So gentlemen

Tell me how you’ll fix the financial mess this state is in.

I know that technically we have several contenders, but I’m just looking at Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Walker’s work to reign in spending is well documented. I’ll argue it gets a bit hokey at times, though. (Dissolve the County Board comes to mind.) Barrett’s leadership is more personality than anything I can find toward fiscal responsibility.

(Hmmm. That’s an interesting way to look at this race. Barrett is the personality leader; Walker is the fiscal management leader. Sorry, but people vote for the nice guy. Walker needs to find his nice guy soon. That interview I saw on TMJ4 last night was a disaster. Walker needs Evan Zeppos in his life ASAP. And don’t worry – Zeppos works for the highest bidder.)

Back to the money mess. Why don’t we come up with a few good ideas and help them along? If we get both of them to agree to certain plans, we’re that far ahead of the game come next November, don’t you think?

My idea: Manage this school funding issue NOW. My district, Elmbrook, spends more time gaming the system than educating students. Reverse the idea that money only flows through enrolled bodies. Stop making us hand district property taxes to black holes like MPS. Take k-12 education out of the state coffers completely.

So where do you think this state should start to reverse our current financial misery?


  1. Just stumbled upon your blog last night. For a conservative, you ask a lot of thoughtful questions (I realize that a lot of conservatives do this…however, in the blogging business, this is a rarity, on both sides of the spectrum), and I appreciate the cordiality you bring to the discussion. As a liberal commentator, I hope to come here many more times in the future to discuss the issues with you.

    I want to address one other thing before we talk about the fiscal mess: you’re little aside about the “nice guy” vs. fiscal management leader. If Walker wants to win, he’s going to have to portray a better personality than what he has now. His efforts to do that, however, are in the wrong direction: he recently sought the endorsement of controversial ex-governor-turned-author Sarah Palin.

    Palin’s endorsement would do wonders for Walker’s base — but for the average Wisconsin voter, it would be a disaster. If Walker is trying to hit a home-run with Palin’s endorsement, he’s going to strike out. The polling numbers agree with this assessment — more than half the voting public in America disapprove of her — and my personal polling (going door-to-door in ’08 for the election) showed me that most think she’d be terrible for the country. So I don’t think she’d be good for Walker to have on his side.

    Now, economics…I didn’t know Barrett’s economic philosophy myself. Like you said in your post, he’s more of a “personality” than an issues-oriented guy. But I was able to find an article from FOX 6 about his recent plans for cutting the city budget:,0,6759408.story (skip the video…it doesn’t work)

    The article demonstrates Barrett’s plan to cut costs while saving jobs — he asks that everyone take four days of furlough leave each year, even police officers. This could be potentially damaging to Barrett, especially to some who consider our safety of utmost concern. But Barrett makes a wise choice here, at least in terms of firing people: rather than canning several government employees (including cops), he tries to let everyone keep their jobs in these hard economic times when many of his employees are depending on them.

    If you’re still not convinced, consider this: according to some sources I’ve found online, Mayor Barrett received his BA in…economics. Now, I can’t confirm that…I’ve only found one source to back that up (and I typically like to find two or three before I believe something from internet sources). But if that’s true, coupled with his experience in the state legislature, Congress, and the mayor’s office, it’s a clear sign that Barrett knows what he’s talking about.

    I hope this was informative. Thanks!

  2. Sorry, but you landed in spam. I think it was the opening sentence that tripped Askimet.

    Thanks for opening this discussion.

    I had heard about his hope for a Palin endorsement. I, too, find that odd given it’s the middle who elects.

  3. Cindy, for fiscal management considerations, did you include that each and every one of Walker’s budgets have failed to make it past midyear without a crisis? The target date for 2010 is January 2.

  4. re: Palin – as I said in my other comment, who is giving Walker advice on his campaign? Especially in a ‘blue’ state.

  5. Capper, indeed, that’s on my list of research points. If it’s true, I’ll figure it out eventually.

  6. There’s a campaign theory that you play to your base first (i.e., get Palin on board) and then move to the middle towards the end. After all, are they really going to vote for the other guy?

    Palin, however, might not fit in this case. Though I really liked her initially, this is one time where the more I hear the more I worry. Our “rogue” queen is a little too unpredictable. I’d be concerned about a close association.