In Wisconsin’s fall they’ve sinned all.
If our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances ever overcome their obsession with convuluted conspiracy theories they might actually get somewhere at the ballot box.
Which is unlikely, now that the Madison Common Council has banned conversion therapy.
Our acquaintances are all a-twitter over a new book titled “The Fall of Wisconsin: “The Conservative Conquest of a Progressive Bastion and the Future of American Politics.”
Written by the son of a UW professor named Dan Kaufman, its pages are haunted by various Koch Brothers, Beloit beneficiary Diane Hendricks, the Bradley Foundation, American Legislative Exchange Council, the Federalist Society, Citizens United, and other horsemen of the Democrat(ic) apocalypse.
These Daddy Warbucks types are pulling the strings of “opportunistic politicians who have done their bidding,” as Progressive magazine editor Bill Lueders calls them in his book review, published in Isthmus. Without such benefactors, Lueders apparently believes, Governor Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan otherwise would be singing Woody Guthrie with the Solidarity Singers.
Scads and scads of the dark stuff
How else to explain Donald Trump in a state that once voted Fighting Bob La Follette for president? The game is rigged!
“With scads of untraceable dark money, outrageous gerrymandering, draconian voter identification laws to suppress voter turnout [aka: free I.D. cards], and so on,” cries Paul Fanlund, editor of Your Progressive Voice (the corporation that speaks as if it were a person).
Two fallacies in this theory. The first is that the voters of Wisconsin are easily bamboozled, which speaks to the Left’s insufferable arrogance.
The second is gerrymandering. The U.S. Supreme Court seems not to agree. In any event, gerrymandering does not explain statewide victories: Scott Walker over Tom Barrett (twice!) and Mary Burke, Ron Johnson over Russ Feingold (twice!), and Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. Wisconsin’s boundaries are the same today as in 1924.
Wisconsin is very nice in the fall
Author Kaufman’s final conceit is that resurgent Republicans have turned once elysian Wisconsin into a smoking garbage pit, albeit with beer and bratwursts. It is a case that a gaggle of Democrats challenging Walker are attempting to make in the current campaign.
This is where former Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes proves that he retains some conservative chops. Charlie takes on Kaufman’s book on the pages of National Review.
How awful — except that … it’s quite nice here … Despite [Kaufman’s] depiction of Wisconsin as a reactionary hellhole, the unemployment rate here is 2.%, well below the national average; both the labor force and wages are growing; everyone in poverty is covered under Medicaid; the state has the ninth-best high-school-graduation rate in the country, and school spending is on the rise; and the state’s GDP has grown faster than that of neighboring Minnesota.
The big hissy fit of 2011
The bleeding heart of Fall of Wisconsin is the Left’s meltdown over Act 10 — that draconian legislation that required government employees to contribute to their own generous pensions and pay a little something for top-drawer health insurance and to quit negotiating policy. As if Simon Legree was president of the local school board.
For a few heady months during the takeover of the state capitol, it appeared that the citoyens had stormed the Bastille (it is July 14) and would cart Scott and Becky to the guillotine.
Sykes writes that Kaufman’s account of the mass protests “is nothing if not romantic, . … Reading Kaufman’s book, one would have no idea that in fact the protests backfired by alienating voters across the state” thanks to the death threats, disruption of the Special Olympics ceremony, Segway Jeremy and other unbalanced characters.
And that, friends and acquaintances, is what ails the Democrat(ic) party. It has gone from Gaylord Nelson and Patrick Lucey to Hippie Bongstocking and Segway Boy. From open primaries to the war on cops. From pure food and drugs to identity politics.
Some of the Democrats challenging Walker want to release fully half the felons from Wisconsin prisons, a proposal A.G. Brad Schimel called “irresponsible.”
You want crazy?
Donald Trump cannot hand the immigration issue to Democrats — they won’t let him. They’re for completely open borders! How else to parse Mark Pocan’s bill? The Dane County liberal wants to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement! (Politico is reporting that congressional Republicans are eager to put it to a vote to squeeze Pocan’s colleagues.)
“It’s the craziest position I’ve ever seen,” Speaker Ryan said. “They’re tripping over themselves to move too far to the left. They’re out of the mainstream of America. And that’s one of the reasons why I feel very good about this fall.”
Perhaps the worst thing to happen to the party of my youth was last month’s primary election upset in New York by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Venezuelan-styled socialist.
“Some members of our party, I fear, are instead taking the easy road, and proposing ideas that might sound great in a tweet, like free college, and free health care,” Sen. Chris Coons, Democrat from Delaware warned, as quoted in today’s Wall Street Journal.
“If the next two years is just a race to offer increasingly unrealistic proposals, to rally just those who are already with us, our strongest supporters, it’ll be difficult for us to make a credible case we should be allowed to govern again,” he warned.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Go ahead, blame the Koch Brothers. Works for me.