We need boring state government

We need boring state government
John Roach

Our hour of deliverance is at hand.


After ranking at the top of “States With The Most Political Drama” for the last four years, voters will go to the polls this month to declare our verdict.

Personally, I don’t think state government should be a Drama Queen. In fact, state government should be boring. Really boring.

It should quietly and efficiently go about the business of providing citizens the services for which we pay with our hard-earned tax dollars.

Like plowing snow.

Or picking up dead deer along the highway.

Or calling an emergency when we have a tornado that blows down a few Burr oaks.

The rancor of the last four years makes one long for the days when we didn’t even know, and didn’t care, who our assembly-human, state senator or governor was. And the only time they made the news was when they were ticketed for drunk driving, dressing like Elvis or being pinched in a massage parlor bust.

In fact, I usually only paid attention to the governor when he made a cheese bet with some other governor on the West Coast over the Rose Bowl. (This is clearly a duty that won’t fall to our governor this year, no matter the election outcome.)

But for the love of all that’s holy, can we get Wisconsin back to being boring again?

Can’t we just be the fun-loving cheeseheads whose most dramatic act is jumping around in Madison, or going shirtless at Lambeau in ten-degree temperatures for the national cameras?

Can’t we please just slip back to being about quiet lakes, supper clubs, fish fries, farmers’ markets and beer?

Because this political drama has become very, very old.

Ever since Scott Walker and the Legislature passed Act 10, our state has been a great big, fat, mean, ugly, dysfunctional family. When the drama began, this intrepid columnist described it as a movie with no heroes. That opinion hasn’t changed.

Walker passed ACT 10 with precious little explanation to citizens or state workers. He simply did it because he could. And it served his party well. Then the Dems did something equally stupid. They fled the state and damaged their brand in inconceivable ways, and showed a fealty to the public unions they never seemed to show for the rest of us.

Likewise, the unions acted as if they were the victims of the most incredible historical injustice ever perpetrated on white, college-educated people with protected jobs, benefits and pensions … when in fact their condition was nothing compared to the hardship of the truly poor, unemployed and uninsured of the private sector. Not that it stopped them from warbling in the rotunda ad nauseum. It was as if they had been waiting all their lives to be victims.

But Scott Walker cannot dodge the blame he has earned. History shows us that the best policy for a victor is to reach out a noble hand to the vanquished.

Lincoln did it with the Reconstruction Act.

Harry Truman did it with the Marshall Plan.

What did Scott do? He wrote Unintimidated.

Scott brought chaos to the state and then, instead of becoming everyone’s governor and smoothing things out, he parlayed said chaos into his own personal play for the national stage. And he hadn’t even been our governor for two years.

Bad form, Scott. Not the Wisconsin Way.

And there were other mistakes, too. You don’t fail to deliver on your jobs promise and then, when the campaign begins, rip Mary Burke’s Trek bikes for offshore production when every businessperson knows it’s the only way for some American companies to remain competitive.

And Scott … as a personal beef from someone who has commuted from Madison to Milwaukee and Chicago for over thirty years to keep my little Madison shop open, you goofed on the train, too. How could Madison and Milwaukee not benefit from being linked to Chicago and The Cities in a new, smarter way? They are the two most vibrant economies in the region! Not to mention it might have helped with your jobs promise. And kept some of us from being stuck near Beloit during the first snowfall of the year so long we have to pee in the median.

So we are now left with Scott or Mary.

We have had four years to get to know Scott. Certainly enough time to draw some conclusions.

As for Mary Burke, she’s an untested Dem moderate.

Moderates can be boring.

But right now, boring sounds great.

Madison-based television producer John Roach writes this column monthly. Reach him at johneroach@mac.com.

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