Bismarck’s sausages and laws.
It is likely a character flaw that the Head Groundskeeper hereabouts is transfixed by the klusterflock in the House of Reps. Shouldn’t Ted Koppel do a nightly TV recap: Day 3, America Held Hostage?
Except that we seem to be getting along just fine without Congress. Was Mark Twain wrong? “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” Belgium toddled along without any government for two years. (It may not have one now, for all we know.) The UK went through three prime ministers in three months. Still punch above their weight. The Wisconsin Badger football team went through three coaches in about the same period. Still won a bowl game.
Does it not seem that our favorite Wisconsin capital city has too much government? How many of our state government employees are “non-essential”? (Blaska raises his hand.)
“You can’t lead a majority that would really rather be in the minority.”— ‘Who’s crazy enough to be a Republican speaker?’ — Wall Street Journal.
The election denial caucus
Which takes us to the Gang of 20. We may have missed one or two but, at first blush, who of the 20 has ever governed — chaired a committee, run a city, governed a state? Easier to lob grenades than build bridges. Purifying the party leads to Robespierre and Joe Stalin, an ever-narrowing gyre. In an irony worthy of Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal, the likes of Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz hurt the Republican brand. They are responsible for tamping down the expected electoral red wave into a pink trickle. Hard heads who can’t take yes for an answer, like Yassir Arafat.
Nominating Kevin McCarthy in Round 4, Wisconsin's Mike Gallagher said democracy is messy. Deliberately and — to our mind — delightfully so. Gallagher could wind up getting the job himself, much like Paul Ryan, who didn’t want it either. Mike Gallagher is a future president.
Blaska respects the legislative process, having served a dozen years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. When we conservatives took over in the mid-1990s, we were accused of being discordant. Isn’t full and open debate the sound democracy makes? What other branch of government does that?
One of our conservative majority criticized our chairman as a poor leader. Being that the chairman was brother Mike, that rankled. Given that, under his leadership, Dane County built a jail, built Monona Terrace, and ended a 1930s-era welfare program for able-bodied adults without dependents — it was a statement based solely on personal animosity. And Mike personally recruited many of our majority — as did Kevin McCarthy.
“Maybe you’re just a poor follower,” this old warhorse retorted. Going one’s own way may be noble but it adds up to defeat in a legislative body. Paul Marunich once commented that chairing the Dane County Republican party was like herding cats. Our own conservative contingent consisted largely of tavern keepers, restaurateurs, property developers, body shop owners, farmers, and self-employed attorneys. People accustomed to giving their own orders.
Democrats don’t have that problem. They have an organized labor mentality. They coalesce like hydrogen and oxygen atoms. A couple decades ago, the Madison teachers union picketed Briarpatch because its director, a school board member, was being tough in the contract negotiations. Briarpatch employees ran out to the picketers, informed them that the nonprofit counsels suicidal kids, who would now be forced to cross a picket line of their teachers. Several of the protesters apologized and began to leave. Their union steward ordered them back in line and back in line they went.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: It’s a hard truth: Making a governing majority requires some take and a lot of give.