How a Bill Does Not Become a Law: An activist Dane County court has brashly upended the rules of lawmaking

Every two years, the Wisconsin Assembly issues an activity book for schoolchildren. The book includes a cartoon called “How a Bill Becomes a Law,” which details the happy life of an ebullient piece of legislation named Bill. Bill leads a simple life — all he wants to do is one day earn the governor’s signature […]

Que Pasa Republicano? To win again, the GOP needs to appeal to Hispanics

Following the 2012 presidential election, pundits of all stripes began appealing to retroactive prescience to explain what cost Mitt Romney the presidency. Whatever their pet issue, it suddenly became the reason Romney blew it — the Republican “war on women,” climate change denial, etc. Members of the Star Wars fan club thought Romneygot hammered because […]

Political Misdirection: Candidates sometimes reveal more about themselves than they’d like

An old Democratic campaign manager once revealed to me the key to successful public relations: “The more liberal your candidate, the bigger the American flag has to be on his bumper.” It’s a simple illustration of how candidates are free to write their own narrative, no matter the facts. As George Armstrong Custer once said, […]

Wisconsin Unions are No Stranger to Presidential Politics

Last Tuesday night, shortly before Tom Barrett strode to the stage to accept his party’s nomination to take on Scott Walker in Wisconsin’s June recall election, Barrett received a big atta-boy from the White House. In a statement, President Obama announced he was “proud to stand with Tom Barrett,” because the Milwaukee mayor would “move Wisconsin […]

Some Thoughts on the May Marquette Poll

Yesterday, Marquette Law School issued their monthly poll of Wisconsin politics; the closer the state gets to the recall election on June 5, the more weight these polls carry.  The poll showed Governor Scott Walker and potential Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in essentially a dead heat – when “likely voters” were asked who they would […]

The Real History of the Recall

Yesterday, when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted my op-ed describing the history surrounding enactment of the Wisconsin recall, I expected the usual suspects to flood the comment thread.  The process usually goes something like this: I spend weeks swimming in microfilm and documents at the State Historical Society in order to produce a fact-based report.  […]