Burke Unleashed

The Walker administration has taken a different approach. Rejecting hundreds of millions of our own federal tax dollars means our money goes to cover health care in other states, and leaves us paying more as a state to cover fewer hard working Wisconsinites. It’s an example of what happens when you put politics ahead of progress. And it’s just wrong.

-Mary Burke, The Issues, BurkeforWisconsin.com

Mary Burke, powered by the wisdom of Obama ’12 operatives, launched a refreshed website this week with a relatively extensive issues platform. It’s digestible, straightforward, and practically verbatim out of The Democrats’ Guide on What to Stand For. (Fun side note: in first looking to review this dogma, I instinctually went to MaryBurke.com, which I forgot was an RPW takedown site against Ms. Burke. Ha!)

It also creaks under the weight of a typical liberal narrative, and the unfortunate hypocrisy expected from a candidate trying to take down Gov. Scott Walker whose battlecry is to get Wisconsin “going again.”

Wisconsin is already going. At best, Ms. Burke’s campaign will be one of social issues that have the ugly habit of influencing economic policy. In order for her to win, politics must be paramount to progress in every scenario.

On Jobs

Mary’s priority is ensuring the state has an effective, efficient and accountable public sector because in her experience, great people are the key to every successful organization. Ensuring that workers feel respected and have a voice in the process is a big part of attracting and retaining a qualified work force.

The differences from the reforms that busted public sector unions’ capacity for collective bargaining are aesthetically minimal and have reversed the tremendous economic impact on the state’s economy. Ms. Burke notes she would have been firm but fair in the proceedings, a backhanded slap at Mr. Walker’s apparently despotic leadership style that caused Democrat legislators to flee the state. What is fair is paying a market rate for services used; any subsidy beyond that is extra — and with marginal contributions even after the reforms, there is little to be upset about, especially as their implementation has not brought Wisconsin to its collective knees.

On Education

Mary strongly opposed the statewide expansion of vouchers—as governor, she’ll work to stop any further expansion, and ensure that all private schools taking public dollars have real accountability measures in place.

Private schools operating outside the government’s supervision will be monitored harshly, but it takes little imagination to consider a scenario in which Ms. Burke would enable tenure and years-served to protect underperforming public school teachers. Vouchers enable choice, which invariably enable competition, which will spur growth. Liberals like Ms. Burke say nice sounding things like “Education has always offered a way up–to a good job and a better life. It’s the fabric of our communities, and it’s the key to a strong economy in the long term,” but this always means, “The government will pay for your four-year degree in Economics at a state school, but not once will you read the name Adam Smith in a textbook.”

To successfully leverage secondary and higher education as a mechanism for economic growth, it would be wise to emphasize trade jobs and the development of agriculture skills, fields which would help Wisconsin thrive. After all, both are represented on the state’s flag.

On Health Care

Mary Burke believes that finding smart, fiscally responsible ways to make sure families can get the health coverage they need is more than a policy imperative: it’s a moral obligation.

Read that carefully, heartless mouth-breathers: If you don’t believe you’re responsible for someone else’s health care, you’re morally void.

Here, I refuse to wade into the tedious policy minutiae of government oversight and management of health care, because Ms. Burke and I have fundamentally opposite understandings of it. For her, it is a philosophical and moral debate. For me, it’s one of economics and political realities. Just as I believe collective bargaining is inherently not a right, neither is access to health care. It’s a creation of the modern state, and certainly a benefit of a great job or caring family. But health care is neither a right for those who do not have it, nor a moral obligation for the state to provide it.

Fiscal Responsibility

Her focus: put Wisconsin back on sound financial footing by making responsible decisions about spending while protecting the things that make the economy grow, like good schools, affordable health care and sound infrastructure.

This ties everything together, and misses the mark completely. For a Democrat like Ms. Burke, any seeds planted by the government will yield a robust crop: State-funded schools (read: “good schools”), Badgercare subsidies (read: “affordable health care”), and spending on useless high-speed rail (read: “sound infrastructure”) are all recipes to make one delicious economy. But this isn’t inherently true. These miss the important elements of incentives and individual choice, the real factors that have been behind any robust economy this side of the nineteenth century.

Individual Freedoms
Check out the entire entry.

Ms. Burke’s implied initiatives: stand in the way of any voter ID laws and repeal the 2006 gay marriage ban.

Here she’s backpedaling completely on her philosophy of progress before politics. Voter ID requirements are common sense policy. To err from it only comes from a duty to toe the party line on the matter.

In fairness, she does address redistricting policy that would take partisanship out of the entire process — a policy that is worth reviewing.

Natural Resources

That’s why Mary opposes the GTAC mine – the approach the Governor, legislature and industry took didn’t balance protection of our natural resources and public health with the need for job creation.

When a liberal decries industry’s impact on public health, it’s going to be grossly overblown.

Ms. Burke urges to get Wisconsin going again, but by no means of practicality. Her platform is one pulled from a long line and heritage of Democrat talking points. And it will do nothing to impel progress in the state of Wisconsin.

Quote of the Day

“Clinton’s attempt to socialize healthcare was the second most disgusting thing he did in the oval office. I can’t remember was the first thing was.”

-Ann Coulter

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About the writer: Nik Nelson is publisher of MorningMartini.com and Founder/CEO of OpenBox Strategies, where he connects political candidates and small businesses with excellent digital marketing tools and strategies.