Edifice Jeff | WisCommunity

Edifice Jeff

[img_assist|nid=88365|title=Young Jeff|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=148|height=195]Over the years, Republicans have developed for their political party an over-the-top cult of personality. For example, well before he left the governorship to serve in the Bush administration, Tommy Thompson left his name strewn across Wisconsin on schools, office buildings, and other infrastructure -- at least once in the lobby of a private Milwaukee office building.

Most politicians if they get any recognition at all don't receive such honorifics until they're retired or dead. Tommy? He was a living god. Hey, it took years for the national GOP to rename Washington National Airport for Ronald Reagan (although, we must admit, he was still breathing at the time).

Now, it's true that this tendency isn't monopartisan. Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley (the elder), was a Democrat who perfected this edifice complex, even plunking down his name in paint on Chicago streets and sidewalks for festivals. Virtually no city program in his long tenure was identified without his name, as in "Mayor Daley's Youth Federation." But Daley was an aberration, in his own party and beyond.

Former Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament took a fling at temporarily immortalizing himself some years ago by erecting a large sign over a freeway ramp welcoming, in his own name, travelers to Mitchell International Airport. The sign came down fairly quickly, apparently the object of politically counterproductive ridicule.

But modern Republicans know no peers in the art of appropriation, not only seeking to name everything in sight after their leaders, but even naming proposed legislation in terms that are unspeakably ideological and usually fanciful. Heck, Scott Walker even appropriated the term "fireside chat" from the playbook of Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt for a political communication that was neither by a fireside nor a chat. The wonder was that Scotty didn't dive into a brown bag lunch right there by the virtual hearth, crumbs flying as he yakked away.

With all that as background, I'm here to shoot down persistent rumors (started now, by me) that the State of Wisconsin's General Executive Facility (GEF) buildings 1, 2 and 3 in Madison are going to be renamed just in time for Assembly Speaker Jeff Fizgerald's bid to become your next Republican US senator.

So, just for the record: It is not true that the GEF buildings are to be renamed the GEF Fitzgerald Executive Facilities.

That would simply be too outre and ridiculous, on top of what is already an outrageous and ridiculous lawmaker. No, we're sorry, but "Fitzwalkerstan" will simply have to do. But Fitz shouldn't worry. As showman P.T. Barnum put it: Say whatever you like about him, just spell his name right. Also, there's a sucker born every minute. Whoopy Fitz! Anyway, it's all just product branding -- which we, unfortunately, pay for.

ADDENDUM: Speaking of Republican appropriations of progressive/Democratic metaphors: Texas Gov. Rick Perry just called his presidential campaign opponent Mitt Romney a "fat cat." Well, now it's official. Wingnut Republicans acknowledge that there really are wealthy Wall Street financiers and that they're fat and they're cats.


October 26, 2011 - 10:22am