More Madison mottos for Mayor Soglin

You have to hand it to Paul Soglin. Though he’s earned a reputation as something of a grumblepuss (can’t vouch for that; don’t know the man), he has a sense of humor, apparently. Just as members of oft-mocked subcultures tend to reclaim terms of derision, Soglin is proposing that Madison officially adopt the motto “77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality” — an update of former Gov. Lee Dreyfus’ famous dig.

I love it.

While the proposal has garnered mixed reviews (Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce President Zach Brandon told the Wisconsin State Journal, “Maybe we should figure out the square footage of the City Council chamber and use that”), I think the slogan could stand as a winking acknowledgment of our, ahem, uniqueness.

As a Madisonian in good standing, I understand that the rest of the state has a bit of a jaundiced outlook when it comes to our little burg. I’m reminded of Woody Allen’s fretful take on New Yorkers’ image problem in his movie Annie Hall: “Don’t you see? The rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re leftwing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers. I think of us that way sometimes, and I live here.”

Soglin said he will be proposing the motto to the City Council on Tuesday, and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Alas, I’m guessing it will fail. If so, here are a few more suggestions we can try:

  • The Land Where Bicycles Don’t Stop
  • 7,700 Vegans Surrounded by Cow Methane
  • Hey, Milwaukee: Our Cars Burn Less Fuel Than Your Bloated Livers
  • Madison: Where Fox Valley Liberals Go When They Want to Feel Like Republicans
  • Hey, Imagine if That Weird Kaukauna Smell Was Sage Incense, Patchouli, and Gluten-Free Mocha Hazelnut Cupcakes!
  • Visit. Stay. Play. Get Your Car Towed Around the Corner
  • Madison: Where Any Kid Can Grow Up to Be Mayor as Many Times as He Wants
  • Come for the Past Life Regression Therapy, Stay for the Thong Cape Scooter Man
  • You’re Driving Through the Forest Wearing a Bright Orange Hat With a 200-Pound Animal Carcass Strapped to the Roof of Your Jetta and You Think We’re the Strange Ones?

And for all those who’ve swum in our town’s lakes when they probably shouldn’t have:

UPDATE: As expected, the City Council rejected Mayor Soglin’s proposal on Tuesday. An amended version of the proposal that would have made the “77 Square Miles …” phrase the city's official punchline failed as well. The State Journal has the story.

Our governor can out-probe your governor

Well, this should surprise no one. Scott “Let Them Eat Transvaginal Ultrasounds” Walker is one of the most conservative governors in the nation, according to the redoubtable Nate Silver of The New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog (h/t Uppity Wisconsin).

You’ll remember Silver as the analyst who unwaveringly predicted an Obama election win while the Karl Roves and Dick Morrises of the world were busy dancing fey little leprechaun jigs on the president’s grave, convinced that they’d be snug in their homes soaking in lavender bath salts and lesbian tears by 9 p.m. EST on election night.

Through an analysis of politicians’ public statements, voting records, and donors, Silver determined that Walker is the third-most conservative governor in the nation and that Ron Johnson is the fourth-most conservative senator.

Now, I know we proud Badgers have long held out hope that a Wisconsinite will one day hold the highest office in the land, but I’d argue you can pretty much forget about the two most recent targets of speculation — Walker and Paul Ryan.



In a country that appears to be drifting further to the left on social issues every day, Republicans seem bound and determined to grab the steering wheel and yank it as hard as they can to the right. Our own favorite sons are no exception.

They may very well have presidential aspirations, but it seems to me that Ayn Rand Man and Trans Vag Boy have painted themselves into an uncomfortable little corner with their ultra-conservative stances. For instance, when it comes to abortion, neither man believes in allowing an exception for rape or incest (which makes me wonder how Ryan ever made it onto a national ticket in the first place), and Walker now has the compulsory wanding of our populace to contend with.

Really, if he actually is considering running for president, I’m not sure how he thinks this is going to ever fly with women or moderates. Maybe he could paint the ultrasound wands like candy canes and tell voters it’s Christmas all year round for Wisconsin’s women.

The Republican Party’s sad and tragic death march continues. It’s bittersweet, to be sure.

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