Monday, February 06, 2006

Exercise in democracy "embarrassing?'

Wisconsin residents in 20-plus communities will have a chance on April 4 to express their opinions on the war in Iraq, which may set the stage for similar activity in other states.

It's an exercise in democracy, and not unprecedented in Wisconsin.

In 1982, Wisconsin became the first state in the union to pass a statewide referendum calling for a nuclear weapons freeze. It passed here by a 3-1 margin, kindling similar efforts in other states.

Ideally, the whole state would be voting on the Iraq question. But that would require approval by the Republican-controlled legislature, and that will not be happening.

The referendum questions, hopefully, will spark some local debate on the Iraq war. Antiwar activists got it on the ballot, but supporters of the war say they will use it to show support for the President and the war. The Journal Sentinel reports:

"We're going to turn it into a positive," said Chris Muller, chairman of the La Crosse County Republican Party, whose leadership sees the referendum as an attempt to put partisan politics above national security in the U.S. war on terrorism.

"We want to send a very strong message to the troops," Muller said.

Although the referendum idea was borrowed from Vermont after anti-war proposals were passed at town hall meetings there, Wisconsin is believed to be the only state where activists in significant numbers have gained access to the ballot box.

"I think it's kind of embarrassing, quite honestly," said Rick Wiley, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party.
Embarrassing? That the people want to express themselves on a war they are paying for, in which their sons and daughters are risking their lives?

What's embarrassing is that someone who purports to speak for Wisconsin Republicans doesn't get it. At all.


At 1:59 PM, Blogger krshorewood said...

Gee whiz. We're only doing the job that Congress failed to do in the first place.

At 3:10 AM, Blogger Matt Ortega said...

Republicans embarrassed by real democracy is not much of a shocker.


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