Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos need to go

The Wisconsin State Journal produced one of its better efforts in its latest Sunday editorial (“Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos should drop their vendetta”) saying,

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, have been calling for the resignations of the Elections and Ethics administrators in recent weeks — without offering any evidence of wrongdoing.

Well, yes. This is open and shut. There is no evidence of wrongdoing at the Elections or Ethics boards, but there is plenty of evidence that Vos and Fitzgerald are (again) using their positions to unethically cement their own power and longevity in the legislature. They’ve gerrymandered legislative districts, they’ve made it harder for Wisconsinites to vote, they’ve wrecked the independent Gov’t Accountability Board, they’ve greased the wheels for secret money in our elections. And now  — outrageously — they want to fire these two relatively underpowered watchdogs for no good reason.

So the Wisconsin State Journal was right, although they didn’t go far enough.

It’s not enough to say that Vos and Fitzgerald are wrong, possibly just out of pique, trying to fire these two board administrators. A one-time rebuke is justified, but just the start, more is required. The way to hold elected officials “accountable” is to vote ’em out at election time. The State Journal should call for that to happen, and do it repeatedly.  There’s a primary this year on August 14 and a general election on the first Tuesday in November.

Replacing these two enemies of good government won’t be easy (maybe not even possible) because of the self-serving gerrymandering and other steps they so eagerly put in place as soon as they achieved their leadership positions. No matter. Wisconsin deserves better. We call on the State Journal to get very, very serious about making the case that gerrymandering, voter suppression, lack of rule-following, secret cash, coordinating with outside groups and petty vendettas are disqualifying at re-election time. And we call on the State Journal to say it over and over, amen.

Eeek! A Mouse!!! State Journal fails to note elephant in room

We had noted earlier that the editorial board over at the Wisconsin State Journal had slept quite soundly as the US Senate slapped together sweeping changes to the tax law. Well, a little update: eventually the State Journal did regain consciousness long enough to comment, sort of.

Their main concern turns out to be that the tax bill adds to the federal debt. Now there are many ways to hate the Senate tax bill, and people do hate it, although mostly not because of the thing the State Journal hates. FiveThirtyEight reports that it’s less popular than any previously passed tax bill. But let’s just focus on what the State Journal hates.

For some reason the State Journal focuses narrowly on Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh).  Johnson had promised never to support a tax bill increasing the national debt, and now he’d voted for, well, precisely just that. So Johnson’s kind of a hypocrite and that’s the long and short of our local newspaper’s analysis.

But wait, in reality it’s not just Johnson who deserves to be featured in honest editorials throughout the land. It’s the GOP as a WHOLE — the GOP Senate and the GOP House — now racing to combine their separate GOP messes into a consolidated GOP mess for our self-dealing GOP president to consider (ha-ha-ha) and sign. All that earlier GOP fear-mongering about the debt? That was just GOP tactical theatrics while a Dem was in the White House. No one should ever have taken it seriously. See what they’re doing.

That’s the right editorial. It’s not about Ron Johnson.


Who’s looking out for Wisconsin? You can be certain it's not the Wisconsin State Journal editorial page.

Today the  Wisconsin Democracy Campaign offered its list of the 100 worst pieces of legislation of the Scott Walker era. (Thus far.)

Over the last five years, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald led an unprecedented and systematic assault on democracy in Wisconsin.

The brazen scope of this assault is sometimes hard to see in the fog of fighting one issue at a time.

But when you look at the record in its entirety, the picture that emerges is clear: Not since the days of the Robber Barons in the 19th century has one party in Wisconsin done so much damage to the common good while serving special private interests.

Now the list speaks for itself. It’s arguably too much to consume in a single serving — a hundred specific blows against the Wisconsin tradition of good government.

But here’s a second point: Note how glaringly that list of one hundred insults highlights the irrelevance of our local newspaper’s editorial page.  During the course of 5 years, almost none of these 100 items ever drew a mention.

The news reporters of the State Journal covered, let’s say, some of these items. That they missed a lot is unsurprising. That staff has been cut, and cut, and cut again. They simply haven’t got the staff to cover all of what’s going on. That we understand.

But the editorial page seems to actually flee from commenting on controversial issues. On issue after issue — guns, lead, voting rights, family planning, war, racism, income inequality, etc. etc. — nothing.


Wisconsin State Journal buries the lede Editorial celebrates needle in haystack

Consider the latest Wisconsin State Journal Sunday editorial:

Higher ed proposals will help, but much more is needed to hold down college cost

Here’s what’s wrong.  Since gaining control in 2010, the GOP has vastly increased the problems for higher ed in EVERY budget they’ve passed. If they now offer some little 5% put-back — arguably just window dressing — it’s still a record of 95% damage.

Why is the State Journal crediting the 5%? Readers deserve a discussion of the 95%.

On the other hand there's this

rainbowAfter the U.S. Supreme Court okayed same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the Wisconsin State Journal editorialized, Let freedom — and wedding bells — ring.

And the sentiment was genuine. The State Journal editorial page has been good on the issue of gay marriage for a number of years.

As we have acknowledged many times, even offering it as a possible editorial page slogan:

We’re not always wrong!

Too often though, they are wrong, or inexplicably missing in action. Why, for example, aren’t they asking Governor Walker and the legislature,

“Why are we not accepting the $345 million dollars on offer in the ACA (“Obamacare”) Medicaid expansion? The budget’s a mess. We could instantly fix that damaging and foolish cut to the UW System.”

It’s simply baffling that the State Journal is so very silent on this senseless waste of our tax dollars where the only apparent motive [for refusing the money] is to help Scott Walker run for president. Do Wisconsin citizens really want to kick in $345 million of their tax dollars to help the governor campaign for higher office? Has there ever been a more stupid way to waste people’s money? Is this really going to go unremarked by the State Journal? It’s a question that should be asked again and again and again.

There was a good Phil Hands cartoon about this two weeks ago, but that’s about it! The general silence is beyond frustrating.


Oh, dear… look at this It's Milfred again

Today Mr. Milfred discusses the WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation) which is widely known for fumbling its job-creation mission, handing out ill-considered and unrecoverable loans, and failure to operate under normal and routine business accountability standards.

Milfred acknowledges the wreckage, which has after all been featured on his own paper’s front page. But on his page — did we mention that Milfred is the editorial page editor? — surprisingly, he writes

Gov. Scott Walker wisely proposed removing the politicians — including himself… — from WEDC’s board.

Wait a minute. He “wisely proposed”?  Is that the best way to put it? Wisely???

In what sense was the Governor wise?

WEDC was his idea, his baby.

He made himself Chairman of the Board.

He presided over 4 years of failure and mismanagement, and then as the whole thing is looming as a great embarrassment to his all-important campaign for president, he flees.

Milfred credits the governor for being wise. We credit Milfred for churning out silly nonsense. Please do read the entire editorial.