As a Naught TEA WI Republican, one of the questions I am asked over & over again is “Why? How can you be proud to be a part of the Republican Party after all they have done to WI?” , especially during our Recalls of several Senators this past Summer, and now of our TEApublicCON Gov 1% Walker. My answer here is meant to help my Progressive & Liberal friends understand the history of the GOP in WI, both good & bad, so they might help us continue to work together to reclaim our WI from the TEApublicCONs that threaten us all.
Our WI is the very birthplace of the GOP, and I have visited that site in Ripon where the then almost socialist party of Farmers and Small businessmen birthed the Grand Old Party of the Republic, the Party of Honest Abe Lincoln the “Emancipator”. The Idea was that all men are created equal, the right to pursue Freedom & Justice for all, not just a few was born in these fiercely Independent pioneers.Rural WI Republicans are these folks, our heros those who served to unite our country & defend her. Our country was soon divided by Civil War over this premise, and the John Birch Society (Founded by the Koch Bros father, the Bradley’s, & several other ALEC ancestors), that brought the politics of the Robber Barons & Corporate Capitolists soon sprung up. There are many who say that all Republicans are this type, but I know it is not so. Real rural WI Republicans are the ones who sided with “Fighting Bob” LaFollette to kick these guys out of WI politics at the turn of the last century, ushering in the WI Idea of Democracy where the voice of our People outweighed the monied bribes of the Corporate Lobbyists. 100 years ago, political bribery was made illegal in WI…at least until the distaster of Citizens United brought it back on a National Scale.
Our party has always been divided into these two groups, the working class Republicans & the Robber Barons. We had Teddy Roosevelt , a Rough Rider, who established our National Parks System. Or the flip side , Joe McCarthy whose bigotry and fear of Communism lead to the famous “Witch hunts” of his era. We had Gaylord Nelson who sponsored the 1st National Earth Day , or Nixon who was caught on the campaign ethics and resigned in shame. Dwight Eisenhower supported our right to unionize, and Collective Bargaining became Law in WI in 1959. Ronald Reagan, so demonized by the left as a union buster over the Air Traffic Controllers, was actually a great defender of unions equating the loss of Collective Bargaining with the loss of Freedom. And we had Tommy Thompson, who created a Republican Healthcare Program called BadgerCare that united WI voters, and provided a blueprint on how State run Healthcare could be applied without an individual mandate, and went to Washington DC to serve under Bush SR …which brings us to our present Governor Scott 1% Walker, and his corporate TEApublicCons.
In 2010, as a backlash to ObamaCare, the TEA Party became a force in WI politics. Instead of our Republicans being proud of the Republican BadgerCare Program that had 97% of WI citizens with at least basic healthcare insurance (second only to RomneyCare at 98% even with the mandate) , this program was deliberately underfunded in the Walker 2011-2012 Budget. This weekend, as Tommy Thompson was at the Wauwatosa Rally to Support Walker, he tried to woo the TEA Party with rhetoric of turning Recall Petition signers black & blue! I know that the TEA Party has branded him a “Liberal” because of BadgerCare, but to incite violence on WI citizens shows how far we have come from the polite conservative values we have enjoyed for so long. The lie of a “Balanced Budget” by 1% Walker is clearly apparent in the Dec 29th letter to Washington DC requesting an exemption for the Healthcare Exchanges (which are utilized by rural small businesses & farms) that states there is a significant deficit in the 2013, Budget despite Act 10 to fix it, or the Educational cuts of over $800 million. If we follow the money, we see a Texas billionaire gave our Gov $500,000 on his recall campaign, and our Gov just hired a home schooled Texan Nurse to head our WI Dept of Public Health. Why a Texan? Especially as Texas has 25% of it’s citizens with NO health insurance, and up to 50% underinsured? It is purely because Walker in his TEA Party way wants to make WI a “Right to Work” state where Corporations are not responsible to provide affordable insurance to their employees.The Company with the most employees on BadgerCare happens to be WalMart, whose 6 member family has as much wealth as the bottom 30% of Americans and hires workers part-time as not to have to provide any benefits. Walker has refused to hear how we Republicans feel about this, I thought for an instant in December he might listen as he announced the lifting of the FamilyCare caps to enrollment only to find he had been told that he had to by the federal government 2 weeks prior, or lose $24 million MediCare bonus. It is the basic lies, the disregard for our rural families in these times of economic troubles, high unemployment, that will keep we rural Republicans working to find a Progressive Candidate to run against 1% Walker this Spring.Honor, integrity, charity, community service are basic to our Republican nature and somehow I hope the coalition of 1 million will find a way to message the campaigns that will flood the WI airwaves to point at the Robber Baron TEA Party as the culprits of the uncivility and deception that divided our purple State .We are proud to be WI Progressive Naught TEA Republicans united with our grassroots friends to reclaim our WI Democracy back .