Fitzgerald, Vos (copy)

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, left, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

Never let it be said that the kingpins of Wisconsin's Republican Party lack chutzpah.

The state party sent me an email press release earlier in the week complaining that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has spent his first year in office not only breaking campaign promises hither and yon, but playing partisan games.

"He failed to achieve much of anything during his first year in office," proclaimed Mark Jefferson, the state party's executive director.

I wonder why.

The press release made no mention of the roadblocks that legislative Republicans erected to Evers' attempts to deal with everything from gun safety to homelessness.

Someone suggested that GOP leaders like Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos followed to the letter U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy to play politics from day one. That's an understatement. It began even before day one, when the lame-duck Legislature with lame-duck Gov. Scott Walker still in office, played games with the governor's and attorney general's powers before they even could take office.

Then when the new session began, it was comical to watch legislators just not show up to act on the governor's requests. GOP members of the Joint Finance Committee simply stayed at home when Evers asked them to release funds for homelessness assistance that had already been approved by the Legislature earlier in the year.

Then there was the charade Vos and Fitzgerald orchestrated when Evers sent them two bills to consider extending background checks on gun purchases and allowing a judge to temporarily take weapons away from persons adjudged to be a threat to others or themselves.

It's one thing to argue against legislation and then refuse to pass it. But, simply refuse to even discuss it? That's not the way our educators told us government is supposed to work.

The biggest laugh, though, was Jefferson's contention that Evers tried to "suppress rural votes" by scheduling a special election to fill the vacancy in the 7th Congressional District for just before the holidays.

This, from the same people who have spent the past 10 years rigging political boundaries in their favor and passing laws to make it tougher for folks to vote, particularly the elderly and the poor.

No, Tony Evers didn't have a perfect year, but in view of the political obstacles he faced, it wasn't all that bad.

You can't pass an agenda if one side doesn't even have the courtesy to consider it. Yes, it does take a lot of chutzpah to suggest otherwise.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.  

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