The editor’s opinion from Marketplace, Northeast Wisconsin’s business magazine. (Obligatory disclaimer: Most hyperlinks go to outside sites, and we’re not responsible for their content. And like fresh watermelon, peaches, pineapple, grapefruit, tomatoes and sweet corn, hyperlinks can go bad after a while.)

April 25, 2008

From blogger to candidate

Jo Egelhoff, former Appleton alderman and proprietor of, announced this morning that she’s running for the 57th Assembly District seat being vacated by Rep. Steve Wieckert (R–Appleton).

To date, two candidates, Republican Peter Stueck, an Appleton alderman and Outagamie County supervisor, and Democrat Penny Bernard Schaber, who lost to Wieckert in 2006, have announced they’re running. (Should Stueck win, I can already hear his campaign slogan in 2010: “Stick with Stueck.” Egelhoff already has been given the tag “Tailgunner Jo” by one of her regular blog commentators.)

Egelhoff’s 10 years on the Common Council certainly qualifies her for the Assembly job; I don’t know Stueck, but I assume he’s qualified too. What gives me pause a bit about Stueck is his Barack Obama-esque comment that, as he was quoted in the Appleton Post~Crescent, “Too many people are spending too much time standing up for their particular party and not doing the work that needs to be done.” That’s a lovely sentiment when arguing favorite athletic teams. With few exceptions, though, there are huge differences between legislative Republicans and Democrats, on taxes and solutions to improving the state’s business climate. Moreover, the Assembly, like the U.S. House of Representatives, is a dictatorship of the majority party; the minority party might as well not even be in the chamber, from what I’ve witnessed. It’s easy to tout unity when one side caves to the other, which I suspect is Obama’s definition of unity.

As for Bernard Schaber, her positions include restoring the public intervenor (also known as “environmentalist roadblock”) in state government, “promoting cost effective, and positive issue oriented campaigns that are not influenced by financial contributions” (which is probably not an endorsement of smaller government), and “balancing revenues with spending,” probably a code phrase for acceptance of tax increases since she doesn’t mention cutting taxes.

Even if her positions were reasonable, the problem with electing any Democrat, as people who voted for Rep. Steve Kagen (D–Appleton) should have realized, is that you get all the other Democrats with your Democrat. In Northeast Wisconsin’s case, electing Reps. Tom Nelson (D–Kaukauna), Bob Ziegelbauer (D–Manitowoc, praised by one of his Republican colleagues as a better Republican than many Republicans in Madison), Terry Van Akkeren (D–Sheboygan), Gordon Hintz (D–Oshkosh), Louis Molepske Jr. (D–Stevens Point) and James Soletski (D–Green Bay) means you also get Reps. Spencer Black (D–Madison), Frank Boyle (D–Superior), Fred Kessler (D–Milwaukee, who recently took out his rage over the Supreme Court election result by introducing a proposal to end Supreme Court elections), Mark Pocan (D–Madison), David Travis (D–Madison) and Sheldon Wasserman (D–Milwaukee) — all of whom have demonstrated over their excessively long careers that there is nothing that government shouldn’t try to regulate and/or tax, including everything in your wallet.

You think I’m exaggerating? The fourth sentence of the 2006 Democratic Party of Wisconsin platform reads: “One of the primary jobs of government is to ensure that everyone can lead dignified, healthy, and fulfilling lives.” (I’m surprised Gov. James Doyle hasn’t created Cabinet-level departments of dignity and fulfillment.) Wisconsin Democrats, having discovered the right to health care in the U.S. Constitution, also want a single-payer health care system, along with an end to any government funding of non-public schools and more money for public schools, school property taxes to skyrocket through the end of the Qualified Economic Offer, “a tax system that is based on ability to pay,” balancing the federal budget “through wise spending and fair taxation.” (The word “fair” in that instance always means “more than you’re paying” to those in the productive class.) The Wisconsin Democrats also jump into corporate governance by proclaiming that “American companies have a duty to our nation to be established here at home, follow our environmental and labor laws, and pay taxes.” And, oh, by the way, they “call upon Congress to begin impeachment proceedings immediately against President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld,” who beat them to the punch by resigning.

I’d love to hear any of the Democrats who represent part of the Marketplace circulation area, or those who want to represent this area, explain why their party isn’t a bunch of anti-business, anti-free market, anti-wealth, tax-addicted, collectivist leftists. The evidence will be pretty hard for them to overcome.

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