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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Walker, McCarthy both Blemish Wisconsin's Good Name

by bert
What is it about Gov. Walker that launched a massive but previously dormant citizenry here in Wisconsin to push back against his quick and dirty attack on the middle class?

Beyond the policies themselves that pay back Walker's wealthy patrons and cripple the enemy party, there has to be something else. And I think Professor William Cronon, a star academic from UW-Madison, nails what that something is in his column today in the New York Times. (I won't bother linking to it because the on-line version just went back behind a paywall.)

Cronon is a historian familiar to those who watched the Ken Burns documentary on National Parks or other PBS fare. Although he is moderate and hardly fits the right-wing rednecks' image of ranting, poorly-groomed Madison professors (god bless them), Cronon has deep roots in Wisconsin and a father who was also in the history biz.

Cronon argues today that it is Walker's style -- the threats, the lies, the mockery of legislative process -- and the bad memories it stirs up of Sen. Joseph McCarthy that provoked the remarkable past few weeks:

. . . It is about neighborliness, decency and mutual respect. Joe McCarthy forgot those lessons of good government, and so, I fear, has Mr. Walker. Wisconsin's citizens have not.

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