Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fitzgerald plods into Congressional race

WI GOP Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald is running for the Congressional seat Jim Sensenbrenner has held since a 1979 win.
Wisc Sen. Scott Fitzgerald.jpg

This is like finding out that your uncle is finally selling the Oldsmobile and has his eye on a Plymouth. And not a car show collectible.

I get that whole hierarchical, it's my-turn-pecking-order-thing.

But swapping a conservative Congressional fixture for a conservative state Senate fixture first elected during Bill Clinton's second year as President - - second year, not second term - - and who's still not known by half the electorate shows you how devalued Congressional seats have become.

On the one hand, I'm not totally surprised by Fitzgerald's bid.

He's reliably done what the donors demanded. 

Cut their taxes. 

Muscled Act 10 into law. 

Put the gerrymander in place. 

Locked down the lame-duck legislation. 

And look, Fitzgerald's options for electoral advancement are slim.

He won't ever be Senator or Governor. The charisma deficit is too great.

So this is his shot.

And while the travel grind will be harder - - no more one-hour car commutes back home to Juneau County and his horses - - and he'll face an cycle that would shrink from four years to two, the risk-reward ratio is favorable, the seat is safe and the Big Government perks are downright irresistible:

An annual salary of $174,000, which is more than triple what he's making now.

Pension benefits that would definitely inflate what the state will provide.

Not to mention foreign junkets galore, an upgraded steak house and rubber-chicken circuit, primo big city parking, gym privileges, big staffs, regular access to The Special Interest Smorgasbord any day of the week, and private Capitol elevators without pesky constituents and tourists clamoring for souvenirs and selfies.

Alas - - no special Capitol subway - - because that 'for-Senators-only' plum is but one among many reasons why House members quickly learn that the Senate is really the place to be.

What should give any Republican set on joining the Congress next year some serious pause; their agendas will likely set by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi and various Democratic committee chairs who may mistake Fitzgerald setting in a distant minority row chair for Glenn Grothman, Fitzgerald's more junior ex-State Senate colleague.

Note, too, that Freshman Fitzgerald would be outranked in an institution that rewards seniority by Grothman, and Ilhan Omar, Mark Pocan, AOC, and another 400 or so members, give or take, entitled to treat the former Badger State Senate Majority Leader - - a genuine big cheese in the cheese state - - as their junior.

That's a big daily dose of bitter pills to swallow. 

Bring your Tums, along with diminished policy opportunities.

And if Trump is defeated, forget White House soirees or private Bill Barr briefings, at which point a lobbyist office on Madison's Capitol Square might look like a more inviting retirement job.

Anyway, consider Fitzgerald the 5th District's GOP front-runner - - or at least lead plodder - - as he maneuvers away from the breezier podium hogging Robin Vos who now becomes with Fitzgerald's DC focus the even more official unofficial shadow Governor in a state that once stood for progress and produced leaders who were giants.


Anonymous said...

"gym privileges?" Have you seen Fitzy lately? I doubt he has darkened the door of any gym in years.

James Rowen said...

Tongue-in-cheek alert.

Anonymous said...

Plymouth? More like Hupmobile.

I still remember, when i worked for Senator Nelson in the summer of 1974, Senator Hubert Humphrey, after having been V.P. and nearly president, standing with a group of us at a public elevator, asking everyone what floor they were going to and pushing all the buttons.