Blaska and Me

Conservative commentator David Blaska and I have one thing in common in addition to a first name. We don’t mind angering our friends.

Blaska wrote an oped this morning in the Wisconsin State Journal explaining why he’ll never vote for Donald Trump again. His argument was strategic more than anything: Trump is a loser who will drag down the party with him. But he also didn’t go easy on Trump for his part in the insurrection, being a sore loser and his myriad self-inflicted legal troubles.

“One can question the civil court decision finding the man liable for sexual assault and defamation. (I do.),” Blaska wrote. “But no one says this sure doesn’t sound like the Trump we all know. How many criminal indictments loom on the horizon? Do you really want your child to grow up to be like this president?”

Blaska’s criticism of Trump, which isn’t new, has earned him the enmity of his tribe. He has cultivated a mostly hard-right following that cheers him for saying out loud the politically incorrect things they’re thinking or saying only to their closest friends. But the downside of that is that it’s also a readership and a clan that doesn’t tolerate dissent from the party line. It doesn’t take much courage to preach to the choir, but it does take some guts to tell them that they’re singing off key.

What we do here at YSDA is a little different. By now I’ve probably chased off most of the hard-left tribe. If you’re an orthodox liberal you’re off reading John Nichols. Blaska is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative Republican who now and then speaks truth to the true believers. I’m a sometimes liberal, more often moderate Democrat apostate who doesn’t go more than a day or two without writing something heretical. Just in the last couple of weeks I’ve written in favor of keeping the Line 5 oil and natural gas line in place and in support of Speaker Robin Vos’ criticism of the UW’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. On the other hand, I’ve often written in favor of more gun control and I’ve mused over whether liberal Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson might make a good governor.

So, in a way, I have less at stake than Blaska. Because I don’t have a lot of strong ideologues in my readership to begin with I actually have less to lose by writing things that might be offensive to one group or another. It’s hard for me to offend people who don’t read my stuff. And, since I don’t count on this to make my living and since I have no remaining political ambitions, I feel free to write whatever I want. If you don’t like what I wrote this morning, well, I’m like the Wisconsin weather. Wait a day.

I had a reader take me aside the other day to make the point that I could be more influential as a voice of moderation if I wasn’t so much like Blaska. His perspective was valuable. I hadn’t given that much thought mostly because I don’t think I am much like David. He’s an unapologetic partisan and he writes with a lot more bite and panache. His website features a picture with his face pasted in over Prince William on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. You’ve got to appreciate a guy who doesn’t take himself all that seriously.

Blaska is pictured sixth from left.

In any event, what I respect in a writer — whether I agree with him or not — is someone who’s willing to write what he thinks and doesn’t give a damn about how his readers or anyone else will respond. In that, yeah, I think Blaska and I have something in common.


Published by dave cieslewicz

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

4 thoughts on “Blaska and Me

  1. My hubby and I love your blog…we religiously read it (not to be confused with religion) and talk about it at some point during the day (usually over our evening cocktail). Ninety percent of the time we both agree with you and, when we don’t, we have a good conversation about our respective views. I do have one question/thought that I’ve brought up from time to time with Loren and friends and wonder what you think…I theorize that Paul Ryan is going to be the dark horse candidate for the GOP. He is young (at least younger than any of the other candidates); not extremist crazy (at least I don’t think he is); fiscally conservative (not in the MTG way); comes from a must win state; appears to be a “good family man” (doesn’t call his wife “mother”); doesn’t have skeletons (that we know about) and has the respect of moderate Republicans who can’t stand Trump (bat shit crazy) and DeSantis (same BSC). IMHO, I think he could win (not that I want him to) if he ran against Biden (who I really think is doing a good job as president and we shouldn’t hold age against him). BTW, I can’t imagine I am the only person who thinks this about Ryan…That’s my two cents for the day. Thanks for listening. Be well and keep on writing…Salli Martyniak Sent from my U.S.Cellular© Smartphone


    1. Thanks, Salli. Great to hear from you and thanks for reading. I agree Ryan would be a good third party candidate, but I doubt he’d do it. Like Tommy he’s a dyed-in-the-wool party guy.


  2. I read you both. I enjoy different perspectives and you and David have differing opinions, but many similarities. These blogs are the type of discourse in thought needed for people to know they’re not alone.


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