Friday, November 07, 2008

And now for some really depressing news from Madison

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you!
God damn you all to hell!

- Planet of the Apes, 1968

I eschewed the above quote for something a little more family-friendly for my column this week in the Waukesha Freeman (even under The Obama you can afford the fifty cents).

Spending Tuesday evening among the Republicans gathered at the Country Springs Hotel, I had an old song written by Freddie Mercury running through my head. "Another party’s over / and I’m left here cold sober / my baby left me for somebody new." Tuesday night was definitely a night for Republicans to be singing "My Melancholy Blues."

Somebody new. In Madison, that meant the Democrats. Voters have decided to leave the Republicans to take a walk on the liberal side (apologies to Lou Reed) and are about to experience the host of plagues I described at length, from higher taxes on everything to the dismantling of school choice. But I put the blame where it belongs.

But we can blame Republicans in part for all that is about to happen. If they had passed a constitutional amendment to limit state spending four years ago when they had the chance, much of the Democratic agenda would be impossible now. More importantly, because Republicans threw away their brand identity four years ago by not passing "TABOR" as a constitutional amendment, voters had no reason to believe there was a difference between Democrats and Republicans.

Voters are about to learn differently. But will Republicans?