Friday, May 05, 2006

A Historic Screw-Up

Now that the TABOR family has failed to pass the Republican-controlled state legislature, proponents are searching for glimmers of sunshine in the failure.

In addition to the excuses given by the far fiscal right for why their pet legislative project failed miserably, advocates for the amendment are now making the claim that simply having a vote on an amendment at all was a victory.

Amendment co-author Rep. Jeff Wood (R-Chippewa Falls) even went so far as to call the vote historic.

That historic vote went against the original amendment that was preferred by proponents 66-32 in the Assembly and 21-11 in the Senate for a grand total vote of 87-43 in opposition.

So let's get this straight. An amendment to the state constitution, which drew perhaps the largest concerted opposition movement ever in Wisconsin and found only 33% approval in the Republican-controlled state legislature as a whole, is historic simply because the GOP leadership brought it up for a vote?

Now that's a low bar.

Wood is also trying to take credit for supposedly changing the debate about lowering taxes in Wisconsin from a question of "if" to a question of "how."

Unfortunately for Wood's desperate attempt to find some silver lining in this year's death of TABOR, the debate in Wisconsin was already about how to lower taxes before this amendment was ever announced.

As much as Republicans like to deny it, the Dems have proposed sound ways to provide tax relief in Wisconsin. Two major examples are the recently announced Wisconsin Health Care Partnership Plan and year-old HOPE legislation to directly lower homeowner's property tax bill.

Just because the Republican leadership in the legislature has blatantly ignored proposals like these doesn't mean they don't exist (sort of like meaningful ethics reform).

And I wonder if the megaphones of the far fiscal right will be able to savor the historical importance of the failed amendment vote like Wood. As diehard amendment supporter Owen wrote a couple weeks after the amendment was announced in February:

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We waited very patiently for well over a year for Grothman’s version of TABOR to be introduced, as he promised and as the GOP leadership promised. We gave the new version, which is radically different from the old TABOR, a fair shot and have given it decent reviews. We have spent tons of time, energy, and money for this moment to come.

Don’t screw it up.

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Hey, at least it was a historic screw-up.

1 Comments:

Blogger molliemous said...

Well here it is, Friday morning…sun came up as usual; birds are singing and the mother-in-law of the Bride of TABOR is as dead as a doornail. Sorry Charlie (Sykes). Too bad you couldn’t intimidate more of what you refer to as “Rhinos” with your self-anointed pontification. Republican Senators Brown, Cowles, Harsdorf, Kepanke, Olsen, Roessler, Lasee and Ellis all deserve the deep appreciation of clear thinking citizens of this state for their courage to stand up to the nonsense being hurled about by the functionally and fiscally inept likes of Stepp, Lazich and Grothman.

Reading the comments of the likes of WMC, Johnny (On)Gard, Mike Huebsch who have declared this to be some sort of “great victory” one needs to look at the meaning of a “pyrrrhic victory”, which is, as you know, a victory which comes at heavy cost to the victor. The phrase is a reference to King Pyrrhus of Epirus, who defeated the Romans at Heraclea and Asculum in 279 BC, but suffered severe and irreplaceable casualties in the process, going on to eventually lose the Pyrrhic War. In this case, the fat lady has sung.

If the United States had enjoyed more victories like this one in WW II, we’d all be singing “Deutschland Uber Allis” before the Brewers games, although I suspect some might prefer that toe-tapping ditty to our own anthem, whether it’s in English or Spanish.

Now let’s all go out and enjoy our well deserved summer vacation and get ready to be serenaded by the folks who have tortured us with this “let the people speak” nonsense only when it suited their crass self-interest. While ethics and campaign finance reform withered on the vine; while one by one their colleagues were convicted of being scumbags; while they rewrote their legislative calendar so that they could cash-in on campaign contributions; they thought you weren’t paying any attention.

In November we’ll find out if they were right or wrong. That’s when the people really get to decide. Don’t let them forget what they stand for…and against.

May 05, 2006  

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