If you ever wanted a close look at the cognitive dissonance that is driving the Republican party insane, look no further than my dear, sweet, home state of Wisconsin.
It took a Democratic candidate with executive experience in the private sector to do it, but suddenly the GOP here has decided that not all corporations are good. Ever since Mary Burke, a former Trek Bicycle Company executive, became the leading Democratic candidate for governor, Wisconsin Republicans have been paying for ads attacking Trek’s business practices, especially their use of production facilities overseas.
That was already a marked shift from the generally pro-business, anti-regulation GOP, which has been merrily handing out taxpayer money right and left to business who outsource most of their jobs far away from Wisconsin. (Also to businesses that donated to Republican governor Scott Walker, who talks a lot of trash about our neighbors to the south but seems to have imported his entire administrative strategy directly from Illinois.)
But things got really weird when Trek, sick of being kicked around, ran newspaper ads defending the company’s business practices — and were then sued by the state Republican party for speaking up. In the complaint, the Wisconsin GOP alleges that Trek’s advertisements are in-kind contributions to Mary Burke’s campaign.
I’m not worried for Trek or the Burke campaign’s legal future here. The Republican lawsuit is DOA; Trek’s advertisements (pictured left; click to expand if you’re curious) don’t even mention Mary Burke or the election. Far, far, far more pointed campaign ads are still legally protected as “non-partisan” and run every day, all across the country.
But it’s not every day that you see a state GOP office suing to keep those mean ol’ corporations from free-speeching at them. And it really makes you wonder how much longer the national party can keep its increasingly obvious split personality under control.