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.