Spotlight on Wisconsin

Money & Politics Blog: Ryan’s actions help his investments

The respected national website Politico lost no time latching onto an issue that made a brief splash last year, and is now sending ripples into the presidential race.

“Newsweek in 2011: Ryan would benefit from his own energy policies,” declared the Beltway purveyor in an item published Aug. 11, just two hours after GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney announced his pick of Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Money & Politics Blog: Top cop blames NRA for law’s failings

Ed Flynn, Milwaukee’s chief of police, had his suspicions about the role of the National Rifle Association in crafting Wisconsin’s concealed carry bill, enacted last year.

“It felt like an NRA bill. It looked like NRA bill,” Flynn says. “But it wasn’t until we tried to gin up bipartisan support for some common sense modifications that we realized it was in fact an NRA bill.”

Money & Politics Blog: State parties differ sharply on campaign finance

Writing in 1993, Colby College political science professor L. Sandy Maisel called political party platforms “the most important document(s) that a political party produces” but also “worthless pieces of paper,” because so few voters know what they contain. That’s unfortunate, because they are the product of much deliberative thinking, and do in fact shape how politicians behave.

Money & Politics Blog: Hope springs eternal for election reformers

In preparing for a recent interview in which he knew he’d be asked about tilting at windmills, Mike McCabe crafted a T-shirt-worthy reply: “To me, there’s always reason for hope, and never much reason for optimism.”

Money & Politics Blog: Cash flows into state congressional races

“This Modern World,” the biting satirical cartoon by the pseudonymous Tom Tomorrow, recently proposed streamlining the American political process.

“Take elections,” mused the strip’s narrator. “They’re such an inefficient way to purchase a government! That’s why we’ll be replacing them with eBay auctions! Simple and straightforward — highest bidder wins! You probably won’t even notice the difference.”

Such cynical assessments — that when it comes picking national leaders, money matters most — are common. And sadly, they’re not unfounded.