Democrats, running for Governor, sounding like Republicans: a Wisconsin tradition

Democrats, running for Governor, sounding like Republicans: a Wisconsin tradition

This weekend, Wisconsin Democrats on their way to their state convention may drive right past this billboard, put there by the state GOP:

Ha! Get it? Tom Barrett, former congressman and current Mayor of Milwaukee, is the likely Dem nominee for Governor.

Us Republicans. We’re funny.

There’s a great, big nugget of truth on that billboard, though: Barrett is sounding a lot like current Governor Jim Doyle did eight years ago, when Doyle was Attorney General and the Democrats’ nominee.

What sound is that, exactly? Fiscal conservatism. Here’s Barrett:

Reform government. Cut back. Put Madison on a diet! If you go to his website (sorry, no link here), you’ll see: he wants to save taxpayers over a billion dollars.

Let’s go back to 2003, when the newly-minted Governor Jim Doyle was talking budget. From his very first State of the State address:

“The simple fact is this: We’re spending too much — and we have been for a long, long time.”

“Wisconsin is already one of the nation’s most heavily taxed states. Adding to the burden would make it virtually impossible to attract new jobs…”

“By costing us jobs, raising taxes would trigger an economic spiral that would cost us revenue too. In the long run — and perhaps in the short term too — raising taxes will make the deficit worse, not better.”

And who can forget this classic:

“Going forward, my mind will be open to every solution — except one. We should not — we must not — and I will not — raise taxes.”

Huh. Wisconsin’s economy must be doing really well the last four years, then, because…well, we’ll come back to that. At the time Doyle said these things, both of Wisconsin’s legislative houses were held by Republicans. So what the hell? Might as well say what’s going to happen anyway.

What a difference a majority makes. Over the last four years, with at least one and, now, two houses in Democrat hands, Doyle has raised taxes and fees by over $2.7 billion, and that doesn’t include the $290 million in tax increases in the “budget repair bill” passed last year, or the $1.5 billion in property tax increases this most recent state budget forced on local governments.

What was that Doyle said about an “economic spiral?”

So, see, when the political winds required it, Governor Doyle was conservative. When they didn’t, he wasn’t.

Today’s political winds blow conservative, too, and: surprise! Mayor Barrett is sounding like a conservative.

Surely Wisconsin voters won’t fall for that again?

The TrogloPundit

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