Republicans, Help Me Out Here

Sometimes I wonder why I’m still a Democrat. Then the Republicans remind me.

In just the last few days, legislative Republicans have debated or passed bills or motions that would do the following:

  • Short-change education funding to the extent that they are risking losing $2.3 billion in Federal funding under the COVID relief bill.
  • Prohibit the UW from requiring vaccinations or even COVID testing for students before they return in the fall.
  • Refuse to fund replacement of the 60-year old Unemployment Insurance computer system while slamming Gov. Tony Evers for delays in processing massive UI claims at the height of the pandemic.
  • Prohibit the state from enforcing new Federal gun restrictions, never mind that none are likely to happen and that it’s clear that the state has no authority to block a Federal law.
  • Slash funding for transit in Milwaukee and Madison (but not Appleton and Green Bay) and slash funding for UW Madison building projects (but not those in Republicans parts of the state) amid fiscal projections that show the state awash in cash.
  • Amid a flurry of proposals to make it harder to vote, severely limit the number of drop boxes and prohibit any from being in public parks. What’s wrong with parks? Madison had a wildly successful program to accept ballots in parks last summer.
  • Prohibit the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools, never mind that the bill’s authors can’t come up with an example of a place where it is being taught in our public schools.
  • Prohibit transgender athletes from participating in high school sports in the gender category of their choice, never mind that the WIAA already has a sound policy on the subject, and by the way, the authors can’t cite a single Wisconsin case in which this has been an issue. Whatever happened to the party that wanted to govern least?
I want to be bipartisan. Robin Vos’ Republicans just won’t give me an opening.

And that doesn’t count things that GOP leadership has done on its own, like Speaker Robin Vos’ hiring of retired detectives with questionable backgrounds to look for voter fraud that all credible reports make it clear does not exist. Or like Vos’ attempt to hire an expensive law firm, paid for by taxpayers, to fight potential legal battles over what he knows will be heavily gerrymandered legislative district maps. That escapade has been blocked by a court.

If I’ve made anything clear in this blog since I began it on January 1st, it’s that I’m a Democrat who won’t hesitate to criticize Democrats and a liberal (in most parts of the world) who doesn’t shy away from taking on liberals. I want to be bipartisan. I want the parties to work together. I’m eager to find rays of hope in the Republican Party.

But, c’mon you guys, you gotta give me some material here.


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

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