Bob Jauch just the latest Wisconsin legislator to flee partisan Capitol

2013-10-09T16:30:00Z Bob Jauch just the latest Wisconsin legislator to flee partisan CapitolJACK CRAVER | The Capital Times |

State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, is not the first Wisconsin legislator in recent history to announce he is leaving government, in part, because of the increasingly toxic nature of state politics. In the past few years, a number of lawmakers from both parties have called it quits, citing the hyper-partisanship that dominates the Legislature today.

Last month, one of Jauch’s allies, Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, said he would not run for reelection after coming to the conclusion that he could more work more effectively outside of government, where he said “compromise is borderline a four-letter word.”

At the time, Jauch told the Wisconsin State Journal that Cullen’s attempts to seek consensus across party lines had helped make the past four years “liveable.”

The sentiment was echoed last year by state Rep. Dick Spanbauer, R-Town of Algoma, one of the few Republicans to vote against Gov. Scott Walker’s signature collective bargaining legislation, when he announced he would leave the Assembly after two terms.

“It is worse than years ago,” Spanbauer told Oshkosh Scene. “I’ve been in government almost 40 years, and legislators that I dealt with used to talk about working with the other side on issues. There was an air of cooperation among both sides.”

Spanbauer shared an anecdote with Scene in which he was ordered by then-Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, not to support a bill because it was opposed by insurance interests that contribute heavily to GOP campaigns.

‘You know Fitz, I didn’t come here for the insurance company,” he recalled telling the speaker. “And he responded, ‘Dick you have to remember one thing – the insurance companies give us a lot of money at campaign time.’”

Although Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, who has worked closely with Cullen to try to reach compromise on a number of issues, has not announced his retirement, his apparent disinterest in raising campaign funds signals the strong possibility that he will not run for reelection next year, a decision that would not be surprising given his strong condemnation of the state’s political polarization.

In an interview with the Capital Times in July, Schultz not only bemoaned the unpleasant atmosphere that partisanship had brought to state politics, but suggested that the ideological purity demanded by the parties made the job of legislating seem practically pointless.

“When some think tank comes up with the legislation and tells you not to fool with it, why are you even a legislator anymore?” he asked. “You just sit there and take votes and you’re kind of a feudal serf for folks with a lot of money.”

Three years ago, veteran Republican Alan Lasee, R-De Pere, by no means a moderate, also left the Legislature, saying the brutal nature of modern campaigns had cast an ugly shadow over legislating. He told the Associated Press that many of his colleagues had come to the same conclusion.

"I think they're fed up with the (expletive)," he said. "You can print that and I don't care. For those of us who have been around for a while, the atmosphere in the Capitol has become somewhat poisoned."

Given the context of Lasee’s quote, it is safe to assume that the expletive referred to a vulgar expression to describe a cow patty.


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(17) Comments

  1. G Gordon
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    G Gordon - October 19, 2013 7:38 pm
    It's not hyper-partisanship. It's the unrestricted flow of anonymous cash into the campaigns thanks to recent court rulings that money is speech. But keep telling yourselves it's partisanship. Those giving and taking the legalized bribes appreciate your gullibility. In fact, they're banking on it.
  2. Mr Mellow
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    Mr Mellow - October 10, 2013 2:19 pm
    The Tea Party is what, a few years old? And a minority party in Wisconsin at that. Every one of the Tea Party candidates that ran in the recall elections lost to Dems by double digits. Now the Tea Party members in the House of Representatives have shutdown the US government, and are threatening to wreck the economy and our nation's credit rating. I think the majority of Badgers, and a majority of US voters, think it would be better if the Tea Party left.
  3. Mr Mellow
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    Mr Mellow - October 10, 2013 11:36 am
    Jobs, jobs, and more jobs.

    Just last month the GOP legislature and Governor Walker vowed to renew their laser-like focus on creating jobs by introducing 8 new proposals. And yet what is the legislature currently busy churning out? A quick glance at the headlines says bills:

    * Limiting early voting.
    * Helping save Indian mascots.
    * Raising the speed limit to 70 mph.
    * Limiting information about campaign donors.

    No wonder there are so few new jobs in Walker's Wisconsin.....citizens know they'd have to pay tribute to Walker and his corporate handlers, and they lack the pay to play.
  4. correctthinking
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    correctthinking - October 10, 2013 11:10 am
    Truer word have never been spoken, Jauch was an arrogant pig.
  5. correctthinking
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    correctthinking - October 10, 2013 11:09 am
    Don't like it here, leave.
  6. Jack Craver Staff
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    Jack Craver - October 10, 2013 11:07 am

    The end game is one party rule. Whereas nationally a lot of interest groups that have sway over Congress are pushing for compromise, there is not that impetus in Wisconsin because the GOP controls all three branches of state government and there's a decent chance that it will continue to do so for years to come. If Walker is unseated in 2014 and there is split government, which could lead to stalemate (as it did for months over the budget in 2007), then you might see outside groups -- the business lobby, for instance -- push moderation.
  7. Mr Mellow
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    Mr Mellow - October 10, 2013 10:14 am
    If it was up to you, Wisconsin would be the "regressive" way."

    Fortunately, it is not up to you.
  8. Mr Mellow
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    Mr Mellow - October 10, 2013 10:11 am
    As the old saying goes: "The bad drives out the good."
  9. Vitriol
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    Vitriol - October 10, 2013 5:35 am
    You anti union posters make me laugh. You actually think that a Union has that much power? You obviously are just repeating GOP talking points and scare tactics. You should learn a thing or two.
  10. Billie
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    Billie - October 10, 2013 4:38 am
    I think Progressive way refers to the political philosophy. I'm not sure it has anything to do with progress.
  11. WinnerWinner
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    WinnerWinner - October 10, 2013 12:07 am
    Unions, unions and more unions: Search &name=Jauch,%20Bob&qty=50

    No wonder there was so little investment in his district.....businesses knew they'd have to pay tribute to Jauch and his union handlers.
  12. bro
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    bro - October 09, 2013 11:31 pm
    I would assume you have proof of such a comment. So let's here some details.
    Let me guess, you hate Jauch's stance on mining because a huge majority of his constituents are against it.
    Losing politicians like Jauch, Schultz, and Spanbauer, who truly represent their constituents will destroy Wisconsin. Wisconsin middle class citizens will be loser losers. Out of state billionaires will be winner winners.
  13. WinnerWinner
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    WinnerWinner - October 09, 2013 11:01 pm
    Jauch is no moderate. He is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the public sector unions that have bankrolled him for over three decades.

    Good riddance.
  14. Vitriol
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    Vitriol - October 09, 2013 9:36 pm
    @Lynne- thanks for admitting that "progress" isn't in Wisconsin anymore
  15. Lynne4300
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    Lynne4300 - October 09, 2013 8:09 pm
    Wisconsin is no longer the "progressive way", thank goodness.
  16. ButSiriuslyFolks
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    ButSiriuslyFolks - October 09, 2013 8:02 pm
    I guess I really don't understand what the endgame is here. I mean, you're going to take intelligent people out of the lawmaking and replace them with drones on both sides. What happens when all of the moderates are gone?

    As a lifelong moderate (who once leaned to the right), this disappoints me terribly. How do you remedy this kind of situation?
  17. Whatisgoingon
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    Whatisgoingon - October 09, 2013 6:59 pm
    It is a time in our political environment where the common interests don’t matter anymore. Politicians don’t or can’t use the word compromise. It is the new four letter word. You need to be either backed by a multi-millionaire or be one to run for office. Money IS politics. I for one would like my vote to count, but unfortunately it doesn’t. What can we do about it, nothing! Our elected majority likes what they have done to our state. They can sit back and do anything they want to, without any repercussions when the votes are counted. The real people in power are the Koch brothers and the average citizen is left out of the conversation. SAD day for the state and America!
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