only work for everyone if we all play by the rules and laws that are clearly stated. When that does not happen there are consequences, as in this latest example with the John Doe probe.
But the best way forward, and I speak from experience, is to admit what happened, and try then to make a positive difference in the future.
So instead of conservatives getting angry about getting caught, or not having enough dirt on Democratic candidates to get another investigation started, they instead might just learn from their mistakes and work for a better understanding as to why fair play is important in all aspects of life, including political campaigns.