Walker vs. Madison

Jake Curtis:

The recent extraordinary legislative session in Wisconsin included significant reforms to the administrative-rule-making process. Lost among the objections from some (allegations that the current Republican government is kneecapping the incoming Democratic administration) is a simple reality: The reforms are but the culmination of eight years of thoughtful efforts on the part of the governor and legislative leaders to recalibrate the constitutionally mandated separation of powers. Other states, and even Congress, should take note of what Wisconsin reformers have accomplished.

Normally, arguments about the proper role of executive agencies play out at the national level. Particularly controversial are the Supreme Court cases Chevron and Auer, which give federal agencies wide latitude to interpret statutes and regulations as they see fit without interference from the courts. But as with many legal and policy questions, the states, our laboratories of democracy, are better positioned to serve as the tip of the spear on this issue. And as a proud Wisconsin guy, I like to think on all issues all roads lead to Wisconsin.

In 2011, much attention was given Act 10, Governor Walker’s signature reform to public-sector collective bargaining. Less well-known was Act 21, which can rightly be considered the beginning of an administrative-law revolution in Wisconsin. In 2017, Acts 39, 57, and 108 added to those reform efforts. And this past summer, the Wisconsin supreme court issued a significant decision in Tetra Tech v. Department of Revenue, creating a stricter framework for courts to apply when considering the amount of deference to provide agency interpretations.

Much of what we now consider the standard rule-making process in Wisconsin was first set out in 2011 Act 21. At its core, Act 21 provides that no agency may implement or enforce any standard, requirement, or threshold (including as a term or condition of any license it issues) unless such action is explicitly required or permitted by statute or rule. Gone are the days of implied or perceived authority.

Additionally, for each proposed rule, the act required agencies to submit a “statement of scope” to the governor for review and prepare an economic-impact analysis relating to specific businesses, business sectors, public-utility ratepayers, local governmental units, and the state’s economy as a whole.

Six years later, Act 39 addressed concerns over the lengthy periods of time that agencies were given to promulgate rules. An agency must now submit a proposed rule to the legislature before a scope statement expires, resulting in a 30-month deadline. This requirement adds certainty to the process for the regulated community.

Act 57 is the state version of the federal REINS Act, which several Congresses have considered but none have passed. Wisconsin is the only state thus far to adopt such a reform. Wisconsin agencies must now determine whether a proposed rule will impose $10 million or more in implementation and compliance costs over a two-year period. If there is such a finding, an agency may not promulgate the rule absent authorizing legislation or germane modification to the proposed rule to reduce the costs below the $10 million threshold. In addition, the Department of Administration must review an agency’s scope statement prior to presentation to the governor to ensure an agency has explicit authority to promulgate a given rule (note the connection to Act 21).

Act 108 created an expedited process for the repeal of certain “unauthorized rules.” (If the law that authorized a rule’s promulgation has since been repealed or amended, the rule is considered “unauthorized” — again, note the connection to Act 21.) Any such rules, in addition to rules that are obsolete, duplicative, superseded, or economically burdensome, must be included in a biennial report to the legislature’s Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules. The report must also describe any actions taken by an agency, if any, to address each of the problematic rules listed.

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The Beer Party, or Grand Old Pilsner

J. Christian Adams:

GOP strategists have been warning that the sky is falling, that a demographic calamity is coming.  Young voters and voters to be, we are told, have no reason to vote Republican.

A fix to attract young voters might be sitting right in front of them, if congressional Republicans have the creativity to pop it open.

One of the sorriest sights I have ever seen in a bar occurred on the eve of the Gulf War in the fall of 1990.  Soldiers from the nearby Army base were celebrating their final days in the states before being deployed to Saudi Arabia where they would eventually smash Saddam Hussein’s army in Kuwait.

The young soldiers were lined up at the bar.  Instead of beer, they were sipping sodas because they weren’t old enough.

It was a sad, pathetic sight. Soldiers who would soon ship out to war celebrating their final hours in the United States, and they were drinking Sprite.

If the Republicans want to attract young voters, then lead the charge to repeal the National Minimum Age Drinking Age Act that Democrats in Congress passed in 1984.

Loudly repeal the mandate and allow states to lower their drinking age to 18 from 21 without federal penalty.

Appeal to young voters with beer and bourbon.

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act forced states to change their state laws or else forfeit federal highway money.  The federal mandate that required states to raise the drinking age to 21 was chiefly sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey.

As far as I am concerned, if you are old enough to fight and die for America, you are old enough to drink a beer.

We can debate the pros and cons of the federal mandate as a question of social behavioral engineering.  You might say that the federal mandate reduces drunk driving, and I will respond that so could complete prohibition of the sort we had from 1920 to 1933.  You might note the opposition of Mothers Against Drunk Driving to my idea, and I would argue that the drinking age of 21 pushes younger adults into irresponsible behavior, including binge drinking.

If a state wants to keep the drinking age at 21 years old, let the citizens of that state – including the 18-year-old voters – decide the question at the ballot box.  Just get Washington, D.C., off their backs.

This is a question of both federalism and morality.

Washington, D.C., should not be deciding how old you have to be before you can drink a Miller Lite.  As a matter of constitutional division of power, the Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution gives states almost complete power over alcohol.  States have the power to legislate themselves dry, or to eliminate the drinking age altogether, notwithstanding the federal mandate.

This is also a question of morality.  A nation cannot expect the youngest generation to bear the burden of service, but not extend the full measure of citizenship to them.

If you can be drafted, you should be able to order a draft.

President Ronald Reagan was originally opposed to the federal mandate of a drinking age of 21 but came to sign the bill because he decided reducing teen driving mortality was more important.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

In the first few years after the drinking age became effective, teen driving deaths actually increased.  It wasn’t until the 1990s that teen driving deaths dropped dramatically, and by then, any number of alternative causes contributed to the improvement.  In other countries that did not raising the drinking age, teen driving deaths also nevertheless declined.

Improvements in safety, education, and technology may have played a bigger role in reducing highway deaths than federal mandates did.

But do young people want the federal drinking age mandate to go away?

This is the same age group that never endured the federally mandated 55 miles per hour speed limit.  Today’s 19-year-olds never experienced creeping along a wide open interstate highway at 59 miles per hour, scanning for state troopers.

Repealing the 55 mph federal speed limit mandate was one of the first things the new Republican Congress did in 1995.  It was also wildly popular and Republicans got the credit.

If Republicans want to appeal to young voters, appeal to their desire for freedom.  Go ahead, laugh if you want.  I’m aware of what is happening on campus and in the classroom.

But I still can’t shake the image of American warriors sipping sodas before they smashed Saddam.  Some things just aren’t right, and Republicans should gamble that young Americans will agree.

As someone who miraculously survived the 18-year-old drinking age without getting killed and with a child now in the armed services, I agree 100 percent with this. The national drinking age is probably the worst thing Reagan ever signed off on, with the unintended consequences of promoting binge drinking, which is considerably harmful. It created a new class of criminals — adult underage drinkers. A look at the police blotter from any college-town newspaper will prove that the 21-year-old drinking age has not stopped drinking by those who are not 21 yet.

Late night in the Capitol

M.D. Kittle:

After a marathon-and-a-half floor session that extended deep into the new day, Senate Republicans on a party-line vote passed a watered-down version of extraordinary session legislation aimed at protecting the Gov. Scott Walker-era reforms of the past eight years.

The Republican-controlled Assembly continued to debate remaining measures as Wisconsin began the work days but was expected to pass legislation that the GOP majority says will restore balance to the co-equal branches and Democrats breathlessly insist will “subvert the will of the people.”

All eyes — and pressure — now turn to outgoing two-term Gov. Scott Walker, who has signaled he will sign the bills, which include more legislative oversight of the executive branch but also deliver on limited-government reforms and one final round of tax relief.

Democrats and their powerful liberal allies in the media lambasted the legislation and the process as a Republican “power grab” and a slap in the face of last month’s election, which saw Democrat Tony Evers beat two-term incumbent Walker and pushed liberal legal activist Josh Kaul past Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel to head the state Department of Justice.

“Nothing that we’re going to be doing here is about helping the people of Wisconsin. It’s about helping politicians … It’s about politics and self-interest,” Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) declared in the wee hours, as the session slipped past the midnight deadline that Republican leadership set Tuesday afternoon.

Exhibit A of the dubious intelligence of voters is the fact that Hintz represents anyone anywhere.

“The people have spoken,” Democrats blasted.

Winston Churchill is said (probably an erroneous attribution) that “The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” And of course the people who elected Evers were overwhelmingly from Madison and Milwaukee.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) told reporters Tuesday that his constituents and conservatives from around the state have urged him and his Republican colleagues to fight for the tax and regulatory relief the Walker years brought to Wisconsin — to resist, if you will, the liberals who want to wipe out those reforms.

“What I have heard through the fall is, ‘Don’t give in.’ People have said, ‘Do whatever you have to do so the reforms don’t go away,’” Vos said..

Republicans say their bills are about securing the Legislature’s equal powers in what are constitutionally supposed to be the co-equal branches of government.

Democrats argue the legislation robs Evers and Kaul of rightful executive branch powers before they take their oaths of office.

Republicans ultimately scaled back some of the more controversial provisions after long hours of closed door meetings with reluctant caucus members. Measures that had given the Legislature more oversight and review over executive branch decisions were watered-down.

Republicans relented on provisions that would have taken away Evers ability to name the head of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., but the incoming governor will have to wait until September to make any changes.

The majority kept a bill that limits early voting to two weeks before the election but offered extended voting hours each of the 14 days. Democrats still hated it and threatened another round of lawsuits. They reminded Republicans that a federal court already had struck down earlier attempts to reign in early voting, but GOP leadership believes the additions in their bill can survive a court challenge.

A measure that would have codified insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions failed as conservatives in the Senate bolted on a messy bill that came out of the Assembly earlier this year.

Legislation that would have moved the 2020 presidential primary from the first Tuesday in April to the second Tuesday in March died on the vine. Changing the date would decouple the partisan presidential election from the nonpartisan spring election. The shift would clearly benefit Republicans’ efforts to retain conservative state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, a Walker appointee, by moving a significant voter draw from the April ballot.

Several measures would provide more legislative oversight of executive branch agencies and the attorney general. It boils down to a matter of trust, and Republicans clearly don’t trust Kaul and Evers to keep liberal activism out of the executive branch. Kaul has pledged to remove Wisconsin from a list of state plaintiff’s in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. Amendments to one provision would give the Legislature a voice in AG lawsuits.

Republicans also want to make sure that welfare reforms, including stricter work requirements and drug testing initiatives, aren’t wiped out by a Democrat who has declared how much he loathes the reforms. The updated versions of the legislation hold onto those protections.

What a horrible thing to try to pass legislation before your term is up. You know, like in 2010, as Matt Batzel posts:

In 2010, Wisconsin Democrats tried to ram a union contract through a lame duck session and they convinced a Judge to release this Guy (Jeff Wood) from jail to get the bill through the Assembly. http://archive.jsonline.com/ne…/statepolitics/111922624.html

Labor contracts have the force of law, so the 2010 Legislature was in effect passing a law, though the labor contracts ultimately did not pass.

And of course there was the Democrats’ reaction to the duly elected new governor and party in control of both houses of the Legislature … Recallarama. I heard no Wisconsin Democrats say that Walker should not have been recalled. None.

It is hardly surprising that Republicans have now discovered the virtues of the legislative branch now that they still control it but are about to lose control of the executive branch. It is also unsurprising that Democrats now think the executive branch should have unlimited control of government; that was their position when Barack Obama was in the White House.

Of course, the fact some people voted for Democrats for statewide office and voted for Republicans in legislative races is evidence to Democrats of the evils of gerrymandering. Brian Westrate takes this lame argument apart:

The truth is that as the Democrat party has turned hard to the left the state of Wisconsin has become a politically conservative state. In order to avoid facing this reality the Democrats have loudly declared it’s redistricting to blame, not them. I have had enough and have decided to share some facts with you that you can use to combat this nonsense we keep hearing out of the left.

First. The election of 2010.

Going into the Election the Democrats held the Governor’s office, both the state assembly and senate, both US Senate seats, and 5 of 8 House seats.

This election happened BEFORE redistricting. In this election, despite Barack Obama having won Wisconsin by 14 points in 2008 here’s what happened.
1. Walker won the Governor’s office. 52-46%
2. Ron Johnson beat an entrenched incumbent US senator 52-47%
3. Republicans picked up two (out of 5) US House seats 55/45 and 53/45
4. Republicans won the State Treasurer’s office 53/47
5. The State Assembly went from 45 Republicans to 60
6. The State Senate went from 15 Republicans to 19

Especially worthy of note is that following the 2010 election BEFORE redistricting the Republicans held 60 Assembly seats, 19 Senate seats, and 5 of 8 US House seats.

We NOW hold 63 Assembly seats, 19 Senate seats, and 5 of 8 House seats.

So, using the liberal logic redistricting at BEST helped us pick up 3 Assembly seats.

Second. We are not a registration state, and 40% of people consider themselves independent.

Why this is relevant is because the claim is that Republicans “drew lines around Democrats”. But since the only indication of party affiliation is an election in the past, there is no way to actually know who is, or is not a Democrat or Republican. With approximately 30% of Wisconsinites self-identifying as Republicans and another 30% self-identifying as Democrats this means that 40% of the people don’t see themselves as either Democrats or Republicans.

Third. We move around, a lot.

– On average 14.2% of Americans move their residence each year.
– The average person will move their household 12 times in their life.
– Of that 14% 58% move within the same county
– 19% move to a different county in the same state
– 19% move to a different state, and
– 3% move out of the country.

What this means is that over the course of the last 8 years, from the election of 2010 to the election of 2018 there is little reason to believe that the people who comprised the newly drawn districts in 2010 are still the same people who comprised the districts in 2018.

So different people are continuing to elect Republicans to the state legislature.

Four: Democrats have packed themselves into tighter geographic areas.

What this means is that while each Assembly/Senate district continues to essentially represent the same number of souls, the Democrats have spent the last 10 years packing themselves into tighter enclaves of liberalism.

Consider as an example. While Dane County’s population increased by only 10% from 2010-2018 in 2010 149,699 people voted for Democrat Tom Barret, but in 2018 220,008 people voted for Democrat Tony Evers. This is a 32% increase in Democrat votes. At the same time the # of Republican votes increased 962 votes , which is less than a 3% increase in Republican votes.

Again, without party registration we can’t say with 100% certainty, but using Dane as an example the numbers strongly suggest that Democrats have moved into Dane county in large numbers while Republicans have moved out.

And while Republicans have moved out, there is no election data that suggests they have similarly built ghettos of political ideology. It would seem if they have stayed in Wisconsin, they have done so by moving to varied counties without considering political environmental factors.

What does this all mean? The executive summary is that overall, Wisconsin became a more conservative state (or as I would argue, the Democrats became a more liberal party) following 2010, and it is because liberals choose to group themselves together geographically that they are able to win state wide elections, without picking up seats in the legislature.

What’s happening in a nutshell is that they are winning the districted elections they win by ever wider margins, while continuing to lose a majority of them due to their self-imposed flocking tendency.

That is why they can win state wide elections, without winning anything like a majority of districted elections.

James Wigderson adds:

1) Democratic protesters booed Governor Scott Walker during the Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. How low and Grinch-like do you have to get when your obsession with politics causes you to boo Christmas?

2) Democratic protesters behaving badly: How does this look good for Democrats when they’re supporters are behaving like an angry mob trying to shut down the legislative process while claiming they’re doing it for “Democracy?” Hey protesters, you use that word but I don’t think you know what it means.

You know what Democracy looks like? Republican majorities passing bills just like they’re supposed to. You don’t want bills passed in December at the end of a term, win the prior election, too.

Part of the “peaceful transfer of power” which Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) claimed was threatened is that government continues right through Inauguration Day and beyond. Nobody is saying Tony Evers can’t be governor. But he isn’t governor yet.

3) Speaking of Shankland, the people threatening the “peaceful transfer of power” are Madison protesters whom think their mob tactics and temper tantrums should take precedence over the voters’ preferences. The other threat is legislators like Shankland who keep turning up the volume to 11 on political disagreements.

4) Seriously, how does the Capital Times and The Nation put up with John Nichols engaging in partisan activity like leading political rallies? Is there any pretense of journalism on that side of the political divide? And does Nichols hear the self-parody he has become?

Finally, it looks like Evers might sue in court. It’s likely he’ll get a friendly Dane County judge, only to discover that the appeals will be outside of Dane County. Evers could spare the taxpayers a lot of money by not suing, but money is only a concern for liberals when Republicans are spending it.

This shows that Republicans didn’t do nearly enough when they controlled state government. For one thing, as I’ve argued numerous times, they should have put a Taxpayer Bill of Rights up for vote to prevent future non-Republicans from spending and taxing as much as they like. In Act 10 instead of merely forcing government employees to contribute to their benefits, they should have banned government-employee unions and then cut government employment at every level by at least half. What would have happened? Recall attempts?

Republicans forgot to do one thing — pass legislation that ejects metro Madison and the city of Milwaukee from Wisconsin. Their voters elected the most incompetent administrator in the history of this state (Evers), a Barack Obama wannabe (Mandela Barnes), an ambulance chaser (Kaul), a Leslie Knope wannabe (treasurer-elect Sarah Godlewski) and someone who has stolen from the state treasury every paycheck he’s ever received (Douglas La Follette). Or start thinking about moving out of this state.

 

“I may have reformed myself out of a job”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interviews Gov. Scott Walker:

Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday returned to the public eye since losing an expensive and hard-fought bid for a third term — telling reporters he doesn’t know what’s next but doesn’t see his loss as a “rejection.”

“It was without a doubt a big election — bigger turnout than ever before — but the numbers we received a week ago Tuesday would have won the election four years ago, would have won the election eight years ago,” Walker said in a 25-minute, wide-ranging interview. “In no way do I see it as a rejection, but rather just a larger electorate than we’ve ever seen in the past.”

Following Walker’s defeat, some Republicans have questioned the City of Milwaukee’s late counting of more than 47,000 absentee ballots, which propelled Gov.-elect Tony Evers to a win. Walker said Thursday he had a team of lawyers look into it, but said it came down to “incompetence as opposed to corruption.”

Walker, 51, said he isn’t sure what he will do after leaving public office in January for the first time in two decades, but said he isn’t planning to join President Donald Trump’s administration.

He said instead of taking a trip to decompress after the Nov. 6 defeat, he spent the time helping his mother move into a new apartment following his father’s death in October.

“More important than getting away from it all is getting into it,” he said of spending time with his mother after the election loss. “I really don’t have much of an interest at this point in going to Washington.”

Walker said he would consider proposals from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) to approve in his remaining days as governor, but suggested none of the measures would be major.

“What have we not done?” Walker said, referring to major legislation altering the state’s landscape for manufacturers, public employees and residents on welfare. “We’ve been such a reformer, I may have reformed myself out of a job.”

Walker again pushed for lawmakers to pass a $70 million incentive package for papermaker Kimberly-Clark Corp. and said if the Legislature doesn’t act by the end of November, “those jobs will be gone.” …

On the prospect of Evers rolling back measures Walker championed, including possibly eliminating the state’s job agency Walker created or altering the contract with Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn Technology Group, Walker downplayed the idea of significant change.

“The state of Wisconsin is not going to go backward,” he said. “If I just chose not to run and decided to serve out my term without an election, I’d be very proud of what we’ve done in this state.”

Perhaps we should revisit this in four years, when the state will be infinitely worse off and Evers’ incompetence as an administrator (based not on my opinion, but on what people whose jobs include working with Evers and DPI have said) becomes apparent even to Democrats.

As if big government really ever goes away

M.D. Kittle:

Gov.-elect Tony Evers made a lot of promises on the campaign trail – promises the Republican-controlled Legislature likely won’t cash. 

Still, as head of the executive branch Evers could have the ability to go around the Legislature in a number of instances, and he will hold one of the most powerful veto pens in the nation. 

The Democrat offered few plans, and even fewer details, on the trail. But many of Evers’ ideas would expand government, excise landmark reforms, and generally force Wisconsin taxpayers to depart with more of their hard-earned money. 

He campaigned on a commitment to ensure state government is a “responsible steward of taxpayer dollars,” but if Evers gets even some of what he wants the cost of the incoming governor’s promises could really add up. 

On Foxconn 

Foxconn could be the Democrat’s first fight. Candidate Evers has often criticized the state’s economic development deal with the Taiwan-based high tech manufacturer. The contract offers $2.85 billion in state tax incentives in exchange for Foxconn delivering on its pledge to build a massive manufacturing complex in Racine County that is expected to create as many as 13,000 jobs. 

Final terms of the unprecedented agreement were hammered out by the man Evers narrowly beat in this month’s general election, Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his economic development agency — the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC). 

Evers has talked in more nebulous terms about holding “Foxconn’s feet to the fire.” What that will mean for the largest economic development deal of its kind in U.S. history remains to be seen. There is debate over what regulation-friendly Evers could do to existing and future state permits for the project. 

State. Sen. Dave Craig (R-Town of Vernon) said Republicans aren’t taking anything for granted. 

“It’s something we need to explore very seriously to make sure such a great opportunity for economic development continues down the path,” Craig told MacIver News Service last week on the Jay Weber Show, on NewsTalk 1130 WISN.

It sounds like protecting the Foxconn deal is on the table for a proposed special legislative session in the coming weeks, before the new governor steps in. 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has been the lead voice of Republican resistance to any changes Evers contemplates on the Foxconn deal. Vos’ district is the home of the production campus, a project expected to cost $10 billion. 

“We are not going to allow Tony Evers to come in and screw up the Foxconn package,” Vos told the Racine Journal Times. “I will never let that happen. It is too important to our region, it is too important to our state and I feel like we already, in good faith, negotiated and worked on this deal with one of the world’s largest corporations … (B)ecause we had an election doesn’t mean Wisconsin is going back on its word.” 

But the governor-elect holds administrative powers that are not the domain of the Legislature. Evers could use that authority to bring back more red tape at the Department of Natural Resources, among other oversight agencies.

“I can’t give you a guarantee that that project won’t be impacted by an executive branch that wants to do it harm,” Craig said. 

WEDC in the crosshairs 

Evers has pledged to go after the way Wisconsin has done business with business under Walker, whose oft-repeated slogan is that the Badger State is, “Open for business.” The incoming governor has said he would disband the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the quasi-public agency Walker and the Republican Legislature created to replace the old state Department of Commerce. WEDC has had its problems, but the Commerce Department was riddled with cronyism and bureaucratic failures. 

Craig said several conservative lawmakers ran in 2010 and ’11 on getting rid of the old Commerce Department. 

“We need to make sure we don’t go back toward that type of system where you have cozy relationships that was constantly occurring between political allies (and) using tax dollars to manipulate how the economy works,” the senator said. 

Medicaid money and lawsuits

Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, also a Democrat, have each said they would end Wisconsin’s involvement in a multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act. Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel has helped lead the litigation that argues that Obamacare failed to meet constitutional muster once Congress ended the tax penalty for the individual mandate.

Schimel has taken aim at what he describes as Obamacare’s irrational design,” arguing that it “wreaks havoc on health insurance markets.”

“I bring this challenge to Obamacare because, as Wisconsin’s attorney general, I swore to uphold the rule of law and protect our state from overreaching and harmful actions from the federal government,” Schimel said in February upon filing the lawsuit. 

For Schimel, the litigation raises a key constitutional question. For Kaul, it appears the constitution is secondary to protecting the left’s sacred – and failed – health care system.

Health care was the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds this campaign season, according to a Marquette University Law School poll released late last month. 

Evers has said Wisconsin should take the “free” federal money under Obamacare to expand Medicaid coverage in the state. Walker has repeatedly rejected the funds because they come with a lot of regulatory strings and will end up mandating the state cover at least 10 percent of the additional spending. 

The inconvenient truth for progressives is that expanding Medicaid has been a costly proposition for taxpayers, costing some truly in need the medical benefits they could use. Exhibit A: Minnesota.

While liberals like to cheer the Minnesota model of Medicaid expansion, the Gopher State’s utopia fable fails to take into account how much taxpayer cash Wisconsin’s neighbor to the west had to pump into the system to prop up Minnesota liberals’ full embrace of Obamacare and the Medicaid expansion.  

Premiums headed into 2017 were expected to increase by a staggering 50-67 percent, as opposed to Wisconsin’s 16 percent hike. As a result, Minnesota was forced to come up with $300 million to bail out 123,000 struggling Minnesotans who did not qualify for federal Obamacare subsidies.

The bloodletting of Minnesota taxpayers didn’t stop there. The following year, the Minnesota legislature spent an additional $542 million to establish a reinsurance program to hold down costs. Wisconsin recently enacted a similar reinsurance program, but the cost to state taxpayers is expected to be a fraction of that, about $34 million. Premiums are expected go down an average of 3.5 percent thanks to the program, which garnered federal approval earlier this year. Walker administration officials are confident the bill can be paid for by finding savings in the state’s behemoth Medicaid program.

Wisconsin’s new governor, it appears, will be leading the charge to grab up the federal cash, and the ever-increasing tab will go to Badger State taxpayers. 

 $15. Minimum. 

As MacIver News Service reported last month, Evers backs Big Labor’s push for a $15 minimum wage in Wisconsin. Standing next to avowed socialist Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally, Evers upped the rhetorical ante, asserting that Wisconsin would be “going to $15 an hour minimum. Minimum.” He later said he could see the increase in place by the end of his first term. 

Liberals insist raising Wisconsin’s $7.25-per-hour minimum wage (the same as the federal minimum rate) is long overdue. Industry experts and a growing body of research warn a hike would increase consumer prices and diminish economic opportunity for younger and low-skilled workers, the very people Democrats insist they are trying to help. Doing so could ultimately hamper Wisconsin’s booming economy, which has recorded historically low unemployment and rising wages for the better part of a year. Ultimately, a slowdown would take a bite out of the state’s tax revenue. 

The Legislature, powered by huge Republican majorities, isn’t likely to support a minimum wage increase, and certainly not the Fight for $15’s call to double Wisconsin’s minimum wage. 

Boosting education spending

It’s not surprising that Evers, the superintendent of the state Department of Public Instruction, would propose a big boost in public education spending. The long-time bureaucrat has never met a school spending increase he didn’t like. What Evers would like to see is a $1.4 billion increase for Wisconsin schools. That’s a 10 percent raise in school funding, more than doubling Walker’s $639 million increase in the current two-year budget — the largest ed budget increase in state history.

Evers campaigned on returning Wisconsin’s school funding system to mid-1990s levels, meaning a fuller commitment from the state. He claims that his plan won’t cost more, but with a $15.4 billion biennial spending proposal it’s hard to imagine how taxpayers wouldn’t take a hit. 

Prison release

Perhaps to placate the left’s increasingly demanding social justice warriors, Evers has expressed his goal of cutting in half Wisconsin’s prison population. During a primary debate, the candidate called it a “goal worth accomplishing.” Evers backs opening the cell door to “nonviolent” offenders, but to achieve a 50 percent reduction experts say some of Wisconsin’s violent prisoners would have to be cut loose. 

Big Labor’s governor

Unions have contributed heavily to the Democrat’s bid for the governor’s seat, and it would appear Evers will reward that support. In his campaign literature, the governor-elect said he will work to, “Repeal changes (Republicans) made in Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws that simply take money out of Wisconsin’s workers’ pockets.”

Wisconsin’s previous prevailing wage statute, which tied wages on taxpayer-funded construction projects to inflated rates paid by unions, was repealed for local projects in the 2015-17 state budget in a compromise. Walker signed legislation last year that repealed the union-led, artificial wages for state projects. The changes allow markets to set wage rates for local construction projects, saving taxpayers from the well-documented cost overruns.

Big labor wants a reversal on another workplace law, and Evers sounds like he will do his best to oblige. In 2015, Wisconsin became the 25th right-to-work state in the nation when Walker signed the worker freedom legislation into law. 

Evers opposes the law, which prohibits private-sector companies from imposing compulsory union membership and dues as a condition of employment. Three and a half years later, some unions appear to be disregarding or down-right violating protections granted, as MacIver News Service investigations have uncovered.

Republican legislative leadership has discussed limiting Evers’ executive authority, power the GOP-controlled Legislature in many cases handed over to Walker when he began his first term in 2011. Lawmakers could take up some measures in a special session in the coming weeks.

The governor-elect last week fired back.

“Let me be clear: the Republicans and Speaker Vos should stop any and all attempts to play politics and weaken the powers of the governor’s office in Wisconsin before I take the oath,” Evers tweeted. 

Such a move isn’t unprecedented. Democrats attempted to do the same in late 2010 before Walker took over the governor’s office. Their lame-duck-session campaign to pass several public employee protections failed when a couple of Democrats refused to toe the party line. 

There is one problem with Kittle’s premise. There are really no signs that government got smaller in Walker’s eight years in office. Taxes are lower (though not enough reduced), but is employee headcount smaller? Is spending less? (Not when a governor brags about “historic” increases in education spending.) How many regulations were eliminated instead of merely rewritten? Was regulatory power taken from the state and moved to counties or municipalities or eliminated entirely? Shifting power (from, say, teacher unions to school district administrators, which answer to elected school boards, as Act 10 did) is not necessarily reducing the size and scope of government.

Did the Legislature pass and voters approve a Taxpayer Bill of Rights establishing constitutional limits on spending and taxes? For all the sturm und drang over Act 10, maybe Walker should have gone bigger and, as Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels did, issued an executive order, or persuaded the Legislature to pass a law, banning public employee unions. What more could have happened? Recall attempts against Republicans?

Many worthy things took place while Walker was governor — tax cuts, Act 10 and concealed carry, to name three. But to assert that Democrats’ taking over the executive branch of state government is a return to bigger government assumes that government shrank under Walker, when it didn’t.

Stupid student tricks

James Wigderson:

The latest internet outrage du jour is the photo of a bunch of boys from Baraboo High School posing for a photo before prom while possibly giving the Nazi salute.

From some accounts, the students were asked by the photographer Pete Gust to give the salute in the photo and most students complied. Gust claims he told the students to wave goodbye, but supposedly understands why the photo was interpreted the way it was. At least one of the students publicly disagrees with Gust’s statement.

We’re going to use a lot of “supposedly” here because none of us were there, and none of us are mind readers. However, that hasn’t stopped the speculation on the supposed origins of the photo and the sudden supposed appearance of anti-Semitism in Baraboo.

One of the favorite targets of suspicion is the President of the United States. Esquire is the model of this. “The gap between trollism and Trumpism online is increasingly hard to distinguish, particularly among the kind of young people who joined the movement through 4chan or Reddit,” Jack Holmes wrote for the website. “But when the president speaks, the kids are listening.”

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), who represents the area in Madison, was even more direct.

“There is no place for hatred, intolerance and racism in our society. Unfortunately, based on what these students see coming from the White House, some of them may believe what they have done is acceptable,” Erpenbach said. “It is absolutely not. Leaders, from the President on down, need to condemn racism in all its forms and work toward a world where we learn from the mistakes of history.”

However, the ready answer that Baraboo is a den of Trump-loving, Alt-Right Anti-Semites just isn’t true. The city of Baraboo voted 55 percent to 45 percent for Hillary Clinton and gave nearly 60 percent of the vote to former Sen. Russ Feingold in 2016. The city repeated that performance in 2018 by voting for Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison), Governor-elect Tony Evers (D-Madison), Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul (D-Madison), and so on.

Unless Erpenbach has been hiding his true politics from his fellow Democrats, he’s a pretty fair example of Madison-style liberalism, yet Baraboo is a bastion of support, too, for the state senator.

However, if Erpenbach is right that political leadership is responsible for the supposed behavior of the Boys from Baraboo in the photo, perhaps he should look at the supporters within the Democratic Party for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) targeting Israel, or the amount of contributions his party receives from J-Street lobbyists who promote a foreign policy hostile to Israel’s security interests. We’re looking forward to hearing the results of his phone calls to Baldwinand Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI02), who represents Baraboo in Congress, on that subject.

As for the photographer, Pete Gust, who was supposedly the responsible adult taking the photo, he was a regional director for the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the state teachers union, hardly supporters of the Alt-Right and Trump. (By the way, how did Gust get the contract to be the photographer for the event?)

If Gust is correct that the photo was supposedly the children waving goodbye, it’s a shame that he wasn’t faster in getting that side of the story out. The children, and they are children, are already suffering the repercussions of Gust’s photo.

However, if Gust was trying to take the photo he described and some students hijacked the photo instead with the Nazi salute, he still had the obligation as the responsible adult to a) not take the photo, b) tell the students to knock it off, and c) not publish the damn photo online. And if Gust really did encourage the students to make the salute, then he’s the one responsible and will likely be the target of lawsuits, especially from the parents of students who have lost scholarships and other opportunities as a result of the photo.

There is also a lack of responsibility on the part of the media, too, which went with the story – spreading the Boys from Baraboo worldwide – before contacting Gust for what actually happened. Whether Gust’s story should be believed, the media had a responsibility to actually ask him first what happened before running with the too-good-to-check story that fits the editorial narrative of “Trump’s America.” (Of course, they could have also did the research to find out that Baraboo is actually Clinton’s America, too, but that would have made the story less interesting to the media.)

As for the children themselves, they’re learning a harsh lesson that is probably unintended by their persecutors – internet hysteria works to destroy people. Many of these children will probably be haunted by this photo for the rest of their lives even though the responsible adult on site was the one who let them down.

This is not the first time these kids were let down by the responsible adults. If the students indeed were raising their arms in a Nazi salute, then clearly the school district did a poor job of educating them about the horrors of the Holocaust.

But this is hardly surprising in a high school that scored a 59 on student achievement on the most recent Department of Public Instruction report card, or “meets few expectations.” That roughly compares to a grade of D. The school district has asked the police to investigate the photo incident. Instead of looking for a Gregory Peck-like figure trying to create little Hitler clones, the detective work should start in the history classrooms of Baraboo to see what little Johnny is reading, if he can read at all.

A potential explanation for Nov. 6

David Blaska wrote a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal:

Gov. Scott Walker did indeed lose, as Allysia Finley suggests (“A Big Night for Democrats, but Not Progressives,” op-ed, Nov. 8) because he offered a “liberal-lite platform” of more spending on public schools, tax credits for child care, etc., that “failed to win over independents or energize conservatives to overcome huge Democratic turnout in” Madison and Milwaukee.

Not to go all Lee Atwater, but Gov. Walker could have stripped the bark off eventual winner Tony Evers. The Democrat ran the Department of Public Instruction for the last nine years. Where did he hold his big rally with Barack Obama two weeks before election day? At Milwaukee North Division high school—one of the city’s many failed public schools. Mr. Evers’s own department grades the school 22 in a 100-point system, a single star in a five-star system.

If he had his way, Mr. Evers would choke off Wisconsin’s school choice program. The TV spot writes itself: Tony Evers, wholly owned subsidiary of the teachers union, would keep 28,000 low-income, largely black and brown kids in awful schools.

Gov. Walker should have announced that he will take over Milwaukee’s failed public schools and appoint someone like Michelle Rhee as master, thereby claiming Milwaukee’s minority voters. Go bold or go home.

Logical regardless of who won or lost last night

Eric Frydenlund:

I am a Trekkie, part of the pointy-eared cultish fan club of all things “Star Trek.” I once traveled 200 miles to listen to William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, aka Captain Kirk and Spock, argue the finer points of reason at a “Star Trek” convention.

As a casual Trekkie, I am not a fan of the Borg, the same-looking, same-thinking, robotic-walking cybernetic alien collective from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” bent on conquest of the universe. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger as “The Terminator” on steroids. Now imagine legions of him reciting not the iconic “I’ll be back,” but the more chilling “Resistance is futile.”

Members of Starfleet would not want to be caught drinking a beer with a Borg, a hideous vision of what we might become if we lost our individual identity.

In the universe of politics, we have lost our individual identity. We are now known as conservatives or liberals. We begin sentences with “Republicans” or “Democrats.” Republicans do this. Democrats did that. As if individual actions can be ascribed to an entire class of people. Political profiling, we might call it.

Democrats and Republicans, names stolen from a past yet forgotten idealism, would not be caught dead having a beer with a Borg — in this case the menacing visage of the opposing party bent on conquest of the political universe.

So polarized has the dynamic become, we no longer call it partisanship. We call it tribalism, harkening back to the days when humanity huddled around bonfires planning the incineration of our adversaries.

Yet political parties do not embody monoliths of thought and action. They possess neither the uniformity of thought nor the consistency of action to resemble the Borg-like collective. They possess gradients of perspective with as many opinions as there are souls to express them.

Parties do not transgress against society. Individuals do. Individuals hide behind party affiliation to mask their ideological narrow-mindedness, to escape accountability for the damage they wreak on society. Gerrymandering, political attack ads, closed-door caucusing, voter suppression and other tools used to widen the partisan divide deserve no safe haven in a free and democratic society.

We have been sequestered to polar-opposite camps by party strategists more interested in winning than governing, more beholden to lobbyists than constituents. It is incumbent on our common humanity that we separate our justifiable anger from faceless affiliations.

Any effort to remove the curse of party affiliation from judgment of character brings the charge of false equivalency. Yet, false equivalency assumes two unequal things being falsely equated. Parties are not individual things. They represent ideological baskets into which we put our best ideas and hopes for the future. Having collapsed to their base, parties are no longer big enough to hold our ideas.

In one episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Captain Jean-Luc Picard is captured and assimilated by the Borg. “Resistance is futile,” the Borg said. Jean-Luc is eventually rescued from the Borg and returned to humanity, saved by his friends and crewmates who saw in him the humanity worth saving.

The story of the Borg exists only in the minds of great storytellers who invent fictional characters to tap our basic fears. Even Trekkies realize this.

The story of our partisan divide is equally compelling. Master storytellers use fear and anger to tap our tribal instincts and draw us into competing camps to do battle with sinister forces — with you and me. They begin their stories with “Democrats” and “Republicans.”

Let us hope society is saved from the lure of political tribalism. Let us hope that resistance is not futile and we regain our individual identity.

An argument about not voting

I have voted in every election I was legally able to vote in, beginning with the 1984 Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary. (I voted for the most capable, in my opinion, candidate on the ballot that year: None of the Above.)

I voted two weeks ago, so I can’t undo my vote, nor would I. But in an allegedly free society political rights should also include the right to not participate in politics, even by not voting.

So Porter Stansberry says:

The reason I don’t vote (and you shouldn’t either) is…

Our current system of governance is nothing more than tyranny, and it’s on track to destroy our country.

Asking me to vote is like four wolves sitting around the table asking the sheep what he’d like for dinner. It certainly doesn’t matter what the sheep says. Asking me to participate in this charade won’t bring it any legitimacy – it will only make me a party to the fraud. Asking me to vote is like asking a free man to put himself willingly into bondage. It’s insulting.

And when I say that my vote doesn’t count, I don’t mean no one will count it. I mean that, given the structure of our tax laws, there’s no way my voice will possibly matter.

I currently spend about 50 times more on federal taxes than the median taxpayer. I pay a rate of federal tax that’s more than double the average rate.

The 14th Amendment supposedly protects me against this kind of inequity. It promises me the “equal protection” of the laws and says the state can’t deprive me of my property without due process. But the last time there was a dispute about my taxes, the state seized every penny of my assets it could find. It took my checking account and my brokerage account without even bothering to tell me. It moved to put a lien on my house. I found out what was happening via a letter from Bank of America.

The IRS offered me no due process – it didn’t even notify me. (By the way, the matter was resolved after about six months. Turns out the state owed me $2,000 in refunds. They declined to pay me, citing the statute of limitations. True story.)

And I certainly enjoy no equal protection. Just look at the rate and amount I pay compared with more than 90% of other people in this country.

It is impossible for me to peacefully object to this kind of tyranny. Even if I were to give up my citizenship and leave the country, I would be forced to pay an exit tax that’s roughly equal to the death tax my heirs will be forced to pay on my estate. These are the same kind of laws, by the way, that kept a generation of people locked behind the Iron Curtain. Leaving meant giving up all of your wealth. I can’t possibly vote my way out of this situation. I can’t peacefully object. I can’t exit. Nor can I petition the courts for redress, as the Supreme Court has specifically ruled that the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply to revenue matters. (See Lehnhausen v. Lake Shore Auto Parts Co… a 9-0 decision.)

I understand no one will feel sorry for me. The vast majority of folks will continue to vote. And what they’ll vote for is more and more of my wallet. They are the proverbial wolves. And I am the proverbial sheep. When the sheep complains, the wolves just laugh.

That’s fine with me… I will get the last laugh.

You see, this system will inevitably lead to more and more government, higher and higher taxes, and bigger and bigger deficits. This system will eventually destroy our country, just as abuses like these have destroyed every democracy in history. Along the way, with a very small intellectual advantage, I will earn far more from various non-reported speculations (gold, silver, foreign real estate, etc.) than the government will be able to tax. The sheep may be shorn… But he will not be eaten. The wolves, meanwhile, will soon be feeding on each other.

This kind of progressive tax structure, where a tiny fraction of the population pays for essentially all of the government’s spending, creates the illusion that the government and its services are free. Our system is a lie. The lie is that you can live at the expense of your neighbor.

Yes, it sure seems true right now. Today, about 10% of the population pays for roughly 75% of all income taxes. Looks like everything is working out the way the voters want… They want more government services… They want free “Obama phones”… and EBT cards that can purchase luxury items and booze… and discounted housing… and cheap mortgages… and free education… and free health care…

They want it all. And they will vote for it every time.

I’m not voting today. That’s because I already voted two weeks ago. Since the first election I voted in in the winter of 1984 (I voted for the most qualified Democratic presidential candidate on the ballot — None of the Above), and I am never going to miss an election as long as I am above ground. (And then I plan to be buried in Illinois so I can continue voting.)

 

Whom to vote for Tuesday

Government at any level should do three things:

  • Protect our individual rights as listed in the U.S. and state constitutions.
  • Execute the duties of government as listed in the U.S. and state constitutions.
  • Spend our tax money responsibly.

That is it. My votes at every election are based on which candidates will do those things better than their opponents — my variation on William F. Buckley Jr’s admonition to vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.

I can tell you where Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans failed on those three points. We do not have a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, with permanent constitutional limits on spending and taxation in the state Constitution. We still have a minimum-markup law that should not have been enacted and should not now be law. Government at every level is far too large, employs too many people and still taxes and regulates too much.

But Wisconsin Democrats consider nothing in that paragraph or those three bullet points to be important. The state Democratic Party’s interest is not in making our lives better, but making their control over our lives broader and deeper. The last fiscally conservative Democrat was state Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer (D–Manitowoc), who was rewarded for his fiscal sense by being booted out of his party.

Democrats make up rights — to whatever job you like, to however much pay you like, to government-provided health care, to the most impossible definition of a clean environment — while disrespecting our rights to free expression, Second Amendment rights and other rights that, unlike their definition of “rights,” are actually in the constitution. (The latest is Tony Evers’ promise to eliminate school choice.)

And according to Democrats, anyone who votes for Republicans is not merely “deplorable,” but racist, misogynist, nativist, violent, greedy knuckle-dragger clinging to his guns and religion who should not be allowed to vote. (That is a quote from a letter to the editor written by someone who encountered a volunteer for a Democratic state Senate candidate who didn’t like being told the writer wasn’t planning to vote for the volunteer’s candidate.) The Democrats’ contempt for Republican voters grows by the minute.

James Wigderson wrote:

Now we’re to the point where I’m supposed to really, really pitch you hard on whatever it is that I’m selling. So let me sell you on an idea: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) and Gov. Scott Walker (R) can both win re-election.

When I said that last year at a politics forum hosted by our friends WisPolitics, the other panelists questioned my sanity. I admit, I didn’t have a ready explanation how that could happen in supposedly evenly-divided Wisconsin. But we’re looking at the latest Marquette University Law School Poll results and it’s entirely possible.

The latest results are Walker and Tony Evers are tied, while Baldwin has a substantial lead (54% to 43%) over state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield). The state’s right track – wrong track numbers are 55% think Wisconsin is headed in the right direction while 42% think the state is moving in the wrong direction.

Think about that for a moment. A substantial majority thinks Wisconsin is heading in the right direction, yet Evers could still win. Vukmir, one of those responsible for Wisconsin’s current direction, is in serious danger of losing her election. What’s going on?

One factor is the typical anti-incumbent party midterm election blues. The party controlling the White House tends to suffer in the midterms and, let’s face it, President Donald Trump does a good job of motivating Democrats to dislike him. Hence the voting enthusiasm gap, seen earlier this year in the Spring and special elections, and in the latest poll results (seven point difference between Democrats and Republicans). Worse, independents are breaking the Democrats’ way so far.

Another factor is the 19th Amendment. The “gender gap” we hear about in every election cycle is real, and it actually hurts Vukmir more than Walker. What Wisconsin Republicans need are more women getting married and going to church every week. Otherwise, suburban women are going to take their frustration with Trump out on Republican candidates, especially Vukmir who has not had an unkind word to say about the president since he was nominated by the GOP in 2016. Vukmir has an unfavorable rating with women of 48% to 29%. Baldwin leads Vukmir among women 61% to 36%.

Walker, on the other hand, is only losing among women 52% to 42%. It sounds like a lot, but men prefer Walker over Evers 54% to 42%.

Will voters show up to punish Trump by voting against Vukmir and still vote for Walker? Let’s consider two more factors. One, there will be a different vote total for each race. In other words, more people could vote for governor than for the Senate. Even less will vote for attorney general, so Attorney General Brad Schimel could be re-elected even if Walker and Vukmir both lose. (Schimel is also courting a Democratic cross-over vote with the bipartisan support from law enforcement, etc.)

But it’s also not unprecedented for voters in Wisconsin to choose a governor and senator from different parties. Governor Tommy Thompson (R-Elroy) won re-election in 1990, 1994 and 1998. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Basketball) won re-election in 1994. Sen Russ Feingold (D), whose list of actual accomplishments was about the same as Baldwin’s list, won re-election in 1998.

It’s not what some of you want to hear, of course, and some of you will question the accuracy of any poll. And the message from Vukmir supporters is that their election modeling shows something very different. I get it.

So let me make one last “call to action,” as my social media guru describes it. If you haven’t already voted, make sure you vote on Tuesday. You won’t believe the satisfaction you’ll get voting for someone like Vukmir instead of Baldwin. And if enough of you decide you’re going to do your best to prove me and the pollsters wrong, than you will.

Wigderson’s statement is not much of a stretch. The incumbent in the governor’s race has not lost since, depending on how you define “incumbent,” Scott McCallum (who got the job after Gov. Tommy Thompson left) in 2002 or Gov. Anthony Earl in 1986. The last incumbent U.S. senator to lose was the phony maverick, Russ Feingold, in 2010, and before that Sen. Robert Kasten in 1992. The last time Wisconsinites voted for the loser of the presidential race was 2004. Maybe Wisconsinites are less ticket-splitters than voters for incumbents.

Speaking of which, there is the worst incumbent in the state, Secretary of State “Phony Fighting” Douglas LaFollette, of whom his opponent, Jay Schroeder, writes:

As I have traveled the beautiful state of Wisconsin (accumulating more than 22,000 miles) voters have told me many things about my race for secretary of state.
From the beginning of collecting nomination papers, Independents, Democrats and Republicans all requested that I run on the platform of term limits for this office. Forty years in office (LaFollette claimed in an interview he has only been in office for 25 years) with no tangible results other than losing 95% of the duties. It is a textbook case for term limits. I will push for a limit of two terms for a total of eight years of service via statewide referendum.
Next, I have educated the public with the arrogance of office LaFollette has displayed during this campaign. From the beginning when he was asked about having a Democratic opponent he called her a “nuisance” for running against him. I challenged him to four debates around Wisconsin — Eagle River, Eau Claire, Green Bay and Waukesha. His response: he deleted the request off of his Facebook page and blocked me from his Twitter account (which is illegal).
In my recent talk at the University of Wisconsin–Madison while speaking about election fraud he interrupted my speech loudly blurting out “there is no voter fraud in Wisconsin” I and his Democratic primary opponent called for the creation of an “Election Watchdog” His response: I don’t get involved in elections.
His far-out views actually hurt the environment that we all value. In his book Wisconsin Survival Handbook he has stated: Don’t use detergents, stop using your garbage disposal, don’t use dishwashers, do not buy or use electric gadgets — can openers, carving knives, frying pans — and even toothpicks.
In his world, I never would have been born (having been the fifth child of my parents). “After having two (children), BE sterilized. It is simple, painless and inexpensive,” LaFollette writes. How absurd.
His 40-year tricks he has pulled off:
• Blaming Republican governors for cutting his duties 95% but never mentioning Jim Doyle and his own Democratic Party never giving him one duty back!
• Willfully accepting a paycheck all these years and not having anything to do.
• Accumulating a $280,000-per-year pension with an account balance of more than $2 million and calling it “his money” when the overwhelming majority of those funds were funded by the taxpayers of Wisconsin. He has refused to stop accepting taxpayers’ contributions to this even when I requested it be stopped in a press release.
• In 2014, he never even showed up for the inauguration because he was using the children’s book fund meant for K–12 libraries to travel the country on a junket.
Finally, I call upon Doug LaFollette to WITHDRAW from the race for secretary of state because he has had the arrogance to request his neighbor in Door County take down their American flag because it makes “too much noise” when it is windy.
Fighting Bob La Follette stood for good government, but Doug LaFollette has done everything in these last 40 years to do the opposite of what Fighting Bob stood for.

We know Democrats are trying to undo the last two years in this country and the last eight years in this state. Evers has billions of dollars in tax increases planned, though he (lies and) denies he’s going to increase taxes. (When asked, Evers’ spokesperson replied that nothing had changed.) Evers wants to kill the Milwaukee choice program because he believes children must be taught in public schools, even disastrously bad public schools.

I have been receiving Baldwin’s emails for years. (Unfortunately.) in the last year or so suddenly the word “bipartisan” has crept into them, which is laughable. I’d ask how in the world the darling of Madison’s radical left can be bipartisan, except that I cannot find an actual accomplishment actually belonging to her, other than covering her, uh, career, during the Tomah VA scandal. She is as bipartisan as the toad named Randy Bryce, running in the First Congressional District, is a respectable human being.

Republicans are far, far from perfect. But Democrats, fueled by hate of those who don’t agree with them, would take this state in absolutely the wrong direction while working hard to crash the economy. Until Democrats purge themselves of hate and introduce some sense into their leadership, Democrats do not deserve your vote.