Well, it appears that the Tea Party wing of the Wisconsin Republican Party feels emboldened enough to push forward some very extreme platform positions. Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel has been all over this story these past two weeks. One position that the state’s Republican Party will vote on at next month’s convention is Wisconsin’s right to secede from the union.
This secession plan originally came about earlier this month in one of state’s eight GOP caucuses. The 6th Congressional District’s GOP caucus adopted a resolution that includes the following section:
“Be it further resolved that we strongly insist our state representatives work to uphold Wisconsin’s 10th Amendment rights, and our right to secede, passing legislation affirming this to the U.S. Federal Government.”
As Bice reported at the time, the caucus’ chairman, Dan Feyen, distanced himself from the resolution when it passed. Feyen blamed it on the fact that many of the caucus members had gone home for the night. Essentially, he claimed that a few extremists in the party waited around and then put forth some ideas that normally would have been shot down. Feyen told Bice the following:
“I did not agree with many of the resolutions passed as they do not deal with the true opponent that we face in our upcoming election cycle.”
However, it appears that Feyen underestimated the level of influence these few Tea Party have within the party. As it turns out, the party’s Resolutions Committee voted for this measure, after making a few relatively insignificant changes. Apparently, many on the committee interpret the nation’s 10th Amendment as permission for states to ignore federal law and secede if they want to. (It doesn’t, by the way.) Now, this resolution will be up for a vote by the party’s delegates at the Wisconsin Republican Party convention next month. If approved by the delegation, the state party will officially be in favor of secession.
Republican Governor Scott Walker has already distanced himself from this resolution. Considering that Walker is looking towards a possible Presidential run in 2016, you definitely can’t blame him. However, he wouldn’t be where he is now if it weren’t for this radical wing of the Republican Party, as he was elected Governor largely on the strength of the Tea Party. Now, he has to deal with this monster raging out of control and killing his national ambitions.
Perhaps due to Walker being elected and the GOP holding both chambers of the state’s legislature, the Tea Party feels they can push forward a far-right platform for the state’s Republican Party to adopt and run on. If the party’s leaders aren’t able to nip this in the bud, they will be forced to acknowledge that their party supports secession. This will make the GOP in Wisconsin a laughingstock, as well as provide ready-made campaign ads for Democratic candidates in the state.
If the Tea Party wins out and a resolution for secession is approved at the convention, the GOP will be in a world of hurt not just in Wisconsin but the nation as a whole. It will be further proof of the dysfunction occurring within the party. Democrats can point to this as a reason not to take Republicans seriously. It can be used as validation of the clear racist streak within the Republican Party, as many are embracing the same tactic that the South did in order to maintain slavery.
Remember, Wisconsin is considered a swing-state, but it really leans blue. The last time the state voted for a Republican Presidential candidate was in 1984. The GOP does not want to see this resolution pass. If it does, the backlash will be felt for years to come. Republican Party leaders are really hoping for Wisconsin to flip in 2016 to have a chance at the White House. If the state’s GOP is suddenly for secession, among other extreme positions, Republicans can pretty much forget taking this state anytime in the foreseeable future.