Blast from the past: Prosser played Fitzgerald role in legislature | WisCommunity

Blast from the past: Prosser played Fitzgerald role in legislature

Back before David Prosser lost a race for Congress and was appointed a Supreme Court justice -- despite having not a single day's experience as a judge -- David Prosser was the Speaker of the Assembly, Tommy Thompson was governor, and the Republicans totally controlled state government.

This June 23, 1995 Capital Times editorial reminds us of the days when Prosser played the role of the Fitzgeralds, trying to politicize the Dept. of Public Instruction, get rid of the public intervenor, take away the independence of the DNR, take consumer protection away from the Justice Department because a Democrat named Doyle was the attorney general,and more.

Here's the front page editorial, titled, "Destroying the Wisconsin Idea."

As you read it, consider that David Prosser says his opponent is a wild-eyed idealogue who is trying to make the April 5 election partisan. I'll highlight a few passages in case you're in a hurry. See if any of this sounds at all famililar.

When Assembly Republicans endorsed Gov. Thompson's proposed 1996-97 state budget Thursday, someone should have had the decency to place a black veil over the bust of Robert M. La Follette that overlooks the Capitol rotunda.


Wisconsin's greatest citizen shouldn't have had to bear witness to the mugging of the progressive ideals for which he stood.


Make no mistake about what is happening in Wisconsin. It is not ''reinventing government.'' It is not reform. It is not progress.


It is the mangling of the Wisconsin Idea -- that commitment to achieving social justice through activist government and innovative problem solving that through most of this century has made Wisconsin the model for the rest of the nation.


The Wisconsin Idea gave this state a public education system second to none. The Wisconsin Idea gave this state the best environmental protections in the nation. The Wisconsin Idea gave this state the cleanest political playing field in the nation.


The budget put forward by the governor, and promoted by his backers in the Assembly, attacks every one of those principles -- with unconstitutional school choice schemes, the shutdown of the independent Office of the Public Intervenor and the gutting of public financing of campaigns.


The henchmen of conservative hegemony -- Thompson, Assembly Speaker David Prosser and Assembly Majority Leader Scott Jensen -- have collected their campaign contributions from the modern equivalents of the corporate trusts and the robber barons that La Follette attacked. And they are now dutifully dismantling the progressive programs that made Wisconsin the most functional and respected state in the union.


They have succeeded in the Assembly. But the Wisconsin Idea is not dead yet. More sensible heads could yet prevail in the state Senate -- if the people of Wisconsin make their voices heard.


In his initial struggles against the Thompsons, the Prossers and the Jensens of his day, La Follette suffered many defeats. But he persevered, declaring that, ''Out of this awful ordeal came understanding; and out of understanding came resolution. I determined that the power of this corrupt influence, which was undermining and destroying every semblance of representative government in Wisconsin, should be broken. I felt that I had few friends; I knew I had no money...And yet I grew strong in the conviction that in the end Wisconsin would be made free.''


Once again, we are called upon to battle the special interests and their political serfs for the honor of Wisconsin. As it ever was, this is the battle to make Wisconsin free.



March 26, 2011 - 7:25pm