Sticks and Stones … Confessions of a Madison conservative

When you’re a conservative in Madison, Wis., you get called a lot of names.

When you’re losing the debate, shouting “right-winger” is like hitting the delete button. Problem solved.

“Fascist,” “blowhard,” and “insufferable eff-ing ****” are just some of the epithets that have been hurled my way. And those came from my former colleagues at the Isthmus! No wonder Madison’s businesspeople are so reticent to speak out.

Over the years, I’ve learned to roll with it. I’ve built up enough emotional Kevlar to withstand the casual calumny so unthinkingly hurled in this seat of higher learning. “Bring it!” is my motto. (Also the name of my most excellent In Business blog.)

So go ahead: call me names, impugn my motives, monger your conspiracy theories, condemn my thought crimes. I plead guilty with a lime twist.

Yes, I am a gun nut. If you thought Prohibition was fun, come and get my arsenal.

I confess to being a puppet of business. The newly elected Republican state legislative majorities are “pro-business puppets who answer only to their bosses at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce,” according to the organizers of a January protest rally at the Capitol. Waukesha County must be populated by pro-business Muppets.

When conservatives spend more money than our defeated liberal opponents, we have “bought” the election. No use arguing that we raised more money because we had more support.

Sandra Fluke is correct; the Right has declared “war on women.” They want government out of their uteruses? Make them pay for their own birth control! (Thankfully, my wife agrees.)

I confess to being a Tea Partier. Ordinary folks, far as I can tell.

I own up to being pro-life. I know that it is unscientific to think that human life begins at, well, the beginning. More enlightened minds know that the little blob is not truly human until it can survive outside the womb independently, somewhere around age 30.

You say I’m doing the bidding of the Koch Brothers? Wish they’d show a little appreciation.

I confess to being a member of “a shadowy group.” It’s called the Republican Party. (“Shadowy group thinks for Walker, Fitzgerald,” headlined a screed from John Nichols at the anti-Capitalist Times, at his most conspiratorial.)

We take all our ideas from a something or someone named “Alec” – unless Alec got them from us first. 

We want to “destroy public education” as much as Bill Gates does. The founder of high-tech Microsoft wants to keep America illiterate; that’s why he spends millions of dollars on education reform.

A local progressive suggested that the Madison Urban League’s efforts to reform the union-controlled school system should be suspect because at the league’s “Educate to Elevate” Conference in December, they spotted my friend Brian Schimming, “an extreme right-winger” who was “loudly cheering.”

I confess to being an extreme right-winger when the accuser is an extreme left-wing name-caller. My cheering can be quite loud.

I admit to being “anti-worker,” if that means compensating taxpayer-paid employees in the government sector in some harmonic convergence with the private sector.

I confess to being a white, middle-aged, heterosexual man. (I blame my parents.)

I’m a Catholic who respects Bishop Morlino for defending the brand. (They don’t serve tofu at McDonald’s.)


I confess to being politically incorrect. On the long flight across the Atlantic to parley with FDR, their circadian rhythms askew, Winston Churchill’s aides asked, “Is it time for lunch or is it time for high tea?” The prime minister growled, “It’s time for high whiskey!”

And yes, I confess to being a racist if that means holding everyone to the same high standards and not shifting personal responsibility to blame poverty, lack of after-school programs, irregular bus service, NAFTA, or other external forces.

I refuse to yield to those who would short-circuit the conversation by crying racism in a crowded theater.

It’s an old ruse. Al Sharpton has made a good living at it. Jimmy Carter called you a racist for opposing Obamacare.

Remember when a local radio shock jock called Secretary of State Condi Rice an “Aunt Jemima” for serving in a Republican administration? Nothing riles a liberal like a conservative black person. 

So call me what you want, just don’t call me late to dinner.

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