February 22, 2011, - 3:47 pm

On Wisconsin: “Moscow on the Mendota” (TM)

By Debbie Schlussel

Many readers and friends have asked why I haven’t commented on the teacher riots of Wisconsin.  Make no mistake.  I’m 100% on the side of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.  I wish he was Governor of Wisconsin when I lived in Madison and was in grad school.  At that time, we had, instead, the embarrassingly vacant and squishy Tommy Thompson of Elroy as Governor.  Gov. Walker is everything Thompson wasn’t, and that’s a good thing.  He has guts and, ultimately, when the liberal Democrat cowards from the Wisconsin Legislature finally return (or are rounded up by state troopers), I believe he’ll ultimately prevail with the necessary cuts.

For nearly six years, I lived in Madison, Wisconsin–or as my late dad called it, “Moscow on the Mendota” (though he later said that was an insult to Moscow, which had become far more capitalistic and reasonable than Madison).  I practiced law there, as a then-member of the Wisconsin State Bar.  I’m not surprised that teachers are finding all kinds of human rabble to protest the proposed cuts with them.  But it’s Wisconsin.  While I love the people of the state–who in the more rural areas beyond State Street have more conservative values and elected the Paul Ryans and Sean Duffys–Wisconsin has always had a very populist tilt.  It’s not only the state that elected U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (who was vilified for pointing out the Communist threat from within), but also the state that elected former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-Pachouli and Phish).

When I went to school at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and later, the University of Wisconsin Business School, the legislator was Tammy Baldwin–the first openly lesbian legislator in the state.  She later became a Congresswoman.  At a ceremony prior to my law school graduation, uber-liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abramson told us “reality bites.”  Yup, that’s the “class” of Madison’s liberal elites–a bunch of leftist academics and transplants who don’t really reflect the far more conservative rest of the state and its native population.  So, I’m not surprised one iota about what’s happening there, now.

And, of course, again, I support Governor Walker.  The rest of Wisconsinites have been hit hard by the tough economy.  There is no reason any sector of the state–especially if it is subsidized by those hard-hit Wisconsinites–should have job security and benefits beyond the rest of the state’s (and the country’s) populations.

It’s just that so many other people have written about it, I’d rather not be an echo chamber of what you’ve already read a gazillion times.  This is the city, after all, which is nicknamed “Mad-town.”  For a reason.

Even Buckingham U. Badger (a/k/a “Bucky”) is embarrassed by them.

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24 Responses

Debbie is one of the very few people to acknowledge that Joe McCarthy was correct on the Communist threat…

Shootist on February 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm

If you have something to say, it is not overkill. Also, supporting those who are really stepping forward is entirely appropriate, even if there is some danger of being repetitive.

worry01 on February 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm

It’s pretty apparent that the Republicans in Washington, including the new ones, aren’t going to do diddleysquat to challenge the liberal agenda. The challenge seems to be coming from local Republicans. While the challenge to illegal immigration is, unfortunately, sputtering, the challenge to liberal unions (pardon the duplication) seems to be really taking off, and has the potential to be epochal.

The only way I can see for liberals to win is if they find some way to get the courts to do what they are not able to do legislatively, and I think they’d face a real challenge in succeeding there. While there are other areas I’d like to see conservatives move forward on, I’ll take what I can get, and this seems to be where it is right now.

I also agree with Debbie about Joe McCarthy. If he were around today, or if there was anyone in Washington remotely resembling him, they would investigate and prosecute all the anti-Americans presently in government.

Little Al on February 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Madison, Wis. home of my favorite author Peter Egan.

Anthony on February 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Scott Walker is the kind of guy who should be President… but isn’t. If he can’t end the public union stranglehold on Wisconsin that’s doomed states like California and New York, this country may be beyond saving.

The simple truth its not to much to ask public employees to set aside money for their retirement instead of sticking it to the taxpayers.

Its not a particularly radical reform and yet judging from the union uproar – it looks like the end of the world. That might be along with limits on collective bargaining.

In the end, the real reason for the protests is the political – the Democratic Party has become a public union subsidiary and no longer looks out for the state’s let alone the national interest.

This above all, isn’t a battle over the future of WI; its a battle over the future of America.

NormanF on February 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Thank you for speaking out on this, Debbie. However, I went to the rallies last Saturday and was very impressed at the civility of opponents toward each other. No arrests with a crowd of 70,000. It was an amazing experience. I am so proud of our governor. He is calm & collected — so rare for today’s politicians.

Paulette on February 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I’m originally from Wisconsin. I lived in Madison for a few years when I was a kid. I don’t really have an opinion on all this but it is interesting nonetheless.

Ghostwriter on February 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm

The heart of the struggle is not only collective bargaining, but also the dues checkoff. If the union has to collect dues for its members on its own, rather than have the state do it instead, it will dramatically weaken the union. How many members would voluntarily send in their dues each pay period?

Also the annual bargaining is important, since the taxpayers wouldn’t be locked into any long term agreements with the unions. The big strikes in the 30s that established the CIO were primarily to win collective bargaining. The wages and benefits came later. This is the heart of it. Significantly the press has been virtually silent over the issue of the dues checkoff. If public employee unions start losing dues checkoff the impact will be huge, and will quite likely affect liberal campaigns across the board. I don’t think this struggle and other like it can be overestimated.

Little Al on February 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    The Repubs also want to require an annual certification vote for the union to remain as representative for the public employees. The union would have to win the votes of the majority of the employees, NOT just a majority of the people voting. This goes against everything the unions want, which includes the card-check legislation, where the unions do away with the secret ballot. The unions know that if the employees they supposedly represent are able to vote secretly on an annual basis, the unions won’t be around for long.

    DG in GA on February 24, 2011 at 12:22 am

I’ve often jokingly referred to the state as “Wussconsin” due to some of the outrageous liberalism that goes up there. With elected officials fleeing, so that they won’t have to face defeat, maybe it’s not such a joke anymore.

CornCoLeo on February 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I remember Shirley Abrahamson’s comment. It was pretty surprising even for her. Lovely woman, but as liberal as Dennis Kucinich. No one can be surprised about the protests. But be assured Deb, that even though there are 30,000 people protesting at the Capitol, there are about a million of us Wisconsin taxpayers who are quietly going to work and saying “Thanks Scott!”

KayserSozay on February 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm

How about a fight song to the tune of “On Wisconsin”?:

On Scott Walker,
On Scott Walker,
Don’t put us to shame

Keep resisting,
Never cave in,
Keep us in the game

Finding you,
We hope will be,
Our greatest stroke of luck

But if you’re not successful
Then we’ll all – be – f###ed!

CornCoLeo on February 22, 2011 at 10:31 pm

CCL, I’m SMHL*…pretty funny stuff!

Scott Walker for President I say!
He does have a Reaganish look to him.
That’s a second plus, right?

Is anyone seriously going to run against nObama besides sHillary? I heard Donald Trump is thinking of running on the Republican’t ticket. Had some great talking points and all in his interview but I’m afraid we’d just get another Bloomberg.
Liberal “capitalists”….brrrrr, I shudder to think.

*shaking my head laughing, BTW

theShadow on February 23, 2011 at 12:21 am

I think Scott Walker would be a good candidate in 2016, not 2012. He’ll have 6 years of a record behind him (granted, it can cut both ways) and enough time to gain a national presense.

I’m glad someone is standing up to the concept of job tenure – something that nobody has, not even politicians. And it’s not like these people are even responsible – i’ve lost count of the number of times my kid’s school called to tell me the teacher ain’t in, so not to send him to school today. He should also pass an executive order cutting all legislatures salaries by half – let’s have fun watching them rally! ;-D

I’ve never understood why people assumed Moscow to be a communist city, when it rarely was. Even though it was where the Soviets moved the capital and housed the NKVD, KGB, Warsaw Pact, Comintern & a myriad of Communist organizations, the majority of people there weren’t Communists (unlike people in Soviet Central Asia, for instance) When Boris Yeltsin first came to prominence as an anti-Communist leader, it was as Mayor of Moscow that it happened. Moscow was indeed the epicenter of the revolt against Communism: unlike in the US, where the big cities – San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago et al are all bastions of Leftist support, Moscow has generally been a bastion of anti-Communist support. Your father’s correction was right in bigger ways than he probably realized.

Infidel Pride on February 23, 2011 at 3:07 am

The public union people protesting in Madison, WI does not represent all of Wisconsin.

Bobby on February 23, 2011 at 9:24 am

A disgusting example of politics at work. Walker exempts the police and fire unions who happened to support him from this proposal. There should be NO EXEMPTIONS. The police and fire make some of the highest salaries,and thus burden the state with large pension obligations.

Scott on February 23, 2011 at 10:02 am

Debbie. Joe McCarthy? That lying drunken demagogue? I guess if you throw enough mud against the wall some might stick.

Scott on February 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Scott, McCarthy may have been a lying drunken demogogue (isn’t that the definition of “politician, BTW?) but what Debbie was saying is that, when it came to the communists and their sympathizers infiltrating the United States government, McCarthy was right. And he was crucified for it by the media for decades.

    DG in GA on February 24, 2011 at 12:26 am

The problem is not that the Democratic Wisconsin State Senators have left the state – it’s that a some point, they will return.

Tanstaafl on February 23, 2011 at 10:24 am

You guys are such such SUCKERS! You should all feel stupid after listening to the transcript of the Walker/”Koch” brother call. Now you know that Walker works for the uber-rich Earth polluting brother instead of the Wiconsin people.

Lee in IL on February 23, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Give me a break, Lee. Did you read that on HuffPo or the Daily Kos? Did they tell you to post that whole Koch nonsense on conservative websites? You are so full of BS.

    Scott Walker is about as squeaky clean as they come, and always has been. I am a former resident of Wisconsin and am finally glad to see sober, honest, responsible Republican leadership in charge there. Frankly, Tommy Thompson was a drunken embarrassment.

    DG in GA on February 24, 2011 at 12:28 am

So, why can’t public employees be expected to fight for their union bargaining rights? Is it necessary for everyone in America to be paid Walmart wages with no benefits and no union? The unions there have even said they would give up concessions, which I disagree with. I disagree with concessions because it is never enough. They will constantly come back for more until you end up making less than flipping burgers at McDonalds.

RT on February 23, 2011 at 11:29 pm



Now I KNOW I want out of The People’s Republic of CT-Stan.

Bob Porrazzo on February 24, 2011 at 7:31 am

RT lives in a world where money grows from trees.

ari-free on February 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm

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