Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wis 21st Senate Debacle

Christian Schneider wrote an interesting article in this weekends Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the Wisconsin 21st Senate District primary. The articles focus was on whether one candidate was too conservative, not conservative enough or just the right amount of conservative .
Schneider laid some interesting groundwork and imposed some compelling questions. As usual my questions weren't the ones that Mr Schneider looked at. 
Van Wanggaard had a choice to make, vote yes on Act 10 and possibly lose his Senate seat for a short period or vote no and keep the seat for a very short period.

This isn't the first time in recent memory that the right vote cost a politician their job. The first was George Petak and his vote concerning Miller Park and Racine County being a part of the stadium tax syndicate, the second was when Senator Tom Reynolds withheld his vote on the state budget until automatic tax gas increases were taken out of it. Both men stood their ground and ended their legislative careers.

Van Wanggaard faced a similar situation but he had the safety net underneath his decision. One of the concerns the senator had was for the safety of his family. The Democrats unwisely unleashed there hatred not only on legislators during this contentious time but on their families, threatening to do physical harm. This has no place in politics yet you see this way too often when certain groups don't get their way.

An underlying truth in Van Wanggaard's decision was redistricting. It was common knowledge that the Republicans would take advantage of the their newly won majorities in the Assembly and Senate to strengthen those majorities in both of those houses, something the Democrats thought they would have the opportunity to do had they kept control of both.  So Wanggaard 's choice was 1 - vote for Act 10 and possibly lose that office for a couple of years with the opportunity to run again in a stronger Republican district or 2 - vote against Act 10 and probably keep his job for a couple years and face a strong primary challenge this year.

Unfortunately for Wanggaard he seems to have drawn the short straw on both accounts.  
The sad part of this primary is not the qualifications of either Wanggaard nor his primary opponent, Jonathan Steitz, but the reaction of those supporting both of them with disgusting actions and less then party building personal attacks.
I really don't understand nor appreciate the intense feelings by either camp, because when you have to resort to name calling, verbally attacking one another and just overall repugnant behavior you need to reassess what you're doing.

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