An August 22, 2001 Capital Times headline stated with great hope, Senator Helms R. North Carolina announces retirement and hopefully the end of an era of attack dog politics. Republican attack dog politics only got worse.
In 1994 pro-choice Republican State Senator Barbara Lorman who had served very honorably in the Wisconsin Senate since 1980 had the audacity to vote with the democrats on a women's health issue bill. Lorman's vote so angered republicans that they went out shopping for a republican to run against Lorman in a primary which she lost in a rather negative campaign to Scott Fitzgerald.
Several years conservative republican Assemblyman Terry Musser voted with democrats on a women's health care issue and the republican party went bonkers over his vote. As his term was coming to an end, Musser decided that after two decades it was time to hang it up and go back home. Helping Musser make this decision was the way his own republican party treated him for doing the right thing.
Terry Musser was a really decent person who tried to be a pragmatic problem solver and not a party hack. Terry was one of those people with whom you could disagree with but you always remained friends who just happened to have different opinions.
Sometime after Musser left office the rest of the story came out. After his vote with the democrats someone in the republican party approached him with an, either leave the Assembly or we'll run a primary challenge against you threat. Musser was excellent on veterans issues and looked out for our veterans well being as might be expected of one who served two tours in Vietnam.
Two years ago during the Wisconsin Supreme Court election a sitting judge, Louis Butler came under attack, by republican Michael Gableman, with patently false ads about Butler. Those ads which were proven to be 100% false, or lets call it what it was, a blatant lie, Gableman won the election and shortly thereafter was brought up on charges from the regulatory group for lawyers.This dubious distinction set a new standard, a sitting Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice being brought up on ethics charges.
And you can bet that within the next few months we're going to see some pretty nasty primary campaigns aimed at republican Senator Dale Schultz and the four Assembly republicans who voted with the democrats recently.
This past fall when one of the four, newly elected republican State Representative, Travis Trannel, was running in the republican primary took horribly nasty and uncalled for very uncivil shots from his competition... the chairman of the Grant County Republican Party. You can bet that the minute Trannel reaches his recall date you know that the republicans are going to steal his lunch and make Trannel eat the bag it came in. And this from within his own political party.
It is incumbent upon all of us, republicans and democrats both to ensure that people like Trannel and Schultz get our support and thanks for having put good public policy above politics.
A week ago the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a very distressing article indicating that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser screamed at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, you're a total bitch and I'm going to destroy you!" Imagine how Prosser and the republican party would react if Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson would have stood up in the Supreme Court Chamber and called Justice David Prosser, "a little bastard!"
When the Governor gave his recent State of the State address the two dignitaries receiving the loudest applause were Mike Gableman and David Prosser.This does not speak well for Wisconsin.
The time has come to send David Prosser his pink slip by voting for Joanne Kloppenburg for Supreme Court Justice on April 5th. We have come to expect bad behavior from our legislature as former democrats Chuck Chvala and Brian Burke and republicans have so aptly shown. We expect true civility from our highest court, not the behavior David Prosser has shown.