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 […]

Mark Pocan’s Smoke Screen: His pieties about protecting middle class families are a cover for hiking taxes on the poor

On June 15, Mark Pocan was on a roll. He stood on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly delivering a sarcastic stem-winder, criticizing the new state budget so dramatically that it sounded as if he were auditioning for a community theater production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Pocan, who seems destined to inherit […]

Tough Noogies: What’s the big deal that Scott Walker didn’t campaign on curbing union power?

On the day before Gov. Scott Walker introduced his plan to restrict public-sector collective bargaining, he met with Democratic legislative leaders to brief them on the details. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca expressed disbelief, complaining to Walker that he hadn’t mentioned the plan at all during the gubernatorial campaign. This meme has become the primary […]

What the Supreme Court Election Means for School Funding in Wisconsin

On April 5th, Wisconsin will choose a new Supreme Court justice. While elections to the Court are normally nonpartisan affairs, this election is drenched in political bickering between Republicans, Democrats, and public employee unions. Public union supporters argue that if incumbent conservative Justice David Prosser is defeated by liberal challenger Joanne Kloppenburg, the Court would then […]