WTMJ radio’s Steve Scaffidi and Erik Bilstad invited me on their show this afternoon to talk about the new Marquette Law poll. Some take aways for me, despite the heat in the GOP budget debate, people still feel like the state is going in the right direction rather than on the wrong track. On the national scene it’s clear the GOP has a messaging problem (I’m looking at you healthcare bill.) The poll shows it hasn’t done a good job explaining the benefits of the reform long or short term.
Click here to listen to the whole segment.
Dark stores. Zero-based accounting. Budget stalemate. Despite these ominous sounding topics, this episode of The Wheelercast was upbeat and (as always) informative. Gwyn Guenther of The Wheeler Report brings you the latest from the State Capitol in Madison.
Washington Post reporter John Wagner reached out to me yesterday to get my thoughts on what President Trump gets politically out of visiting Wisconsin and whether local Republicans are energized by it. The president was in Pewaukee just last week, the third trip he’s made here since winning the election.
From a strategic standpoint, it makes sense for President Trump to do more events like these, even if it doesn’t move the needle on the public policy debates nationally. When he gets out of the Beltway bubble, he can control the narrative. He’d much rather talk infrastructure, apprenticeships and jobs than special counsels, and Congressional inquiries.
Read the whole article here.
Intra-party discord is a new thing in Madison, right? Actually, no, it’s not. We look into the Wheeler archives for details.
We also look ahead to potential Joint Finance Committee action this week and we pay special tribute to two important Capitol players.
The Wheeler Report’s Gwyn Guenther and I talk about this and more in this week’s Wheelercast.
Have state budget negotiations broken down? Can the Assembly and Senate get on the same page this week? This month? The Wheeler Report’s Gwyn Guenther and I discuss in this inaugural episode of the Wheelercast.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Stephen Loiaconi called me for my take on the last two weeks of the election and what it will mean for tight down ballot races.
“The Republican Party’s grip on the Senate is tenuous, at best,” said Republican strategist Brian Fraley. “With Trump surrogates berating vulnerable GOP senators who have not drank enough orange Kool-Aid, the Trump campaign’s last two weeks is shaping up to be a burn-it-all-down tantrum that could put the balance of power in the House in jeopardy, too.”
“Trump may damage the brand, relationships, donor stream and infrastructure of the Republican Party so much, that a rebound in 2018 will be a lot tougher,” Fraley said.
Read the rest of the article here.
Veteran journalist Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called me last week for my take on what Trump has done to the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Its leading Republicans are in limbo, rendered mostly mute about Trump amid mounting allegations over his treatment of women. They aren’t recanting their support for their nominee. But they aren’t defending him or campaigning with him, either. The state’s top GOP officials will be absent when Trump holds a rally in Green Bay Monday.
….But while Ryan has angered hard-core Trump backers, “a lot of Trump’s most ardent supporters in Wisconsin never were (staunch) Republicans,” said Brian Fraley, a Trump critic who once served as the state GOP’s political director.
“There is going to be a lot of long-term shakeout with this no matter who wins, and no matter how large the defeat is,” said Fraley, who said he hasn’t given money to the party because he doesn’t want any of it to help elect Trump.
Well, it’s a time for choosing.
When I cast my vote for President, I will be voting for a conservative Republican whose agenda I believe in, whose commitment to liberty is beyond doubt and whose grasp of the issues and ability to work with GOP House and Senate members would serve the party and more importantly America, well.
I am not ‘done’ with the Republican Party. Rather, I remain committed to the Party of Lincoln. And Reagan. And Thompson. And Walker. And Schimel. And Vukmir. And Kooyenga. And Hutton. And, me.
The most important race for Wisconsin conservatives and moderates this fall is the re-election of GOP United States Senator Ron Johnson. But when it comes to the Presidency, the GOP’s official nominee is so woefully deficient, I’ve looked elsewhere.
And I was #NeverHillary decades before I was #NeverTrump.
Fortunately, I do not have to settle for the lesser of two evils. More…
I first met Charlie Sykes more than 25 years ago when I was a Senior at the UW. He was speaking at a conference of collegiate journalists in Evanston, Illinois and as the author of ProfScam was emerging as one of the most insightful critics of higher education at the time. He was so entertaining that when I found myself organizing the next year’s conference I had to lock him in on the panel. That’s right, I put Charlie I my panel long before he put me on his!
On Tuesday, my friend Charlie announced his retirement from his weekday radio show and weekly television program. After 25 years in local broadcasting, 23 with WTMJ, he’s heading into semi-retirement. He’ll continue to write and contribute to the conservative movement, but he’ll no longer have to drag himself out of bed at 4:30 every morning.
I’ve had the honor and good fortune of working for him and even guest hosting his show on occasion over the years. I can assure you he’s not going to disappear, as much as his many critics may hope he will. At 62, he’s just taking greater control over his schedule. Kudos to him.
A full analysis of his impact on local, state and national politics is intertwined with a look at the power of the medium of talk radio in general. Along with his colleague Jeff Wagner, and local talkers Mark Belling, Jay Weber, Vicki McKenna and Dan O’Donnell down the dial at WISN, Sykes has helped create and maintain an important crucible for conservative thought and news analysis in Southeast Wisconsin.
Rather than examine the medium itself, however, Sykes’ announcement affords me an opportunity to examine his unique impact on the community and causes I care deeply about. More…