Empower Wisconsin | Feb. 4, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — To Wisconsin liberals, it’s not racist if they say it. And that goes doubly for Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.
Last week, the Democrat injected racially charged comments into a school choice rally at the Capitol featuring Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and leaders in Wisconsin’s parental choice community.
“In case this hasn’t been mentioned, the rally in the Capitol today was the most interaction many of those adults will ever have with black and brown children,” Barnes tweeted.
Not only was the tweet ignorant, it was patently false. It was also the kind of generalizing tweet that would have gotten a conservative skewered in the press.
You’ll recall the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s headline in July, “Wisconsin Republicans mostly quiet about President Trump’s use of racist trope.” That was after liberals went ballistic over Trump’s tweet suggesting that members of the Squad, Democrat members of the House, go back to the “crime infested places from which they came.”
There were no calls for liberal politicians to respond to Barnes’ controversial tweet last week, of course, but one Northwoods Dem volunteered to back him up.
State Sen. Patty Schachtner defended Barnes’ comment, doubling down after a Twitter user pointed out that no Democrat, particularly Gov. Tony Evers, had denounced the lieutenant governor’s “racist comments.”
Schachtner brushed off Barnes’ message, tweeting back that part of the “privilege of participating in the WI experience” is “understanding what the experience of being a person of color is locally and in the whole state and this nation.”
“Mandela’s comment no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel is not wrong,” wrote the lawmaker, who represents Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District. “Disregarding his feelings instead of learning more is part of the problem.”
“This kind of rhetoric may play good with firing up folks but it is not effective problem solving strategy,” the senator added.
In Schachtner’s world, calling out the lieutenant governor for making racially charged comments is, well, racist. At the very least it’s “disregarding” the “feelings” of a lieutenant governor who has said plenty of insensitive things. He’s the same guy who, while campaigning, claimed President Trump was out to create a “superior race.” How is that rhetoric advancing “problem solving” strategies?
Schachtner is expected to be in Milwaukee this evening for a campaign fundraising event. Guess who her special guest will be? Yep, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. The money party is from 5-7 p.m. at Lakefront Brewery, 1872 N. Commerce Street.
Of course, nothing says representing the interests of the Northwoods like a fundraiser in Milwaukee.
According to the appeal, a $1,000 donation will earn you “Sponsor” status, while writing a $2,000 check will make you a “Host.” You can be a “Friend” of Patty Schachtner for $500.
Surely if you kick in enough cash, the senator won’t “disregard” your “feelings.”