Some conservatives in this country have found an unusual new political hero: Mary Burke, the likely Democratic nominee in this year’s race for Governor of Wisconsin.
First, the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by right-wing extremist Rupert Murdoch, ran a piece attacking Scott Walker for running a television ad attacking Burke over Trek Bicycles, a company which Burke was once an executive for, shipping American jobs to China. The Wall Street Journal piece clearly attacked Walker, a far-right Republican who had a reputation of being a hero to the far-right until very recently, from the right and compared his campaign strategy to that of Democratic President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Second, Tom Bevan, the executive director of the right-leaning website RealClearPolitics who is known for writing articles bashing Democrats, wrote this piece, which also criticized Walker for attacking Trek Bicycles. Bevan even went as far as to compare Burke’s campaign strategy to Mitt Romney, one of his favorite Republicans.
Of course, it’s not surprising that many on the right would support someone like Burke, who wants to export more Wisconsin farm products overseas while millions of children across America go hungry, is a political ally of the right-wing business organization WMC, and tried to ram a charter school down the throats of residents of Wisconsin’s second-largest school district, among other things. I’ll say it again and again: Burke is quite conservative, and she’s only slightly to the left of Walker.
After the right’s political heroes over the last few years consisted of far-right Republicans like Ron Paul, Scott Walker, and Ben Carson, their new hero is a Democrat who is running against Scott Walker.
In case you missed it, the Republican Party of Wisconsin recently filed an ethics complaint against Trek Bicycle Company, alleging that a full-page newspaper ad that Trek ran in response to Scott Walker’s attacks against the company violated campaign finance laws because, in their view, Trek running an ad defending itself amounts to an illegal contribution to likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke.
By the Republicans’ standard, progressive organizations like One Wisconsin Now and the Wisconsin Business Alliance, which have issued their own responses to Walker’s attacks against Trek, as well as…you guessed it…Republican SuperPACs that have run television ads in support of Scott Walker’s election efforts, are all in violation of campaign finance laws but have not had ethics complaints filed against them by the Wisconsin GOP.
I’m a big supporter of restoring good government and getting the undue influence of big money out of politics, but there is an absurd double standard behind the Republican ethics complaint against Trek. They have no problem whatsoever with right-wing SuperPACs, such as Americans for Prosperity and Ending Spending Action Fund, that have run television ads in support of Scott Walker’s campaign for the office of Governor of Wisconsin, contributing to Walker’s efforts to get himself elected, but when Trek runs a newspaper ad defending itself from Walker’s attacks against them, they throw a fit and claim that Trek is illegally contributing to the Burke campaign.
In fact, my blog posts endorsing Democratic candidates for public office, including Jon Richards, Sara Geenen, and Janis Ringhand, among others, would constitute an illegal contribution to the campaigns in question under the Republicans’ standard of an illegal contribution. A key part of the Republican modus operandi in Wisconsin is to censor any political speech that supports Democrats and/or criticizes Republicans. Should the Wisconsin GAB uphold the Republicans’ ethics complaint against Trek, that would have a chilling effect on political speech. Repealing the Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision via a federal constitutional amendment is something that needs to be done, but censoring political bloggers is flatly unacceptable.
In short, Republicans have no problem whatsoever with right-wing SuperPACs contributing to Scott Walker and other Republican candidates by running outside ads in support of Walker’s gubernatorial campaign, but claim that Trek Bicycle Company running an ad defending itself from Republican attacks against them is, in their view, an illegal contribution to Mary Burke’s gubernatorial campaign. That’s an absurd double standard.
Had I been running in a Democratic primary against Mary Burke, I would have attacked her over Trek shipping jobs overseas
There’s been considerable backlash to a creepy television ad by Republican Governor Scott Walker’s re-election campaign attacking Trek Bicycles, a company which likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke was an executive for prior to entering politics, for shipping American jobs overseas.
There’s several points that I want to make about this issue:
- Walker has absolutely no standing whatsoever to attack Burke and Trek Bicycles for shipping American jobs overseas. After all, Walker celebrated Harley-Davidson Motorcycles shipping American jobs overseas by riding a Harley in…you guessed it, China, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Scott Walker’s very own corporate welfare agency, gave over $19 million in tax breaks to companies that shipped American jobs overseas. That is flagrant hypocrisy by Walker, and the only reason he’s attacking Trek over shipping American jobs overseas is because he’s a political opportunist who has no real values.
- Had I been running in a Democratic primary against Mary Burke, I would have had no problem whatsoever attacking Burke over Trek shipping American jobs overseas. The fact that Burke has personally benefited from a company that shipped American jobs to countries like China is just as much of a fact as Trek continuing to manufacture some of their bicycles in Wisconsin is.
- Had Kathleen Vinehout run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination this year (she was unable to run for governor due to injuries sustained in an automobile crash), she likely would have attacked Burke over Trek shipping American jobs overseas as well.
Unlike Republicans and corporate Democrats like Scott Walker and Mary Burke, I believe that economic globalization is the main reason why our country’s economy isn’t as strong as it should be. We’ve had decades of Republicans and corporate Democrats supporting free-trade policies like NAFTA and Most Favored Nation status for China, which have resulted in the loss of thousands upon thousands of jobs over the past two decades. I can take you all to my home county in Illinois and show you all first-hand the negative effects of economic globalization. In Vermilion County, Illinois, we had a General Motors (GM) foundry just outside of our county’s largest city a little over two decades ago. Not long after then-President Bill Clinton got NAFTA enacted, the GM foundry closed, and the site of the GM foundry is a large empty space today.
While I would never support Scott Walker, and I hope that Mary Burke wins the Democratic nomination and goes on to defeat Walker come November, I’m not going to defend companies that ship American jobs overseas and politicians who support companies that ship American jobs overseas.
I have always considered myself to be a proud progressive and a political opponent of Scott Walker, and I would NEVER support Scott Walker for any public office in this country. However, there is one issue where I actually agree with Scott Walker: Repealing Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
There are two main reasons why I oppose CCSS: standardized testing and career preparation.
CCSS is tied to high-stakes standardized testing, and the idea of teaching to standardized tests has many drawbacks that outweigh any benefits to standardized testing. Teachers should have to teach to standards, not standardized tests. More importantly, I believe that CCSS has too much emphasis on career preparation. Remember that CCSS deals with K-12 education standards, and I don’t think it’s the proper role for K-12 schools to prepare students for careers. K-12 schools should prepare people for collegiate education, and colleges should prepare people for careers. The only time that a student in a K-12 school should ever have to think about what career they want to go into is when he or she is asked what he or she wants to major in when he or she attends college.
However, where I disagree with Walker and his Republican allies are the logic behind their opposition to CCSS and their suspected intentions behind their opposition to CCSS. Republican opponents to Common Core are claiming that Common Core standards are “average” and that Wisconsin should set higher standards than every other state. That is absurd logic, because, if academic standards are treated as competition between states on which state can set their standards higher than other states, that would eventually lead to states setting academic standards that are not developmentally appropriate for K-12 students, especially elementary school children. Additionally, I’m suspecting that Walker and his allies want to replace CCSS with a set of academic standards that mandate the teaching of religious dogma, such as creationism, in public schools. No student in a public school should ever be taught inaccurate information for religious or other reasons.
Common Core State Standards should replaced with common sense, developmentally appropriate academic standards that mandate the teaching of factual information and prepare students for the future without overemphasizing career preparation. However, if I were a member of the Wisconsin State Legislature, and I was asked to vote on a bill to repeal CCSS, I would vote against it unless certain protections (such as mandating that evolution being taught in public schools and requiring that a panel consisting of members appointed by the state superintendent draft up new academic standards) were included in the legislation.