October 25, 2007
Right way and wrong way
For the most part, none of us on the outside know if Judy Robson was effective or ineffective as state Senate leader. Whether she was a victim of Doyle administration machinations or the old boys network is left to the senators to answer. Did she just get in the way of a power move by Russ Decker or can one feel the warm breath of AT&T in the air?
I like Judy Robson a lot and respect her concern for the people of this state. Her positions were refreshing and her commitment to social and economic justice unquestioned. Russ Decker is a friend so I don't have a direct stake in the decision to replace Robson, but there is a right way to change leaders and this was not it.
Dave Callender, writing in the Capital Times, reports that Chuck Chvala was, according to his sources, actively lobbying Senate Dems to reject the Doyle-Huebsch budget as part of a plan to replace Robson with Decker. Now that is not news most Democrats will cheer. And, if Robson is blamed for Huebsch's intransigence or Doyle's timidity, shame on the Dems.
Nor will people feel good that she was "blindsided" according to her staff. It would have been better to have an open debate so those who live outside the cocoon called the Capital could feel some ownership in the process. Heck, it was a secret ballot! C'mon.
Making this move now raised another key issue. Deregulation of the cable industry. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Decker said he would push to pass the cable deregulation bill, which AT&T is heavily lobbying for." You will recall that AT&T hired Democratic Party Chair and former State Senator, Joe Weineke, to lobby for the bill. Was Judy Robson on AT&T's enemy list? Stay tuned.
Somehosw this doesn't smell good and frankly, his colleagues gave Decker a title but not much more. As for Judy Robson, job well done.
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