Empower Wisconsin | Nov. 14, 2019
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Do you remember when Tony Evers vowed to put Wisconsin back on the path of political civility?
Any pretense of that pledge died this week when the kinder, gentler liberal told state workers that Republicans are “amoral and stupid” for rejecting Evers’ choice as ag secretary.
For good, civil measure the governor went on to call his political opponents “bastards” in a pep talk to employees at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which first reported Evers’ less-than-civil comments.
Old Tony’s turned some salty phrases during his first 10-plus months in office, despite his “by golly, gee-whiz,” persona.
His “bastard” bravado seems a far cry from his opening days as governor, when he told the Associated Press that he was all about “hope for the future and bridging the partisan divide.” Evers, at the time, also criticized his predecessor, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, for policies and rhetoric that “divided” Wisconsin.
But Walker was never accused of calling his political opponents bastards or “amoral,” and certainly not to the state government employees he led.
Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) compared Evers’ intemperate comments to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 “basket of deplorables” description for Donald Trump supporters.
Testin makes a good point. When Evers said, “We can’t let the bastards keep us from doing our good work,” he wasn’t simply referring to Republican lawmakers. He was talking about anyone — conservatives in particular — who oppose his administration’s far left policies.
Evers in January took issue with conservatives who predicted he would be “the most liberal governor that’s ever walked the face of the earth, or the face of Wisconsin.” Those predictions turned out to be pretty much on point. From extreme environmental policies to suggesting government seizures of some guns, Evers has been the left’s dream and the right’s political nightmare.
As for bringing civility back to Wisconsin politics, the partisan Evers has failed on that front.