Down with Hesselbein!

Rep. Dianne Hesselbein is a career Democrat who leveraged a stint on the Middleton-Cross Plains School Board and three terms on the Dane County Board of Supervisors into an unopposed Assembly Seat in 2012, now representing Middleton in the 79th District. She’s no dummy, boasting a Master’s in religious studies from Edgewood College. Her husband is a retired member of the National Guard who is now an airline parent. Together, they’re raising their three kids.

She believes in All-American values, representing the kind of philosophy that makes this country great and that both sides of the aisle just gosh darnit have to work together to achieve. In a campaign editorial in July 2012, she explains:

In the Legislature, I’ll stand up for our shared values: investing in education to train tomorrow’s workers, create jobs and get our economy moving; ensuring access to health care; protecting our environment; closing tax loopholes; and making government work for all.

Late last year, she paid a $200 fine to the Government Accountability Board for misallocating state resources for political activity. Right Wisconsin reports:

The Government Accountability Board cited and fined a freshman Democratic lawmaker last September for using state resources to support a political initiative. Rep. Dianne Hesselbein of Middleton sent out a press release in mid-March of 2013 urging constituents and Dane County residents to vote in favor of a non-binding ballot referendum supporting same-day voter registration.

According to the GAB’s settlement with Hesselbein, by issuing a press release three weeks before the April 2013 election urging voters to “vote Yes” on a ballot referendum, Hesselbein used state resources for a political purpose. The release, because of its specific wording, was a “political communication” that was created using “legislative resources in drafting and posting.”

Her transgression is trifling, and by all accounts she’s probably a very pleasant, hard-working human being, excepting her rabid pro-choice anti-gun agenda.

But she’s a Democrat, she screwed up, and Republicans need to start making federal cases over small slip-ups like these. If there were a pitbull spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, a corresponding statement would read something like this:

With her admission last year of using state resources to influence partisan political activity, Dianne Hesselbein contributes to a long list of serious ethical transgressions made by Democrats while in office. By simply paying a small fee, Hesselbein continues a pattern in which Democrats view themselves above the law — and their constituents.

No more. Enough is enough. How many more times will she flaunt the laws that apply to the rest of us? Dianne Hesselbein must resign from the Assembly. Whether it be using taxpayer resources for illegal political activities, Rep. Hesselbein has shown time and again that she does not believe the rules apply to her. A lawmaker must follow the law. Accordingly, Representative Hesselbein should resign.

If nothing else, distract from the reality and impel a recall.

One of the biggest functional problems with Republicans going into the crevasse of dirty politics is their inherent disposition to spend time contributing to society — working at jobs, spending time with family, hosing down hippies. Meanwhile, Democrats have made an industry out of smear politics that actually work. This exact strategy helped see the ouster of Sen. Dan Kapanke in 2011.

Worse, in reverse, any attacks on Ms. Hesselbein would rebound into accusations of misogyny and bigotry.

Republicans must not empower those accusations, and they must aggressively make a point of destroying the Democrat establishment from the bottom up.

The RPW has been phenomenal on messaging against Mary Burke, but it only appears to reach Republicans. It’s practically impossible to spin any pro-Scott Walker or anti-Burke narrative into a mainstream media cycle. It’s likely the average State Desk reporter has setup filters to not just redirect RPW press releases to the junk box, but once a day print them out directly into a paper shredder.

The Party Establishment and its elected officials can’t be the only ones on the rhetorical battlefield. Honest conservatives spend enough time attacking the party, ultimately to the movement’s own detriment. If this same derision were channeled into ousting Democrats, even those who don’t deserve to go — in between working and family time and volunteering at the gun range — the conservative cause might have a chance of long-term survival. All four of you reading this: Get signatures, write letters to the editor, call a local reporter and bring Hesselbein down!

The alternative is letting Democrats win victories over great men like Mr. Kapanke, and afterward looking down at your feet and asking Aw shucks, how did this happen?

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

    This might be the lamest argument I have ever read about attack politics. If this is all you guys have…give it up.