Saw Tommy Thompson at his annual charitable golf gathering at Door Creek on Friday and again recently at a Madison eatery.
The man has never looked better. Yes, he is 69, but he looks and acts much more vigorous than the man he will replace in the U.S. Senate, Herb Kohl, age 76. (A man who may have been born old.) Fact is, he looks younger than Ron Johnson, 56, who will become the state's senior senator after only two years.
Indeed, Tommy G. Thompson is younger than 23 of the current members of the U.S. Senate. He is younger than people like Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid, Diane Feinstein, and Ben Nelson. He ranks between Bernie Sanders and Max Baucus.
Both times, I found the governor to be relaxed, funny ...
Quote: "Blaska worked for me once. I still don't know what he did."
... and engaging. He remains self-deprecating but still assured of his political gifts,work ethic and policy prescriptions. The man still does two things better than any political figure I have ever known or known about:
- He listens.
- He doesn't just talk conservative, he puts it into practice.
For those who fault TGT for being a big spending conservative, he will need to remind voters that he had a Republican-controlled legislature for only 18 months of his 14 years in office and that he vetoed $280 million dollars of Democrat spending. In fact, no other governor has vetoed as much spending as Tommy G. Thompson.
Or that he cut the state income tax three times and provided the largest single property tax reduction ever.
The man defined conservatism in Wisconsin and the nation. He got Senate Democratic leader Tim Cullen to help start welfare reform and enlisted Dem State Rep. Polly Williams of Milwaukee to champion school choice. Those remain conservative ideas and TGT pioneered them.
Since leaving the Bush cabinet as secretary of health in 2004, TGT has spent seven productive years in the private sector. That gave him and his family the financial security to make this run and gives him some street cred among private-sector loving conservative voters.
Is anyone more "Wisconsin" than Tommy G. Thompson? My judgement: The man can still bring it. Here's his website, tommyforwisconsin.com.
A disclaimer: I am not on the man's payroll; I remain an independent agent. This is one man for whom to see up close is to appreciate even more.
A potential spoiler: I hear that Eric Hovde, son of the late Madison developer Don Hovde, is poised to declare for the Senate as well. Hovde is a well-heeled investment banker
operating out of Chicago. He might go in as an independent.
Will P.C. and the unions defeat the 3 Rs?
The state Department of Public Instruction is requiring backers of the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy, which would hold boys-only and girls-only classrooms, to provide scientific research supporting the effectiveness of single-gender education! How about the DPI provide scientific research supporting the effectiveness of the public school system in educating young black men?
On state reading tests last year, 57.7% of black students in the Madison district scored proficient or better, compared with 91.7% of white students. On math tests, 45.3% of black students scored proficient or better, compared with 88.9% of white students.
In 2010, 48.3% of black students in the Madison district graduated after four years of high school, compared with 87.2% of white students. Statewide, 60.5% of black students graduated in four years compared with 90.7% of white students.
DPI is more concerned with "gender stereotyping" than functional illiteracy and lifetime employability. Or is this the education establishment's kowtow to organized labor, which opposes Kaleem Caire's prep school?
Time to amend the constitution to allow the elected governor to appoint the state schools chief as the nation's president appoints his education cabinet member.
Tell the school board to take back our schools from the teachers union lobby. Show up at 6 p.m. Monday, October 3, at the Madison school district building., 545 W. Dayton St.
Share the pain
The state's median household income, adjusted for inflation, fell 14.5% between 1999 and 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released last week. The state figure was significantly worse than the national decline, which was 8.9% over that same period.
Times sure have changed since manufacturing kept the state's jobless rate at 3%, said Timothy Smeeding, a director at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Heavens portend that a state government employee's wages should also be reduced!
Pedantry from a pedagogue
Mothers, don't raise your children to be pedagogues! Ann of Althouse neatly dissects the pedantry of reverse racist Sara Goldrick-Rab, who imposes a racial critique on last week's affirmative-action protest at the Doubletree Hotel. It is her thesis that trespassing on private property to disrupt another citizen's free speech is:
"a necessary protest against an antagonistic deliberate transgression of outsiders on a community."
Death to the outsiders! Differing viewpoints are "deliberate transgressions." What do you think this is, a place of higher learning?
The First Amendment is upheld -- elsewhere
Must read Prof. Donald Downs disquisition on the matter in the Badger Herald:
There is a key First Amendment distinction between protest and disruption. ... No First Amendment theory maintains that the ... incidents of physical force and physical intimidation that transpired are properly rights of free speech.
On Friday, a California court found 10 college students guilty of disrupting a February 2010 speech at the University of California-Irvine to be given by the Israeli ambassador to the United States. (Here's a news account.)
University administrators disciplined some of the students involved and suspended the campus Muslim Student Union, whose members participated in the protest, for an academic quarter. The group is still on probation.
The only good Republican is a quasi-Republican
Once again The Capital Times is asking "When will genuine Republicans strike back?" My old alma mater has sung the same song before. Whenever Republicans take the majority in government, someone from Dane County's Progressive voice asks plaintively why can't more Republicans be like Democrats?
The news source that hero-worships the likes of Ben Manski, Michael Moore, Dennis Kucinich, Lena Taylor, 9/11 truther Kevin Barrett, Amy Goodman, fake native-American Ward Churchill, and whatever socialist is speaking tonight at Pres House is in no position to determine what constitute a "genuine Republican."
Sorry, but anyone who still thinks Bill Kraus is a "Republican spokesman" is not qualified to conduct its own purity test.
My friend Duane shares a lesson learned about drinking and driving:
As you well know, some of us have been known to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home after the occasional social session. Well, I have done something about it.
A couple of nights ago I was out for a few drinks with some buddies and had a few too many scotches and beers.
Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did something I've never done before, I took the bus home.
I arrived back safely and without incident, which was a real surprise since I had never driven a bus before.