This is an excellent Op-Ed by Dave Zweifel.
[B]utRobin Vos is no ordinary complainer. He’s a genuine political bully who wallows in the power he wields as the leader of the Assembly’s Republicans and makes it quite clear: Cross us and you’ll be sorry.
Kennedy had the temerity to rule on an elections matter in a way Vos and his fellow Republicans didn’t like. A no-no these days. You also saw Vos in all his splendor a couple of weeks ago when he blatantly warned one of the new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks that he may have trouble getting any state help for a new arena because he appeared with the president of the United States at a campaign rally for Mary Burke.
“(H)aving us give hundreds of millions of dollars to big-time donors who give to Democrats, but also have billions of dollars of their own? That’s a hard sell,” he told Mike Gousha on Gousha’s Sunday talk show.
But it’s obviously OK for wealthy business execs to donate to Republicans, like the brass at Gogebic mining did when they gave $700,000 to Republicans and in return got their way on a bill that opens the door to a mine in an environmentally fragile part of the state.
These incidents are nothing short of a blatant shakedown and a warning to other possible political contributors — give to us and we’ll be good to you, give to the other guys and you’ll be punished.
None of this should be a surprise. The 46-year-old Vos has pulled similar stunts since the GOP took over complete control of the statehouse four years ago. Although he served as a student member of the UW Board of Regents back in 1989, he has had the UW-Madison in the cross hairs because some in the administration crossed him.
His latest threat is to have the Republican-led Legislature micromanage how many hours professors spend in the classroom — and worse, make sure the UW’s huge research function is geared to helping the state’s economy, rather than focusing on “ancient mating habits of whatever.”
It shows how ignorant Vos and all too many of his colleagues are about the UW-Madison and its internationally renowned research, which has found cures for diseases, revolutionized farming and the production of food, educated students who have gone out to lead the business world, is on the cutting edge of stem cell development and is a leader in countless other scientific and technology areas — benefits for not only Wisconsin’s economy, but the world.
All the UW needs is for some legislative bullies like Robin Vos to start telling them what to do, especially since the state now funds a whopping 15 percent of the UW’s budget.
The pity of power-crazed politicians like Vos is that they intimidate others from speaking out or taking sides. The fear is that if they do, they’ll be sorry.
But I’ve been around too long watching cocky politicians from both sides of the divide preen and prance their way around the public stage not to understand the wisdom of the old saying: “What goes around comes around.”
Robin Vos’ turn will come.