Mark Twain professed amazement that, the older he became, how much smarter his father became.
Being sworn in as governor of Wisconsin seems to have the same effect. It is the political equivalent of the biblical injunction to put away the things of a child, or of an attorney general, once having been sworn in as the state's chief executive.
James E. Doyle got a lot smarter when he was elected governor. The Capital Times is throwing a hissy fit that the incumbent has changed his mind about the virtues of removing one of the largest and most consequential state departments from his appointed cabinet.
Even the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has drunk the Kool-Aid:
Gov. Jim Doyle once supported returning the power to the Natural Resources Board but said last week that he has since changed his mind. That's a mistake...
Returning the power to the citizen-member board provides the secretary with a layer of insulation from the partisan politics that can affect decisions better left to science and good public policy. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Buffer from Politics]
Might as well write: buffer from accountability. Because, when you take the "politics" out of something, you have taken the people out of it. Just who determines what constitutes "good public policy"?
Not political? How about a secretary of Natural Resources who bars snowmobiles from every trail? Who worships at PETA's altar and bans hook and bullet? Who will close down entire industries if ever more sensitive devices detect a billionth of a pico-curie of contamination? No, the environment should not be political. It should be left to "science" and good public policy.
Then why is Barack Obama allowed to appoint the secretary of the Interior? The head of the Environmental Protection Agency?
Me, I want the overseer of our natural resources sitting at the same table as the governor among the other cabinet agency heads. At the same table at budget time.
When Tommy Thompson made the Secretary of Natural Resources an appointive, cabinet position, he was being inundated by complaints from the Milwaukee area on the agency's enforcement of the reformulated gasoline mandate. What was TGT going to do? Tell his petitioners to call Trygve Solberg? Who? Trygve Solberg. He was the head of the Board of Natural Resources that appointed the DNR Secretary. The man wasn't even listed in the Milwaukee telephone book. Or Madison.
The same news source that continues to advocate for the direct election of state supreme court justices - the arbiters of law - The Capital Times wants to deny voters control over their own environment:
While Doyle may be tepidly pro-environment, he could easily be replaced by a conservative Republican governor who is tepidly -- or even militantly - anti-environment.
The CT headlines this exercise in environmental elitism "For an independent, accountable DNR." But nowhere in the editorial does it explain how the DNR becomes more accountable if the elected governor does not appoint its head.
Yes, I suppose it is theoretically possible for the people of Wisconsin to elect "a Republican governor who is … anti-environment."
Someone who would clear cut our north woods. Someone who would pour raw sewage into Lake Mendota.
Even The Green Bay Press Gazette gets all wobbly:
The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters have repeatedly and overwhelmingly supported putting the appointment back in the hands of the Natural Resources Board … he appointment of the secretary by an independent board as a way to insulate the agency's functions from politics. [Time to Restore System's Integrity]
Huh? You mean, there's no politics in the Wisconsin Conservation Congress? Ask Patricia Hitchcock about that. The Sierra Club, 1001 Friends of the Environment, Environmental Decade - they're not political? Well, then, neither is Blaska's Blog. No, we use pure science here. We've sunk a drill bit into the earth's crust to extract only God's own pure truth.
These people are no different from the Islamo-fascists, the creationists or, for that matter, any absolutist. They want no interference by the "uneducated" or "unenlightened" hoi polloi. They have received the tablets and they admit of no interpretation.
Their received wisdom must be unpolluted by "elections." The will of the people is nothing against the dictates of the science of - no, not materialism (that was Marxism) but its near cousin: the environmental faith.
It comes down to this: people might shout "give us Barrabas" rather than elect Spencer Black as high priest of the Environment.
This could be fun.
- Let's take the politics out of the Department of Health. Fighting chicken pox and running nursing homes is better left to science and good public policy.
- The current governor may be tepidly pro-children. But he could easily be replaced by a Republican governor who hates the little buggers. Time to take the politics out of the Department of Children and Families.
- Let an independent board appoint the secretary of the Department of Transportation. Time to restore the integrity of highway safety. Reduce the speed limit to 12 mph and save lives.
- We must insulate food safety from politics Remove the Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection from the governor's appointed cabinet. Have him appointed by a papers, scissors, rock contest between the Farmers Union, the Farm Bureau, and the NFO.
- Taxes? The current governor may be tepidly pro-tax. But he could easily be replaced by a Republican governor who hates taxes. I say, make the position hereditary - on the monarchial principle. I believe Elizabeth II has some younger sons. Andrew will do.
To hell with the people.