Brace Yourself for a Year of Negativity in Politics, Kind Warns

Wisconsin needs someone to bring the state together politically, Congressman Ron Kind said Tuesday, but he stuck by his decision not to offer himself as that person when it comes to running for governor in the recall election expected in the next few months.

“I’ve got a full plate now,” Kind told Mike Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, at an “On the Issues” session in Eckstein Hall. Kind cited his role on the House Ways and Means Committee, which plays a central role in dealing with issues such as spending and health care, as well as the needs of his family, including two teenage boys.

Kind, a Democrat who represents much of western Wisconsin in the House of Representatives, often has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor or senator, but has declined to seek those offices.

“What’s desperately needed in our state is some reconciliation,” Kind said, criticizing the way Republican Governor Scott Walker pushed through changes in the state budget and in state law. He called Walker’s approach “unfortunate” and said, “It certainly wasn’t the Wisconsin way” which aims to bring people together.

“I don’t know what it is going to take to restore some comity to our political process,” Kind said.

Kind is often labeled a centrist. He told Gousha that political life, both in Washington and in Madison, has become harder for those in the middle because “more radical voices” have been empowered through changes such as spending by special interests and primary election campaigns in which those further to the left or right have had the upper hand in each party.

Kind discussed a range of major policy issues, including health policy, taxes and spending, and American involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Among those in the audience: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a friend and often times ally of Kind.

Looking to the coming elections in Wisconsin, including a presidential contest, Senate contest, legislative races, and the expected recall of the governor, Kind said there is going to be a lot of negativity. “We need to brace ourselves,” he said. “This is going to be a pretty ugly political year.”

A video recording of the session can be viewed by clicking here.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Nick Zales

    All political years are ugly. When Abe Lincoln ran he was portrayed in political cartoons as a monkey. Barry Goldwater was portrayed by Lyndon Johnson as someone who would unleash nuclear armageddon. While today’s politics may be more partisan than 20-30 years ago, American politics has always been full of misrepresentations and dirty tricks. The difference today is the plethora of ways in which the people are bombarded with misleading messages.

    What Ron Kind apparently did not say is that he and all other politicians brought this upon our country with reckless schemes, unhinged spending and the unprecedented growth of government to unsustainable levels. The Founding Fathers’ concept of limited government to enable people to enjoy the fruits of their liberty has been replaced with government whose fundamental purpose is not liberty, but the transfer of wealth from one part of society to another.

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