Purple & Red
January 3, 2011 2:49 PM
Welcome to the New Year. It's getting off to a rocky start what with the Badger football team seeing purple and the state going red.
But I'm an optimistic guy, so let's start the year by emphasizing the positive. The Badgers gave us a great season and an exciting Rose Bowl appearance, even if the final score wasn't what we had hoped for. No matter the final outcome, we're proud of these guys and how they played the game. But the Rose Bowl result is especially hard on me as I now have to make good on my bet with Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief and wear Horned Frog apparel to the next Council meeting. That meeting is tomorrow night and no purple jersey has yet arrived from Texas, so we'll see if my comeuppance comes up tomorrow or at the January 18 Council meeting. We're also sending down to Texas, courtesy of Trek, a new bike tripped out in Badger red and white. So, we'll at least get some more exposure for a Wisconsin product that we're really proud of. All kidding aside, congratulations to TCU on a well-earned victory over a great team.
If the Badgers lost the Rose Bowl narrowly, the Democrats lost the legislature in a blow out. As of today new GOP majorities take over in both houses, and Scott Walker becomes governor. I haven't made any secret of how much of a mistake I believe it was for the new governor to turn away $810 million in federal high speed rail money along with the thousands of jobs it would have brought. I'm also concerned about the agenda that so many Republican lawmakers seem to want to talk about. I'm concerned about what could happen to stem cell research, the domestic partner registry, state workers, environmental protections, alternative fuels, funding for education at all levels and more. One GOP State Senator even decided to go after four year-old kindergarten now that Madison is enacting it - never mind that over half the state already has it.
What the new legislative majority and governor need to keep in mind is that there is no mandate for a broad conservative agenda. People want an improved economy, and they just expressed that the only way they could by kicking out the party that happened to be in power at the time. I'll spend the New Year making the case that these things - research, education, a clean environment, a welcoming image, less reliance on fossil fuels, a competent and dedicated civil service - are, in fact, centerpieces of the new economy. And policies that attack them attack the very economic development that is one fundamental goal we all share.
So, I wish we had started the year with a red win in the Rose Bowl and a blue win in state government. But you can't always get what you want. We're a scrappy team around here and we'll do our best with what we've got.