Last week, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, penned a column in newspapers across Wisconsin in which he takes Governor Scott Walker to task for his alleged lack of bipartisanship.
Ironically, Barca goes on to demand that if Walker is serious about compromise, he will repeal the changes the Legislature made to collective bargaining that Democrats vehemently oppose.
In light of this blatant display of partisan (sans the bi) hypocrisy, I feel compelled to let Barca know that bipartisanship does not mean giving in to the demands of one side.
Bipartisanship means coming together and sharing ideas that result in the best possible outcome for Wisconsin, which is exactly what our pension and benefit reforms did.
How do you work together and compromise when one side is so strongly opposed to an idea that they leave the state for a month to prevent debate on an important issue?
Collective bargaining aside, I welcome Barca’s call for a renewed sense of teamwork on the issues of jobs and the economy.
Barca says that “if Governor Walker sincerely wants to bring Wisconsin together again, he would be wise to demonstrate bipartisanship.”
However, when Governor Walker reached out to Barca and Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, earlier this month in a very open and public display of the bipartisanship that Barca is clamoring for, both Democrats scoffed at him.
Leadership starts at the top, and if the two figureheads of the Democrat party refuse to be civil, why should their members be?
While I agree with Barca’s rhetorical calls for unity, his actions don’t even come close to matching his words.
Working together and moving our state forward is going to take more than empty calls to action; it requires that the other side get serious and come to the table instead of sniping at the governor and Republicans through columns like Barca’s.
Until then, Democrats like Barca and Miller are doing nothing more than poisoning the very well they claim to want cleansed.
Rep. Scott Suder is the Assembly Majority Leader. He represents the 69th Assembly District in north-central Wisconsin.