Dems Raise Money off, Mock Opioid and Homelessness Bills

Wisconsin Democrats are showing how desperate they are to raise money and find some way – any way – to bend over backwards to oppose commonsense GOP-championed legislation fighting scourges recognized on both sides of the aisle.

In a debate over bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid epidemic championed by Rep. John Nygren, Democrats used the opportunity to launch fundraising efforts advocating Medicaid expansion under Obamacare as the silver bullet to the problem, ostensibly portraying the GOP measures as somehow half-asked.

As if Democrats think signing up for BadgerCare will cause heroin addicts to see the light, quit the habit, and go frolic through the nearest dew covered meadow newly freed from the hell of addition. Really? Either Dems’ worship of bloated government programs is delusionally messianic, or they are using the issue to pander.

Forget that Medicaid actually produces worse outcomes for patients, saddles taxpayers with an increasing burden, and traps people in the quiet desperation of government dependency with a low, hard, government imposed ceiling on their economic potential. Also, just ignore the tangible benefits of and desperate need for Nygren’s legislation that no serious person would deny.

The very fact that there’s a debate over Nygren’s admirable and necessary HOPE legislation serves as a measurement of the depth of the morass of absurdity that Wisconsin’s Democrats have descended into. When Rep. Ron Kind and other liberal activist groups joined them in using the opportunity to demand Medicaid expansion, the sad stratagem became clear.

At the height of its severity, the crack cocaine epidemic killed 1.5 people per 100,000. By contrast, the opioid and heroin epidemic – the worst drug scourge in American history – kills between 10 and 30 people per 100,000. And the Democrats are using the issue to push a divisive, partisan political agenda that would do zilch to alleviate addiction.

They know there is a precisely zero percent probability that the Obamacare Medicaid expansion will happen under Walker and the Republicans – who have torched Democrats mercilessly at the polls for six straight years, all the while opposing Obamacare and refusing the Medicaid expansion. Knowing this, the Democrats’ ploy is clearly intended strictly to raise money.

It’s sickening, and it demonstrates the bottomless capacity of Democrats to exploit an opportunity, morality be damned. It also reveals the depth of desperation that their party is mired in. Their bench is thinner than Japanese Mulberry paper and, evidently, they need to lay in the ditch to collect whatever dollar bills might float by on the way to the sewer.

It doesn’t stop there. Amid debate over a similarly heralded effort to combat homelessness, Democrats denounced the measures as “appalling” and a merely “cosmetic solution.” I didn’t see in the LRB analysis that the GOP wanted to deliver makeup and lipstick to the needy. Again, the Democrats are trying to transmogrify a bipartisan plan into political hay.

This, by the way, was from the Democrat lawmaker who once proposed state government provide free tampons at all state buildings and parks. If that’s what passes for serious policy ideas for Wisconsin, the Democrats might as well give up on politics.

Without the money funnel that depended on forcing people into unions and stealing dues money of their pockets, apparently this is all Democrats have left. So devoid of values and intellectual consistency, it’s no wonder their party has struggled to survive (let alone compete!) on a level playing field.

State Rep. and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke took his frustration to Facebook:

To my liberal friends: Democrats in Madison are not serving you well. Two sad instances in the last week.

Last Tuesday we were in session debating broad bipartisan bills that addressed the opioid epidemic. During the debate, the Democrats hijacked the conversation to make political points while simultaneously sending out a fundraising email using that floor debate as a tool to raise the cash.

Now this week I, along with a few colleagues, introduced a package of bills aimed at combatting homelessness in WI. This package was developed in coordination with homeless advocates who called the initiatives “a huge step forward”. The response from state democrats? They called the dollars allocated and the reforms themselves “a cosmetic solution”

This is what your dollars, your volunteer hours, and your votes are getting you my friends.

Democrats are desperate, and will use any hook to galvanize their base. That, I suppose, is what politics can devolve into. Steineke’s message to liberals will fall on the deaf ears of a hyper partisan left-wing base, but that’s the very definition of a party in the bunker. To save its heart, the Democrat Party appears willing to amputate what’s left of its atrophied limbs.

These bills are thoroughly bipartisan, a fact hardcore liberals may not be aware of in the din of partisan hyperbole. They are serious efforts by a serious governing majority to address serious problems in the state of Wisconsin. Indeed, the opioid problem is as serious a problem as Wisconsin has faced. And to those in the grips of homelessness, there could be no more serious an issue than living under cellophane on a park bench.

To prove how un-serious they are, and how unfit they are to return to governing Wisconsin, Democrats have chosen these issues as a rallying cry to their most rabid supporters in the far-left bastions of the state in downtown Madison and Milwaukee.

As if to scream out to Wisconsin voters just how profoundly not serious their party is, Assembly Democrats actually played bingo as Gov. Walker gave his State of the State speech in January. Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling added the exclamation point when she said the Republicans “own this legislature” and the transportation funding debate was the GOP’s problem. We are paying these people a salary? 

It’s really quite sad.

At this rate, the Assembly Democrat caucus will have all the appeal to mainstream voters as a screeching vulture. Like the Senate Democrat caucus, perhaps in the near future the Assembly Dems will also be able to fit into a pair of minivans and flee for Illinois…for good.

But hey, they can always blame gerrymandering.

The Party of Yesterday

The leaders of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin have nothing new or valuable to offer voters in our state. They adhere to demonstrably unworkable dogmas, microwaved for a new and very different century.

Peter Barca, still hanging on as the leader of the Democrats’ cute little Assembly minority, and Jennifer Shilling, who elbowed out Chris Larson to take over the dwindling Democratic caucus in the Senate, have spent their careers peddling the same stale ideas copy-and-pasted out of the generations-old playbook of LBJ liberalism, a policy agenda which has failed so many times during the lives of anyone who is younger than 60 it’s being considered as the replacement for the photo of Charles Manson beside Merriam-Webster’s definition of insanity.

More funding is the answer to our myriad problems in education. Gun control will reduce crime. More taxes and spending will create jobs. The long tentacles of government can create long-term, meaningful social justice. There is no social quandary that’s not solvable by a new government initiative (and of course just a teeny weeny new tax). In the past decade Americans have once again remembered these top-down, technocratic “solutions” don’t really work for anyone except the power hungry statists in the halls of power in Madison and DC, both now islands of prosperity in a nation crippled by debt.

Likewise, thanks to a historically brief period in which Americans gave liberalism one more try under Obama and, in Wisconsin, under Jim Doyle, we have a renewed skepticism over the sparkly rhetoric sprinkled over reheated government-centric policies, a vernacular in which taxes become revenues, spending becomes investments, cronyism becomes targeted incentives, terrorism becomes man-made disasters, Twinkies are calorie-intensive sustenance items, common sense is “the stupidity of the electorate,” and in the specific case of President Obama, ours is mine, except when it comes to his administration, its policies, or its actions.

Shilling and Barca subscribe to this same paint-the-pig approach to policy in which talking point pablum obscures the rottenness of their ideas. But to those who are unaware of the Shilling/Barca dynamic duo’s policy prescriptions, their incomplete websites won’t be much help. Along with the DPW’s disappointingly lacking web presence they illustrate the vapidity of the state’s minority leaders.

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Shilling’s site

Shilling’s site hasn’t been updated since she won re-election in ’12. The last news item is her endorsement by the La Crosse Tribune. Likewise the “Sample Issue” and subsequent fill text on her “issues” page has never been replaced with actual ideas. Back then it was funny; now that she’s in leadership it’s just remarkable.

(Shilling in 2009 told a political science class at UW-La Crosse, when asked what her legislative priorities are, that “it’s hard to get anything done when you’re in the minority.” She’s the perfect leader for the Senate Dems.)

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Barca’s website

Barca’s site is even worse. Other than the sporadic actual sentence, the entire site is fill-text (we geeks call it “Lorem Ipsum”).

The one-term congressman from the ’90s is still trying to figure out Web 2.0, or he’s pulling a Garth Brooks and re-branding himself as Carl Smith, a stand-in candidate that also makes some guest appearances on the Barca site.

It’s not outrageous to think a representative should keep their websites up-to-date. It’s almost 2015 – in an age in which most voters get their information via searching the Interwebs with The Google, this is as basic an expectation as showing up to committee meetings. Hell, a senator could even update their website with a few selfies and thumbs-up from any Illinois motel.

To the Dynamic Duo’s credit, I guess, their rank-and-file don’t really care what their candidates stand for. They’ll support them as long as they’re not Scott Walker, not a Republican, or a trusty warrior in the Republican War on Women (is that still a thing?). Mary Burke’s CTL+C, CTL+V jobs plan is another example of how the Democrats like to use stencils to put on their makeup.

The Dems’ problem is their aversion to intellectual tension. In the GOP, moderates, old fashioned progressives, and the far-right all do battle, the Log Cabin plays tug of war with Family Action, and anti-eminent-domainers and conservationists push back against groups like The Chamber. Meanwhile the Democrats have exerted great energy to shut down the internal intellectual strafing that makes a party better able to argue its point to the electorate, and it has shut down the primary process that produces candidates that better represent their districts. The Democratic coalition might walk in lockstep, but so did the British Army circa 1776. And now the French are coming.

(I’m not sure who the French are in this analogy, but it sounded like a decent way to end the paragraph…I digress.)

The fact is that folks like Shilling and Barca don’t have any substance to offer other than bites of pablum. Both are perfectly content repeating empty talking points devised by someone else and feeding their base vitriol they can pump their fists to, reliving the glory days when they trashed the capitol.

Democrats seem intrinsically incapable of offering any sincere ideas to voters, and shuffling the deck hasn’t yet accelerated their party into intellectual overdrive. A contrast is the style of Scott Walker, who connects with voters and who drives the GOP to do the same. On the other hand Democrats are driven by their party, which telegraphs talking points to comm shops from the Madison bunker.

So while Barca’s career hopefully will crescendo in the Assembly, Shilling is riding a conveyor belt in the same candidate factory that produced Mary Burke. Whether she’s going to run for governor or Congress, as Nik guesses, her opponent will be well advised to just be sincere. Walker’s three gubernatorial victories show that Wisconsin voters appreciate it.

And Walker’s website has an issues page.

Lies, Damned Lies, and the Democratic Party

The truth is of little concern to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

A great case study is the saga of Governor Scott Walker’s college days. More to the point, the young Mr. Walker’s exit from college has been the target of the governor’s detractors for years. If you’re a member of The Left who is willfully spoonfed hype by a dedicated phalanx of Walker haters, the circumstances around his decision to quit school are shrouded in intrigue and allegations.

Like the 40-something Governor Walker, the college-aged Mr. Walker was full of ambition, dreams of being a leader in student government at Marquette University, in which he enrolled in 1986. He ran against liberal John Quigley for president of the student government in 1988, an ambitious effort for a sophomore.

This December, in response to persistent allegations by the DPW, the Journal Sentinel published a lengthy research piece by Dave Umhoefer about the episode. “Both sides tripped over campaign rules that limited spending and how and where candidates could distribute literature and place signs on campus. Each side lodged complaints against the other,” Umhoefer wrote.

I realized in my time as a reporter covering student government at my own alma mater that thinking byzantine and arbitrary campaign rules are sacrosanct is naive. College is a sandbox. Kids go there to make mistakes without crashing the stock of a Fortune 500 or launching nukes at Ireland. They go there to learn to submit to the adult concept of pointless rules like prohibitions on campaigning withing 150 feet of a voting location (i.e. a computer with an Internet connection, to cite a modern example).

Both Mr. Walker and his opponent broke a few rules. In the end, Mr. Walker lost his election at Marquette and decided to stay out of the limelight for the rest of his time there. Two years later, most likely just as disengaged with his seemingly pointless coursework as any contemporary college student, he decided to leave school and work instead. He soon found his way into politics.

His exit two years after the election was voluntary, which is corroborated by official documentation from the university. “Gov. Scott Walker was a student at Marquette from fall of 1986 until spring 1990 and was a senior in good standing when he voluntarily withdrew from Marquette,” a Marquette statement read.

There is nothing wrong with Mr. Walker’s career path, as evidenced by the fact that he’s the governor of Wisconsin. By contrast, most college graduates are not currently the governor of Wisconsin. Many are waiting tables (nothing wrong with that; I flip burgers on Sundays).

The Left seized anyway. By tying together the clunky election with Mr. Walker’s eventual exit from college, the DPW made it sound like explicitly stated that he was forced out of college. Cranking the drama to such an extreme that a telenovela script writer would wet his pants, the Democrats even put up a special web page highlighting how Scott Walker was forced to quit school because he masterminded a scheme to rig elections and destroy newspapers.

Don’t go looking for the page’s original inflammatory text, though. After the Journal Sentinel put the final nail in the coffin of that lie, the DPW pulled the verbiage from their website. It’s only a lie after you get caught.

But Democrat lies never go away, the words are just re-arranged (how did Bill Clinton define ‘sex’ again?). The party’s site still accuses Walker of “masterminding” a scheme to destroy newspapers, which by the account dug up by the JS was the work of a few overly zealous supporters ticked the paper endorsed Mr. Walker’s opponent. That accusation is apparently the last hope the Democrats have to keep this manufactured scandal alive.

The /walkerbio web page over at DPW is still there, dripping with something that smells of firebrand/nutjob spokeman ex oficio Graeme Zielinski. Perhaps he penned the page from jail.

At the heart of the accusation is the haughty implication that because Scott Walker doesn’t have a college degree, he a) hates education and b) is an uneducated barbarian who wears things he killed with a flint axe. The accusation might hold water with a small piece of the minority of Wisconsin’s electorate who hold college degrees.

I’d guess very small. Most college graduates, save some who work at the DPW or buy their fair trade organic coffee beans at a co-op, don’t strut around all day scraping their noses on ceilings and really don’t give two philosophy degrees if someone never walked the stage. Especially if that someone’s non-college-degree career path took him all the way to governor of Wisconsin and possible presidential candidate.

Just like the witchhunt so often referred to as a John Doe probe, a mass colonoscopy for anyone who dared contribute to conservatives at the top of the political pyramid in Wisconsin, the effort to smear Mr. Walker via his college record is simply an ad hominem attack.

For those Democrats who slept during logic, or swapped it for three credits in women and gender studies, ad hominems are logical fallacies. But forget logic: that book doesn’t have a chapter on organized outrage.

This all goes between the parentheses within The Left’s formula for winning by attrition: assassinating the character of their opponents and silencing opposition. Y’know, gulags are so 1950s. Besides, why waste money on a prison when political opponents can simply be relegated to obsolescence as discredited recluses. They’ll pay for their own lodging, and cat food.

For Democrats, peddling lies and failing to fully retract them when they’re exposed is par for the course. After all, like drunk-driving a car into the Chappaquiddick or carrying on pointless legal crusades against a governor for whom your hate has no bounds, it’s all in the spin.

The lies are bound to stick with a half a percent or so, and brainwash the base into seeing an evil man whenever Mr. Walker comes into sight.

Mr. Walker’s exit from college and lack of a degree is sure to continue existing as a Democratic smear, neverminding the truth.