MADISON — 2021 was a tough year for Gov. Tony Evers.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court — once again — checked the governor’s pandemic power grab, this time ending his illegal statewide mask mandate. He was boxed in by the Republican-led Legislature, which forced the Democrat’s hand in signing a budget with significant tax cuts that bore little resemblance to his tax-and-spending plan. And his People’s Maps Commission was exposed as the partisan dog-and-pony show it was (Democrats in the Legislature wouldn’t even support it.).
But Evers was nothing if not persistent. He repeatedly found ways to fail — Wisconsin and his political prospects.
As Wisconsin employers struggled to fill positions, Evers made a severe worker shortage worse by refusing to end federal unemployment benefits payments that kept workers out of the workforce. When the Legislature passed a bill ending the subsidies, Evers vetoed it. The governor insisted there was no evidence to suggest weekly giving people hundreds of dollars of free money would make them reluctant to look for work. Help wanted signs and want ads everywhere begged to differ.
The governor who demanded public policy on COVID-19 “follow the science” failed to follow his own advice when he silently allowed teachers unions to bully liberal school districts into locking down their classrooms until the school year was nearly over. His lack of political courage fed a “lost year of education” that cost students and society dearly and unnecessarily; the science showed remote learning was more dangerous for children than COVID-19.
And the Democrat who campaigned on cutting the state’s prison population in half through progressive criminal justice reforms has been asked to investigate the Milwaukee County district attorney whose office recommended ridiculously low bail for the career violent criminal suspect in the Waukesha Christmas Parade massacre.
Yes, 2021 has been a rough year for Tony Evers. His plummeting poll numbers reflect the dissatisfaction of the governed.
But his polling woes are the product of his stubborn refusal to stand up against the radical left base of his party that is being soundly rejected across Wisconsin and the nation.
Tony Evers, a weak-kneed liberal, just can’t quit the screamers of the far left. That fact will make 2022 an even tougher year for Tony when moderates and independents join conservatives in making him a one-term governor.
He may be a lousy governor, but Tony Evers is a tremendous tool. And he is deservedly Empower Wisconsin’s Tool of the Year.