Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It's so boring to have a good, decent U.S. Senator

Wisconsin likes to elect good, decent progressives to the U.S. Senate. But then we get restless. Goodness can get boring. Same with intelligence. At first it's an asset, but then it gets irritating -- what, does he think he's better than us? Same with liberalism. It's cute in an underdog, but after awhile it just means you're a big-government-tax-and-spend-anti-business-weirdo who wants to take away our freedoms. And, of course, we get more and more suspicious as time goes by. Isn't "public servant" an oxymoron? If someone really enjoys public service and standing up for our interests in Washington, isn't there something wrong with him? Maybe he's just been in Washington too long. That's why, after three terms, we like to kick them out and elect a yahoo conservative political hack just to stir things up. Who knows, it might do some good. Worth a try. Kick the bum out. Get somebody new.

It happened to Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day and an early opponent of the Vietnam War. He was a nationally known representative of all that was best in the progressive Wisconsin political tradition. He had served three terms in the Senate after serving as governor, and it looked as if he would remain there for many years. But Wisconsin voters decided three terms was enough and kicked him out in 1980 -- in favor of the forgettable Bob Kasten.

Now Russ Feingold. Yes, it's so boring to have a good Senator.


cathy said...

I don't think Johnson has any real interest in policy. He bought a senate seat because he couldn't afford a major league sports team.

Josh said...

Spot on. Progressivism in Wisconsin has always been vulnerable to waves — in 1980, when Gaylord Nelson lost election, the Republicans got +12 senate seats nationwide. The Republicans also picked up 12 seats in 1946, when Robert La Follette Jr. was replaced by Joseph McCarthy. There was a more local wave in 1914, right amid the "Progressive Era," when progressive Republicans lost control of state government to stalwart Republicans, and a conservative Democrat beat a progressive Republican for Senate. The rhetoric in 1914 was much like today: people were angry, they wanted smaller government and lower taxes.

Joaquin said...

Is Progessivism code for Socialism?