Wineke: Wisconsin is the nation’s laughingstock

Tougher penalties for carjacking up for Senate vote

MADISON, Wis. — Ten years ago the voters of Wisconsin in their infinite wisdom decided to elect Scott Walker as governor and to put in power a Republican assembly and senate.

At the time, it didn’t seem catastrophic. We had recently been governed by Republicans like Tommy Thompson who had good relations throughout the state and who actually seemed to care about improving the lives of its citizens.

It didn’t seem catastrophic, but it was. Now, we’re seeing the result of 10 years of misrule in an election that demonstrates to the world that we deserve contempt.

How, in heaven’s name, can we call an election in which the city of Milwaukee has a total of five polling places in operation anything other than a joke?

We won’t know for a week or more who was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. But, honestly, what difference does it make? Whomever the “winner” is, he or she will have no real credibility.

Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald can prance around reveling in their latest triumph in emasculating the administration of Governor Tony Evers but the people of Wisconsin, Republican and Democrat alike will pay the price.

I take no joy in saying this. Back when I was a newspaper columnist I once wrote that Tommy Thompson was the politician I most respected, even though I disagreed with him on most issues. That’s because I always thought his heart was in the right place, that he was proud to be from Wisconsin and he made me feel proud to be from Wisconsin.

Tommy and I were college classmates and we are both old men now. I have no idea what his personal feelings are. But I can’t believe he is proud of what 10 years of Republican rule have accomplished in the state we both love.

Our roads are crumbling, our schools are demoralized, our farmers are going broke and Ron Johnson is the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Oh, and we also as a state agreed to give Foxconn a $4 billion subsidy to build a plant near Racine that President Trump promised would become the “eighth wonder of the world.” Of course, Trump once also used that phrase to describe a casino he built in Atlantic City. We won’t have to cough up the entire $4 billion, but we won’t get the factory, either.

But the actions of Vos and Fitzgerald to make a mockery of Tuesday’s election just takes the cake.

By this point, I expect many who read this to issue objections damning Democrats, too. I don’t want to hear them. Spit in your own wind.

I don’t expect politicians to be statesmen but I do expect them to every once in a while put the lives of our citizens ahead of their petty power quests.

But I guess that’s too much to expect.