Sunday, January 23, 2011

Radical Leadership At Wisconsin DNR Gets Big Media Exposure

Home builder and radical Republican Cathy Stepp finds herself profiled on the front page of the Sunday Journal Sentinel.

And the disjointed, anti-government, DNR-bashing and very partisan rant she wrote in 2009 for a right-wing blog site that I have been linking to repeatedly is used in the profile fairly and prominently to bring Stepp into focus for a statewide audience.

The first item on my blog in which I linked to Stepp's posting  - - here - - in December, when her name began to circulate as a possible new Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, has become the second-most downloaded item among the more than 1,000 I've written since a new data-tracking system was added to my blog in June.

All I can surmise is that Stepp's thoughts, in her own words, are finding readers, and after today, more, no doubt.

Here they are, again.

Turning the DNR into a business promotion agency as Scott Walker is directing, with a new employee loyalty oath to the WMC and the Wisconsin Club for Growth more or less mandatory, could end up being his undoing.

That's because there is an apolitical statewide constituency for outdoors preservation that transcends  mainstream environmentalist in Madison, or on Milwaukee's East side, or elsewhere in the state that that political conservatives like to mock as "Democrat."

Radicals who want to undo the DNR's historic mission will find themselves miscalculating, and also on the wrong payroll.

A friend of mine with decades more experience than I have had in Wisconsin conservation once told me "if you want to find the real environmentalists, go to the Towns," and I can think of people I know in rural Mukwonago, and the Town of Waukesha, for example, who fit that definition and practice it agenda-free.

It's a lifestyle, not a platform.

These are people less concerned with DNR procedures than they are with annexation-driven subdividers who, under a de-regulated Scott Walker administration, and a pro-home builder DNR, are far more likely to object and get organized righteously if their beloved lakes and streams and groundwater, their neighbor's farm fields and woodlands are degraded, filled-in, paved and otherwise "developed."

Many of these people may have voted Republican, but I am predicting that that's where the anti-Walker revolt will begin, one aggrieved voter and small wetlands filling at a time.

These are the true conservationists: ideological conservatives are forgetting the common root in the terminology; Their self-serving bedazzlement by money and political power - - temporal opposites of authentic resource stewardship - - makes the Walker crowd no friend to the Wisconsin environment, but does make Team Walker candidates for short, but damaging careers for having pushed private interests in public offices.


Anonymous said...

The only environment that Cathy Stepp is out to destroy is the one which fueled the legendary arrogance of our current DNR. She deserves our support.

Anonymous said...

But this is hysterical! You did NOT just say "rural Mukwonago" and "town of Waukesha" as if that is the edges of the world. I noticed a while back too, that for you Tomah's newspaper isn't just another WI newspaper but it has to qualified as"out-state" right in your headline. I Googled that term and no one really uses it. I couldn't understand why you felt a need to insert a term meaning "Boonie" to the headline. Why the need to specify, it had not relation to the topic.
The towns you list are still in the Milwaukee-influenced area. They still are gonna be over-spill areas. They're not Barron, Chetek, or Tilden. Not by a stretch.
This is totally relevant to your predictions of certain doom for Stepp, because those folks (bein' "outstate" and all) might not react the same as the people YOU personally know in those "remote" areas of Waukesha township in their reactions. They might never perceive Stepp as a problem it depends on what Stepp does and how she frames it.
Her rhetoric in that blog you linked to is phrased so that it may offend YOUR pals (that's who she is making fun of there you know? but it probably won't offend the guys in Bloomer. They, like Stepp, would mock the nerdy hot house flower DEms and their Karner Blue butterflies. Those "species" she chose, yeah, I say she was fully cognizant of the cultural divide between outstate hunters, some of whom might make their incomes on construction-related jobs and high-income Democrats competing with each other to compost more than the other guy and sit around with Merlot chatting about "getting off the grid". It maybe depends on WHICH wetland is getting filled in- the one they hunt on? or the one at the edge of town near where the doctors are building their houses. They won't miss that one too much, they don't hunt there.
So depending on how crafty Walker's team is (and I'd say pretty damn crafty so far, with huge huge cojones too) it's quite possible that they will be able to maintain a balance and keep the support of their base very well. Fill in the wetlands that the hunters don't care about, giving them jobs and leave the shit they DO care about alone. It could probably be done, by a team who would have to understand the ENTIRE state. I dunno if that describes the Walker team or not. But it doesn't seem to describe the Dem team, that becomes more clear every day.
Laughing at people who care about Karner Blue butterflies - that's a rallying call to people who wanna poke fun at desk-jockey week-end environmentalists who camp up in the Boundary Waters and aren't "real men".
(And, if Stepp manages a little anti-Tribe rhetoric at some point, then you KNOW she's knows what she's doing.)
town of Waukesha...wahahahaaa...omg rural Mukwanago...hurrrrrrrrrr

James Rowen said...

Whoa. Take a breath.

The adjectives I used are useful to an urban audience, which makes up most of this site's readers, I believe, and are quite accurate language.

To a Milwaukee audience, the Town of Wauakesha, and Mukwanago, are indeed more rural, relatively speaking, and Tomah is definitely out-state.

"Boonie" is you word, not mine.

And you did not spell Mukwonago correctly, fyi.It is not Mukwanago, so which of us is more familiar with it, eh?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what to make of Annie K's comments. Do they imply that Stepp will try to appeal to racists (e.g. "And, if Stepp manages a little anti-Tribe rhetoric at some point, then you KNOW she's knows what she's doing.")?

Or do they mean that Wisconsinites living in more rural areas of the state are anti-environment and hate-filled?

Whatever these goofy comments mean, when it comes to polluting waterways, poisoning the air, clearcutting the northwoods, or subdividing farmlands, Wisconsinites of all political bents get pissed off. And when it comes to doing real damage to the environment and the laws that protect it, we can point most of the fingers at urban republican corporate types who never see the silted-over trout streams, or have to smell the factory farm wastes day and night, or who have grown so accustomed to polluted air it seems natural to them.

So I caution against the use of geographical bigotry when speculating about what an individual may or may not do. After all, there are idiots and heros in all walks of life and in all the cities and towns of the nation.

Anonymous said...

Let there be no illusion that Stepp will oversee a smooth application process for a Great Lakes diversion.

James Rowen said...

To the last Anon:

Betsey said...

I thought that the Stepp blog post you link to was her cover letter for her DNR job application.

James Rowen said...

Betsey nails it.