James Rowen
Op Ed

Tom Tiffany and White Privilege

Far-right Congressman from northern Wisconsin opposes Native American Secretary of Interior.

By - Jan 31st, 2021 04:39 pm
Tom Tiffany. (Public Domain).

Tom Tiffany. (Public Domain).

Wisconsin’s Northwoods GOP U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany kicked off his Congressional service with a sedition-hugging election overthrow vote, but apparently felt that didn’t make a big enough splash in the Republican righ-wing sewer.

So Tiffany is raising his commitment to exclusionary governance by signing a going-nowhere-public letter/dog whistle written by House Representatives who have no say in the matter since the Senate votes on confirmation of appointments. The letter urged President Joe Biden to withdraw his nomination of U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior.

President Biden:

We write today urging the withdrawal of the nomination of Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM) as Secretary of the Interior. Nominating Representative Haaland is a direct threat to working men and women and a rejection of responsible development of America’s natural resources.

If approved by the Senate, Cong. Haaland would be the first Native American to serve in a Presidential cabinet.

But that single, simple step towards a more representative US Government is unacceptable to Tiffany and 14 other members of Congress – including Colorado’s unstable GOP U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert – all of whom are finding new ways to shame their home states while cashing salary checks of nearly $15,000 month collected from taxpayers of all political parties, races, ethnicities, et al.

As to Tiffany, regrettably we say, what’s new?

He accumulated a long, dreary record as a state legislator reliably ready to do business’s most reactionary bidding.

* He sandbagged climate science at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Some additional history here.

* He led the failed fight to mine the Penokee Hills – regardless of the damage it would have caused to Native American land, waters and treaty rights – all at then-Gov. Scott Walker‘s behest.

* And he later wrote a broader bill that has opened up land and water resources statewide to destructive sulfide mining:

Gov. Scott Walker signed into law on Monday a bill lifting the state’s effective moratorium on sulfide mining, a move supporters say will clear the way for an economic boost to depressed areas of the state. But opponents say the environmental risks are too great to allow such activity.

The bill’s authors, Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and Rep. Rob Hutton, R-Brookfield, say it allows conversations about mining to occur that cannot happen under current law.


It’s a little more consequential than that, as we were reminded just a couple of days ago:

Natural Resources Board Approves New Rules For Sulfide Mining

State Regulators Must Notify Tribes Near Any Proposed Sulfide Mine.

The changes are part of proposed new permanent rules for nonferrous metallic mines that extract sulfide minerals like gold, zinc and copper. The rules aim to comply with changes as part of a 2017 law that repealed the state’s decades-old mining moratorium.

Final thought: I have no first-hand knowledge of how school districts in Northern Wisconsin, and in Tiffany’s Congressional district, teach local and state history.

I ask because Tiffany was a tourism business owner who had run a boating firm for 20 years in that area. I wonder if he and others in Northern Wisconsin understand that this entire territory was taken under duress from indigenous people back in the 19th century, people whose descendants Tiffany is now ‘representing’ – while having worked in the Legislature to further degrade the small territory they have left. Does he understand that without land, water, wildlife and timber taken from the tribes, he and other business owners in the Northwoods would have had nothing to offer to customers?

Shorter summary: Does Tiffany have a clue about his own entitled white privilege?

James Rowen, a former journalist and mayoral staffer in Milwaukee and Madison, writes a regular blog, The Political Environment.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

2 thoughts on “Op Ed: Tom Tiffany and White Privilege”

  1. GodzillakingMKE says:

    Toxic Tom white supremacist to the core.

  2. Mary says:

    Perhaps this has been noted elsewhere, but if not, Tom TIffany was the only Wisconsin representative to sign on
    to the amicus brief

    https://thebadgerproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/20201210153048641_Texas-v.-Pennsylvania-Amicus-Brief-of-106-Representatives.pdf See page xvi

    in the U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the election results in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan.

    Tiffany sole Wisconsin Rep. to sign document asking SCOTUS to flip election results in Wisconsin, 3 other swing states


    “The lawsuit was audacious in its scope. It claimed that, without their legislatures’ approval, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin had made unconstitutional last-minute election-law changes, helping create the conditions for widespread fraud.”

    77 Days: Trump’s Campaign to Subvert the Election
    Hours after the United States voted, the president declared the election a fraud — a lie that unleashed a movement that would shatter democratic norms and upend the peaceful transfer of power.


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