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  • Wisconsin Politics

    Posted by Dan from Madison on August 17th, 2011 (All posts by )

    I have been writing a lot about the situation here behind the cheddar curtain for the last several months and assume that a lot of you are tired of reading and hearing about us up here and our endless elections and other nonsense. I will tell you one thing, I am sure tired of reading and writing about it. I will put the rest of this post below the fold to spare those who have grown tired of the whole thing.

    Both Democrat incumbents won their recall elections yesterday. This leaves the Senate in the hands of the Republicans by one seat – for now. Rumors have Schultz working out a deal with the Dems to flip the Senate and he could surely get a very sweet deal for himself now that he would be the guy. But I haven’t seen any reports of this in the MSM so they could only be rumors. I am certain that there would be a recall election against him if he flipped.

    Speaking of recall elections. There is legislation circulating to try to tighten up the recall laws and thank god. To me, the recalls against the D senators for fleeing held a lot more water than the recalls against the R’s who were recalled simply for doing what they were voted in to do.

    The only big thing coming (besides the endless protests on the square) is the recall Walker campaign. I have seen Walker on a lot of news shows and he is steady as he could possibly be. He looks good, sounds confident and frankly doesn’t seem to give a damn if he gets put into a recall election. I have heard that the Dems want the recall election on the 2012 presidential election ballot, but if the economy continues to tank thanks to the great leadership of the zero that might not be such a great idea. We will see. I do think there will be a recall election at some point, but I also think that there will be a knock down, drag out legal battle as well over a lot of things like the authenticity of the signatures for the recall (they need seven hundred thousand signatures) and other things.

    Lastly, this letter appeared in Ann Althouse’s blog. It was written by a Christian minister who was with Althouse on the square a few days ago when she got assaulted. I found it most excellent.

    1. I came to observe and to talk to the protestors. Why? First of all, I wanted to see things for myself. I appreciate the yeoman’s work that Althouse and Meade have done to document much of the events in Madison these last six or so months. But I am curious and want to see things for myself. My location this past week afforded me a ready opportunity to observe and draw my own conclusions. Second, I think of Wisconsin as somewhat of a ground zero for the future of public sector unions and for an emerging discussion of the proper scope of government within the context of fiscal responsibility. I wanted to speak to those who believe they are fighting the good fight on behalf of a certain vision of the future. I wanted to hear it from regular people not from union executives and politicians.
     
    2. I am not untouched by the predicament that these people find themselves in. From what little I could observe, and it was little because of the constant harassment, these protesters are sincere. There was a winsomeness in their singing and one could not help but be touched by the strength that they found in their group and in their hymnody. But the times, they are a changing. I hear too many people comparing their private sector job lack of benefits, job security and retirement. I don’t know if these protesters and others like them are having honest discussions with their families, friends and neighbors but if they did they might be surprised at what they would hear. I would have liked to have such a discussion with one or two of those at the rally.
     
    3. I am concerned at the sense of entitlement that I observed. It was obvious that the Meades and I were not welcome and in fact we were meant to be chased away. I remember chants last spring of, “Who’s house, our house!” Yet those gathered seemed to be unwilling to concede that those who disagree with them in matters of party and policy are still included in the word, “our.” If you have never been to Madison I can only say that the Capital rising as it does high on the hill rivals the United States Capital in beauty and even more so the breathtaking and truly awe inspiring rotunda. One feels the public sacredness of the Capital and its grounds and for that to be denied to any citizen of the state is in a sense a public sacrilege. I would guess that many of those protesting feel the presence of Gov. Walker and two Republican majority chambers is a sacrilege. That can only come from an impoverished view of our democracy. That is why to those who suggest Professor Althouse, should stay away, lay low, stop inciting (apparently when she shows up otherwise civil people cannot control their behavior), stop photographing and stop reporting I scream, “No!” And to the police, who I am sure are weary of all this, I say you are charged with keeping the peace but not at the cost of freedom to assemble. To do less for your own convenience is to dishonor the badge you wear and the oath you took. Perhaps the protesters might take a week off to give our police a break. It would be a gift.
     
    4. Folks who work for the government, union or not, you are not oppressed. You make good salaries compared to your counter parts in the private sector, have more job security by far, more holidays, vacation days and comparatively outstanding health and retirement benefits. The problem for you as I see it is that you thought it would never end. Well, guess what, while you are singing about saving the middle class I want you to know, I AM the middle class and I pay for you! If you want to help the middle class then you are going to have to accept compensation that is more in line with reality. If you are fearful of the future may I suggest to you that your friends have been fearful for a long time. Change is coming and the old arguments born in the industrial age and honed in earlier eras of fatness sound incredibly hollow today. You singing songs and beating drums in what sounds like a Salvation Army street meeting only underscores how old and out of touch your ideas have become.
     
    5. Now to those who think like Gray Shirt that as a Christian minister I am out to bleed people of their money for my own gain or who think that is what churches in general do I found it amusing that while I was being told how unlike Jesus I was my church had a team of twenty-two lay men and woman in a small town in Nicaragua do construction and medical missions. We were dispensing that very week through doctors and nurses from pour church $26,000 in medicine and medical supplies donated to us by, guess who, a major pharmaceutical company. That very night my church prepared and served dinner to a hundred homeless men in a rescue mission and that when NFL season comes around a bank president in my church will open his home to men from the rescue mission to come and join him in an afternoon of NFL TV after church. Our church gives generously to those in need. Which brings me to my next point.
     
    6. People on the progressive side of the political spectrum seem to think they are kind, caring and benevolent because they vote for people who enact laws and budgets that take my money and then give it to your pet projects and constituencies. There is nothing generous about that. Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive he didn’t say it is blessed to tax someone and give it away. The data is unarguable, in the United States Christians are by far the most generous givers. When you give willingly what is yours, not take what is mine and redistribute it, then you can call yourself generous, kind and benevolent.
     
    7. Last, and I say this with some sadness, I was shocked at the treatment I received by the people of Madison gathered there at the Capital on Friday. To be harangued for an hour by someone constantly getting in my face with what I now think I realize was the tacit approval of the crowd and the explicit permission of the leadership was a stain on your beautiful city and your reputation as a center of progressive tolerance. Yes, I am told that some on Twitter have said that I was aggressive and bullying but they are lying. I suspect it’s because they know how badly I was treated and the good will with which I bore the abuse. Better to get out in front and create a narrative to your liking. Have at it. I actually kind of get a kick out being referred to as the nefarious Kansas Preacher. I have ministered in Africa, South and Central America and Mexico. I have held evangelistic services in towns where there was little welcome. I have been glared at in Brazil, stared down in Guatemala and gangster slang of cartel country in Mexico. I have walked the streets of Los Angeles Skid Row with impunity and worked for a government agency in the worst neighborhoods in Philadelphia (where I was a member of the social services union and walked the picket line, thank you) and the worst I have ever been treated in a public place was in Madison, Wisconsin. I say that to your shame.
     
    I am blessed to have met Ann Althouse and Meade Laurence. I arrived as an acquaintance but I left as a friend. Adversity that is shared does that; hospitality that is offered seals it. I came to Madison with an open hand. I had hoped I would have found friends among you as well. Maybe next time.
     
    I’m told that someone at the rally tweeted with certainty that Ann brought me as her “goon.” For the record I don’t weigh 300 lbs as was alleged, I weigh 255 and that gut is from too many Kansas biscuits with gravy. I know I should do sit ups but to borrow a line from comedian Jon Pinette, “I don’t do ups, I only do downs!” But I am 6’ 3.5” and proud of it. I regret that in a naiveté born of my seventeen years in Kansas that I didn’t perceive the threat to Ann. I’m from Philly, I know what real union goons do and I should have known better. I will be back because I’m interested and when I come back if the Professor is with me, I will not leave her side. She’s gutsy but she is small and I will be proud to be her goon anytime.
     
    You of the protests, elections, recalls, camp-ins, plastic drums beating and banners flying I wish you well in the uncertainty that lies ahead for all of us. I pray that I might find a friend or two among you when I return. Until then, solidarity!
     
    The Nefarious Kansas Preacher

     

    19 Responses to “Wisconsin Politics”

    1. John Wolfsberger, Jr. Says:

      The real problem that The Nefarious Kansas Preacher did not address is that many of the people who behaved so poorly are not wrong, just evil. But I also suppose it’s impossible for any member of the clergy to accept that some people choose evil and place themselves beyond redemption.

    2. Dan from Madison Says:

      “But I also suppose it’s impossible for any member of the clergy to accept that some people choose evil and place themselves beyond redemption.” That is an interesting point.

    3. TMLutas Says:

      Every Catholic who is denied burial in a Catholic cemetery has that happen because a clergy member believes they have placed themselves beyond redemption. I’m sure that others have their own way of doing it.

    4. Lexington Green Says:

      Since God wills our redemption, we can only lose that by choosing to reject it. I would not say “placing beyond” but rather “turning away” or “turning against”. Any Christian clergyman who is at all educated would understand that.

    5. setbit Says:

      But I also suppose it’s impossible for any member of the clergy to accept that some people choose evil and place themselves beyond redemption.

      Not really, no.

      What follows may sound pedantic, John, and will be very old news to many of those here, but since you brought the subject up and got it wrong when you did so:

      The relevant principle can be seen in the Ninth Commandment and the Sermon on the Mount.

      “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exd 20:16, NKJV)

      “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37, NKJV)

      It’s quite possible that some of these folks have in fact renounced their own consciences, knowingly chosen evil over good, and willingly condemned themselves. But none of us can know with certainty exactly what is in someone else’s head or heart, and that soul decision is what God will eventually judge in all of us.

      Kansas Preacher is perfectly willing to call out the behavior he saw. When people were clearly lying abut what happened, he said they were lying, not “mistaken”, or “misinformed”. But he is wise enough not to take the step of trying to read the minds of the individuals involved. He limits his judgements to what he knows, not what he can infer. Given the seriousness of what he’s writing, he mostly confines his comments to what would be admissible in court; anything else would potentially cross the line of “false witness”.

      Understanding the psychology of aberrant behavior is a useful, but it will always be partly speculative, and can never a valid basis for final, moral judgement. That doesn’t mean that such judgement won’t eventually be made, just that we aren’t the ones to make it. There is an infinitely large gap between “this guy should be thrown in jail” and “this guy should be thrown into Hell.”

      Here endeth the lesson.

    6. MadinMadtown Says:

      It was interesting to see this post from Althouse this morning since the last conversation that I had with my daughter who lives out of state, but is back in Madison for a couple of weeks was about her observation that people in Madison have become less civil recently; as in not holding doors, or deferring to move from the sidewalk to let older people pass, or just not being chatty in the normal small talk.
      We have been mentioned repeatedly in the papers around the state during the last few months as being sympathetic to the Walker agenda. In fact, there is a web site devoted to tracking our family by a group on the left. People do not understand that personally we have relatives, friends and neighbors who will no longer talk to us because we have been associated with the non-union cause. We have not dismissed them, but they have rejected us.
      The press doesn’t report it, but some people are still getting their houses egged on a regular basis by the union supporters.
      My larger point is that people outside of this state have no idea how stressful and taxing and alarming the last several months have been for those on the conservative side who have been willing to take a public stand against the unions, but it has also created an environment that is far less polite on every level.

    7. Lexington Green Says:

      “…stressful and taxing and alarming…”

      Thank you for carrying the burden. You are moving the whole country forward.

    8. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Elsewhere, over at Pajamas Media, I have put forth the concept of TWANLOC, Those Who Are No Longer Our Countrymen. In a very short form it is those with which we no longer share sufficient common cultural, historical, linguistic, or political ties; to the point where we can no longer converse or even tolerate the presence of each other. When you try speaking with them, I am sure that you have the feeling that you were not using the same language as they, the words are the same but the meanings and context are totally different. And the difference is marked with a passion that is, quite literally, foreign. And have no doubt, that they have that exact same feeling about you.

      Historically, having two hostile and separate peoples with widely different world views inside one set of borders has not worked out well. Coexistence does not work for any length of time, and either one or the other will prevail, both will fail, or they will separate. The violence and threats from the Left are going to increase, even if they win back control of the government. The punishment of unbelievers will always be a priority for them.

      This is not going to end tidily.

      Subotai Bahadur

    9. Dan from Madison Says:

      Mad in Madtown – if true, that is unbelievable. Besides my scrawlings here I have been pretty non involved in the whole thing. When the conversations come up, I typically turn into Switzerland so I don’t get on anyone’s nerves. It is just easier that way. You know how it is to live in Madison.

      Outside of that, I haven’t seen a general non holding of doors or not being chatty and things like that. Last Thursday I went to a gathering that was not political and everyone was very nice and cordial as always. It could be different in different crowds. My wife and I have a date tomorrow night and I will take note between martini sips to take a better look around and notice.

      I am positive that if the people I was with knew my political bent that there would have been some angst at the event I attended last week, but oh well.

      In general, since I moved to Madison in ’94 I have tried to keep politics out of most of my conversations with Madisonians. It is just easier that way.

      I moved here from Rockford, IL. Talk about culture shock.

    10. Dan from Madison Says:

      SB – I agree that this will not end well but I am hoping for the best. The most worrysome part of this whole thing (especially the Althouse episode) is that the cops are clearly on one side. If you look at the video the part that got me steaming the most was the cop saying that Althouse’s son was criminal in defending his Mom. Call the police he says. Now that is where lines get drawn and crossed in bad ways.

    11. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I’m kind of shaken and appauled also, by the bad behavor on the leftish side of the spectrum, which never, never, never gets called out. I’ve almost quite decided to abandon posting at Open Salon, becaus of the open bigotry on display there, so god only knows what it’s like in meatspace in places like Madison. Even here in San Antonio, there were examples of perfectly awful, intolerant behavior by the local lefties as regards to the Tea Party, especially at our one-year anniversary event. They stood across the street from a perfectly friendly and open-to-the-public meeting, where we were hosting a long series of local politicans running for various offices who had been invited to come and do their five-minute pitch for a large and varied audience of potential supporters … and the local lefties screamed accusations (through a bullhorn) at us from across the street about being racists and tools of the wealthy, and whatever.
      My own little brother, whom I have adored and cherished since the day he was born; this last January, when I was staying at my Mom’s to help her with the aftermath of my Dad dying suddenly: someone mentioned that I was a Tea Partier, and my little brother said, “Oh, god, are you one of those freaks?” He’s an artist, and another freelancer, out in California, so what could I say to that, exactly?
      Really, I do begin to understand SB’s TWANLOC concept … I really do. There are people I no longer have anything to say to, or even desire to say anything at all. But I have read and written about our Civil War, and what it did to us, to families, to communities North and South, and to men who served faithfully in the institutions of our country until 1861, and then had to make wrenching choices. I don’t want that … but as Dan noted: the lines are being crossed in bad ways.

    12. Lexington Green Says:

      We will probably have to go through a period of division, and one vision of America will have to be defeated totally and finally before we can all just get along again.

    13. David A. Fauman Says:

      This boiled down to basics:
      Some people believe they should tells others what to do (and they are naturally fitted to boss the rest of us around).
      Others believe that each person has the right to decide for themselves what they should do(and bear the consequences.

    14. ErisGuy Says:

      “center of progressive tolerance.”

      There’s an oxymoron. If there is such a thing as “progressive tolerance,” I’ve never seen it. Nearly ever hater I’ve known has been a progressive. (Given the environment I live, it could hardly be otherwise.)

    15. ErisGuy Says:

      Althouse was lucky. Her name’s on a list somewhere. In a true ‘progressive’ state, e.g., Cuba, USSR, Mao’s PRC, etc., she’d be interrogated, re-educated, then imprisoned. Or in America, beaten until crippled or dead.

      Does she really think her social status and sheepskin will save her? Her fellow progressive Obama-voters never forgive traitors; then again, who does?

    16. Joe Wooten Says:

      I agree it will not end well in 2013. I fully expect the 0bama lefties to resist being evicted from the white house and at a minumum will trash the place in a way to make what the Clintonistas did look mature. What I expect to happen will be numerous bombings, race riots, and shoot-outs as the leftists take out their rage on those who spurned them. I also expect that those of us who defend ourselves will be branded racist right wing extremists by the MSM.

      In their fantasy world, it just does not compute that the USA is not a left-center nation. Everyone is really behind their agenda and their electoral losses are evidence of vote fraud by the corporatists on the right.

    17. John Wolfsberger, Jr. Says:

      TMLutas, Lexington Green, setbit,

      Lexington comes closest to getting my point. “I would not say “placing beyond” but rather “turning away” or “turning against”. Any Christian clergyman who is at all educated would understand that.” Of course, and that’s my point. They would not give up on the hope that at some point the one who has turned away will turn back.

      As a less than perfect Christian, I look at the behavior of some of these people and decide they have deliberately rejected even the concept of a system of moral standards in favor of embracing evil of one form or another. In such a case, in my opinion, they place themselves beyond redemption – because there is no longer anything that one could grab onto to cause them to turn away from evil. (Visualize the genocidaires of the Rwandan Genocide, the “militias” in the Great War of Africa, or a NAZI concentration camp guard.)

      Members of the clergy will completely reject my view, and continue appalling to a better nature (that I don’t believe exists). That’s why they’re in the clergy and I’m not.

      That is also why, as TMLutas points out, certain people are excluded from Catholic/Christian burial. But the key point to be made in understanding that is “… notorious sinners who die without repentance…” (From Catholic Online, http://www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=2279.) Up to the instant of death, the Church (Catholic, protestant and Orthodox) recognizes the possibility of repentance. Those who die while refusing to repent are denied burial in consecrated ground.

      setbit does a good job of presenting the point of view of the religious point of view. I don’t dispute any of it. As he, rightly, points out: “There is an infinitely large gap between “this guy should be thrown in jail” and “this guy should be thrown into Hell.” ” My concern is with the former, the latter being well above my pay grade.

      There is a fine line between killing anyone in sight in a fit of rage that causes the loss of all restraint, and coldly deciding, say, “The Tutsi will always oppress us if given a chance, so let’s kill them all. Even the infants, because they will become adult Tutsi,” then making jokes while crushing an infant’s skull. I can agree to the possibility of of redemption in the former case. But in the latter, the choice to embrace evil becomes its own justification, extinguishing the capacity for moral reasoning which eliminates the possibility of ever renouncing the choice. Which is why I wrote: “… some people choose evil and place themselves beyond redemption.”

    18. Bill Brandt Says:

      One of the talk shows – Hugh Hewitt? – was interviewing an expert on this from WI and he said that in just one school district – out of I think 248 – they had been buying teacher’s health care though this company backed by the union and mandated in the contract (can you say “kickbacks?” – anyway they went shopping for the first time since all the bru hah hah and found a policy through another company for $3 million less.

      In just one school district, out of 248.

    19. foxmarks Says:

      “We will probably have to go through a period of division, and one vision of America will have to be defeated totally and finally before we can all just get along again.”

      Coming around to my view on the inevitable conflict, Lex? ;-)

      This report suggests the cops are going to come down own the side of the statists. That will pile misery on misery. The Progressive factions lack the character to engage in conflict where their flesh is at genuine risk. Without the blue goons, they will fold quickly and we can get back to making better lives.

      With the public-union paramilitary police on the Prog side, I see a longer period of violent upheaval. And with more cross-factional action. The entitlement class will be against both the Consitutionalist/individualist factions and their traditional enemies, the enforcers of law.