Boots & Sabers

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Tag: Washington County Daily News

Power to the People

Here is my full column that ran last week in the Washington County Daily News. I’m glad to see that the rest of the rulings continued this theme.

It was a blockbuster week of rulings from the Supreme Court of the Unites States. With a few more important rulings to be released this week, we see a positive trend emerging from the rulings. SCOTUS is stripping back the power of government and returning it to the people.

 

Arguably the two most important rulings of this session have to do with gun rights and abortion. In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, the court was asked to evaluate if New York’s restrictive gun laws violated the 2nd Amendment. The law in New York prohibits people from carrying a firearm unless they obtain a permit to do so from the government. To obtain the permit, the applicant must cite a specific reason and it is up to the arbitrary judgment of the government official as to whether the given reason is good enough to get a permit. SCOTUS struck down New York’s gun restrictions. What is interesting, however, is that the court did not strike it down based on the 2nd Amendment protection of the right to keep and bear arms. Instead, the court struck it down based on the 14th Amendment’s protection for citizens being denied “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Taking the rights guaranteed in the 2nd Amendment as already clarified by earlier case law, Justice Clarence Thomas brilliantly sums up the ruling by saying, “We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need. That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self-defense.”

 

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court issued a narrower ruling that, “the Constitution does not confer a right to an abortion.” Thus, “the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

 

Abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, but in Roe v. Wade the earlier court engaged in judicial activism to thrust the power of the federal government into the regulation of abortion. In Dobbs, the court corrected that wrong and transferred the power to regulate abortion from the unelected federal court system to the elected representatives of the people. This is how it was up until Roe.

 

While the court did confirm that aborting a baby is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution, it did not say that the Constitution protects someone from being aborted. The Constitution does protect citizens from being deprived of life without due process, but to make such a ruling, the court would have had to define when life begins. That was not the question before the court and to rule on that issue would have been an act of judicial overreach. Perhaps a future court will have the opportunity to consider that question.

 

In both cases, we see the court reducing the power of government. In the case of Bruen, the court checked any government from restricting the 2nd Amendment without the same kind of extraordinary justifications we require of government to restrict other rights enumerated in the Constitution. This will have a cooling effect on zealous gun grabbers.

 

In the case of Dobbs, the court returned the power to regulate abortion to the people to exercise through their elected representatives. While the federal legislature could take up the issue, reaching a consensus across the broad ideological spectrum represented in the national legislature would be difficult. The state legislatures will more practically take up the arduous task of regulating such a politically contentious issue. Since the government closest to you generally governs the best (a reliable, if not unfailing, truism), the court’s ruling has empowered the people.

 

As the courts final rulings are released, we may hope to see more of this trend of limiting the power of government and returning powers heretofore usurped by government to the people.

Power to the people

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

It was a blockbuster week of rulings from the Supreme Court of the Unites States. With a few more important rulings to be released this week, we see a positive trend emerging from the rulings. SCOTUS is stripping back the power of government and returning it to the people.

 

[…]

 

While the court did confirm that aborting a baby is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution, it did not say that the Constitution protects someone from being aborted. The Constitution does protect citizens from being deprived of life without due process, but to make such a ruling, the court would have had to define when life begins. That was not the question before the court and to rule on that issue would have been an act of judicial overreach. Perhaps a future court will have the opportunity to consider that question.

 

In both cases, we see the court reducing the power of government. In the case of Bruen, the court checked any government from restricting the 2nd Amendment without the same kind of extraordinary justifications we require of government to restrict other rights enumerated in the Constitution. This will have a cooling effect on zealous gun grabbers.

 

In the case of Dobbs, the court returned the power to regulate abortion to the people to exercise through their elected representatives. While the federal legislature could take up the issue, reaching a consensus across the broad ideological spectrum represented in the national legislature would be difficult. The state legislatures will more practically take up the arduous task of regulating such a politically contentious issue. Since the government closest to you generally governs the best (a reliable, if not unfailing, truism), the court’s ruling has empowered the people.

WEAC’s priorities are not Wisconsin’s, but they are Tony Evers’

Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week. With all of the amazing news this week, we need to fight against Evers’ anti-education agenda so that our kids are smart enough to read and understand SCOTUS’ opinions for themselves.

Governor Tony Evers is famously opposed to using emails, having once told a reporter, “if I do one email a day, that’s an extraordinary day.” His staff, however, is not as uncomfortable with the newfangled 20th-century technology. Empower Wisconsin, a Wisconsin conservative news hub, recently acquired 256 pages of emails between Evers’ staff and the leaders of WEAC, the state teachers union. The emails reveal a familial relationship that confirms much of what we already knew, but also portends some of the disastrous policies that Evers may push if he is reelected.

 

What we have always known is that Tony Evers is a puppet of WEAC. Evers is a creature of the state’s government education bureaucracy and WEAC has been a major rhetorical and financial supporter of the governor for his entire political career. The emails confirm WEAC’s continued ownership of the governor. The emails are from the period in late 2020 when the Evers administration was bungling their way through the state government’s response to the pandemic. Several times, the emails show that Evers was making sure to keep WEAC involved and informed of the policy negotiations. WEAC’s president was invited by Evers to a live phone call to discuss policy matters. Given Evers’ continued stubborn averseness to even pick up the phone and call the Republicans in the Legislature, it is telling that Evers is willing to engage detailed policy discussions with the president of the teachers union. One wonders if Evers recorded that conversation as he did when he spoke with Republicans several years ago.

 

Evers also gave WEAC preemptive information long before he told the public. He gave WEAC a heads-up about vetoes before announcing them. When Evers was negotiating public policy with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Evers forwarded the draft legislation to WEAC to get their input.

 

It is clear that Governor Evers is a wholly owned subsidiary of WEAC who does not make a move without their input and direction, but the emails also tell us something about WEAC.

 

In late 2020, WEAC strongly pushed then Secretary-designee of the Department of Health Services Andrea Palm and Governor Evers to use state power to close all government schools. WEAC was flabbergasted that, “School districts across the state are caving to community pressure to remain open.” WEAC cannot stand by while local school boards listen to their constituents.

 

By this time in the pandemic, we already knew that the virus is a minimal risk to children and could already see the terrible impact school closures were having on our children’s education and mental health, but WEAC pushed for it anyway. Their concerns were, and are, not for the children. Their concerns are for money and power.

 

Given that WEAC’s motives are sordid, and they own Governor Evers, it is worth looking at WEAC’s top priorities that Evers may advance in a second term. Conveniently, Evers asked WEAC for their top five policy priorities. WEAC responded with their top four priorities. Even WEAC is failing at math and following directions.

 

WEAC’s first priority is to “remove all restriction related to compensation issues.” Currently, Act 10 limits compensation negotiations to the rate of inflation. Given that we are seeing over 8% inflation in Biden’s economy, WEAC would push for even more spending with which to burden the taxpayers of Wisconsin.

 

WEAC’s second priority is to place all government employees in the state health plan. In theory, this could be positive, but the emails also show that WEA Trust, the corrupt health insurance company owned by the teachers union, was an insurer for the state plan. Prior to Act 10, unions would negotiate into their contracts that the district was required to use WEA Trust. Then WEA Trust would charge above market rates. The union owns WEA Trust and forced school districts to use them at inflated rates. WEAC’s priority was to funnel more taxpayer money into WEAC via WEA Trust. Thankfully, Republicans in the Legislature would not support such a mandate and WEA Trust, unable to compete on a level playing field, has since exited the health insurance market.

 

WEAC’s third priority is to put a “just cause” provision in state law for government employees. Under current law, Wisconsin is an “at will” state where employers can end someone’s employment for any reason, or no reason, as long as it is not discriminatory. WEAC wants school districts to only be able to terminate teachers with just cause in order to prevent the “possibility of employee layoffs tied to budget shortfalls.” In other words, in an era of declining enrollment and people moving their kids out of government schools that failed them during the pandemic, WEAC wants to prevent school districts from reducing staff to be in line with lower enrollments. WEAC wants taxpayers to continue paying for government employees when there is not enough work to justify their jobs.

 

WEAC’s fourth priority is to eliminate the annual recertification requirement. This was a requirement from Act 10 that requires the employees of a government school district to recertify the union every year. Before Act 10, a local teachers union was perpetual even if the employees of that district had never voted for it. Under Act 10, the employees of a district must vote to have a union every year. The law holds unions accountable to ensure that they are serving their members. WEAC would rather that local unions be more accountable to WEAC than their constituent members.

 

WEAC’s Wisconsin is one of higher spending, less accountability, and more taxpayer money being funneled into WEAC to fuel their leftist activism and Tony Evers shares WEAC’s vision for Wisconsin. Wisconsin cannot afford another term of Tony Evers.

WEAC’s priorities are not Wisconsin’s, but they are Tony Evers’

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

Given that WEAC’s motives are sordid, and they own Governor Evers, it is worth looking at WEAC’s top priorities that Evers may advance in a second term. Conveniently, Evers asked WEAC for their top five policy priorities. WEAC responded with their top four priorities. Even WEAC is failing at math and following directions.

 

WEAC’s first priority is to “remove all restriction related to compensation issues.” Currently, Act 10 limits compensation negotiations to the rate of inflation. Given that we are seeing over 8% inflation in Biden’s economy, WEAC would push for even more spending with which to burden the taxpayers of Wisconsin.

 

WEAC’s second priority is to place all government employees in the state health plan. In theory, this could be positive, but the emails also show that WEA Trust, the corrupt health insurance company owned by the teachers union, was an insurer for the state plan. Prior to Act 10, unions would negotiate into their contracts that the district was required to use WEA Trust. Then WEA Trust would charge above market rates. The union owns WEA Trust and forced school districts to use them at inflated rates. WEAC’s priority was to funnel more taxpayer money into WEAC via WEA Trust. Thankfully, Republicans in the Legislature would not support such a mandate and WEA Trust, unable to compete on a level playing field, has since exited the health insurance market.

 

WEAC’s third priority is to put a “just cause” provision in state law for government employees. Under current law, Wisconsin is an “at will” state where employers can end someone’s employment for any reason, or no reason, as long as it is not discriminatory. WEAC wants school districts to only be able to terminate teachers with just cause in order to prevent the “possibility of employee layoffs tied to budget shortfalls.” In other words, in an era of declining enrollment and people moving their kids out of government schools that failed them during the pandemic, WEAC wants to prevent school districts from reducing staff to be in line with lower enrollments. WEAC wants taxpayers to continue paying for government employees when there is not enough work to justify their jobs.

Wisconsin’s pro-abortion governor

Here is my full column that ran last week in the Washington County Daily News.

Gov. Tony Evers has issued another executive order calling the Legislature into a special session for something that could have been proposed in the regular session. This time, Evers wants the Legislature to repeal the state law that prohibits all abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger. There are some curious aspects of Evers’ order.

 

The reason that Evers is calling for a special session is because a leaked draft of an opinion of the United States Supreme Court indicated that the high court is going to overturn the terrible Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. The court has not released the opinion and that may not be the case, but it seems likely that the court will finally correct this legal and moral abomination.

 

If that happens, it does not prohibit abortion. It would relegate the legal regulation of abortion to the states. In Wisconsin, state law still prohibits abortions except if the mother’s life is in danger. That state law would be in effect the moment the Supreme Court overrules Roe. Evers has been a longtime supporter of abortion. The only thing that seems to get his gears more than aborting babies is spending money on government education. He has a history of doing everything he can to support abortions, including giving millions of dollars of federal COVID relief money to Planned Parenthood. True to form, Evers is trying to make sure the abortion mill keeps grinding should Roe be overturned. Of course, the Republican-led Legislature is not going to repeal the state’s abortion ban. They know it. Evers knows it. Evers is calling for a special session for the sole political reason of making sure there are a few headlines from a compliant media that he can put in his re-election ads. It won’t sway any votes, but it will reaffirm his pro-abortion bona fides.

 

The language of Evers’ executive order itself is incredibly revealing. Words matter and, presumably, a lifelong educator chose his words with purpose. Let us look at a couple of excerpts. From Executive Order #168: “WHEREAS, licensed healthcare professionals should be able to provide appropriate, evidence-based medical advice to patients making reproductive healthcare decisions without fear of intimidation or criminal prosecution, and politicians should not interfere with the relationship between a patient and their doctor.”

 

Really? I seem to recall that Evers and his fellow Democrats have spent the last three years telling everyone that they must get a COVID vaccine. They have even mandated that people inject a new serum under penalty of law. They have shamed people who declined the vaccines and advocated that they should be shunned and prohibited from work. Forgive me if I roll my eyes at Evers’ protestations about politicians meddling in healthcare decisions.

 

Then there is this form the order: “without swift action, so many people — our neighbors, parents, families, and friends — could soon be unable to access the healthcare they need and deserve … .”

 

Did you notice something? In Evers’ full-throated defense of abortion, he never uses the word “woman” or that denotes that it is women who get pregnant and women who get abortions. In the new leftist orthodoxy, women are being erased with the dogma that anyone can get pregnant and have an abortion. The Democrats’ war on women is in full advance and Evers is merrily playing his fife in the vanguard.

 

Under this new convention, Evers is very specifically not defending women’s rights. He is defending abortions. Evers even calls his proposed law the “Abortion Rights Preservation Act.” Evers isn’t about women or women’s rights. He is about the abortions.

Wisconsin’s pro-abortion governor

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

The language of Evers’ executive order itself is incredibly revealing. Words matter and, presumably, a lifelong educator chose his words with purpose. Let us look at a couple of excerpts. From Executive Order #168: “WHEREAS, licensed healthcare professionals should be able to provide appropriate, evidence-based medical advice to patients making reproductive healthcare decisions without fear of intimidation or criminal prosecution, and politicians should not interfere with the relationship between a patient and their doctor.”

 

Really? I seem to recall that Evers and his fellow Democrats have spent the last three years telling everyone that they must get a COVID vaccine. They have even mandated that people inject a new serum under penalty of law. They have shamed people who declined the vaccines and advocated that they should be shunned and prohibited from work. Forgive me if I roll my eyes at Evers’ protestations about politicians meddling in healthcare decisions.

 

Then there is this form the order: “without swift action, so many people — our neighbors, parents, families, and friends — could soon be unable to access the healthcare they need and deserve … .”

 

Did you notice something? In Evers’ full-throated defense of abortion, he never uses the word “woman” or that denotes that it is women who get pregnant and women who get abortions. In the new leftist orthodoxy, women are being erased with the dogma that anyone can get pregnant and have an abortion. The Democrats’ war on women is in full advance and Evers is merrily playing his fife in the vanguard.

Trump’s endorsement changes GOP primary

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week

The long wait and speculation is over. Donald Trump has weighed in on the Republican primary for governor. Trump endorsed candidate Tim Michels saying, “Tim Michels is the best candidate to deliver meaningful solutions to these problems, and he will produce jobs like no one else can even imagine.” What does Trump’s endorsement mean for the election?

 

There is little doubt that Donald Trump still holds great sway in the Republican Party. Given his tremendous success as president and the legions of voters he attracted to the GOP, there are many Republican candidates who covet Trump’s endorsement. They covet it with good reason. Trump’s endorsement has the power to raise marginal candidates to be viable and to give a candidate enough support to win in a tight race. Trump’s endorsed candidates have a remarkable record of winning, but there are a couple of facts to keep in mind with that record. First, Trump has many positive qualities, but they come with some deep personal flaws. He is as narcissistic as they come and he wants to win. This has led him to endorse several candidates who were already going to win handily. This character flaw has also led him to endorse losing candidates because of personal grudges (Georgia). It also leads him to sometimes endorse the candidate that he thinks is going to win instead of who might actually be the best person for the job.

 

This leads us to the second fact to bear in mind with Trump endorsements. Trump’s passion to win trumps any ideology. His endorsements do not necessarily mean that the endorsee is conservative. For example, Dr. Mehmet Oz has a long-standing history of supporting gun control and big government healthcare, but he squeaked out a win in Pennsylvania over a proven conservative after Trump endorsed him. These are issues that loom large in the next Congress and Oz may prove to be a bad apple in the barrel of conservative policy.

 

With all of that in mind, Trump’s endorsement still matters a great deal in a tightly contested primary race like in Wisconsin. The difference of a few thousand votes could make the difference. Remembering that the Republican primary voter is not the same demographic as a general election voter, the impact of the endorsement in Wisconsin is varied.

 

Candidates Tim Michels, Rebecca Kleefisch, Kevin Nicholson, and Tim Ramthun all wanted Trump’s endorsement, but it mattered differently for each of them. For Ramthun, Trump’s endorsement was his only path to victory, but even had he received the endorsement, he stood little chance of winning. It was a long shot and he has zero chance of winning.

 

Nicholson is in much the same boat as Ramthun. Nicholson is a more viable candidate than Ramthun, but with two heavyweights in the race, he needed Trump’s endorsement to put him back in the ring. Without the endorsement of Trump, Nicholson’s odds are very, very long to edge out a victory.

 

Then there were two. Kleefisch had sought Trump’s endorsement, but receiving it would have likely been a mixed bag for her. It would have made her a more attractive candidate for some of the more Trumpian primary voters, but might have also turned off some of the stalwart conservative base Republicans who handed Senator Ted Cruz the primary victory in 2016 instead of Trump. Kleefisch won 55% of the vote at the state Republican convention a few weeks ago demonstrating that she already enjoys significant support amongst the reliable Republican primary voter.

 

By endorsing Michels, Trump has probably leveraged his greatest possible impact on the race. Coming in late, Michels is blitzing the state with commercials and had already moved to a virtual tie with Kleefisch. Trump’s endorsement gives Michels unlimited free media attention from a mainstream media that still laps up whatever scrap Trump throws in their bowls. The endorsement also likely moves some voters from Nicholson and Ramthun into the Michels camp. Combined, it makes Michels the frontrunner with nine weeks to go until the election.

 

Perhaps endorsing Michels was inevitable for Trump. They share interests as builders and businessmen. Michels was something of an insider during the Trump administration while serving on Trump’s infrastructure task force and as a financial supporter. Michels fits the same mold of the businessman-turned-politician. But Trump is always Trump’s biggest fan and does not endorse candidates who do not demonstrate fealty.

 

My fervent hope remains that the Republicans have a robust debate about the issues that matter to Wisconsinites and how Gov. Tony Evers has failed the people of Wisconsin. Winning on Aug. 9 is important for the candidates. Winning on Nov. 8 is crucial for Wisconsin.

Trump’s endorsement changes GOP primary

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

There is little doubt that Donald Trump still holds great sway in the Republican Party. Given his tremendous success as president and the legions of voters he attracted to the GOP, there are many Republican candidates who covet Trump’s endorsement. They covet it with good reason. Trump’s endorsement has the power to raise marginal candidates to be viable and to give a candidate enough support to win in a tight race. Trump’s endorsed candidates have a remarkable record of winning, but there are a couple of facts to keep in mind with that record. First, Trump has many positive qualities, but they come with some deep personal flaws. He is as narcissistic as they come and he wants to win. This has led him to endorse several candidates who were already going to win handily. This character flaw has also led him to endorse losing candidates because of personal grudges (Georgia). It also leads him to sometimes endorse the candidate that he thinks is going to win instead of who might actually be the best person for the job.

 

This leads us to the second fact to bear in mind with Trump endorsements. Trump’s passion to win trumps any ideology. His endorsements do not necessarily mean that the endorsee is conservative. For example, Dr. Mehmet Oz has a long-standing history of supporting gun control and big government healthcare, but he squeaked out a win in Pennsylvania over a proven conservative after Trump endorsed him. These are issues that loom large in the next Congress and Oz may prove to be a bad apple in the barrel of conservative policy.

 

With all of that in mind, Trump’s endorsement still matters a great deal in a tightly contested primary race like in Wisconsin. The difference of a few thousand votes could make the difference. Remembering that the Republican primary voter is not the same demographic as a general election voter, the impact of the endorsement in Wisconsin is varied.

Purchasing and protecting our liberty

Here is my full column that ran on Saturday in the Washington County Daily News.

Memorial Day is the one day every year we set aside to pause our lives, bow our heads, remember, and thank all of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have given their lives to preserve the cause of freedom. For over 240 years, Americans have fought and died so that we may enjoy the blessings of liberty purchased with their blood.

 

Last week, my wife and I sailed through Norfolk, the home of the mighty United States Fleet Forces Command. We passed three Nimitz class aircraft carriers, submarines, cruisers, destroyers, and countless other supply and warships built for the purpose of defending freedom throughout the world. Nestled among the great grey ships of war was a single white one. The hospital ship USNS Comfort sat in the shadow of the USS George HW Bush as a reminder that those ships go to war full of Americans and not all of them come home.

 

We continued up the York River to spend the week in Yorktown, the site of the final armed engagement of the Revolutionary War. In the visitor center, we learned the history and stood under the green flaps of General George Washington’s actual campaign tent. We strolled through the pastoral battlefield still wrought into defensive berms and ditches to shield men from iron, peeked over the siege lines, and tried to imagine the violence of 1781.

 

Redoubts 9 and 10 stand barely 150 yards apart and it strains the modern mind to think of the brave Americans Alexander Hamilton led with fixed bayonets and unloaded guns up the scarp of redoubt 10, through the palisades, and into the nest of the waiting British. At nearby redoubt 9, our brave French allies had a tougher go, but fought like lions to push the redcoats out of their defensive position. These last two clashes proved to be the final major bloody engagements, save continued bombardment of the British in Yorktown, to secure America’s independence.

 

At the northern end of the defensive lines, across the street from what was the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Redoubt, lies the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. The museum is packed with artifacts from the colonial period and Revolutionary War, including a pair of the Marquis de Lafayette’s pistols, an early Brown Bess musket from 1741, and rare July 1776 broadside of the Declaration of Independence. A walk outside finds a living history showcase of a Revolutionary War camp and colonial farm.

 

It is difficult to view such things without being filled with appreciation for the liberties we enjoy, and the sacrifice made by so many Americans to secure those liberties. It is also difficult to not think of the millions of Americans who stand watch today willing to give all of their tomorrows to secure the blessings of today.

 

Such sacrifices by the dead impose responsibilities on the living. One of the admonishments made throughout the museum is that the siege of Yorktown was not the end of the revolution, but the beginning. The liberties won with bullet and blade must be preserved and expanded with voice and vote.

 

With the smell of liberty still filling my nostrils, I reflect with remorse on how easily too many of us give up the liberties secured for us by the precious blood of so many Americans. Too often we are unwilling to endure even discomfort or incur offense for the sake of liberty even though it is a small price compared to the price paid by so many others.

 

We must use our voices and votes to preserve our liberty on every front. When we read or hear things that cause offense or discomfort, we must respond with robust debate and not resort to using the power of government or technology to silence those with whom we disagree. We must return to the national ethic that we may disagree, but we will defend to the death each other’s right to speak freely.

 

When evil people commit violence, we must not react by restricting the civil rights of Americans to keep and bear arms. The story of mankind is the story of the conflict between the individual yearning for liberty and the collective power of authority to crush it. An armed citizen is the last and best defense against the tyranny of government whether they wear coats of red or blue.

 

We must ensure that every American citizen can cast their vote. Government without consent of the governed is illegitimate and innately tyrannical. Securing the right to vote also means ensuring that every vote cast is legitimate and counted.

 

And so with every natural right, we Americans must first seek to protect those rights from people who mean to restrict them. Our overriding bias in public discourse and public policy must be on the side of more freedom — not less. Yes, a free society is messy, but it is far preferable to orderly oppression. The price we pay for our liberty is vigilance, discomfort, frustration, anger, and compromise, but it is far less costly than the blood of heroes. Rights surrendered with ink are often only recovered with blood.

 

This Memorial Day, we remember and thank those Americans who paid the ultimate price for our liberty. May their sacrifice weigh heavy on our hearts and give us strength to protect the liberties their sacrifice secured.

 

Purchasing and protecting our liberty

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I know that it usually runs on Tuesdays, but with the Memorial Day Holiday, they decided to run it today. Here’s a part:

It is difficult to view such things without being filled with appreciation for the liberties we enjoy, and the sacrifice made by so many Americans to secure those liberties. It is also difficult to not think of the millions of Americans who stand watch today willing to give all of their tomorrows to secure the blessings of today.

 

Such sacrifices by the dead impose responsibilities on the living. One of the admonishments made throughout the museum is that the siege of Yorktown was not the end of the revolution, but the beginning. The liberties won with bullet and blade must be preserved and expanded with voice and vote.

 

With the smell of liberty still filling my nostrils, I reflect with remorse on how easily too many of us give up the liberties secured for us by the precious blood of so many Americans. Too often we are unwilling to endure even discomfort or incur offense for the sake of liberty even though it is a small price compared to the price paid by so many others.

 

We must use our voices and votes to preserve our liberty on every front. When we read or hear things that cause offense or discomfort, we must respond with robust debate and not resort to using the power of government or technology to silence those with whom we disagree. We must return to the national ethic that we may disagree, but we will defend to the death each other’s right to speak freely.

 

When evil people commit violence, we must not react by restricting the civil rights of Americans to keep and bear arms. The story of mankind is the story of the conflict between the individual yearning for liberty and the collective power of authority to crush it. An armed citizen is the last and best defense against the tyranny of government whether they wear coats of red or blue.

 

We must ensure that every American citizen can cast their vote. Government without consent of the governed is illegitimate and innately tyrannical. Securing the right to vote also means ensuring that every vote cast is legitimate and counted.

 

And so with every natural right, we Americans must first seek to protect those rights from people who mean to restrict them. Our overriding bias in public discourse and public policy must be on the side of more freedom — not less. Yes, a free society is messy, but it is far preferable to orderly oppression. The price we pay for our liberty is vigilance, discomfort, frustration, anger, and compromise, but it is far less costly than the blood of heroes. Rights surrendered with ink are often only recovered with blood.

 

This Memorial Day, we remember and thank those Americans who paid the ultimate price for our liberty. May their sacrifice weigh heavy on our hearts and give us strength to protect the liberties their sacrifice secured.

Who is the real outsider?

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week:

The Wisconsin Republicans held their convention this past weekend. State political conventions are usually fairly lively and fun for those who attend, but utterly boring for those looking in from the outside. It is a time for party loyalists to reconnect with friends, revel in philosophical debates with people who think about such things, and advocate for elected and party leaders. It is only during important election years that anyone outside of the party pays any attention with opponents looking for “gotchas” and loyalists looking for direction.

 

The most anticipated and interesting event from this year’s state Republican convention was the result of the party endorsement vote. Every four years, the delegates of the convention will vote to endorse a primary candidate for governor. In order for the party to endorse a candidate, 60% or more of the delegates must vote for the same candidate.

 

The party’s endorsement is not just about bragging rights. It carries with it official party support with financial and logistical support for the endorsed candidate. Party members are free to support and work for whichever candidate they choose, but the party itself cannot support a primary candidate without that candidate being endorsed by the convention delegates. In recent memory, there has always been a strong front-runner for the Republican ticket well before the convention, so the convention delegates have used the endorsement vote as a mechanism to rally support for the chosen candidate. For example, in 2006, Mark Green and Scott Walker were battling for the nomination, but Walker dropped out in March and the Republican convention that year was more of a campaign rally for Green than anything else.

 

This year is different. With expectations high that the Republican candidate will have a strong chance of winning the governorship against incumbent Tony Evers, there is a sporty race for the Republican nomination. This cast a new importance on the party endorsement, but with a reversed polarity.

 

Many voters who always vote Republican or might lean that way this year are fed up with politicians. There is a strong feeling, stoked by traditional anti-government groups and egged on by the Trump wing of the party, that we need to throw all the bums out and elect political novices to office. That feeling is justified by the poor performance of our entire political establishment and rooted in our American tradition of amateur governance.

 

In this environment, the party endorsement is viewed by many as a negative. When the people want an outsider, the endorsement of a political party is political poison. How can a candidate be an outsider if the party establishment, as represented by the delegates of a formal convention, have endorsed that candidate?

 

Rebecca Kleefisch has been the GOP front-runner for months and, until Tim Michels entered the race, was widely expected to receive the Republican Party’s endorsement. Since entering the race, Michels has been flooding the media with commercials touting him as an outsider. Michels is wrangling over the title of “outsider” with Kevin Nicholson, who has been positioning himself as such for years. Timothy Ramthun might actually be the biggest outsider, even though he is an elected member of the state Assembly, as he runs on the fringe issue of overturning the 2020 election. Kleefisch, not to be out-outsidered, reminds people that she was an original outsider who challenged and beat the party favorite to get the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor (true).

 

So who is the real outsider? Frankly, who cares? It is a stupid distinction by which to decide for whom you will vote. Instead of bickering over who is the outsider, or the real outsider, or the super outsider, or the out-there outsider, we should cast our vote for the person who most shares our values and who is most likely to be effective in governing by those values. Values matter. Ideology matters (see: Biden administration). Backbone matters. Leadership matters. Execution matters. The insider-outsider continuum is meaningless.

 

For the record, nobody won the Republican party’s endorsement, so I guess all of the candidates are outsiders.

Who is the real outsider?

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

Rebecca Kleefisch has been the GOP front-runner for months and, until Tim Michels entered the race, was widely expected to receive the Republican Party’s endorsement. Since entering the race, Michels has been flooding the media with commercials touting him as an outsider. Michels is wrangling over the title of “outsider” with Kevin Nicholson, who has been positioning himself as such for years. Timothy Ramthun might actually be the biggest outsider, even though he is an elected member of the state Assembly, as he runs on the fringe issue of overturning the 2020 election. Kleefisch, not to be out-outsidered, reminds people that she was an original outsider who challenged and beat the party favorite to get the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor (true).

 

So who is the real outsider? Frankly, who cares? It is a stupid distinction by which to decide for whom you will vote. Instead of bickering over who is the outsider, or the real outsider, or the super outsider, or the out-there outsider, we should cast our vote for the person who most shares our values and who is most likely to be effective in governing by those values. Values matter. Ideology matters (see: Biden administration). Backbone matters. Leadership matters. Execution matters. The insider-outsider continuum is meaningless.

 

For the record, nobody won the Republican party’s endorsement, so I guess all of the candidates are outsiders.

Evers fails to act to stem rise in violent crime

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week.

Two facts have become very clear this election year. First, crime is a huge priority for Wisconsinites. Second, crime is not a priority at all for Gov. Tony Evers.

 

Since Tony Evers took office, crime — particularly violent crime — is way up in Wisconsin. Reviewing the crime statistics compiled by Wisconsin’s Department of Justice tells a tragic story. In comparing 2018 (the last year before Evers took office) to 2021 (the last full year), there were 82% more murders in Wisconsin, 16% more aggravated assaults, and 111% more vehicle thefts.

 

Even more tragic, while murders were up by 82%, arrests for murder were only up 15%. And while aggravated assaults were up by 16%, arrests for aggravated assaults were down by 4%. We have more violent crime, and we are arresting fewer of those violent criminals.

 

The vast majority of the rise in crime is coming from Milwaukee. The crime in Milwaukee made national news last Friday when 21 people were shot near the Deer District after the Bucks game. The violence prompted the Bucks to cancel the planned watch party in the Deer District for game seven of the series. Sadly, such violence is only slightly worse than what has become a normal weekend night in Milwaukee. It would be easy to dismiss the crime in Milwaukee. After all, citizens of the city of Milwaukee made it clear in the last mayoral election that they are unconcerned with the crime. They had a clear choice to elect a pro-law enforcement crimefighter and picked the other guy instead. But Milwaukee remains an economic and cultural nexus of the state. What happens in Milwaukee impacts all of Wisconsin. Despite the rising crime that is eating the core of Wisconsin’s largest city and spreading to other communities, Evers has made it clear that fighting crime is not a priority. After each heinous crime, Evers tweets the requisite sympathies and admonitions to behave, but does nothing.

 

After a monster with a history of violent crime and racist online rants was freed on $1,000 bail in Milwaukee two days before careening through the Waukesha Christmas Parade killing six and injuring dozens, Evers shared the appropriate sentiments and did nothing. Evers did not even admonish Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm for recommending a trivial bail, nor did he use his power as governor to remove Chisholm from office. Chisholm’s office has a history of coddling violent criminals, but Evers supports Chisholm’s policies.

 

After the shootings in Milwaukee last week, Evers once again took to media outlets to express his sorrow and outrage. And once again he is not acting to make any changes to keep it from happening again. Evers’ lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, who is also running for U.S. Senate, tweeted about the need for gun control — the old hobby horse of totalitarians throughout modern history — without even bothering to give any specific policy prescriptions.

 

In each of Evers’ budgets, he failed to offer any policy initiatives to reduce crime. Instead, under the label of “criminal justice reform,” Evers proposed spending more money on education and training for crooks in jail. He campaigned on closing the juvenile facilities of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake, but four years later, they remain open waiting for a better solution for Wisconsin’s young criminals. Evers is consistent in advocating to legalize marijuana as a means of reducing crime, but such policies are more about appeasing college kids and crusty hippies. Nowhere in Evers’ budgets is there anything designed to lock up more criminals, empower law enforcement, or compel district attorneys and judges to conduct themselves with the rigor and vigor that justice and victims deserve.

 

Safe behind the walls of his taxpayer-provided mansion with armed guards escorting him wherever he goes, Governor Evers has consistently demonstrated disinterest in the explosion in violent crime that is wrecking lives and destroying the quality of life in the state. Wisconsin needs a new governor who cares more about victims than criminals.

Evers fails to act to stem rise in violent crime

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

Two facts have become very clear this election year. First, crime is a huge priority for Wisconsinites. Second, crime is not a priority at all for Gov. Tony Evers.

 

Since Tony Evers took office, crime — particularly violent crime — is way up in Wisconsin. Reviewing the crime statistics compiled by Wisconsin’s Department of Justice tells a tragic story. In comparing 2018 (the last year before Evers took office) to 2021 (the last full year), there were 82% more murders in Wisconsin, 16% more aggravated assaults, and 111% more vehicle thefts.

 

Even more tragic, while murders were up by 82%, arrests for murder were only up 15%. And while aggravated assaults were up by 16%, arrests for aggravated assaults were down by 4%. We have more violent crime, and we are arresting fewer of those violent criminals.

 

[…]

 

After the shootings in Milwaukee last week, Evers once again took to media outlets to express his sorrow and outrage. And once again he is not acting to make any changes to keep it from happening again. Evers’ lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, who is also running for U.S. Senate, tweeted about the need for gun control — the old hobby horse of totalitarians throughout modern history — without even bothering to give any specific policy prescriptions.

 

In each of Evers’ budgets, he failed to offer any policy initiatives to reduce crime. Instead, under the label of “criminal justice reform,” Evers proposed spending more money on education and training for crooks in jail. He campaigned on closing the juvenile facilities of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake, but four years later, they remain open waiting for a better solution for Wisconsin’s young criminals. Evers is consistent in advocating to legalize marijuana as a means of reducing crime, but such policies are more about appeasing college kids and crusty hippies. Nowhere in Evers’ budgets is there anything designed to lock up more criminals, empower law enforcement, or compel district attorneys and judges to conduct themselves with the rigor and vigor that justice and victims deserve.

 

Safe behind the walls of his taxpayer-provided mansion with armed guards escorting him wherever he goes, Governor Evers has consistently demonstrated disinterest in the explosion in violent crime that is wrecking lives and destroying the quality of life in the state. Wisconsin needs a new governor who cares more about victims than criminals.

Abort Democrat policies, not babies

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week:

The issue of abortion had been simmering on the back burner of the midterm election as the nation awaited the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. After the egregious breach of trust and decorum when someone leaked the draft ruling, the issue may still be on the back burner, but it is boiling over.

 

While the leaked ruling is a draft and not the final version, it does indicate that the Supreme Court has decided to reverse and strongly reverse the terrible Roe v. Wade ruling in the same virtuous spirit as Brown v. Board of Education. Justice Samuel Alito’s draft is a masterpiece of legal reasoning written in a strident prose designed to firmly correct the court’s 50-year injustice.

 

When the Supreme Court issues its ruling, and assuming that it will be to reverse Roe, it will not make abortion illegal or legal in the United States. Such a ruling will simply divorce the federal courts from making that decision for anyone and restore the issue to the elected branches of state government to decide. Roe was a massive usurpation of rights and responsibilities left to states in our federal Constitution and hopefully Dobbs will return the issue to the appropriate public policy forum.

 

Several liberal states have already passed laws legalizing abortion up to the point of infanticide. Other states have been increasingly restricting abortions. In both cases, states have been acting to ensure that their state laws will reflect the will of the people should Roe ever be overturned.

 

In Wisconsin, attempts to change abortion laws for the better or the worse have failed to make it into law. Consequently, should the Dobbs decision reverse Roe, Wisconsin’s current abortion law passed in 1849 will be in effect. That law makes it a felony to conduct or assist in an abortion in all circumstances except in the case that the mother’s life is at risk. For those of us who ardently oppose killing babies, the Wisconsin law is ideal. In a politically divided state like Wisconsin, we are in the minority. Public opinion polls for years have shown that a majority of people support abortion very early in a pregnancy with steadily declining support for abortion as the pregnancy progresses with late-term abortions being opposed by a strong majority of people. Should Roe be overturned, abortion policy will no longer be a theoretical policy plank in a party platform and Wisconsin’s elected officials will be responsible for their positions. Earlier this year, the Republicans failed to advance a bill that would have revise Wisconsin’s abortion statute to make abortion legal up until the point that the baby’s heartbeat is detectable. The abortion abolitionists and the secretly pro-abortion wings of the Republican caucus united to bottle up the bill without a vote. It may be an untenable position for Republicans to hold in the long term in a politically divided state. For the sake of the babies, let us hope that they can hold it.

 

While abortion policy is critically important to the thousands of babies who are murdered in Wisconsin every year, it is not as powerful a political issue as those on either side of the issue would like to think it is. There is a sliver of the electorate for whom abortion is the most important, and sometimes only, issue that decides their vote. Polls and electoral results in Virginia and Ohio seem to indicate that the anti-abortion single-issue voters outnumber the pro-abortion single-issue voters by a smidge. But either way, these voters tend to be extremely reliable voters and abortion stances are already strongly divided along party lines. There are a few pro-abortion Republicans left, but there are almost no anti-abortion Democrats to be found anymore. In other words, these voters were already very likely to vote, and their votes were already baked into the political projections.

 

If anything, Democrats are desperately hoping that a vigorous debate about abortion will distract some voters from the fact that Democratic policies are ruining our country. Runaway inflation not seen since the early 1980s is destroying our quality of life and erasing the economic gains of the middle and lower classes. Gas prices are through the roof. There are shortages of necessities like baby formula. Rising housing prices and interest rates are robbing young families of the dream of home ownership at the same time as rent is rising. Criminals are gutting neighborhoods.

 

If Democrats are hoping that a reinvigorated debate about abortion will save them from an electoral correction for their disastrous policies, they are mistaken. At the end of the day, most people care far more about themselves than they do about tiny innocent unwanted babies, but that is why abortion exists in the first place.

 

Abort Democrat policies, not babies

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

While abortion policy is critically important to the thousands of babies who are murdered in Wisconsin every year, it is not as powerful a political issue as those on either side of the issue would like to think it is. There is a sliver of the electorate for whom abortion is the most important, and sometimes only, issue that decides their vote. Polls and electoral results in Virginia and Ohio seem to indicate that the anti-abortion single-issue voters outnumber the pro-abortion single-issue voters by a smidge. But either way, these voters tend to be extremely reliable voters and abortion stances are already strongly divided along party lines. There are a few pro-abortion Republicans left, but there are almost no anti-abortion Democrats to be found anymore. In other words, these voters were already very likely to vote, and their votes were already baked into the political projections.

 

If anything, Democrats are desperately hoping that a vigorous debate about abortion will distract some voters from the fact that Democratic policies are ruining our country. Runaway inflation not seen since the early 1980s is destroying our quality of life and erasing the economic gains of the middle and lower classes. Gas prices are through the roof. There are shortages of necessities like baby formula. Rising housing prices and interest rates are robbing young families of the dream of home ownership at the same time as rent is rising. Criminals are gutting neighborhoods.

 

If Democrats are hoping that a reinvigorated debate about abortion will save them from an electoral correction for their disastrous policies, they are mistaken. At the end of the day, most people care far more about themselves than they do about tiny innocent unwanted babies, but that is why abortion exists in the first place.

Evers bestows Office of Environmental Justice on Wisconsin

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week:

In the face of a contracting economy, high gas prices, the worst inflation in 40 years, raging violent crime, and a collapse of government education, Gov. Tony Evers has ordered the Department of Administration to create an Office of Environmental Justice. Wisconsin clearly has a governor with his finger on the pulse of what is important to the people of Wisconsin.

 

This was not Governor Evers’ first attempt at creating an OEJ. He put the creation of the office into his draft of the most recent state budget. The Legislature, seeing no reason to enlarge government with another expensive office full of environmental activists who would erode the state’s economy as they empty the taxpayers’ pockets, declined to put the OEJ into the final version of the budget that Evers signed into law. Not to be denied, Evers has now created the OEJ by executive order under the mistaken belief that the state Constitution grants the governor to do whatever he wants via executive order when he does not get his way in the Legislature. The key to understanding the OEJ, and how bad it will be for Wisconsin, is to understand that it is not about the environment. The mission of the OEJ is not to make sure that Wisconsin protects the environment. The OEJ is not a regulatory agency to ensure that the state has reasonably clean air and water. OEJ officials will not be helping to clean up industrial accidents. The key word in the Office of Environmental Justice is not “environmental.” The key word is “justice,” as Tony Evers and the woke left defines it. I invite the reader to take a moment and go read the executive order creating the OEJ. It is easy to find. It is Executive Order #161 and it is only three pages. As with all government proclamations, there are a series of “whereas” clauses that build the justification for the order being issued. Eight of the ten “whereas” clauses in Evers’ order are about racial or social equity.

 

Only one “whereas,” the sixth one, claims that there is an environmental issue that justifies the creation of a new government office. Meanwhile, the order is replete with phrases like, “promoting environmental equity,” “environmental justice movement,” “communities of color in urban ghettos,” and “right to equitable treatment.”

 

The goal of the OEJ is not to make sure that Wisconsin has a cleaner environment. The goal is to ensure that Wisconsin’s environmental regulations meet the racial and social “equity” standard of the woke left. In the nine directives for the OEJ detailed in the executive order, there is no mention of environmental goals. Instead, the new office is directed to do things like review the impact of state laws, regulations, and policy on equitable treatment, develop recommendations using the Wisconsin environmental equity tools, and “develop a framework and strategy for environmental justice work across the administration.”

 

The message from the Evers administration is clear. In Wisconsin, there will be one more state agency to harass and bully businesses and homeowners for any environmental transgressions, real or perceived. Except now, running afoul of the environmental regulatory apparatus could also be deemed racist, transphobic, or whatever violation of “equity” can be applied from the Office of Environmental Justice. Governor Evers continues to run roughshod over the legislative process to push the woke agenda through state government. Meanwhile he continues to nap while Wisconsinites are facing real economic and social hardships. One term in office is one too many for this governor.

Evers bestows Office of Environmental Justice on Wisconsin

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

The key to understanding the OEJ, and how bad it will be for Wisconsin, is to understand that it is not about the environment. The mission of the OEJ is not to make sure that Wisconsin protects the environment. The OEJ is not a regulatory agency to ensure that the state has reasonably clean air and water. OEJ officials will not be helping to clean up industrial accidents. The key word in the Office of Environmental Justice is not “environmental.” The key word is “justice,” as Tony Evers and the woke left defines it. I invite the reader to take a moment and go read the executive order creating the OEJ. It is easy to find. It is Executive Order #161 and it is only three pages. As with all government proclamations, there are a series of “whereas” clauses that build the justification for the order being issued. Eight of the ten “whereas” clauses in Evers’ order are about racial or social equity.

 

Only one “whereas,” the sixth one, claims that there is an environmental issue that justifies the creation of a new government office. Meanwhile, the order is replete with phrases like, “promoting environmental equity,” “environmental justice movement,” “communities of color in urban ghettos,” and “right to equitable treatment.”

 

The goal of the OEJ is not to make sure that Wisconsin has a cleaner environment. The goal is to ensure that Wisconsin’s environmental regulations meet the racial and social “equity” standard of the woke left.

The table is set

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week.

If you turn on your television this week or browse a few Wisconsin websites, you are going to be inundated with ads about Tim Michels, who has announced that he is running for governor as a Republican. A Republican nomination that Rebecca Kleefisch was cruising to win has turned into an intramural brawl to take on the feckless Gov. Tony Evers in what looks like a red wave election year.

 

The story of Michels’ announcement is swirling in the smoke of backroom Republican politics. Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has been working throughout the state since losing office in 2018 with a clear intention of running for governor. She has traveled the state, supported Republican causes, and remained a potent political figure in Republican circles. When she officially announced that she was running for governor, prominent Republicans throughout the state lined up to endorse her. She hoped that her strength would freeze out other contenders. It did not.

 

In a year in which a Republican stands a good chance of becoming governor, more Republicans threw their hats in the ring. Kevin Nicholson began running for governor after Sen. Ron Johnson announced his re-election. Nicholson wanted to be a senator but settled for governor. Nicholson’s campaign is focused on being the anti-establishment Republican who can appeal to the Trump wing of the party. After a dust up in Madison, state Rep. Timothy Ramthun entered the race on a platform of election integrity. He wants to relitigate the 2020 election and is also appealing to the anti-establishment Trump voters. His entry cleaved off the more radical fringe of Trump voters who might have otherwise voted for Nicholson. That is how the race sat for two months. Now comes Michels. Despite Kleefisch’s strengths, the buzz in the backrooms of the Republican hive was that Kleefisch had been unable to seal the deal — whatever that means. Her fundraising has lagged expectations and she was not connecting with the Republican base. That was the buzz despite rolling reports that Kleefisch was a hit at every event she attended. Still, the Republican bigwigs thought they needed a ringer.

 

Allegedly after meeting to discuss the race, former Gov. Tommy Thompson decided to bow out and let the younger Tim Michels jump into the race. Michels ran once before for statewide office 18 years ago and lost, but he has been a Republican financier throughout his adult life.

 

What is a Republican voter to do? It is always wise to use the time-tested rubric of William F. Buckley to vote for the, “most right, viable candidate who can win.” In a projected red wave election, the aperture of “who can win” is a little wider than most years, but the rubric holds.

 

Ramthun is certainly right, but is not a viable candidate who can win. Underfinanced with little statewide name recognition and a narrow appeal, he cannot win.

 

Nicholson is viable, but questions remain on his ideology and ability to win. As a former liberal who converted to conservatism (as many people do), he has been involved in conservative activism since bursting on the scene in 2018 to lose the Republican primary for Senate. Still, talking is not doing and Nicholson has never held elected office where his conversion could be tested. Electing him to one of the most powerful governorships in the nation should not be the first test. Also, with a narrow appeal to anti-establishment Trump voters, his ability to win a statewide election is questionable.

 

Kleefisch meets all of the criteria. She is a proven conservative who never wavered even in the withering fire of the early Scott Walker administration. She has been indefatigable in her support of conservative causes and conservative candidates. She is not running on issues of the past, but on conservative issues that matter now like school choice, election integrity, government reform, and in a year in which the Supreme Court might push abortion policy back to the states, Kleefisch is ardently pro-life. She is the real deal who we can confidently expect to move conservative policy if elected. She has already won a statewide race and appeals to a broad electorate.

 

I am firmly in the Kleefisch camp, but an open mind is a healthy mind, but as the old sales saying goes, Michels needs to offer a compelling reason to change. Going back to the Buckley rubric, Michels is definitely viable as a rich candidate who can self-finance his campaign. He has not proven that he can win a statewide election, but in a red wave year, it is probable that he would. The real questions are about his ideology and grit.

 

No doubt that Michels is conservative with a stellar pedigree. A veteran and businessman who has supported conservatives for decades, there is no doubt as to his core conservatism. But his family business is also one of the largest government contractors in the world. Will he be a champion for restraining government spending even when that spending flows into his family fortune? Perhaps.

 

Also, with the whirls of proverbial cigar smoke still wafting about him from the Republican backrooms, will Michels be the kind of conservative crusader Wisconsin had in Walker or Florida has in DeSantis? Perhaps. If Kleefisch was not in the race, Michels might be the best choice. But Kleefisch is in the race, so why should conservatives take a chance on Michels when they have a sure bet with Kleefisch?

 

The next 15 weeks before the primary election will be saturated with the hot politics of a contested primary election. Primaries can be good and healthy for a party to sharpen ideas and fortify positions. When it comes to making a decision, actions matter more than words and prior performance is the best predictor of future performance. Vote accordingly.

The table is set

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Note that I wrote it on Sunday before Michels released his media campaign and before his interview with Jay Weber on WISN1130 yesterday morning. I can’t say that I’ve seen anything to change my mind yet. Here’s a part:

I am firmly in the Kleefisch camp, but an open mind is a healthy mind, but as the old sales saying goes, Michels needs to offer a compelling reason to change. Going back to the Buckley rubric, Michels is definitely viable as a rich candidate who can self-finance his campaign. He has not proven that he can win a statewide election, but in a red wave year, it is probable that he would. The real questions are about his ideology and grit.

 

No doubt that Michels is conservative with a stellar pedigree. A veteran and businessman who has supported conservatives for decades, there is no doubt as to his core conservatism. But his family business is also one of the largest government contractors in the world. Will he be a champion for restraining government spending even when that spending flows into his family fortune? Perhaps.

 

Also, with the whirls of proverbial cigar smoke still wafting about him from the Republican backrooms, will Michels be the kind of conservative crusader Wisconsin had in Walker or Florida has in DeSantis? Perhaps. If Kleefisch was not in the race, Michels might be the best choice. But Kleefisch is in the race, so why should conservatives take a chance on Michels when they have a sure bet with Kleefisch?

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