Today is partisan primary day in Wisconsin, and this year both parties are hoping to unseat an incumbent they believe to be at least incompetent and more likely evil incarnate. Yes, I know, but you know how partisans are anymore.
Ron Johnson is a business guy who made pretty speeches back in 2010, when the Tea Party was just getting some traction thanks to Barack Obama’s plan to reshape America into a socialist utopia. Johnson’s speeches were so pretty that a lot of people thought he ought to run against Russ Feingold, one of Obama’s soldiers in the U.S. Senate. Much to Feingold’s surprise, Johnson won — and, because Feingold didn’t get the point in 2010, Johnson defeated him again in 2016.
Johnson always said he only wanted to serve two six-year terms in the Senate, but the party faithful talked him into running again this year. The Democrats had a lively five-way race going until about a week before the primary, when four of the candidates suddenly decided to suspend their campaigns and throw their support behind the most radical candidate. The party bosses apparently decided the only way to unseat Johnson, a perceived radical conservative, is to present the most radical liberal available as an alternative, and voters be damned.
Tony Evers was the incompetent superintendent of public instruction for eight years under Republican Gov. Scott Walker, whose educational reforms saved billions of dollars for local schools and infuriated his political enemies. But Walker lost a little of his luster during a failed presidential campaign in ’16, just enough for Evers to eke out a narrow victory in 2018 to become Wisconsin’s incompetent governor.
Evers’ response to the 2020 pandemic was typical. He said he didn’t believe it would be necessary to close the economy, and a few days later he issued an executive order closing the economy. He said it wouldn’t be necessary to suspend the April 2020 election, and a few days before the election he filed suit in an attempt to suspend the election. Wisconsin was one of the many, mostly Democrat-led, states whose governors held the economy hostage in a futile attempt to wrestle a virus into submission. Plus, it always helps the opposing party in a presidential election when the economy has tanked, so Evers was all too eager to tank the economy.
The Republicans campaign to succeed Evers has been the opposite of the Democrats’ approach. Instead of stiffing the voters in a show of unity, the three main GOP candidates for governor are fighting tooth and nail for the voters’ attention, including some nasty attack ads that should give Evers some ideas in the fall. These candidates were all kids when Ronald Reagan was president, and they must have missed his 11th Commandment, “Thou shalt not criticize another Republican.”
You may guess from the tone of my analysis that I identify as Republican, and truth be told I did for the longest time. It would be more accurate to say I lost faith in the Democratic Party long before I lost faith in the Republican Party, and I think it’s a waste of effort to apply faith to any political party.
I don’t talk or write about politics much anymore, largely because I believe in finding reasons to be optimistic and I try to encourage the best in people, and nothing makes me pessimistic and discouraged faster than spending five to 10 minutes listening to what passes for political discourse in these times.
My view on politics and government these days is that it’s foolish to believe life is going to improve if we could only elect the right people. You may argue that government can be a force for good or a force for evil, but the main point is that government is an instrument of force. I believe that no one has the right to initiate force upon others, and so I advocate for solutions that don’t involve pitting the force of government against my fellow humans.
So, political junkies, enjoy the conversation tonight about what the Wisconsin results mean. Having gotten my view of politics and government out of my system, I will be back tomorrow talking about anything but.
Oh! Where are my manners? If you grok what I’m saying here, I did assemble a little book this year about freedom, individual rights, where this country is going and what a better course might be. It’s called Echoes of Freedom Past: Reopening, Reclaiming and Restoring Liberty. It’s available as an ebook and in print-on-demand, so you can find it digitally on Amazon and in paperback wherever fine books are found.