On day number 8,767

There we were, 24 years and an hour of so ago, the media geek and the returned Peace Corps volunteer.

Twenty-four years, three children, four dogs and four cats later …

Players at Alone for Christmas.
Michael the potential future firefighter.
Michael the potential future firefighter.
Dylan plays trombone.
Dylan plays trombone.
Shaena the violin player.
This is Leo and Max
This is Leo and Max “playing,” not an argument between the human siblings.
Oskar and Luna couldn't care less, unless they're hungry, which is only in the a.m. or p.m.
Oskar and Luna couldn’t care less, unless they’re hungry, which is only in the a.m. or p.m.

Five years ago I wrote this on the occasion of our 19th wedding anniversary.

A few things have changed, like jobs and address. We also have three teenagers in the house, including the child who is not a chronological teenager. Other than that, you can probably add five years to everything listed in there. (The march of time!)

Here’s what has not changed: I still love my wife.


Another baseball team, and another bad baseball team

Sunday morning I got a text:

Remember 3 years ago when the Cubs lost 96 games and you were questioning Theo Epstein and the Cubs’ plan when they were selling off all their “star” players for prospects and not wasting money on starting pitching and high-priced batters while the majority of their hitting prospects were still in the minors?? Remember when you again questioned the plan a year later when the Cubs lost 89 games in 2014 and I told you not to doubt Theo, the prospects were almost ready and they would go get the pitching they need – an ace (Lester) and a closer (Chapman), a decent 2/3 (Hendricks) – and they would dominate the Central for the next 4-5 years?? Well, Theo’s plan worked, regardless of the World Series outcome. And, hopefully I can send you a similar text in 3-4 years reminding you of this year when you ridiculed the brewers for selling of their players for prospects, not spending for quality veteran pitching or a first basemen and not really trying to be competitive this year cause they were certainly going to lose 100 games (they lost 89). Wouldn’t that be great?

Great? Yes. Likely? Where is the evidence?

The most cynical perspective says that the billionaire Cubs owners (of TD Ameritrade) screwed their fans to the tune of selling multiple seasons of bad baseball for premium prices for the chance of good baseball at some point. The most cynical perspective also says that the nouveau yuppie Cubs fans deserve to have wasted money on bad baseball. And to no one’s surprise, as the text writer noted, the billion-dollar owners went out and purchased the needed added parts to seal their win.

There is little resemblance between this Cubs team and the Cubs teams I watched, with day home baseball on free (cable) TV, and Harry Caray merrily mispronouncing names, (allegedly) drinking to excess during his broadcasts, and above all showing off Cubs baseball as something fun regardless of result. Irrespective of the benefits, or lack thereof, of Cubs ownership by the Wrigley family (a few World Series, the last in 1945, and the epic 1969 collapse) and Tribune Co. (1984, 1989, 1998, the 2003 Bartman and 2008), today’s Cubs have about 1 percent more charm than the White Sox, who have none. None of the people I know (including my father) who have been long-suffering Cubs fans will be enjoying the World Series anywhere besides their TV, or their favorite bar’s TV.

Up Interstate 94, the Brewers sucked again this season, though not to the level I thought they would. (To correct the text author: I believe I said they would lose 140 games this year.) It is impossible to say when the Brewers will not suck, and it is entirely possible their dump-players-of-any-value plan to build for the future will result in no better results than today. The ratings of minor league systems apparently don’t place any value on things like team results within their minor league or players finishing near the top of their leagues in offensive, defensive or pitching categories.

Does this look like progress to you?

  • Brewers:  73-89, 30.5 games out of first, 14 games out of the wild card.
  • Colorado Springs, Class AAA: 67-71, 12.5 games out of first place.
  • Biloxi, Class AA: 72-67, 8.5 games out of first.
  • Brevard County, Class A Florida State League: 40-97, 42.5 games out of first.
  • Wisconsin, Class A Midwest League: 71-69, 15 games out of first (though the Timber Rattlers were briefly in the Midwest League playoffs).
  • Arizona, rookie Arizona Fall League: 24-29, eight games out of first.
  • Dominican Summer League: 26-44, 24.5 games out of first.

Even if you grant that the purpose of the minor leagues is development and not necessarily wins, and even if you grant that some players may have been moved around thus harming their former teams’ fortunes, if the Brewers minor leaguers were developing better than similar-level players, the Brewers farm teams should be better than this. The supposed best minor league prospects won’t be in Milwaukee for at least three years, and at that point between the Cubs’ possibly winning the World Series and this presidential election (a major-party choice between Lucifer and Satan) we may all be dead anyway.

(This gives me an idea: Until the Brewers become contenders, they should cut day-of-game ticket prices by the dollar figure equal to the number of games they’re out of first place, down to zero. That would be their way to apologize to their fans for their team’s continued poor play.)

The Brewers’ best player is outfielder Ryan Braun. He is likely to be traded this offseason, and reports claim he’s headed to the Dodgers in return for malcontent outfielder Yasiel Puig, who is reportedly hated by most of his teammates. If that trade does take place, Puig will be hated by his Brewers teammates by Memorial Day. (Claims of the benefits of a change of scenery are usually illusory. People do not change, though they sometimes become worse. Ask the ’90s Cubs about Sammy Sosa.)

This is not all the Brewers’ fault. The economics of Major League Baseball continue to be terrible, and continue to benefit big-market franchises and a few smaller-market franchises who know how to run their businesses (i.e. St. Louis) because teams do not share their local broadcast revenues. The season is too long, which will be proven by World Series games at Progressive Field in Cleveland and Wrigley Field with lows in the 30s and 40s. TV will be fine with this; the fans may need hypothermia treatment afterward.

It should not take several seasons to build a winning franchise. The National Football League is famous for teams coming out of the previous season’s nowhere into the Super Bowl, and then going back the next year. (Tampa Bay, which finished last in its division last year, is ahead of Carolina, which played in Super Bowl 50. Dallas finished last last year and is in first this year.) If you are charging major-league prices for a minor league product, the fans have not merely the right, but the obligation to not buy tickets.

What kind of business would stay in business very long if it put out an inferior product for years and years, telling customers they’re trying to get better, ,but failing to do so? As a part of the entertainment business, every professional sports team owes it to its customers (paying fans, sponsors and broadcast outlets) to try to win every single season. Every single season, no exceptions, no excuses. Is that happening at Miller Park?




The election isn’t just about the presidency

George Will writes about the Wisconsin Senate race:

In 49 states, when you order breakfast in a restaurant you might be asked if you would like pancakes or an omelet. In Wisconsin, you are asked if you would like pancakes with your omelet. Ron Johnson would, thank you. This Republican U.S. senator, who is burning prodigious amounts of calories campaigning for a second and final term, really does represent the hearty eaters who were fueling up at a Perkins Restaurant here on a recent Sunday morning.
In 2010, Johnson left his plastics manufacturing company that made him wealthy enough to try, against his preference for the private sector and against his wife’s adamant disapproval, to become the only manufacturer in the Senate. He surfed into that chamber on the Republican wave raised by two things that annoyed Johnson enough to propel him into politics — the Obama administration’s stimulus that did not stimulate and Obamacare, which six years later is in intensive care.

Johnson defeated a three-term incumbent, Russ Feingold, who this year is again Johnson’s opponent. Being devoted environmentalists, Democrats believe in recycling even their candidates: In Indiana, too, a former senator, Evan Bayh, is in a tight race trying to return to Washington.

In a season supposedly inimical to insiders, Feingold, 63, is more of this detested breed than is Johnson. Feingold first won elective office at age 29 and his involuntary six-year sojourn in the private sector has been an aberration he is eager to end. Johnson, 61, said when seeking his first term that he would never seek a third.

In contrast, Johnson’s opponent ran four times, and, having unaccountably (in his own mind) failed to have been elected six years ago, thinks he should be a senator yet again.

Johnson says he has traveled 130,000 miles — “that’s with me behind the wheel” — to ask audiences: How many of you think the government is efficient and effective? When no hands are raised, he asks: Why, then, would you want it enlarged?

Johnson was considered so vulnerable this year that the national party essentially wrote him off — indeed, it virtually announced as much by its parsimonious support. Ten months ago he trailed Feingold by double digits. He is attempting to become the first Wisconsin Republican since 1980 to win a Senate election in a presidential year. In that year, Ronald Reagan’s coattails pulled 16 freshmen Republicans into the Senate.

This year, Johnson faces headwinds beyond the fact that the unhinged spectacle at the top of the Republican ticket lost the Wisconsin primary to Ted Cruz by 13 points. Wisconsin last voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 1984 and is much more congenial to Republicans in nonpresidential years, when turnout is lower. In 2010, the total vote for Senate candidates was 2,171,331. In the presidential year 2012, when Democrat Tammy Baldwin defeated former governor Tommy Thompson for the state’s other Senate seat, the total vote surged to 3,009,411.

Nevertheless, although Hilary Clinton is expected to win Wisconsin handily, Johnson still could be the unlikely savior of Republicans’ Senate control: Two recent public polls show Johnson behind by less than the polls’ margins of error. This is partly because, in a year of unrelieved political ugliness, he has done something eccentric: He has run television ads that make people smile rather than wince. One concerns his support for a faith-based program teaching unemployed inner-city residents the modalities of job-seeking (interviews, etc.); the other highlights Johnson helping a Wisconsin couple bring their adopted child home from Congo.

This year of the counterintuitive has reached an appropriate culmination: Republican retention of Senate control might depend on weakness at the top of the ticket starting immediately. If Donald Trump’s chances of winning are soon seen to be, as they actually are, vanishingly small, Republican Senate candidates can explicitly encourage tactical voting: They can acknowledge that Trump is toast and can urge voters to send Republicans to Washington as a check on a President Hillary Clinton.

In 22 of the 36 election cycles — presidential and off-year — in the 70 years since World War II, voters have produced divided government, giving at least one house of Congress to the party not holding the presidency. This wholesome American instinct for checks and balances is particularly pertinent now because Clinton will take office as an unprecedentedly unpopular new president.

For conservatives, this autumn has been about simultaneously stopping Trump and preserving Republicans’ Senate control to stymie Clinton. Johnson will return either to the Senate and the invigorating business of preventing progressives’ mischief, or to private life. Come what may, he says, “I’ll be the calmest guy on election night.”

Kevin Binversie has questions about Johnson’s opponent, the phony maverick, that the Wisconsin media hasn’t asked and Feingold hasn’t answered:

Health Care

  • Earlier this week, former President and potential “First Gentleman” Bill Clinton described the Affordable Care Act – which you voted for and once bragged about having ‘read every word of it’ – as a “crazy system,” is “killing small businesses,” “doesn’t work” or “doesn’t make any sense.” Do you agree with this assessment, if so, why have you not publicly said something similar in the past? If not, why and how is Clinton wrong exactly?
  • An analysis by the New York Times find that residents in four Wisconsin counties (Menominee, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix) will only have one insurance option available to them via Healthcare.Gov. What do you say to those Wisconsinites (they’re listening) who believed that your vote on the Affordable Care Act would mean more consumer choice, more affordable options, and access to doctors they know and trust when the exact opposite has happened?


  • In a world where the finances of candidates and the college transcripts of candidates are often released for public consumption, why has there never been any release of your course syllabus and reading list from your time teaching at Stanford Law School? Yes, there is a course description available online , but it comes off as rather vague. Also, would you be willing to release student evaluations made of you during your time there?
  • Is there any particular reason why your campaign has not published its “Cash on Hand” for the just completed fund raising period?
  • In 2010, your campaign was found to be using paid Labor Union staffers and activists as stand ins for “Average Wisconsinites” in your political advertising. Did you learn your lesson for 2016, or did you repeat that move?
  • If you have nothing to hide from your emails during your time as a Special Envoy in the State Department, why not just openly call for their release?


  • Could you please provide the definition of “Creative Destruction” as it is defined in most Economics textbooks?
  • This week the International Monetary Fund downgraded its expectation for growth in the U.S. economy for the rest of the year. Isn’t that a stinging indictment of the Obama economic record? If so, why do you believe the American people essentially deserve a “more of the same” approach as being suggest by Hillary Clinton (infrastructure spending, “Green Jobs,” etc.), if it didn’t make the economy go “Gangbusters” in the first place?

We’ll see if any reporter does indeed run with these suggestions.

I have even simpler questions for the senator:

  • Why did voters fire you in 2010? What did you learn about losing?
  • Name one political position you have that cannot be described as “liberal” or “leftist.”
  • Name one non-liberal position you have taken as a result of input from your “listening sessions.”
  • If you are elected Nov. 8, given that Wisconsin already has a left-wing U.S. senator, how will you represent the people who didn’t vote for you and didn’t vote for Wisconsin’s other U.S. senator?


Presty the DJ for Oct. 23

The number one song today in 1961:

A horrible irony today in 1964: A plane carrying all four members of the group Buddy and the Kings crashed, killing everyone on board. Buddy and the Kings was led by Harold Box, who replaced Buddy Holly with the Crickets after Holly died in a plane crash in 1959:

Today in 1976, Chicago had its first number one single, which some would consider the start of its downward slope to sappy ballads:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Oct. 23”

Well then what can a poor boy do …

Rick Esenberg writes about a comment from one of my favorite Democrats, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, beginning with some music:

The Rolling Stones released Street Fighting Man in 1968, while the world what seemed to be gripped by revolutionary fervor.  That fervor would soon die out and, even Mick Jagger seemed to recognize that it would never go far. His revolutionary narrator was not about taking control of anything but rather someone whose name was called “disturbance.” He would “shout and scream” and “kill the king” and “rail at all his servants.” But it seemed like an impotent rage. Nothing would change.

Over the weekend, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke tweeted out what some took to be his own call for fighting in the streets. Accompanied by a picture of a bunch of CPAs trying to pose as an angry mob, the most frequently cited Clarke tweet read:

It’s incredible that our institutions of gov, WH, Congress, DOJ, and big media are corrupt & all we do is bitch. Pitchforks and torches time

There were other tweets referencing “pitchforks and torches” because, if twitter is about anything at all, it is about getting the right slogan. The legacy media, of course, guppied on this, expressing consternation that a law enforcement officer would support — not to put too fine a point on it — breaking the law.

Was that what Clarke intended? Twitter is the ultimate in post-modern communication because its brevity often forces the reader to construct the meaning of the text, but, of course, it isn’t.  His subsequent teasing about the sale of garden implements at Home Depot immediately suggested that he was speaking metaphorically. On Monday, Clarke wrote a blog post confirming that he was speaking in hyperbole.

But let’s put Clarke and his tweets aside. What about that metaphor? Is it really “pitchfork and torches” time?  As in 1968, there certainly seem to be people who believe so. This is, we are told, a “Flight 93 election.”

The anger among people on the Republican side — often directed at other conservatives who can’t quite get their heads around a Trump presidency — is bitter and consuming.  At a Trump rally in Green Bay Monday night, a putatively conservative crowd chanted “Paul Ryan sucks” — turning against one of the brightest lights in our  movement because he is now less than enthusiastic about a Republican nominee who is not conservative and who has arguably become toxic  to the Republican cause.
The willingness of some conservatives to not merely support Trump as the lesser to two very bad evils but to tie themselves into knots to pretend that he isn’t who he seems to be suggests that this election has become political total war. There are no rules.

Indeed, Trump’s very presence on the ballot seems like the act of an angry mob. Whether or not conservatives should rally around him in the general election, the very idea that Donald Trump ought to have been nominated is an idea whose name is called disturbance. It certainly seems like an act of either desperation or nihilism — the electoral equivalent of burning downtown Ferguson.  It was less a rational decision than a collective tantrum.

Should we be tearing ourselves apart in this way? Whether or not we support Trump, do we really have to abandon our principles in order to support the Republican nominee?

I fully appreciate what is at stake with a Clinton presidency. The Supreme Court and lower federal courts, the further consolidation of power in Washington and the executive, the administrative imposition of the goals of the cultural left and erosion of freedom of speech and religion — all of these will continue. It is only the threat of this type of damage that can make a vote for Trump conceivable.
But there is danger in exaggerated rhetoric and in the GOP’s ongoing fratricide. The danger is not, as the mainstream media and their “serious people” would have it, that there will be actual violence. The danger is to a conservative movement that is defined by such hyperbole and self-consuming rage. In short, we are hurting ourselves.

I don’t want to be angry. I want to win.  I want to advance conservative ideas. Unfortunately, winning — and for that matter “conservative ideas” — are precisely what nominating Donald Trump was not about. This has left us all with a conundrum. Whether winning nevertheless means continuing to support his flailing campaign (2016 is not the last election) is a far more difficult question than many of us recognize.  Do  conservatives support the GOP’s our despicable and not conservative — but perhaps not left wing — nominee to avoid the election of their corrupt — and left wing — nominee?

However you answer that question, rhetorically storming the barricades is not an exercise of power but a confession of weakness. Forming a circular firing squad in which we attack some of the best among us is self destructive. We “scream and shout” because we believe there is nothing else we can do. It may feel good to indulge in white hot anger — to call Paul Ryan a RINO and boycott Charlie Sykes as a “liberal” — but it’s straight up nonsense.  It does not reflect reality — things are bad but not that bad — and destroying the village to save the village rarely makes sense.
Self righteous outrage sets us against ourselves. And it marginalizes us because — just like in 1968 — most people do not want fighting in the streets — metaphorical or otherwise.

To paraphrase John Lennon from that same year, “we’re all doing what we can.”

Oh, he means …

This year is a perfect example of the fact that government is far too large and therefore the stakes are too high in elections, and one wonders what it will take — assassination(s)? Riot(s) after Nov. 8? — to make people realize that. When government and politics become careers, government grows. When government can close a business and take away people’s livelihood, government is too big.

Everything bad happening in politics today is the result of the excessive size of government, including (some people’s opinion of) excessive campaign spending and efforts to bring in donations, the increasing nastiness of campaigns, people from the same party turning on each other, people from opposite parties turning on each other … the list could really depress you if I went on.

There he goes (went?) again

Craig Shirley and Frank Donatelli recall …

In 1987, when he was informed that Democratic presidential aspirant Gary Hart was accused of extramarital activities, President Ronald Reagan reportedly quipped, “Boys will be boys. But boys will not be president.” In all matters, Reagan was wise.

For years, we have looked with skepticism at political operatives who claim to know what Ronald Reagan would have done in any given situation. The truth is, nobody can know. All we can do is study him. But what we do know is that Reagan was full of grace and charm and kindness, and it’s good to recall that as this sad campaign season winds down.

America’s 40th president was an essentially decent man. When Nancy Reynolds, a Sacramento press aide and close friend, began working for Reagan when he was governor of California, he had a heck of a time getting used to the idea of going through the doorway in front of a woman. When Ms. Reynolds, holding the door for the governor, questioned why, Reagan replied, “My mother told me ladies go through the door first.”

When writing in his private diary, Reagan could not even bring himself to write “hell.” Instead, he wrote “h–l.”

In 1983, two years after John Hinckley Jr. shot the president in the chest, Reagan quietly tried to reach out to the would-be assassin, not with a presidential pardon but an act of private Christian forgiveness. He was only dissuaded when doctors said the mentally disturbed young man would misunderstand Reagan’s gesture. Still, Reagan prayed for him.

Reagan was once caught on a hot microphone, although what he said seems quaint, almost genteel, by today’s standards. When he was asked for a sound check during the taping of a 1984 radio commentary, the president joshed, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” The technicians all laughed, but soon after, liberal elites came down with manufactured vapors.

Over the course of his life, the Gipper sent thousands of letters to fans, friends and even opponents, many of whom remember his personal grace. During his stay in the hospital, recovering from the assassination attempt, nurses were astonished to find Reagan one day on his hands and knees, cleaning up some water he had spilled. The leader of the free world was wiping the floor so no one else would have to do it.

Reagan was insulted plenty of times over the course of his career, burned in effigy, sworn against, cursed and more—but in each instance, he turned away the invective with a smile and a quip. He was tough on issues, but rarely people, and certainly not personally. He wasn’t mean and didn’t engage in ad hominem attacks.

Reagan did call out extremists in the conservative ranks. He supported William F. Buckley Jr., who led the purge of the conspiracy-minded John Birch Society and spoke out against anti-Semitic elements in the conservative moment. He opposed the Briggs Initiative, a 1978 California ballot measure aimed at banning homosexuals and gay-rights supporters from working at public schools.

Reagan believed in the politics of addition, not subtraction. He looked for ways to add to his support by exuding optimism and preaching growth policies. He wanted to unify, not divide. At the Detroit Republican Convention in 1980, he made an open appeal to Democrats and Independents to join his “community of shared values.” That night, he also cited Franklin Roosevelt—to a hall full of Republicans.

This wasn’t some campaign facade that Reagan had acquired for political reasons. He had always had it. In his famous 1964 speech, “A Time for Choosing,” Reagan paraphrased the admonition that Barry Goldwater had given to his own son: “There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness, and when you begin to build your life on that rock, with the cement of the faith in God that you have, then you have a real start.”

In one of his final public speeches, at the 1992 Republican convention, Reagan said that he hoped history “will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears. To your confidence rather than your doubts.” He undoubtedly did.


The three GOPs

William Galston tries to reconcile the three parts of the Republican Party after the Nov. 8 disaster:

No Republican will ever try harder than Mr. Trump has to make working-class white voters the centerpiece of a majority coalition. His no-holds barred effort to mobilize them has offended minority voters as well as the more educated white voters who have long supported more mainstream conservative candidates. If current trends continue, he will register single-digit support among African-Americans, he will underperform Mitt Romney’s woeful showing among Latinos, and he will lose to Hillary Clinton among college-educated women.

Underlying these results are deep structural tensions. On economics, today’s Republicans are—like Caesar’s Gaul—divided into three parts. Establishment conservatives reflect the interests of corporate America. They favor free trade, immigration reform, and well-targeted public investment. They are broadly internationalist and mostly support the treaties and institutions through which the United States exercises global influence.

They believe in climate change and can live with reasonable measures to abate it. They want corporate tax reform, but not at the expense of provisions in the current code that benefit their economic sectors. They would like individual tax reform but already can use the current code to minimize their effective tax rate. They believe in “entitlement reform” but would accept revenue increases along with it—the ever-elusive “grand bargain” at the heart of blue-ribbon commissions.

Second come the small-town, small-government conservatives who channel the anxieties and antipathies of the National Federation of Independent Business and whose sentiments pervade the Paul Ryan-House Republican manifesto, “A Better Way.” They believe—passionately—that government is the principal obstacle to growth. They insist on major tax cuts, especially in the individual code through which their unincorporated businesses are taxed, and fervently reject any new taxes.

They favor reductions in domestic spending (especially welfare), structural changes in Medicare and Medicaid, and an all-out assault on the regulatory state. Compared to their corporate brethren, their outlook is more nationalist. They mostly depend on the domestic market rather than exports and frown on institutions such as the Export-Import Bank, which they regard as corporate welfare. They are not invited to meetings at Davos.

And lastly, we reach the populist conservatives, many of them working class, about whom so much has been written in this election cycle. They mistrust all large institutions, especially the federal government, but they do not have an ideological preference for smaller government. They depend on costly programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Disability Insurance and stand to benefit from the expanded infrastructure investments that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have proposed.

They see large corporations as indifferent, even hostile, to their interests and concerns. They view the world outside the United States more as a threat than an opportunity. So they oppose trade agreements as well as large immigration flows and are suspicious of the obligations that alliances such as NATO impose on the U.S. Like Mr. Trump, they regard such arrangements, on balance, as burdens rather than benefits. For them, “America First” is more than a slogan; it is a demand.

Despite the hostility between Paul Ryan and Mr. Trump, it is just possible to see how small-government conservatives and populist conservatives might make common cause. The small-government advocates could make their peace with Social Security and phase in changes to Medicare slowly enough to convince the populists, many of whom are near retirement age, that they have nothing to fear. Over time, they might be able to smooth the rough edges off the ethno-nationalism that has disfigured the Trump campaign and repelled so many Americans. Issues such as trade and immigration would remain points of contention, but focusing on border security and tougher enforcement of existing trade agreements could make the tensions manageable.

It is harder to see how establishment conservatives can find a place within this coalition. Their policy agenda contradicts the demands of the populists, and their outlooks are antithetical. They know that their long-term success depends on the kinds of public investments that small government conservatives shun—and the economic internationalism that populists abhor. Having abandoned the bipartisanship they espoused after World War II and casting their lot with the Republican Party, they find their influence shrinking among the kinds of conservatives who have come to dominate the GOP.

As working-class white voters left the Democrats after the 1960s, Republicans won them over with appeals to cultural traditionalism and American exceptionalism. It was a low-cost acquisition. Now, with the hollowing-out of the manufacturing sector on which working class communities depended, the bill—a balloon payment—has come due.

As a non-Republican I’d say I’m in Galston’s second group. Opposition to big government is not necessarily incompatible with opposition to big business, given all the similarities beyond the fact that business has to earn what it gets, unlike Govzilla.

The first group probably makes a fair amount of tacit Hillary Clinton supporters; they’re conservative in the original sense of the word — they don’t like change because the current system works for them.

The Wisconsin GOP has more from the first and third groups than the second. The state GOP hasn’t done nearly enough to promote small government, and that has been the case far longer than Ryan has been in politics. There are no effective constitutional limits on government growth in this state. There are legislative limits, but anything legislative can be erased by the Legislature. It is, of course, against the GOP’s political limits to advocate something that would make election results less important, but until a Taxpayer Bill of Rights-like mechanism becomes part of the state Constitution the GOP has to get voters to believe that the GOP will increase government less than Democrats would.