Monday, August 08, 2005

The Official York/Xoff Rebuttal

I know, not exactly the Lincoln-Douglas debates, but here goes:

Last week, liberal in-house Wispolitics.com blogger Xoff took me up on my challenge to come up with what he considered to be his five best Republicans in Wisconsin, at any level of government. I appreciate his work on this, and I sent him an e-mail thanking him for taking the bait. We have got a lot of hits on that topic.

As I think about it more, though, I am having more and more reservations about his list. Two points in his defense:

1. Unless you have people who know politics helping you out, this list would be impossible to put together. Since he lives in Milwaukee and probably has no idea who two-thirds of state legislators are, that kind of narrows the field.

2. He is a blog posting machine, so I imagine he didn't have the time to sit around and think about this stuff like I did. He actually posts on a variety of subjects, while it takes me a while to get around to posting something I like that interests me. In fact, he is now in the middle of an uncomfortable cyber-flirtation with Jessica McBride that seems to be taking up a lot of his time. At the point you start flirting in public with a DA's wife, you might as well just stop and write yourself a speeding ticket every day on the way home, to save the sheriff time. The bottom line is, he probably enjoys a healthy social life, while I sit at home debating whether Spencer Black looks better without a beard (answer: he does not.)

Notwithstanding those two points, his list leaves a lot to be desired. There is a common thread that runs through all of his picks - and that is they almost all have embarrassed the Republican party at one time or another (or continue to). For instance:

Curt Gielow recently introduced a universal-style government health plan that would be disastrous for health care in Wisconsin.

Mike Ellis has made a career out of criticizing Republicans - he caused a bloodbath on the state budget by voting no, presumably because it left too big of a deficit (which he caused as majority leader in the 90's).

He picks Tom Petri because he votes against Republicans on his committee, occasionally.

Luther Olsen is known as a moderate, to put it generously.

Terry Musser has co-sponsored legislation to repeal the caps on teachers' salaries and benefits (the QEO) and is currently circulating legislation to raise sales taxes for counties.

David Prosser is a good pick, but completely disengaged from partisan politics, as he is on the State Supreme Court.

As I made clear in my qualifications for the "Best Democrats" list, I didn't want to pick the most moderate Democrats. This appears to be what Xoff did, for Republicans. I wanted to try, as a mental exercise, to pick the Democrats that I, if I was a Democrat, would want to carry my party's message forward. Therefore, uber-lefties like Baldwin, Falk, and Coggs made the list.

I don't know if you can find a Republican that would be comfortable with any members of his list being the voice of the party.

I will now go slink back "into the shadows," as Xoff put it.