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What are the prospects for bipartisan cooperation with Gov. Evers and the GOP?

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From the pages of In Business magazine.

Welcome to "Political Posturing," featuring opposing views on current issues important to Wisconsin's business community. In this column, Wisconsin Business Alliance Board President Brad Werntz and conservative columnist David Blaska offer their opinions from the left and the right, respectively.

We’ll see, but Gov. Evers has to deal with schoolyard bullies.

By Brad Werntz

Your humble columnist has lived in Wisconsin for over half of his life but spent many formative years in Wyoming. So, although I’m “Wisconsin Nice” by association, a part of me is what I call “Inner Wyoming.”

That part of me used to get advice like this: “Brad, if you ever feel the urge to punch someone, you should pay attention to that; if you decide to punch them and you’re wrong, you can always say you’re sorry and, well, some people just need to be punched.”

The first time I met Robin Vos face-to-face in early February of 2011, I didn’t know who he was or anything about him, but Inner Wyoming surged up within me, and I felt a strong urge to smack him. Fortunately for all, Wisconsin Nice prevailed (as he always does), so we didn’t make the news that day. But since then, I’ve thought a lot about why Vos, speaker of the State Assembly, brought that part of me to the surface and what it meant.

After watching him since, I’m reminded that some people just need to be punched. I don’t mean literally, of course, but this guy, that’s his thing: Vos was the guy that everybody picked on in school, and now that he’s got some power, he exerts it like he’s someone who has waited all of his life to get it. He’s vindictive for the sake of being vindictive, without point or purpose, solely for personal gratification, because he likes being that way. For him, it’s a schoolyard thing, on steroids.

Speaking of schoolyard behaviors, by contrast Scott Fitzgerald, majority leader of the State Senate, reminds me of the Wyoming galoots that used to rub horse manure in their weaker friends’ faces, then make them buy the beer. Personally, he comes off as a guy you might like to have a beer with but guardedly. Fitzgerald was definitely the schoolyard bully, and he carries himself like he can make you eat manure, and act like it’s all just in good fun.

So, can Gov. Evers work with these guys? That remains to be seen, but fortunately he has some experience with “bully boys.” As the former state superintendent of public instruction, he had to manage bad schoolyard behaviors. Something tells me that he’s going to need every bit of that experience to work with these two grown children.    

Brad Werntz is a small business owner in Madison.


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