Sometimes I just don't understand Republicans.
The GOP holds all the cards in Wisconsin's government. They own the governor's office and they control the Supreme Court. They have a comfortable majority in the Senate and an overwhelming majority in the Assembly.
Back home, they typically run against Madison. And yet when it comes to the bill to ease restrictions on mining, they insist on holding just one hearing and it has to here at the Capitol. What is the harm in having another hearing in Ashland, near where the proposed mine would actually be excavated?
I don't understand what they're afraid of. Press reports seemed to indicate that when you add up all the folks who made the six-hour trek down here from up there, the supporters of the mine pretty much equaled those who had problems with it. I don't have much reason to think things would be different in Ashland, but even if they were and more opponents showed up there, so what? That's democracy.
The Republicans have the numbers to get any bill they want through the process whenever they want to do it. But here's the thing about mines. They don't go away. Once you start digging, whatever impacts you will have will be there for a very long time. For impacts that will last centuries, what's the harm in taking another month or two to hear from everyone in the public who wants to be heard?
Majorities of the kind the Republicans currently enjoy in our state should act with more confidence and inclusiveness. Instead, they seem to be running scared and needlessly rushing through a process that will have profound impacts on our state.
Plus a trip north will be good for everybody. They can stay at the Hotel Chequamegon, visit one of the most beautiful and historic main streets in the state, eat at the Black Cat Coffeehouse, hold their hearing at lovely Northland College, take a side trip up to Bayfield and have lunch at Maggie's and while there have one of their great margaritas, which will relax them, so that they can spend some time thinking about all that and asking themselves how the mine would effect it.
Maybe positively. Maybe negatively. I don't know. But shouldn't we take time to go there and to ask the question?