EDITORIAL: More conciliatory tone is welcome - Beloit Daily News: Opinion

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EDITORIAL: More conciliatory tone is welcome

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Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 4:00 pm

Business climate would benefit from truce in partisan war.


THERE ARE TWO WAYS of interpreting remarks made by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, reported statewide by the Associated Press.

One, in the wake of a bitter year of recalls and the November gains nationwide by Democrats, the governor has reassessed his style of governing and his ideological foundation and concluded a more collaborative climate is what the people want.

Or, two, faced with re-election in 2014 and harboring ambitions beyond Wisconsin’s borders thereafter he has concluded that unbridled ideological confrontation could prove hazardous to his political health, so he’ll at least try to appear more accommodating.


WALKER TOLD THE Madison newspaper he intends to pursue a less confrontational agenda going forward, primarily pinned to issues directly related to job creation and economic growth.

“We’re not going to do things that are going to bring 80,000 or 100,000 people into the Capitol. It’s just not going to happen again,” Walker said.

That’s a good thing, assuming it’s true.

Walker will have an early test, on the mining issue. During the short time Democrats controlled the Senate a special mining committee was headed by Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville. That committee came up with good information and good ideas in pursuit of a bipartisan deal, knowing full well Republicans would recapture the Senate in November. What happens now will be a clear indicator of Walker’s sincerity. If mining legislation moves in a collaborative bipartisan fashion, believe him; if not, skepticism is in order.


IF THERE’S one thing investors dislike, it’s uncertainty. The battles in Madison, followed by recall after recall, resulted in a tumultuous political environment that could not help spilling over into the economic climate.

That may help explain why some changes Walker initiated improved the state’s business image substantially, but did not result in anything close to robust job creation. Image does not necessarily lead to investment in the midst of a roiling storm.

So Walker’s promise of creating 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term appears thoroughly beyond reach. In fact, his own administration now says he’ll be lucky to get half-way there.


OBVIOUSLY, THAT’S NOT the kind of ammunition Walker would prefer to hand an opponent going into a re-election campaign. Toning down the ideology and governing with a more moderate hand could calm the waters, ease jitters and encourage growth.

It also would square better with the mood of citizens. Elsewhere on this page readers will find a commentary by AP’s National Political Editor Liz Sidoti, citing evidence of just how frustrated citizens are with the ideological extremes of America’s political class. Politicians court the center as elections near, then immediately peel off to the left and right wings when the ballots have been counted — an obvious form of bait-and-switch. Polls show 3 of 4 respondents want both sides to work together to forge solutions, and sink into cynical despair over the ideologues’ refusal to do so.

If Walker does have his long-range vision focused on a national horizon, broadening his appeal with moderate swing voters would not be a mistake.


TO GET THERE he’ll have to actively discourage a few of the fierce partisan warriors in the Republican-controlled legislature, who already are showing the will to push the ideological edges while they still control all levers of power. Since the election a number of them have floated all kinds of ideological trial balloons — killing the independent Government Accountability Board; changing recall rules; ending same-day voter registration; passing right-to-work; changing the electoral vote count; targeting immigration issues; tighter pro-life restrictions; and more — one even picked a silly fight over Kwanzaa observances, for heaven’s sake.

That’s not to say all these ideas are without merit. And some fall right into the governor’s ideological wheelhouse.

But Wisconsin needs a period of political peace to encourage investors to stop sitting on their wallets.

We applaud the governor for indicating an intent to throttle back the partisan steamroller and refocus the machinery of state government on economic issues. An improving job picture will do more for Wisconsin citizens — and Walker’s ambitions — than anything the partisan warriors could produce.

All that begs the question, of course, about what citizens might get from a re-elected Scott Walker.

But that topic’s for another day.

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  • billtinder posted at 8:50 am on Sun, Jan 20, 2013.

    billtinder Posts: 4908

    Wow, sounds like something out of the Obama playbook.
    Soooo, What's your point?

  • Delavan Mike posted at 3:24 pm on Sat, Jan 19, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    Getting back to the editorial, it is nice the governor is promising to play nice now that he has accomplished the most controversial parts of his agenda. He does have an election to prepare for. Of course once the election is over (IF he wins) he will probably try to ram through more radically conservative legislation without fear of another recall.

  • Delavan Mike posted at 8:38 pm on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295


  • billtinder posted at 4:05 pm on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    billtinder Posts: 4908

    Yeah, I'm looking forward to that! Or you can continue to entertain with more ridiculous spin![rolleyes]

  • Delavan Mike posted at 10:56 am on Wed, Jan 16, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    Not sure what bill means. I say things that are against his opinions but make a lot of sense? Okay. I can live with that. We can't agree all the time, but as long as I make sense all is well.[beam]

  • billtinder posted at 1:33 pm on Mon, Jan 14, 2013.

    billtinder Posts: 4908

    Blah-de-Blah's last line to Delavan:

    You never know when you'll hear something that although is against your opinions actually makes a lot of sense.

    Heh, Heh Heh;

    Yeah, he gets that a lot! [whistling][rolleyes][innocent]

  • Blah-de-Blah posted at 10:17 pm on Sun, Jan 13, 2013.

    Blah-de-Blah Posts: 140

    It is evident that there are major flaws in campaign financing. I will admit that the Hendricks donation in this past election was extremely large, even large enough to the point where it hurt Republicans more than helped them. I do know that because the recall election was a special election, the normal campaign rules did not apply. On the other side, however, $70 million to one party along with millions more is a bit excessive. I do agree though that there needs to be reform with terms and campaign finance.

    Delavan, it is for the very reason that you stated that I am civil with all. Republicans and Democrats, even a hardcore liberal and a staunch conservative share the same ideology that they want what they think is best for America. I have my own beliefs, but even those that I hang onto tightly I keep an open mind to outside knowledge and opinions. You never know when you'll hear something that although is against your opinions actually makes a lot of sense.

  • Delavan Mike posted at 7:56 pm on Sun, Jan 13, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    Actually, bill, I'm not shocked at all you agree with me on this one. We do have some common ground from time to time. I wish when our ground was not so common we could debate more civilly than we have a history of doing (and I'll take my fair share of the blame for that), but we do share some common ground.

    It seems many people favor campaign finance reform and yet it doesn't get done. I won't pretend to not know why. The career politicians like things just the way they are. That gets us back to the discussion about term limits. Oh, we could round and round, couldn't we? What comes first, term limits or campaign finance reform? Unfortunately neither.

  • billtinder posted at 12:41 pm on Sun, Jan 13, 2013.

    billtinder Posts: 4908

    I agree with Mike here, in the point that he makes concerning freedom of speech. We all have it, but the simple fact remains that big donations speak so loud that smaller ones aren't even heard. Only meaningful campaign finance reform can ever hope to level out the playing field so that all Americans can be fairly represented.

    OK Mike show me your shock face![ohmy]

  • Delavan Mike posted at 11:24 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    Walker received donations in excess of $10,000 from 21 different donors and 16 of them ($800,000 worth) were from out of state and including some for as much as $250,000, $205,000, and $100,000. Walker received donations of $1,000 or more from 686 donors compared to 71 contributions of $1,000 or more to the two groups opposed to Walker.

    Both parties are guilty of excessive or questionable spending. That is why I favor meaningful campaign finance reform.

  • Delavan Mike posted at 11:15 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Delavan Mike Posts: 1295

    I also enjoy your posts, Blah. You express opinions in a respectful manner and genuinely seem interested in having meaningful debate without belittling whoever you are debating with.

    While I will not dispute Democrats have wealthy contributors, I would like to share some of my own numbers from the recall election. As of January, 2012, nearly half of the $5.1 million raised by Walker to fight the recall came from out of state as opposed to just 8% of what he raised to get elected originally even though that race was highly contested and included a primary. In the same time Walker raised $5.1 million the Democrats raised $1.2 million, almost half of which also came from out of state. So both sides brought in out of state money but Walker brought in much more.

    According to Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, it was unusual for one candidate to raise as much money as Walker raised or that so much of it came from out of state. He even said the amount Walker raised was the most ever in the history of the state. According to the records, Walker raised twice as much as the main groups who launched the recall against him, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the United Wisconsin Pac. And neither of those groups came close to matching Walker's contributions from big-money contributors. The largest single contributor to the Democratic Party was $15,000, the largest single contributor to United Wisconsin was for $4,250 and that was an in-kind donation for web-site design. the largest monetary contribution was for $1,172.

  • Blah-de-Blah posted at 12:03 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Blah-de-Blah Posts: 140

    Thank you very much bill, that means a lot to hear. I started posting not only in the hopes that my thoughts and opinions would have an impact on others, but to also in the hopes that the thoughts and opinions of others could have an impact on me. I must say, your thoughts and opinions have definitely had an impact on me bill, and I thank you for that [smile]

  • billtinder posted at 11:13 am on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    billtinder Posts: 4908

    Blah-de- blah:
    I'm glad you started posting on this site, your comments are very informative![smile]

  • Blah-de-Blah posted at 10:21 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Blah-de-Blah Posts: 140

    I think people here are failing to see where the money is in politics.

    Did you know that 8 of the ten richest members of Congress are Democrats, with number one being John Kerry? After that, did you know that a majority of the 50 richest members of Congress are Democrats? Let's not forget that it was not Romney who broke a campaign finance record, but actually Obama who did so in this past election.

    Cynical, do you recognize names like Fred Eychaner? You should, considering they are some big name Democratic contributers in Wisconsin. Let's also not forget the unions that donated hundreds of thousands more than these guys to try and oust Republicans. Also, did you know that Democrats had been outspending Republicans in Wisconsin elections from 2005 to 2011? Furthermore, did you know that the Koch brothers rank only 75th for the top 100 campaign donors? The Koch brothers have also donated to Democratic campaigns while the top campaign donor has donated 99% of their $70 million to Democrats. Did you also know that 8 of the 10 highest donors donate a majority of their money to Democratic campaigns?

    The long running argument that Republicans are filthy rich has no basis. Sure, they get big contributions, but the really big contributions are few. The real money does not lie in the Republican party. It lies in the very party that advocates that they fight against the rich when in fact they are just getting richer themselves. The Democratic party is using stereotypes to its advantage. I wish the truth like this can get out to the public more often.

  • cynicaleye posted at 4:18 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    cynicaleye Posts: 636

    froglip: You have the right! He also cares about big money (Koch Brothers, Diane hendricks) which will help him in his reelection bid.

  • froglip posted at 2:18 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    froglip Posts: 113

    Walker only cares about getting reelected, not the citizens he is supposed to be representing.


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