REEDSBURG — Greenwood’s Cafe in downtown Reedsburg this week hosted an unusual example of retail politicking, as Sen. Tim Cullen pressed the flesh and listened intently to constituents who couldn’t possibly vote for him.
The Janesville Democrat had come to the local landmark, nearly 100 miles from his district, as a part of a daylong barnstorming tour of the region with Sen. Dale Schultz, a Republican.
Peace, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, is only achievable through understanding. And Cullen’s goal Wednesday was to understand the challenges facing people in that part of the state, and by extension, the challenges facing Schultz.
Early next month, Schultz will travel to Janesville to return the favor. It is all part of plan to prove to someone, somewhere, that bipartisanship is not dead in Wisconsin.
Unfortunately the Tim Cullen act is starting to wear seriously thin.
“The lines between the parties are now drawn so sharply that it’s almost impossible for Democrats and Republicans to work together on anything,” Cullen said. “Dale and I are trying to show that it doesn’t have to be that way; that there is room for cooperation.”
News Flash for Mr. Cullen and Mr. Schulz, the place to show that you can act in a bipartisan manner is NOT at Greenwood’s cafe! The place to show bipartisanship, is in Madison at the State Capitol. Clay Barbour breaks down some numbers:
In February, in the midst of the heated debate over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining bill, all 14 Senate Democrats left the state to deny Republicans the 20-member quorum needed to pass the measure. For three weeks they conducted a long-distance filibuster as Republican senators faced the wrath of the thousands of protesters who filled the Capitol.
Before the protest, Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of several jobs-related bills introduced by the governor. After the protest, members of both parties stayed on their sides of the fence.
For example, Assembly Democrats have offered 376 amendments to Republican bills this session. Only one of them passed: an amendment that allowed families to participate in Milwaukee’s school voucher program, even if their income exceeded a cap.
Democrats also introduced 49 of their own bills, of which 42 have yet to even be heard in committee. None has passed the Assembly.
In the previous session, when Democrats controlled both houses and Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle was in office, 107 Assembly Republican bills were heard in committee, and 50 were passed by the Assembly.
“Bipartisanship isn’t just when we do what the Republicans want,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. “This session, they have acted like we have nothing to offer.”
So when Senator Cullen and Senator Schulz want to truly start acting in a bipartisan manor, during the actual debate of bills then I will be interested in what they have to say. When things like this , this, or this stop then we will know that the republicans are serious about bipartisanship. Until then all they will get from me is a big yawn and much indifference.