Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Meet Candidate Michele Doolan, Running For Governor Of Wisconsin (Interview)

Doolan provides an inspiring vision of citizens campaigning to keep democracy in the hands of the people

The 2018 gubernatorial election season in Wisconsin is fast approaching, and I find myself being inspired by two candidacies.

Mike McCabe is announcing his run later this month as sort of an Independent-Democratic option that will challenge both parties to make change. His candidacy inspires me because it makes me feel as though a second wave of the Progressive Movement could be coming to Wisconsin (and possibly the nation) in the years ahead.

Doolan, via YouTube
But I am also inspired by a second candidacy because it demonstrates that citizens are beginning to rise up, to take back their government out of the controlling hands of corporate interests, and put it right back where it belongs in any democracy: within the care of the people.

Michele Doolan, a Wisconsinite with roots all across the state (currently in Cross Plains), is running for governor with a very limited amount of political experience. As a business owner, she is a member of Dane Buy Local, and serves as part of many other organizations in the area. She is also married to an Iraq War vet, and a mother to three children.

She says she is inspired to run because, looking at what we currently have in office, it was clear that someone like her had to step up.

“I’ve got a different perspective on the standard obstacles people consider when running for government office,” Doolan told me when I reached out to her recently.

So what made her, a political outsider, decide to run? Advice and encouragement from others, who seemed excited about the prospect.

“I asked [close friends] the following question: ‘What if someone who doesn’t have a political agenda, or a political career to worry, about ran against Scott Walker?’” she says. Those individuals “encouraged me to give it a shot.”

It’s by no means an easy task — and requires the help of those who surround you. “Your family needs to be ‘all in,’” Doolan tells me, “because it will absorb you a bit. You also need to keep your focus on the reasons why you’re running for office and never waiver on that.”

Importantly, you must have “clear boundaries for what you’re willing to do and what you’re not willing to do to make it into office,” she says.

On the issues, Doolan explains that, after two terms of Gov. Scott Walker, “it’s hard not to want to try to fix everything all at once.” But the “cost of living versus the average wage earner’s earning is in the forefront of my mind, as well as our collective investment in education,” she tells me.

These have to be some of the first priorities, she explains. “It’s difficult to get people excited to really consider new ideas when so many people are on the edge of financial disaster on a day to day basis, and have been encouraged by the right to blame each other for it” she says. “But that struggle needs to be addressed beyond say, a $50 tax break on property tax.”

And on the controversial project involving a $3 billion giveaway to Foxconn? “I would like to point out how anti-free market it is to ask the taxpayers to foot the bill for a private, outside company to bring jobs into the area,” she says. “The fact that it’s being rushed makes me wonder what’s really going on there. It screams politics that will benefit a select few rather than contribute to a long term economic goal that benefits all of us.”

Doolan isn’t afraid to speak her mind about President Donald Trump either — unlike Gov. Scott Walker, who refused to condemn the president after surprising comments involving white supremacists and neo-Nazis, describing some of them as "fine people."

On Trump, Doolan says, “How hard was it for Trump to form the sentence, ‘Nazis and bigotry are bad?’”

And on Walker being soft on Trump, she adds, “I think Wisconsin needs a leader that isn’t afraid to stand up to a President that is uncomfortable with protecting America from a White Supremacy movement. Maybe a plucky, small-town mom is just what we need?”

It could be just what this state requires.

Doolan is facing huge obstacles — as a newcomer to statewide elections, she will have just a year to make a name for herself, to travel across the state, and raise funds for her candidacy. Still, she’s running a campaign to become Wisconsin’s next governor as a citizen who saw that there are a lot of things wrong that need correcting.

You can't help but to feel inspired by that kind of sentiment.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Scott Walker Refuses To Condemn Trump — 'Bold Leadership,' Indeed!

Walker's past comments show a willingness to take the low road against political adversaries, cowardice to condemn allies when necessary

Gov. Scott Walker, who briefly ran against Donald Trump during the 2016 Republican primary, is taking a weak stand against the comments made by the president regarding violent white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump suggested that “many sides” were to blame for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville. Several examples serve to demonstrate that is not the case — in one instance, an African American was beaten by several white supremacists with pipes.

In the most notable example, Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was protesting the presence of white nationalist in Charlottesville, was killed by a supremacist who purposefully drove his vehicle into her and more than a dozen others.

Walker spoke out against the bigotry, but stopped short of being critical of the president’s reactions.

“My comment on this is I denounce the bigotry and hatred and I’ll let the president and his team speak for him,” he said last week.

That’s a cop-out that shouldn’t be seen as acceptable to the people of this state.

In fact, a poll out today shows that most Wisconsinites don’t approve of Trump’s conduct in office. Only 34 percent give him passing marks, while 56 percent say they disapprove of his time as president so far.

With numbers like those, Walker should be less afraid of speaking against the president. But again, Walker shows a preference for keeping his thoughts to himself when it could hurt someone in his own party.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “there comes a time when silence is betrayal.” In the case of Walker’s silence on Donald Trump, that time is now. Walker is betraying his constituents by refusing to say anything, critical or even supportive, of the president’s words.

Indeed, his silence on Trump is even more pronounced when you take into consideration how much he criticized the president before him, Barack Obama. One instance sticks out to me in particular — when Walker suggested that he didn’t know if Obama loved America or not.

“You should ask the president [at the time, Barack Obama] what he thinks about America,” Walker said in 2015. “I’ve never asked him so I don’t know.”

Walker's comments came in response to Rudy Giuliani suggesting at that time that Obama didn't love the country. Walker refused to denounce Giuliani's comments, instead deferring by saying we should ask Obama personally — again, a cop-out that shows he puts his party before country on questions like these.

Walker proved that he was willing to take the low road when he made those comments about Obama. And this past week Walker proved that he’s willing to take the cowardly way out of condemning a president worthy of criticism, solely because Trump happens to be part of the same political party as he is.

That’s hardly bold leadership that Walker frequently claims he possesses.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Right-wing blog Wants To Replace Statues Of "Fighting Bob" With WHO??

Wisconsin Governor fought for countless reforms, and was ahead of his time on several issues

An editorial on Right Wisconsin, a conservative-based blog in the state, is apparently advocating that we should remove the statues of Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette, beloved governor and U.S. senator from Wisconsin’s Progressive era, from the state Capitol building and U.S. Capitol.

A bust of La Follette’s head sits in the Capitol in Wisconsin, while a full-sized statue is in the National Statuary Hall in DC.

The editorial from Right Wisconsin is making light of recent Confederate statue removals (by cities themselves or by force from citizens) and trying to suggest there is an equivalency somehow in removing figures that are from the past. That is a false equivalency, to say the least — La Follette stood for empowering the people, while the statues being removed elsewhere in the country stood for keeping entire races of people defined as second-class citizens.

But brushing aside the subtleties of Right Wisconsin’s byline-less editorial, it would be wrong to remove La Follette’s likeness for other reasons. Namely, because they wish to replace him with statues of William Rehnquist, who served as Chief Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and was a Wisconsin-born jurist.

While that is a high honor worthy of recognition, replacing La Follette with Rehnquist would be a slap in the face of what Wisconsin stands for, and what Americans across the nation support overall.

La Follette backed huge reforms long before they were implemented. He was an ardent critic of big businesses crafting backroom deals with lawmakers, and fought against similar corruption within the government. He stood for women’s suffrage, saying early on that the right to vote for all women “will result in a more enlightened, better balanced citizenship, and in a truer democracy.” He also fought for protections of rights regardless of skin color, and was invited to speak by civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois in Atlanta about the fight for equality.

And he vigorously fought for electoral reforms, including implementing the primary system of selecting candidates and instituting the 17th Amendment, giving voters the right to select their own U.S. Senators through a direct vote.

What about Rehnquist? His record on rights is much, much darker. As a clerk for Justice Robert H. Jackson in the 1950s, he wrote a memo defending the “separate but equal” doctrine for keeping Jim Crow laws legal. Rehnquist also was part of the 5-4 majority that halted vote counting in Florida during the 2000 presidential recount. And although he later supported the rule, he was a vocal opponent of the necessary Miranda statement that all police officers must give to suspects they arrest.

Now, you tell me who deserves a spot in the National Statuary Hall: an individual who stood for expanding individuals’ rights, or one whose record included efforts to limit who could take part in American society? My vote goes to "Fighting Bob," and I think most Wisconsinites would agree we should keep his statues right where they are.