In Praise of Pols

We’ve been saving up small stories of moderate, bipartisan political courage and today we’d like to share them with you along with a nice round of applause for the pols who have done the right thing.

Let’s start with former Vice President Mike Pence. Last week Pence finally came out and said plainly that Donald Trump was “wrong” when he claimed (and continues to claim) that Pence could have overturned the results of the election. This may strike some of you as akin to praising an astronomer for discovering that the earth revolves around the sun, but hey, these days the simple acceptance of facts is what constitutes extreme courage in the GOP. While most Republicans either embrace Trump’s lies or try to avoid dealing with them, Pence came out and spoke simple truth. We’ll take it.

Then we have Sens. Joe Manchin and Lisa Murkowski. The two appeared on a Sunday morning talk show the other day to talk about bipartisanship, and to announce that they were endorsing one another for reelection. Now, exactly what the Alaska Republican Murkowski and the West Virginia Democrat Manchin get out of endorsing one another isn’t all that clear. I doubt that voters in either state care much about what some senator from 2000 miles away thinks. Still, it’s an important statement to the political world in general, especially for Murkowski who has crossed party lines to vote for Trump’s impeachment among other things, and who now faces a primary challenge from a Trump acolyte.

Next we have Republican State Sen. Howard Marklein, the only Republican to vote against an ill-considered GOP bill to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in Wisconsin’s public schools. We’re concerned about CRT too, but we agree with Marklein that curriculum questions should be handled by local school boards. In any event, this is a red meat issue for Republicans and so the easy thing for Marklein would have been to just keep quiet and go along. He didn’t and so he deserves praise for doing the right thing.

From Idaho we have that state’s long-time Republican Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. He was one of only a few Republican AG’s who refused to weigh in on the side of an outrageous suite brought by Ken Paxton, the Texas AG, to disqualify the electoral votes of three states, including Wisconsin, that went for Biden. He says, with evidence to back up his claim, that he has, “a 20-year record of calling balls and strikes fairly,” which is exactly what every AG should do. Like Murkowski, he’s now being challenged in a primary by a Trump sycophant.

Madison Ald. Syed Abbas

At the local level, Madison City Council President Syed Abbas has introduced a resolution to accept federal money to hire six new police officers next year. That may not seem like a big deal, but this is Madison where a substantial part of the electorate actually thinks it would be a good idea to defund the police. “That whole thing about ‘defund, defund,’ that’s not going to help anyone here,” he said.

Finally, let’s give a shout out to a former pol, local conservative blogger and card-carrying Republican David Blaska. He of the stately manor blasted the National Republican Committee for censuring Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger by name… and doing so on a voice vote. “If the Wisconsin GOP has become the party of conspiracy, recrimination, and Trump, say so. If our RNC members bucked the insurrectionists, stand tall like Mike Pence,” writes Blaska.

One thing we respect here at YSDA is any politician or pundit who will stand up and tell their own side that they’re wrong. And a good test of a politician’s sincerity is his willingness to do things that are not in his own best political interests. All of these pols have done things that may anger their own supporters. Good for them.

Welcome to the 356th 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.

One thought on “In Praise of Pols

  1. An now you can add Mitch McConnell who rebuked RNC’s censure of the two Republicans lawmakers Cheney and Kinzinger. Finally!

    ‘It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next,’ McConnell said Tuesday.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: