First shoe drops for Doyle
In Madison, where the State Journal and Capital Times have spent decades smiping at each other and taking opposite sides on almost every issue, people take notice on the rare occasions when a political candidate is endorsed by both papers.
Here's the first:
State better off with DoyleThat's a surprise. Unless the Cap Times mischievously decides to go Green (party, not candidate), Doyle will get them both. That's usually a harbinger of victory -- not because they have statewide influence (they clearly don't), but because it is a sign that some consensus is emerging among those of very different views.
A Wisconsin State Journal editorial, Sunday, October 29, 2006
Wisconsin is better off than it was four years ago.
That's a simple yet powerful reason for re-electing Gov. Jim Doyle to a second term.
Doyle, a Democrat, deserves a measure of credit for Wisconsin's progress in economic development, education and health care.
Doyle inherited a record state budget deficit and sluggish economy when he took office in January 2003. He also faced a hostile Republican-run Legislature and an entrenched state bureaucracy wary of change and reductions.
State government still has significant money problems. Yet Doyle has responsibly made difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions to help the state improve and prosper.
Just weeks into the job, Doyle proposed eliminating thousands of state government jobs. He called for a virtual freeze in general spending and a smaller percentage of aid to public schools. The painful and dramatic actions were needed to balance the state's books.
By his second budget, Doyle managed to restore the state's commitment to paying for two- thirds of school costs. And at the Legislature's urging, he adopted spending limits on local governments to ease property taxes.
Significantly, Doyle kept his promise not to raise taxes. Instead, working with the Legislature, he eliminated a tax that had punished multi-state businesses for creating jobs in Wisconsin.
Doyle has made decisions in a fair-minded way -- often disappointing the fringes of both major political parties.
For example, Doyle and the Legislature improved regulatory flexibility for the benefit of businesses and the environment. Doyle signed a reasonable cap on medical malpractice awards. In a bipartisan fashion, he helped ensure that the General Motors plant in Janesville stayed put.
Doyle has traveled with Wisconsin business leaders around the world to boost state exports. He supports ethanol to help farmers. And he is a champion of high technology, including embryonic stem cell research at UW-Madison.
Since Doyle's election four years ago, Wisconsin has gained more than 90,000 jobs, when seasonally adjusted. The state's per-capita income is rising. The vast majority of workers and more children in Wisconsin have health insurance.
Doyle's opponent, U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R- Green Bay, has some good ideas. But he has failed to make a compelling case for change at the top.
And while Green is not extreme, the Republican-run Legislature sometimes is.
Doyle stopped the Legislature from putting barriers between patients and the medications their doctors prescribe. Doyle made sure women, including university students, have easy access to birth control. Doyle vetoed legislation that would have allowed concealed handguns in shopping malls, movie theaters and on playgrounds.
The State Journal has certainly disagreed with some of Doyle's decisions, and we reserve the right to disagree with him in the future. Nevertheless, he has the state headed in the right direction. He deserves Wisconsin's support Nov. 7.