When last we heard from contributor Sally Franson, she was sharing her account of battling cancer at 25, disabused of the thought that a young person could not contract the menacing disease. "Hello, Cancer" (1/1/2010) demonstrated her courage and good humor in confronting the scourge. She survived, as we know, but anyone who has had an experience with cancer always lives under the sword of recurrence.
But happily Franson has other things on her mind now, and for our edification this week she engages with another enigma, the Dane County Republican Party. This is another "embedded" piece by an Isthmus writer. The last one was Joe Tarr's look at a homeless shelter in "Bleak House," our cover story of Feb. 12, practically the existential opposite of Franson's piece this week. I doubt anyone will castigate her for taking up some deprived conservative's place in the buffet line.
I think Franson somewhat overplays the beleaguered nature of Dane County Republicans. They did have a stunning victory in the 1990 House race when TV personality Scott Klug upset 28-year incumbent Robert Kastenmeier for the seat from the 2nd Congressional District. Klug then managed to get reelected three times from this decidedly blue district until finally declining to stand again in the 1998 election and leaving office on Jan. 3, 1999.
After serving in Congress, Klug became CEO of Trails Media Group, a firm he sold to the Journal Sentinel Company in 2007. He still lives in the Madison area but is not heard from in Franson's article, though he did co-chair the Wisconsin presidential campaign of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani in the last cycle.
So Republicans have had their successes in Dane County, sometimes when least expected. Given the current level of political confusion, I imagine they expect to have more sometime soon.