Moderate Republicans are Endangered Species in Madison

Stew Rieckman is spot on here:

Such is the charade that is being played out in Madison as a prelude to the November election, when Republicans would love nothing better than to make Jim Doyle a one-term governor.

If we are able to set aside for a moment the debate over the two constitutional amendments, we can get a clearer picture of the true nature of politics in Madison. Ready? OK, hold your nose and ask yourself, "Why would a politician who has doubts that a ban on gay marriages belongs in the constitution vote in favor of the amendment anyway?" If your answer is: "It is more important to maintain power than it is to vote your conscience," you have a good understanding why former senators are going to jail and a current representative is on trial.

Need more evidence? Sen. Mary Panzer, the moderate Republican majority leader, was defeated in 2004 in the primary election by Rep. Glenn Grothman, an almost-unprecedented turn of events. The conservative wing of her party targeted Panzer because she could not muster the votes to pass the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment, which was the ugly stepsister of the Taxpayer Protection Plan.

It really didn't matter, however, because the ultra-conservatives in Madison got to throw Panzer under the bus for sport, sending a warning to other moderate Republicans. Which may also help explain why Rep. Gregg Underheim decided not to run for re-election. In the world of Madison politics, moderate Republicans are an endangered species.

Read more detail here.

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