Like many other people whose income tax obligations were either nonexistent or significantly reduced in the past two years, I spent much of April 15, 2010 at the Tax Day Tea Party on the Capitol Lawn, listening to politicians decry tax hikes. Appropriately, I was wearing a T-Shirt featuring the last president who actually raised income taxes: William Jefferson Clinton.
Amidst the assembled anti-career politician rage were many-a-career politicians. Suit jackets slung over their shoulders, comely College Republican interns at their sides, and bellies bloated with a brew or two from the Old Fashioned, the members of the state political establishment watched and cheered as anti-government heros, including a former four term governor, decried the establishment's existence.
One of the characters I saw sauntering across the lawn was State Sen. Alan Lasee (R-De Pere), a 35-year veteran of the state legislature. I greeted him and showed off my shirt, which he found amusing. "Hey, Obama's making him look pretty good," he said in reference to Clinton. He wasn't a big fan of the "socialism" the current president was imposing on the American people.
"Aww, c'mon senator, look around, does this look like socialism?," I asked.
"No, more like communism!" he quipped.
Our brief talk was interrupted by Joe Wineke, the former chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and an apparent old friend of Lasee's.
I was happy to read this morning that Lasee has shed his fears of socialism in the fight to save a little boy's life in his district.
After appeals from Fox Valley officials, the state Department of Health Services is reviewing its decision to deny Medicaid coverage for a 4-year-old boy's stem cell transplant.
"They got the message loud and clear that they better do something soon or this little boy's going to die," state Sen. Alan Lasee of Rockland said Thursday.
I just wonder why such stories could not sway Lasee's party into socialistic compassion when George W. Bush vetoed increasing health care access to children in 2007, or when his party defended the practices of health insurance companies to deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions as simply symptoms of the beautiful free market. In fact, when Lasee, like every other member of his caucus, voted against a program to expand health care to uninsured adults, his party leader, Scott Fitzgerald said there was no need. "We have an alternative program; it's called the private sector," explained the compassionate conservative.
To mention the fact that Lasee and his colleagues have opposed the science being used to save the boy's life seems too obvious but you never know in politics.