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Thursday, September 18, 2014  |   Madison, WI: 51.0° F  
THE SCONZ: Breaking news and commentary on campus, city and state politics
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George Will doesn't know Wisconsin
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I get it. There is a conservative narrative that demands unions be the culprits for state budget deficits. It further demands that union workers be regarded as benefitting at the expense of other middle class workers. But why do national columnists like George Will have to leave out so many facts when they make that case?

Fueled by many millions of dollars from national unions and sympathizers, progressives proved, redundantly, the limited utility of money when backing a bankrupt agenda: Only two Republicans were recalled -- one was in a heavily Democratic district, the other is a married man playing house with a young girlfriend. Progressives also failed to defeat a Supreme Court justice.

The facts Will stated above are of course true. His credibility as a political commentator is compromised, however, by what he leaves out. Yes, Dan Kapanke's district is Democratic, but every other district is solidly Republican. Most incumbent Republicans prevailed, but so did every Democratic incumbent. Yes, David Prosser won, but by much less than he would have without the union battle. And while there's only a certain level of local nuance we can expect national columnists to grasp, somebody who actually understands Wisconsin politics would note that Kloppenburg underperformed in Milwaukee County, likely due to the non-partisan nature of the race. If it were a Democrat-Republican contest, Prosser would have lost.

And here's a big one Will left out: Scott Walker's approval rating. A governor who speaks with the voice of the People typically gets north of 37%.

I don't get the urge that columnists paid by newspapers have to get into the spin game. It may gain you access, but that access is cheapened by the expectation that you will return the favor. As a result, columnists like Will never write anything insightful, original or interesting.

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