Governor Walker, Leaders Lead.

The word is out that the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin scored Hard Rock to partner in a new casino venture near Kenosha.

A similar facility is in Oklahoma outside Tulsa. It’s a big deal. (And what is it about seeing the name ZZ Top that makes me ridiculously homesick?) It’s really successful. It’s a true destination for entertainment.

Now why can’t we have that in Wisconsin?

Walker drew a line on this subject a few weeks ago when he proclaimed that all tribes must agree and there be no new gambling. The Potawatomi are trying very hard to influence public opinion in their advertisements through the shadow group Enough. One of the ads say that jobs lost in Milwaukee will be about equal to jobs gained in Kenosha. Isn’t that almost an argument that no new gambling will be created? That satisfies one of Walker’s requirements.

As to the other, that all tribes agree, well isn’t that cute. There is a chance they could, as from what I understand the Menominee are offering the Potawatomi a big stake in supplying and managing the gambling equipment. That expands the pie and makes a Menominee Kenosha casino a good deal for the Potawatomi, too.

Finally, the Potawatomi tribe through Enough has tried to tie the potentially new casino to corruption. But guess what? The Potawatomi thought it was just fine to play dirty several years ago when they expanded their bingo hall operating to a video gambling (think slot machines) operation. Then Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist was furious when the Potawatomi slipped in video gambling machines and then later signed a deal with Governor Tommy Thompson. From the Chicago Tribune:

The gambling compact was struck despite what the city says is a standing agreement it has with the hall`s operators not to have casino-style, or class III, gambling at the site.

“If they want something else than class II gaming (high stakes bingo) they should have to come to the city council, held hearings, and let the people have input,” said Mayor John Norquist, who fired off a letter to Gov. Tommy Thompson Monday urging him not to sign the compact.

Here’s what I believe is a copy of the 1992 compact.

Anyone want to find out how much the Potawatomi tribe funded Thompson’s 2008 Presidential campaign? Thompson’s Senate race in 2012?

And that’s where you have to find a way to save face, Governor Walker. If you don’t approve the Kenosha casino despite evidence there will be no new gambling, despite general and Republican opinion that indeed in Wisconsin it is unfair to favor one tribe over another, despite the fact that thorough federal investigation indicates a new off-reservation casino is only fair play, well, you’re going to have to explain that stubbornness.

You will also have to prove you don’t have your hand in the Potawatomi’s wallet. And that’s something you just can’t do, can you? If you want to start a presidential campaign with the state of Wisconsin knowing you can be bought, fine. Not the way I’d do it, but go for it.


  1. Wilson828 says:

    “why can’t we have that in Wisconsin?”

    For the same reason we can’t have a train from Milwaukee to Madison… we are Wisconsin. We don’t have shit. We are hillbillies and proud of it.