Op Ed

Vos Misreads Me

He takes my critique of Evers’ strategy as a sign of unrest among Democrats. Wrong.

By - Jul 20th, 2021 11:55 am
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. File photo by Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. File photo by Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Well, I suppose I should at least thank Speaker Robin Vos for reading my stuff. But if the Speaker thinks that my criticisms of Gov. Tony Evers are going to help him defeat Evers in the November, 2022 general election, he’s wrong.

Here’s what Vos said according to a story yesterday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

“Vos and other Republicans pointed to a blog post by former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz to argue Evers faces unrest on his left. Cieslewicz called for someone to challenge the governor in the Democratic primary because he is “wishy-washy” and a “Stockholm Syndrome Democrat” who doesn’t think strategically.

“Vos said Evers’ decision to approve two Republican budgets since he was elected in 2018 “says to me that the guy really doesn’t stand for much. And I don’t know how you convince your base that you are worth going to fight for if in the end you always roll over.””

There are at least four problems with Vos’ attempt to use my blog against Evers.

The first is that the Republican general election playbook is to call every Democrat a socialist. The fact that Evers is getting some criticism from his left (which doesn’t necessarily include me; see below) actually helps him push back on that charge.

Second, an argument that amounts to “vote against Evers because he signed two of my budgets” isn’t one that Vos will want to make in the general.

Third, the Democratic Party isn’t going to fracture. Whoever the nominee is against whoever the Republicans put up will have the full support of the base. Evers never was the darling of party activists in the first place. They supported him because they thought he could win. They’ll do that again if he is the nominee, and nobody else can get the nomination unless they first convince Democratic primary voters that they can win in the general. Even I won’t vote for a firebrand Democrat in the primary if I don’t think that candidate can beat the Republican.

Fourth, if Vos is pointing to me as an example of “unrest on (Evers’) left”, well, maybe Robin isn’t reading my stuff after all. In fact, the whole point of my columns is to make the case for center-left moderation. My problem with the Governor isn’t that he isn’t liberal enough, but that he isn’t effective enough in championing some crucial initiatives, like a nonpartisan redistricting commission. But that’s a primary race argument and not one that hurts Evers in a general election.

Vos is a smart guy and a decent strategist, but if he keeps up this line of attack, he’s going to help Tony Evers to another four years, which if the Democrats don’t offer a better choice next August, will be fine with me.

Dave Cieslewicz, Editor, Yellow Stripes & Dead Armadillos.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

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