A Sane Republican

Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) deserves our respect and our thanks.

Bernier is chair of the Senate Elections Committee and a former county clerk. She understands how elections are run, having, you know, actually run them. Contrast this with former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who is running the sham partisan “investigation” into last November’s elections.

The problem for Gableman, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos who hired him with a taxpayer supported $676,000 budget, and the land of assorted misfit toys who refuse to accept Donald Trump’s loss here, is that there simply was no fraud. There have been recounts upon recounts, court challenges, studies by the Legislative Audit Bureau and by the ultra-conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, and all of it results in one conclusion: Joe Biden won by about 20,000 votes. Out of three million votes cast, all of four people have been charged with fraud. And, oh by the way, if there was massive fraud, wouldn’t that call into question the legitimacy of all those seats held by the Republican majority in the Legislature?

All of that would be bad enough if Gableman weren’t so incompetent. He admitted from the start that he didn’t know how elections were run… then proceeded not to learn anything about it. He started out by demanding documents that were already public from the wrong agencies and things just went downhill from there. Gableman is giving clowns a bad name.

Sen. Kathy Bernier

Enter Bernier who has bravely refused to go along with Vos’ cynical ploy to play to Trump and his unhinged devotees. At a panel discussion the other day, Bernier said that the Gableman follies were succeeding only at undermining Wisconsinites’ faith in an election system that works.

She also said something else that I only hope is true.

“I think my advice would be to have Mr. Gableman wrap up sooner rather than later, because the longer we keep this up … the more harm we’re going to do for Republicans,” Bernier said.

I hope this circus is, in fact, hurting Republicans. They deserve to pay a high political price for their undercutting of the very basis of our democracy. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ll pay that price. Nothing seems to move the electorate these days. You would think that a pandemic that has now claimed 800,000 lives in America would bring us together around the simple, easy step of getting a vaccination that has proved incredibly effective and safe. But nope. We continue to struggle with COVID mostly because a large minority of right wing nut jobs refuses the vaccine because they think it has something to do with their freedom or because they’re stupid enough to buy into some crazy conspiracy theory.

When you add that to the extreme partisan gerrymandering that it now appears will be upheld in court, a guy like Vos can be insulated from any real political repercussions for incinerating several hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer money on a Keystone Cops “investigation” into nothing.

Municipal clerks, like Madison’s wonderful public servant Maribeth Witzel-Behl, have had to put up with outrageous personal attacks and even threats thanks to efforts like those of Vos and Gableman. Sen. Bernier will no doubt suffer the same now that she has come out so strongly in favor of sanity. Hers is a good deed that will not go unpunished.

So, it’s important for those of us who appreciate this kind of rare political courage, to let her know how we feel because she’ll surely hear from the other side. You can send Bernier a thank you here:


And on another matter… a second Madison School Board member has announced that she will not seek reelection in April. Ananda Mirilli deserves our thanks for her service, but her departure gives those of us who want to see the board move in a different direction an expanded opening. If you want to focus on school safety and good order please consider tossing your hat in the ring. It only takes 100 signatures on nomination papers and the filing deadline isn’t until after the first of the year.

Welcome to the 299th day of consecutive posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading!


Published by dave cieslewicz

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

3 thoughts on “A Sane Republican

  1. You wirte: “……because they’re stupid enough to buy into some crazy conspiracy theory.” Tell us how you really feel! This house in full agreement with you, and just plain angry at those who refuse to get vaccinated. A little more outrage is needed.


  2. Hello Dave,

    Well, one thing we can agree on, Gableman in this aspect has been a clown. I tend to the Vos cynical ploy explanation for why he was chosen.

    Undercutting the basis for our democracy? Both parties can easily be accused of that problem. As far as democracy is concerned, which is something we do not have in the US, I am far more concerned with the emergent totalitarianism being employed by the Democrats – mandates – and their brethren worldwide – Victoria, Australia for example – over the issue you present as being a no-brainer – vaccination.

    There are a very large number of people who are not ‘right wing nut jobs’ who disagree with the need for a jab, which is proving to be less effective with each passing day. If you’re not sure about this, please refer to the CEO of Pfizer’s most recent statements about the need for a fourth jab to deal with Omigod, and the CEO of the company Pfizer owns – BioNtech – who is preparing a triple-dose booster, which would bring the total jabs to six, for an illness with a case fatality rate of 0.5% (and that’s an ‘optimistic’ assessment.) Please also refer to my last comment regarding the US study of 480,000 vets and the effectiveness, not, of the vaccine.

    Democrats are coming across like W. Absolutely certain they are correct. And likely just as correct as W was.

    What, Dems worry?


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