Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Dems' Substantive TPA Debate

Good writers don't just tell you something is absurd, they actually point out why it is so. But I'm so flustered by the most recent "controversy" over Glenn Grothman's "secret" TABOR meeting, I can't help but just say that we have all lost our minds.

I know I should be the last one telling anyone to be serious, but come on. As reported in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, State Senator Glenn Grothman held a meeting with some local officials to get their input on the proposed Taxpayer Protection Amendment. And apparently Grothman had the gall to (gasp!) not call the press and invite them! And he didn't let all of his constituents know! I will take a moment to let you catch your breath, because I care about you, dear reader.

After I saw the article, I rolled my eyes as any thinking person should have done. But then I watched in horror as Democrats actually tried to make this an issue. Unable to argue against TPA on the merits, suddenly Democrats have tried to gin up some completely phony argument that the public is being "shut out" of the process. Most galling are other legislators criticizing Grothman for holding this meeting.

Let's back up here for a minute. Grothman was trying to get input from people that oppose the TPA. He was listening to an opposing viewpoint, and decided he could have a productive meeting with those that care about it the most, local officials. He made an honest attempt to take input on the bill, and suddenly he gets whacked for it. The article even concedes nobody was kept from attending. Local officials were likely much more willing to show candor without the media there, as they know they are on the losing side of a popular public issue. What's wrong with an honest conversation?

And for legislators like Mark Pocan and Russ (the human breathalyzer) Decker to come out and criticize him for the "secret" meeting is absolutely ridiculous beyond words. Certainly Pocan and Decker meet with constituents and local officials all the time, and never alert the media or the "general public." A quick open records request of their office calendars will surely confirm that.

I mean, Democrats, I'm on your side on the TPA for the most part. But if you're going to argue against the TPA, argue against the bill and not the process. The people that are trying to drum this smokescreen up as a legitimate issue are showing that they have no interest in a legitimate debate on the effects of this massive constitutional amendment.

Who is it that's afraid of public debate on the TPA again?

SIDE NOTE: Owen did a good job of covering this today, but I don't think he was nearly outraged enough. I am outraged by his lack of outrage.