Excerpted from Dave Cieslewicz’s blog today:
Just a sample of Max’s brand of gentle persuasion in response to a piece I wrote last week:
“Your views on race are just a few steps to the left of Tucker Carlson, this should tell you something about yourself you are too chicken sh*t to admit to yourself. When you look around and most of the people who would be willing to publicly agree with your views on race and racism are white, male, and conservative maybe it is you who has the problem.”
Now, I’m not sure who Max is, but I suspect he’s a young former Madison alder. In any event, Max’s comments are spirited. … I am no longer a revolutionary. What made me a moderate, more than anything else, was eight years as mayor of one of the most liberal places in America.
For one thing, mayor is the most hands on, practical of political jobs. People want you to collect the garbage, plow the snow, fix the streets and mow the grass in the parks and medians. And then, in Madison, they’d also like it if you could tidy up 400 years of racial politics.
And it was the left, my own people at the time, who drove me most to distraction. They were constitutionally incapable of being happy. They saw a compromise in which they got 75% of what they wanted not just as 25% short of their goal, but as a 100% sell out.
Because their identity was so steeped in victimhood they could not get their heads around being “the man.” The ability to actually govern — and the compromise and nuance that that requires — was just not in their DNA. After awhile I came to the realization that the biggest thing that stood in the way of the policy goals we shared was the left itself. They tripped over their own rhetoric.
I entered office in 2003 as idealistic and liberal as I ever was. I left in 2011 a moderate who wanted to figure out a better way to get the snow plowed.