Boots & Sabers

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1648, 29 Nov 18

Republican Reform

Brian Fraley has penned (does “typed” still connotes transcription instead of original though?) a piece advocating reforms for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. I agree with all of it. Particularly, I agree with decentralizing the party, moving the HQ out of Madison and centering it in GOP country. I would note that Washington County is the most Republican county in the state…

  • First and foremost, Republican candidates and operative across the state would benefit tremendously if we decentralized power out of Madison.
  • Second, the structure should be more horizontal, less vertical. Make it easier for new leaders to rise.
  • Republicans have long championed moving several state government operations out of the Madison bubble. From forestry jobs that were moved to the North woods to human service positions that were moved to Southeast Wisconsin, the GOP’s effort to draw from talent outside of the isthmus was smart. They should emulate that at RPW. I believe it is too easy to be isolated in a self-referential feedback loop by living and working in Dane County. Why force someone in Eau Claire to uproot their family if they are the right fit for a job at the party that could be accomplished via telecommuting or working at a satellite office?
  • In the early 90s it made sense to launch a capital campaign to purchase a headquarters to house RPW operations. The Governors Walter J. Kohler building on Johnson street was a hub of activity that helped build and train a team of young, eager campaign operatives that helped us gain legislative majorities for the first time in decades. But times change. Gone are the days when thirty to forty Capitol staffers would regularly spend their lunch hour labeling and sorting bulk mail pieces for candidates. Advancement in communication and social media have also changed the way we communicate and organize. They should consider selling the building and using the proceeds to invest in regional offices, including one in Madison, but perhaps not in the high rent district.
  • I believe the finance/fundraising operations of the party should return to Southeast Wisconsin where the bulk of the state’s major donors work and live. The party should also consider moving the political/field operation to Wausau or some other strategic location in North Central Wisconsin.
  • Unlike our Democratic counterparts, the State Chairman is a volunteer position and the Executive Director serves as the chief operations manager of the state party. We should consider making the state chairman less ceremonial and more hands on, even if that requires a salary or stipend.
  • Republicans need to re-establish a vigorous ground operation in Dane County, Milwaukee County and in Western Wisconsin. I understand that demographics and politics change. But we can’t write off entire sections of the state. When we do that we lose two counties by nearly 300,000 votes. While the party should invest in infrastructure and technology, the main focus for RPW should be to develop people.
  • There will be much resistance to many of these ideas, but perhaps to none more so than this one: I believe the state party should serve as a facilitator for the county parties. They should share all their voter id, donor and other data to help counties increase their local membership. Moreover, for larger counties, we need to go back to the community branches. They worked. We had more dues-paying members in those larger counties back then. They may have been a logistical pain for the convention planners, but that system worked.
  • Some counties have done an extraordinary job year-in and year-out. The state party shouldn’t just recognize them at state convention, they should pick the brains of those leaders and find a way to emulate their successes across the state. These leaders are hold the institutional knowledge of local boots on the ground organizing that I certainly lacked when I was a 20-something RPW staffer. You don’t need a degree in political science to be a great campaign operative. I witnessed fantastic field work over the last several months by the leaders in Walworth, Washington, Marinette, Brown, Shawano, Pierce, Monroe and Sheboygan counties, to name just a few. Television and radio ads deliver messages to the masses and are extremely important. Hell, I produce and place them for a living. But without a day-to-day, peer-to-peer operation on the ground, we leave a lot of potential votes unharvested.
  • Listen and learn, too, from from the Federation of Republican Women, and the women and men who lead the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee and the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate.
  • While there are several established leaders, RPW can better facilitate training to identify and create new ones. There are a couple of thousand very active volunteers that bust their tails every campaign. There are a couple of hundred hard-core superstar grassroots leaders who have attended every one of their annual Lincoln Day dinners and the annual state conventions for the last 40 years. There are several dozen fantastic people who have basically dedicated all of their free time to keeping about a dozen of our county parties active and relevant year-round. But there are hundreds of thousands of potential volunteers and donors who could give a little of their time on a semi-regular basis. We need to harness that potential, tap into their enthusiasm and give them the opportunity to rise without having to participate for decades before assuming leadership positions.
  • Note, absent from all this is any discussion of policy. The caucus leaders in the Assembly and the Senate as well as our state’s Congressional delegation can handle the implementation of the party’s platform. The state party should be agnostic when it comes to the day-to-day political squabbles in the Madison and DC Swamps. Legislative committees handle their candidate recruitment and agenda for the session but the state party works best when it is driven by one or two elected officials.
  • Millennials often get a bad rap and we need to do a better job of reaching out to them. We need to continue to have a rigorous high school outreach and tap into the ideas and energy of our College and Young Republicans. Frankly, I’d love to see our next state chairman be someone under the age of 40. At the same time, I think the party operation would benefit from having more grey hair working on the day-to-day operations. The party will be stronger if their staff more closely resembles the pool of voters they are courting.
  • Finally, let’s make election-year conventions meaningful. If counties don’t bring their allotted number of delegates to the state convention, that’s their loss. Don’t proportion out their votes to whomever shows up from each county / branch. It would incentivize participation in the convention process. I’m also not alone in thinking that expensive, time-consuming and less-relevant “off year” conventions should be scrapped in favor of a day of service in rotating Wisconsin communities, followed by a political rally with a national speaker.

1648, 29 November 2018


  1. jjf

    Is this Fraley’s method of diverting discussion from the planned 4:30 Friday drop of the lame duck agenda?

    I’d love to hear all the WisGOP diehards defending the overreach.  Just inside baseball, right?  We’re in favor of much smaller government and less executive power now that we’re not in the top office?

  2. jjf

    Still not a word about the extraordinary session?  Amazing.  Tighten those blinders, ladies and gentlemen!

  3. Kevin Scheunemann


    What are you upset about?   Preventing Evers from destroying the state is noble, good, and righteous.

  4. Le Roi du Nord


    How do you feel about the lame-duck proposal to add a primary in an effort to get a right-wing WI SC judge elected?  That will cost counties and municipalities $$millions in a transparently partisan election scam.

    The walker-fitz-vos cabal have spent the last 8 years consolidating power under the dome with well over 100 pieces of legislation taking away local authority, now they turned into all-out hypocrites.  What cowards.

  5. Kevin Scheunemann


    I don’t like the election proposal either.

    However, seeing that it drives lefties crazy, I am more inclined to support it, and be more open to it.

  6. Le Roi du Nord

    So you support something that costs the taxpayers lots of $$, and only because it “drives lefties crazy”, not because it makes any sense or is good policy, correct?    Pretty irrational, no?

  7. Kevin Scheunemann

    I didn’t say that.

    But if lefties think something so innocuous is so awful, I need take a second look at whether I am wrong for not supporting it.


  8. jjf

    So something is cool because it owns the libs?

    I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice!

  9. Le Roi du Nord


    Yup, you did.  See above.  Why lie?

    So $7 million is innocuous?  That’s real money to me.

  10. jjf

    Nevermind that the majority of county clerks say the plan is impossible…  if government workers don’t like it, it must be a good idea!

    Kevin’s so easily led by the WisGOP.


  11. Le Roi du Nord


  12. Kevin Scheunemann

    You guys are hilarious.

    I said I did not support it.

    However, when something so simple gets libs, like yourselves, in such a knot and I am on the same side….I should look closer to see if I am wrong.

    I don’t like agreeing with liberals, given what they stand for, so I am open to listening to what GOP has to say on this.

  13. Le Roi du Nord

    Sure you did, “I am more inclined to support it, and be more open to it.”

    Is English your second language?  Or is dishonesty genetic with you?

    I hope your constituents know your support will cost them $$ for the actions of the cowardly R’s.

  14. jjf

    Kevin can’t imagine there would be issues of governing where both sides could agree.  He assumes he must disagree with the other side.  He prefers to be led.  It’s about authority.  Does this surprise anyone?

  15. Kevin Scheunemann


    I said I was “taking a second look”, I did not say I supported it.

    It is this kind of dripping venom is what makes me consider whether I am wrong, being on the same side with snakes by opposing this idea.

  16. jjf

    You’re the one who said you reflexively oppose anything supported by anyone you consider a liberal.

    Do you get the venom served on the side with the main course that your leaders chose for you?  You must obey!  No complaints!

  17. dad29

    So $7 million is innocuous?  That’s real money to me.

    To me, $700 MILLION/year is real money, too.  That’s what Tony the Tuna wants to ADD to the education budget.

    Lemmeeesee, heah……$7 million…..$700 million……

  18. jjf

    Depending on the press release, people get upset about $20,000 or $200,000.

    Owen’s not brave enough to say moving that election is about preserving one particular fellow’s Supreme seat.  Are you brave enough, Dad29?  Why not just step up and say that’s what it is about?  Using tax dollars to protect a seat?

    After all, “they can do it because they can do it” seems to be the extent of the logic surrounding these bills.

  19. Merlin

    The comedic value of watching liberals pull their moral preening and fiscal responsibility cards from their man purses when they’re being beaten at their own game is priceless. Carry on!

  20. jjf

    Merlin, we can tell you’re on the moral high ground with your purse reference!

  21. Merlin

    Pfft. You’re just jealous of my new Coach bag. Don’t even hate on my matching shoes.

  22. jjf

    Oh, you know I have a Coach bag that matches my walnut Allen Edmonds.

  23. Kevin Scheunemann


    That article shows liberals did it in 2010.

    So quit your crying now that Republicans are just following the liberal lead.

    By calling out Republicans here makes you a hypocrite. It makes Walker a consensus builder with past liberal action.

  24. Le Roi du Nord


    So you fall back on your traditional “the other guys do it too” excuse once again.  You sure carry the ideology to a ridiculous conclusion.

    Say, since you are such a history buff, how did the D’s in 2010 try to diminish the powers of the Gov and AG ??  Be specific, and for extra credit, use facts.  Thanks.

  25. Kevin Scheunemann


    So Democrats do something legal and it is just fine.

    Republicans do same thing, you get in snit.


  26. jjf

    I think it’s funny how high-minded morality disappears so quickly.  All the talk about how people should behave – no longer needed!  Character is for suckers!  All the talk about Permanent Things – poof!  All the talk about the Founders and how great we are – zip!

  27. dad29

    No, Foust; we learned the rules and play by them now.

    Little Lord Fauntelroy Lefties can’t stand that.  They cry and pee their pants–you saw that in the rotunda last couple of days.

  28. Le Roi du Nord


    I’ll ask again; how does the 2010 lame-duck session compare in substance and scope to that of 2018.  Be specific, and please use facts.  Thanks.

  29. Kevin Scheunemann

    I get a chuckle when liberals, who support baby killing, perverting gender, perverting marriage, destroying borders, and every sexual carnal choice under the sun want to lecture about anything “moral”.

    It’s like Bill Clinton giving a marriage fidelity seminar.

  30. Kevin Scheunemann


    Are you asking why Republicans are smarter than Democrats?

    I don’t think you can handle it.

  31. jjf

    Dad29, what are these rules you speak of?

    How many brave WisGOP signed up at the hearings in support of the measures?

    Why wasn’t Vos brave enough to show up and speak in support?  Where was Fitz?  Is the way good laws get made?  You admire obedient party supporters and the leaders who pull them by the nose?  That’s the kind of self-reliant, free-thinking independent rootin’ tootin’ Americans you admire?

    Short of the MacIver Institute, who stood up in support?  Newspapers?  Interest groups in law or government?

    Why was it good for Walker and the WisGOP to have these powers, but now they need to be reigned-in?

    It’s like a coup…  the WisGOP wants their party enshrined as a branch of government, a cross-cutting universal horizontal agency within every agency with veto power over everything.

    Hmm, which sorts of world governments does that remind you of?  Can I see your Party membership card?

    You didn’t sign the recall petition, did you, nor did any of your family members?  (You know Walker’s office actually did that to his employees, right?)

  32. jjf

    Kevin, you miss my point.  It’s you and your party who are the ones proclaiming you are the arbiters and temple-keepers of the absolute truths of morality and proper behavior.  You don’t need me to point you to when you’ve done this, right?

    So in this case, all that goes out the window…  “they can do whatever they can do” has been offered as the best justification for this blatant government power grab by the party who claims they don’t want government to have too much power.  Don’t you see a glimmer of that?

  33. Kevin Scheunemann

    Christ is arbiterof absolute truth.

    Since Democrats and liberals tend to reject Christ openly, it can be difficult for many Democrats to discern absolute truth.

    I did not know a legal special session of legislature was a matter of “absolute truth”?

    Still trying to figure out how this special session does anything close to what liberals do in violation of the absolute truth of Christ: like perverting biblical one man, one woman, marriage, perverting gender, destroying God’s law on sexual relations, rejecting Christ as Savior, killing babies systematically, etc. if you are using an absolute truth argument, please explain these liberal rejections of absolute truth first, before we even broach the topic that a legal sesssion of state legislature is, somehow, a violation of absolute truth.

    I see it as a method of keeping all the liberal evil, I just mentioned, in check now and in future.

    So let’s get clear on what you mean by “absolute truth”?

  34. jjf

    Again with the reading comprehension. I didn’t say the legislature was in charge of absolute truth, did I?  I’m looking for anyone’s justification for the new laws.  Vos and Fitz offered some odd weak press conferences.  Who else stood up for this?  You can’t see how it’s a power grab from the party that says they hate government power?

    Your religion doesn’t get to trump other religions in the statehouse, right?

    Which recent bill was about sexual relations?  You think about that a lot.

  35. dad29

    Gee, Fousty.  I can hear you crying all the way over here.  Tough cookies, eh?

    This is what democracy looks like:  Republican control, Republican rules and laws.

    Now go eat …..and cry.

  36. Kevin Scheunemann


    It is not a power grab.

    It is to keep people who support evil things, like baby killing, from doing evil.

    That is a noble and courageous effort.

  37. Le Roi du Nord


    No I didn’t ask, “Are you asking why Republicans are smarter than Democrats?” because I already know the answer, (they aren’t) and you are a great example of that fact.

    But I did ask you a reasonable question and you have declined twice to answer it.  No surprise, as you yet again try to deflect from reality.

  38. Kevin Scheunemann


    You just seem upset that Republicans ae exercising legislative process better than Democrats did in 2010.

    That is because Republicans are smarter.

  39. Merlin

    Republicans need to find a Wisconsin community with enough mojo to compete with Milwaukee’s magic 45,000 last second, previously uncounted (wink, wink) ballots needed to put their guy over the top. Live and learn from the masters. Fraley should add that to his wish list.

  40. Le Roi du Nord

    Like I said before, you alleged “conservatives” are just self-serving, sore losers.  Emphasis on “losers” on a statewide level.

  41. dad29

    Yah!!  Losing with a 2/3rds control of the Assembly and 19/14 control of the Senate.

    Losing we can love!!

    Now go cry in your corner, LeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeRoooooooooyyyyyy

  42. Le Roi du Nord


    What about the word “statewide” don’t you understand?

  43. Kevin Scheunemann


    Facts don’t care about your feelings.

    Republicans control and they are practicing good government in hpes they can keep the good times going, despite Evers..

  44. dad29

    Statewide, 66 of 99 Districts are Republican.

    Statewide, 19 of 33 Senate seats are Republican.

    Statewide, the Governor is Republican

    That’s what democracy looks like!

  45. jjf

    Worldwide attention at WisGOP horrid behavior… and still the faithful think it’ll turn out for the better.

    Anyone here think Vos is right – that they handed too much power to Walker?

  46. Kevin Scheunemann

    I love seeing the attention.

    It should expose the difference between a leader supporting marriage under God’s design, against child genital mutilating in name of transgenderism, supports values oriented schooling, opposed baby killing, and Rampant leftist perversion.

    Evers embraces the evil. You need to curtail the power of one who rushes to embrace evil.

    That is just good government.

    Now if Evers stopped embracing evil things of liberal lexicon, I would support him having same amount of power with same amount of active, living Christianity.

  47. jjf

    Oh, yeah, Kevin, you and Dad29 are super-Christ-like.  Paul, too!

    And Walker, and Fitz, and Vos!

  48. Kevin Scheunemann


    As a Christian I am not perfect.

    However, I am always willing to listen to Matthew 18 correction over anything specific you would like to discuss.

    I only ask you quote me accurately and in context.

  49. jjf

    Are you saying you’ve given up on striving to be more Christ-like, or do you just find it too difficult when you’re on Boots & Sabers?  It’s the shiny leather boots up there, isn’t it?

  50. dad29

    So Foust is still noticing the shiny leathers!  Nothing changes, does it?

  51. Kevin Scheunemann


    I strive, but if you have an example where I could “be more Christ-like”, I am willing to listen.

    I just am for an accurate quote in context. I love discussing Christianity, theology and politics.

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