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Nov 23, 201503:00 PMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Don’t question education chief Tony Evers — he is nonpartisan

(page 1 of 2)

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Getting a fair shake for Republicans in Dane County is harder than getting a Badger touchdown call from Saturday’s referees at snowy Camp Randall.

Conservatives living in the occupied territories endure headlines like, “Another power grab by the GOP.” That headline appeared not on the opinion page, nor anywhere in the Hillary/Bernie Times, but on the news pages of the Sunday Wisconsin State Journal over the byline of that conflicted scrivener, Chris Rickert.

Stuck in Rickert’s gizzard is a state law that requires the elected governor to sign off on administrative rules. No question the law applies to Scott Walker’s cabinet agencies. But must Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers comply? The state’s high court will decide.

Evers is the only constitutional executive officer elected statewide on a nonpartisan ballot.

“… In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, people elected to nonpartisan positions could be presumed to do their jobs in a nonpartisan way. Evers might be a throwback to that time,” Rickert writes. Or he might not.

Rickert acknowledges that Evers is “sympathetic” to the teachers union, antagonistic to Act 10, and weaponized against school vouchers. School choice is not merely bad policy, but “morally wrong” in Evers’ own formulation. The state supe is an enemy of school spending restraints, as well.

Halo for sale or rent

Truth be told, Tony Evers is generally indistinguishable from your standard teachers union bosses and tenured government education industry types who contribute generously to Evers’ statewide election coffers. (Almost $35,000 from labor unions and another $80,597 from liberal advocates of the status quo, such as former first lady Jessica Doyle and UW Education School dean Julie Underwood.) Evers makes common cause with good liberal partisans like Peter Barca, Fred Risser, and Terese Berceau.

Evers may be nonpartisan but the term wears an undeserved halo. Its true meaning is more pedestrian. It means only not affiliated with any political party. It most decidedly does NOT mean impartial, without biases or principles, ideology, or values. Those latter four nouns themselves come colored with their own hues. My opponents are biased ideologues. My allies, by contrast, are principled and true to their values.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg are nonpartisan. Yet one consistently rules on conservative principles, the other in favor of Democrat(ic) biases. The first was appointed by a Republican president, the other by a Democrat. John Harwood in the CNBC-hosted debate asked a Republican if his candidacy is “a comic book campaign.” He is a nonpartisan journalist for the New York Times.

People for the American Way, founded by Norman Lear? Nonpartisan. Club for Growth? Nonpartisan. Chris Rickert, nonpartisan.

Evers’ supporters will say that education should be nonpartisan. Tell that to President Obama, a known Democrat, who appoints a cabinet-level education secretary. Or to the teachers unions, who funnel money almost exclusively to Democrats.


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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Nov 23, 2015 05:56 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Oh no! Republicans aren't given a "fair shake" in Dane County! Are their candidates not afforded the opportunity to run for office? Are their thinkers not given ready access to the TV and radio airwaves along with the print and digital outlets? Are their complaints not heard by judges, some of whom are appointed by our Republican governor?

How unfair! Why, with the playing field tilted so decidedly against them, you might think it would be in their best interests to simply pick up stakes and move slightly east to critical Waukesha County, seat of the Republican electorate.

Of course, that would eliminate the need to complain, wouldn't it? And what would they do then?

Nov 24, 2015 07:10 am
 Posted by  madisonexpat

Why do Liberals insist they are Independents?

The Cap Times has always claimed to be impartial except editorially. The MSM will never agree it is biased but it is.

What do they feel compelled to hide? Why?

Nov 24, 2015 09:57 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

One of the biggest money holes for Tony Evers is his own employees. Of the 634 employed at Department of Public Instruction (2012 Blue Book), 260 of them contributed an aggregate $48,282 to his last campaign for election, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign spreadsheet. That's a health $186 per DPI donor. If Scott Walker had that kind of batting average at the Department of Administration, the local news media would be holding the flashlights for the speech police in their pre-dawn raids.

Nov 24, 2015 10:41 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

"Yet one consistently rules on conservative principles, the other in favor of Democrat(ic) biases."

Hmmm. Guess that is one way to show the writer's biases.

Nov 24, 2015 11:25 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

""Yet one consistently rules on conservative principles, the other in favor of Democrat(ic) biases."

Hmmm. Guess that is one way to show the writer's biases"

Congrats, Anon 10:41 AM. You got my point.

Nov 24, 2015 01:01 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

It's pronounced like this: "Tha librul meeeeeediahhhhh."

Clarification: The blog you're reading is not media.

Nov 24, 2015 04:52 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Basically what the Republicans are moving to at the state level is what Chicago has done on a citywide basis with education - while that has allowed some nice sorting of the more skilled students into a limited number of schools - the result is an overall failed school system with some of the highest performing schools in the state (because they have the small number of students which start with 7th grade reading skills- one of those schools is in the neighborhood known as the bloody hundreds due to having one of the highest murder rates in the country- 99% black 85% poor and an all public school it succeeds because it draws all the children with skills from 3 other public high schools. Any how it is interesting that Walker is wanting what Rahm Emmanuel has. For myself I invested in this state 25 years ago because I liked the way Wisconsin operated . Most of those values have been gutted the past year as Wisconsin becomes more and more Chicago with Hills. The state once did better than that. Personally I would not invest money in Chicago with or without hills. And you may find that becoming the norm here when it comes to skilled workers with resources.

Nov 25, 2015 07:32 am
 Posted by  Dave, not B

Anonymous NOV 23, 2015 05:56 PM:

"Are their thinkers not given ready access to the TV and radio airwaves along with the print and digital outlets?"

Only if they pay the liberal media for access to TV and radio airwaves, whereas the liberal media give it FREE to dem candidates in the form of softball interviews and favorable reporting. Citizens United must never be overturned or this great country will sink even further into the grasp of communism.

Nov 25, 2015 10:36 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

TRIGGER WARNING: Comments may offend liberals, progressives, and similar.

RE: the liberal jihad against free speech...if you have not yet done so, and have a strong stomach, read Kirsten Powers' book "The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech".

Meticulously written to show the active shooters on the left trying to silence any speech not in accordance with their thinking. I'm halfway through it and have thought a couple times to stop reading it - not because I doubt its veracity, but because there is only so much of it I can read in one sitting without having my stomach turn. Meticulously documented with 69 pages of citations for 202 pages of reading material - yes, a full 25% of the book is just source citations.

Of course, the left must now be demonizing her as a "sellout" - a lifelong liberal, actually criticizing people on her side of the aisle...and of course, she is a contributor for that "fake" news channel, Fox News - the one that both Democrats and Republicans watch to get non-biased news. Don't believe it is fair and balanced? Read Powers book to see the stats.

There was a leader in the 1930s-40s that had a government apparatus that very effectively shut down dissenting opinion/speech (no, not FDR, but hint - his initials were AH). We now have 20-somethings in our own country on campuses that believe someone should go to jail if they dare to say anything that doesn't toe their line - especially in the world of climate change theory dissenters - get the thumbscrews ready for THOSE people. Might as well put the duct tape on now if you plan to go to college...especially if you can't fit on their 100 square foot "free speech zones" would be laughable if it wasn't so dangerous a thought.

I can't wait to see the day these 20-somethings demand a name change to the building where they are employed because the name on it "triggers" something offensive...Jefferson building, Washington building, Madison building...

Nov 25, 2015 11:40 am
 Posted by  madisonexpat

Trigger Alert!
Islamic Terrorists lives matter.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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