Progressivism in the crosshairs

From the pages of In Business magazine.

Now that Democrats have made their peace with the one percent, in the person of Mary Burke, the party bosses’ handpicked candidate for governor, it is safe to be successful again — especially if you inherited your wealth.

Having used it to defeat Mitt Romney, the class warfare meme has served its purpose. Now our progressive acquaintances are stuck with Barack Obama for another three years, after which time the (un)Affordable Health Care act website may be up and running. 

The biggest trophy of big-government progressivism since LBJ’s Great Society is sputtering like Baghdad Bob in the bunker. Barack Obama outright lied about keeping your plan if you liked it, the healthy 20-somethings needed to make this Ponzi scheme work are playing Call of Duty, and once-hopeful cancer patients are being denied coverage. Newsman Brit Hume notes that Obamacare was supposed to insure the uninsured; instead, it is uninsuring the insured. 

The high priests of big government don’t seem to be able to make government work — with the notable exception of its well-trained attack dog, the IRS. The Democrats’ economic stimulus has stimulated only the federal debt, now greater than at any time since the end of World War II (when we really got something for the money). We took Nazi Germany’s surrender three and a half years after Pearl Harbor, but in the same time span Obama-Reid-Pelosi could not build a working webpage for their signature legislation. Of course, Obamacare is more than a webpage; it is an attempt to reorder one-sixth of the national economy.

Progressives argue that the economic stimulus wasn’t expensive enough and that health care should have been nationalized. Strange how the failure of every government overreach is explained as not having overreached enough.

Their contempt for individual free choice is staggering. Holman Jenkins Jr. in The Wall Street Journal isolates the DNA of Big Government’s latest experiment. Promoting Hillarycare in 1993, the heroine of Benghazi said, “We just think people will be too focused on saving money and they won’t get the care for their children and themselves that they need. … The money has to go to the federal government because the federal government will spend that money better.”

While struggling to straddle yet another issue, Mary Burke left a small progressive fingerprint. On school choice, Burke says she would not have expanded vouchers as Gov. Scott Walker did but didn’t say she would repeal what’s already in place. Then she let slip that parents should leave their kids’ education to the experts.

“That’s the role of government, where it can do things better as an organization than individuals can do on their own.” 



Barack Obama had once aspired to be the progressive equivalent of that transformative president, Ronald Reagan. Now he looks more and more like Jimmy Carter after he was attacked by that killer rabbit. Obamacare is a late-night TV punchline. Our Ms. Burke? She just wants to get elected. Kind of like Jim Doyle. Remember the Doyle legacy? Neither do we. What would Mary Burke do if elected? Work really hard. Every day!

Otherwise, the lady makes no promises. She’s “the Fifth Amendment candidate,” Charlie Sykes quips. Old fist-pounding Bob La Follette would be so proud. Has 21st century progressivism become the political ideology that dare not speak its name?

No issue enrages Wisconsin’s left like Scott Walker’s rollback of public-sector collective bargaining privileges. Act 10 struck at the heart of the government-industrial complex. Progressives mounted expensive and wearying recall elections only to have the governor and his legislative allies show what democracy really looks like. So where does Our Ms. Burke stand?

“She has deftly handled the public employee collective bargaining question,” reports Capital Times editor Paul Fanlund, by not answering it. “She talks of her desire to treat public employees fairly. But to lock herself into that position would be nuts, and she has not.” Guess we’ll have to elect her to see what she stands for.

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