Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

By Sara Conrad


This is a guest post I read on Facebook and asked her to share. I thought it brought up some important points. One, Burke doesn’t have horns. But next, what makes her qualified to be governor?

I hope you enjoy the writing as much as I did.


I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on Mary Burke and it turns out I have more in common with her than I previously thought. I know, I know…..I feel real dirty admitting that…but hear me out.

It started when I was folding laundry and saw an anti-Burke ad on TV. The photo of her made me think “looks like she’s trying to hold in one hell of an epic fart.” I realized that’s what she ALWAYS looks like….so I looked up images of her and had a good laugh. “Fartface” is what I’m now dubbing her perma-look.

While finding photos I also caught myself reading the articles they were attached to and I’m ashamed to say the woman I’ve been turning my nose up at and hexing under my breath was a virtual stranger to me. Outside of the insta-hate of the person challenging my beloved governor I knew pretty much nadda about her. Turns out, she’s more like me than she is like them, those dirty dirrrrty Wisconsin librats. At least she was before they (the DPW) got their fangs into her.

First let’s look at Mary Burke the person. She’s 55 years old, resides in Madison (minus points) and is a dog mommy to her two yellow labs (plus points). She’s never been married and never had children. She has said, “I’ve basically lived alone for 35 years and can’t imagine anyone wanting to put up with me.” As a fellow single gal, I can certainly relate to that statement.

But Mary hasn’t always been a Madistan resident. Another point of contention to her running for governor of our great state is her rocky love affair with Wisconsin. In 30 years she has lived in 17 cities and seven countries. She tried living in Milwaukee but it didn’t work out. Don’t worry Milwaukee, it wasn’t you, it was her. “I’d been living in big cities for a while,” she says. “It was like, ‘Wow, what am I doing here?'” Ooooh. Major diss.

In the late 1990’s she moved to Madison but didn’t have many friends and found it hard to date. Her brother put a personals ad in the Isthmus for her which was the last straw and Mary got the heck outta there and moved to Seattle. She eventually did move back to Madison and found her home there through volunteer work and philanthropy.

And that brings us to the big shiny elephant in the room. Yes, she’s a rich bitch. We all know this. However step back for a mo’…she’s not spending her millions emulating Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton. Yeah, yeah…she went snowboarding in Amsterdam. Wouldn’t you do something cool like that if given the opportunity? Yes you would…shut up.

With all that cash burning a hole her bank account she could be going on trips here and there and everywhere. She could be living in paradise shopping her days away….but instead she’s used her wealth to help Wisconsinites in need. What I found fascinating about her philanthropy is that she’s not just someone who writes a check and then checks out. She made it her reputation of being someone who doesn’t give, but rather invests. She holds the organizations who receive her generosity accountable, assuring her donations truly make a difference. Going out of her way, she works hard to help those organizations raise even more dough. Sounds all good to me.

Now we all know Mary got her mills because she is the Trek bicycle heiress. Great. Good. Awesomesocks. Trek makes their bikes in China. I don’t have an issue with this from a business standpoint. It’s the way of the world and our country, sad as it is. I mean, don’t you watch Shark Tank? The first question is always involving how to get the cost of goods down. The next question always is which manufacturer in which foreign country can do it for the best price. This isn’t a problem that building a bike in Wisconsin vs. China can fix. This is a global issue that Washington needs to address.

The fact of the matter is that Americans (especially Wisconsinites…come on now) like a deal….the cheaper the better. For a business to be viable you need to offer those American wallets as affordable an option as you can….so that option needs to be produced for as little as possible. We all agree China is a communist suckfest but that’s where you can get away with paying good workers itty bitty pennies to pop out loads of crap. Is that something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and good about the world? No. Is that something that helps make Wisconsin companies like Trek into legitimate contenders in the world market? Yes. Deal with it.

The sad reality is there is no way that Trek could pay Wisconsin workers to assemble bikes without then charging a small fortune for said bike and thus going out of business faster than you can say “fartface.” Conservatives use that argument when debuking raising the minimum wage or paying fast food workers $15 an hour. It’s the same difference with Trek…..just on a larger (hello global) scale. Does it still make good political ammunition? Sure. So get on wit yo’ Trek looooves China shaming self my GOP friends….but be careful. Shaming a Wisconsin based business just isn’t….well…..good for business.

Alrighty….onto the next Mary B Life Phase…….When Mary Met Jimmy. Becoming the Secretary of Commerce was Mary’s first foray into the public sector…and she quit that shiz after 2 1/2 years publicly citing her dissatisfaction with the Doyle administration’s lack of funding and resistance to follow suit of other successful states and spend the necessary resources to market Wisconsin to attract new businesses. Thus…I’m not sure Walker’s angle to blame Burke for all of Doyle’s economic failures is a fair one. A friend of Mary’s said, “She got to the point when she was secretary of Commerce that if I bought cheese or beer that wasn’t made in Wisconsin I’d hear about it.” So Mary seems to be someone who loves this state…and beer and cheese. Always a plus.

Sure…..from her stint in Doyle’s administration we could brand her a quitter….and we can say that she was this evil doing blood sucking Commerce Secretary under the democratic devil himself who did nothing but ruin the world. But 2 1/2 years does not a career make and she left for the same reasons that I would expect any good conservative to. Indeed, her desire to market Wisconsin to attract business from other states sounds a lot like something our lieutenant governor would say.

After all that Doyle drama, Mary became involved in education pledging $1 million of her own money and another $1.6 million from her family’s foundation to a charter school in Madison. What’s that? Yes. A CHAR-TER-SCH-OOOOOOOL. I can hear a hippie liberal hugging a tree crying in the woods right now at the very sound of that.

Mary gets props for believing that everyone deserves the opportunity to become successful and she believes that education is a very important foundation to that. Unfortunately the greedy teacher’s union collective bargaining (yes…this particular charter school was to have union workers…it’s in Madison for crying out loud….would you expect anything less?) made the charter school proposal waaaay too expensive and it basically turned into another teacher’s union hissy fit after Act 10 was passed and they restructured the proposal to make it more financially viable. The Madison school board (of course…duh) said hell to the no and Mary’s charter school was dead and buried.

That pissed Mary off and she ran for and won a seat on the very school board that told her to pack her (very expensive right-leaning in a left-looking package) knives and go. She ended up spending over $100K of her own money on her campaign.

Now that she’s running for the G-O-V this makes conservatives M-A-D. I don’t know why. Rich right leaning politicians have been doing the same self-campaign-funding forever without a blink. Johnson, Romney, etc. The list is endless. So cool your jets, my fellow conservatives. Rich politicians do as rich politicians do….no matter the letter after their names. In this particular case it’s an argument the lefties should be upset about…not us.

So that brings us to the now. Mary Burke for Governor. I honestly don’t understand why or how that became a thing. I may not know, but I suspect her brother does.

“Mary is always doing something different,” says John Burke, president of Trek Bicycle. “She gets on something and follows it all the way through, and then she switches gears.” Ahhh…a gal after my own ADD driven heart.

That makes me ponder what gear Mary will switch into when she loses her run for the governorship. Or…what she’ll do if she wins. Right now I think that the Walker campaign needs to show what I just did. That Mary Burke isn’t a devil wearing Prada…..she’s simply a woman without a cause….a lady drifting about her life on a magic carpet made of oodles of (hard earned) cash. She likes this and that…here and there….but she really never truly found her way and becoming governor of our great state isn’t an appropriate place to continue that self discovery.

At the end of the day, Mary’s a nice ol’ lady……but when it comes to this campaign and the future of our beautiful state…..she’s simply NOT QUALIFIED to be governor. The Walker campaign must cease giving her credibility she doesn’t deserve and start showing that she is nothing more than a rich gypsy with too much free time.

Case-in-point….before reading up on my Burkeisms my education and subsequent opinion regarding Burke solely came from talk radio, Walker ads and facebook. Conservative clique, I know. From that I figured she was a major player at Trek…high fiving the Chinese, a long serving commerce secretary, BFF’s with Doyle and a VIP all around. Turns out none of that is fact.

Walker needs to stop feeding the Marybots unearned clout on a silver platter. Rather they should show their candidate to be nothing more than your average ho-hum heiress who’s Wisconsin-ish but ADD always….never governing anything more than charitable givings, a couple yellow labs and a snowboard.

To be truthful, I’m sad for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. If they’d put down the bong and concentrate they really could take over this state. Instead they get distracted by shiny things like Burke or not so shiny things like Barrett. We all know pot makes a person lazy….and that’s just what they are. Lazylots. They seem to believe it’s less work to present an unqualified candidate and allow the media and opposing party to create substance then defend and twist said substance, then simply finding a solid contender.

With that being said, I believe once Burke loses…(and I pray to high heaven she does because if she wins she’ll be the Barack Obama of Wisconsin — over hyped and unqualified)…….Walker should nominate her as Secretary of Education. That’s a job I feel she’s well suited for and would excel at. No jokes about it.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your bid for governor grow?
With slight miscues and bit of a ruse
And pretty lies all in a row.