They don’t know how to spell my name, but since the Republican Party doesn’t seem to have posted this response to my recent blog on their own website yet, I thought their side should get a fair hearing here. See below.

 

I have to say I’m at least as shocked as they say they are, but I’m rapidly gaining an unhappy education about what hardball politics in the United States now looks like.

 

I worried for a while that my New York Times op-ed on “Wisconsin’s Radical Break” might have gone too far in drawing a carefully limited parallel between the current tactics of the Republican Party in Wisconsin and those of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s…but since the Republican Party seems intent on offering evidence to support that comparison, I guess I should just let their words and actions speak for themselves.

 

I sure hope we can rebuild a culture of civility and fairness and generosity in this country.  It’s honestly the lack of fair-mindedness in the statement below that I find most disturbing.

 

For Immediate Release

Contact: Katie McCallum, Communications Director (608) 257-4765

March 25, 2011

 

In response to Professor William Cronin’s deplorable tactics in seeking to force the Republican Party of Wisconsin to withdraw a routine open records request, Executive Director Mark Jefferson released the following statement:

 

“Like anyone else who makes an open records request in Wisconsin, the Republican Party of Wisconsin does not have to give a reason for doing so.

 

“I have never seen such a concerted effort to intimidate someone from lawfully seeking information about their government.

 

“Further, it is chilling to see that so many members of the media would take up the cause of a professor who seeks to quash a lawful open records request.  Taxpayers have a right to accountable government and a right to know if public officials are conducting themselves in an ethical manner.  The Left is far more aggressive in this state than the Right in its use of open records requests, yet these rights do extend beyond the liberal left and members of the media.

 

“Finally, I find it appalling that Professor Cronin seems to have plenty of time to round up reporters from around the nation to push the Republican Party of Wisconsin into explaining its motives behind a lawful open records request, but has apparently not found time to provide any of the requested information.

 

“We look forward to the University’s prompt response to our request and hope those who seek to intimidate us from making such requests will reconsider their actions.”

###

 

Republican Party of Wisconsin | 148 East Johnson St. | Madison, Wisconsin 53703
p: 608.257.4765 | f: 608.257.4141| e: info@wisgop.org

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113 Responses to “Republican Party Response to Cronon Critique of Open Records Request”

  • Linda Pfeiffer:

    Thank you for your reasoned and articulate op-ed and response to the unfolding events. The integrity of your approach, in itself, illuminates the depths that the republican party has fallen to. I have never been more proud to be a University of Wisconsin student!

  • Judith Allen, Beaumont, TX:

    Professor Cronon:
    This brou-ha-ha has been most interesting, although, I’m sure, you’d pass if you could. (I hope this assault doesn’t cost you attorney’s fees, which I’m sure they’d love to see you have to expend out of your hard-earned salary, since according to them, your exorbitant salary for having one of them not-real gov’t jobs.)
    It mystifies me how they can hit you with the Open Records Act. Nowhere in this portion of your blog address do I find “uwm.edu.” What I see is: “scholarcitizen.williamcronon.net” Big difference. If this is your personal website at your residence, unrelated to university computers, as a former law librarian, I would question whether your position at the University applies to personal activities on your own personal computer.
    Last night, I spent an hilarious 2 hours enjoying the movie “The People vs. Larry Flynt”. (I enjoy legal dramas.) Today, as I read your blog posts (thank you, Greg Sergent at the Washington Post), I wonder whatever happened to freedom of speech?
    My husband is a high-school teacher. He has an e-mail address on the school server; it’s there for other teachers, administration and parents to contact him. He has a completely personal, separate e-mail address at home, server on Maw Bell, on which he contacts his Texas Air Nat’l Guard buddies and personal friends.
    And, on which he is free to express his personal opinions, political and otherwise, on such issues as the current attempt by Governor “Good Hair” and our state legislature to raid the Teacher Retirement Fund.
    His opinions are his own and, it seems to me, not available to the Open Records Act. So, I am here in Texas hoping and praying you are on safe ground. And, I hope, if you do find yourself in a complex situation, there is some organization that defends free speech that comes to your defense. If they do, let us know who they are, so we can contribute to help your cause. We’re not wealthy (otherwise, my husband would not be teaching), but we will help as we can.
    Hang in there and chin up and all those other cliches.
    Your cause is just.

    • Alexander:

      Freedom of speech, sadly, only applies to when it’s convenient for the Republicans to hide behind. Fox News is allowed to constantly spout blatant lies in the form of “innocent mistakes”, but if someone posts a blog post about ALEC, not even making a political statement about it, but just mentioning it exists, they come down on them with all the power they can wield. Truth, apparently, is the enemy of the Republican party.

      I highly recommend to readers of this blog to read this online book: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/
      It is about Authoritarians and the various tactics they use in order to convince people to work against their own interests and willingly hand power over to an elite few. Much of the Republican party’s recent behaviour has a very strong streak of Authoritarianism, such as their attacks on competing power structures like the unions, and their complete disregard for the law when it comes to passing their own legislation, while simultaneously wielding the law like a cudgel against their enemies.

  • Jxn:

    Although we have never met, I also work on (non-US) environmental history, I’ve been at ASEH, and we have many mutual friends (mostly doctoral students of yours from years past). So, knowing your work and the care put into it as well as the sterling reputation you enjoy among “our ilk” as a person, I find it really appalling how these folks are acting. But then again, they are playing a different game than you or I. Our “game,” which is really a misnomer, is research and understanding. Theirs is obfuscation and the creation of appearances–smoke and mirrors, in short, intended to prevent understanding. They see you as an object potentially of use, a red herring of sorts, and they have no concern for who you actually are or whether their charges make any sense. The WI GOP has a very broad and deep strand of anti-intellectualism to tap into, and by playing the victim (!!!) in this situation, they become the populists standing against the ivory tower.

    On a day when I am immensely proud of my Canadian brethren (well, cousins, anyway), this has really brought me down. It’s also an object lesson never to talk politics with current students at any time or to use University email to comment on political matters (thus why I’m using my gmail here). Sigh. So much for the free exchange of ideas.

    In any case your colleagues in the field and around the country are watching. This is a world beyond the Ward Churchill witch-hunt and it’s disturbing to say the least, but you will find no shortage of support.

  • Drew Williams:

    Until the offending Republicans can be recalled mid-term, or we have to wait to vote them out in the next elections, Wisconsinites will have to put up with one of the shadiest, most unresponsive governments in our state’s history. But look at it this way: if W couldn’t break the US, Walker can’t break Wisconsin. Keep up the good work, professor.

  • I just read your Times op-ed. I have only one disagreement: the use of the word “conservative.”

    What are these people “conserving”? It is certainly not the US Constitution. Nor, if your column is to be believed, are they conserving the laws and traditions of your state.

    If the US had ever been a monarchy, they could be conserving the divine right of kings. But, of course, that is not the case.

    Please, Professor, stop calling these people conservatives.

  • Nullifidian:

    In response to Professor William Cronin’s deplorable tactics in seeking to force the Republican Party of Wisconsin to withdraw a routine open records request, Executive Director Mark Jefferson released the following statement:

    “Deplorable”… why? Because he critiqued their request, pointed out the base smear job it was meant to enable, and didn’t give in?

    The Republican Party these days may hate government, but they certainly do like exercising their lordly privilege. It’s the same principle behind their desire to punish the Democrats for denying them a quorum. The GOP today is the worst of both worlds: naive neoliberalism in economic affairs and aristocratic in the nth degree in terms of their attitude toward the “peons” who vote for them.

  • Dear Professor Cronon, As an English Literature PhD Candidate at Kent State University, I send you my support. I heard about your situation today on the Daily Kos, and I have blogged about it on my website (which has automatically sent out links to my Twitter and Facebook accounts). I know that my friends here are concerned about many challenges to intellectual work–research and teaching–but this is another tactic that we may have to contend with in the future. All my best, Jason

  • Neal Dirk:

    Dear Professor Cronon:

    I want to thank you for you wonderful Op\Ed article, and more importantly, for dropping the veil on ALEC to the public. That is precisely why you have been targeted by the RPW. You have exposed the interconnected web of corporate, think tank, and politician sponsors of ALEC, WPRI, the Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth, the Koch Bros., etc. This group has been dropping legislation at the Capitol door to foster the corporate agenda by the truckload. These people seek to re-write the social contract with the citizens of this country that has grown to be since WWII. Now that the Soviet Union has been defeated, the corporate elite can turn their hands to reining in the little people. It is not a coincidence that WPRI led the charge against the WRS beginning in March, 2010. This is an agenda, have no doubt. You have been brave; you have spoken for many who do not have the options that you may have because of your excellent credentials. The RPW seeks to chill dissent, and their attack on you does just that. Please continue to speak to truth. Your father was a professor of mine; he would be so proud. You wear the name with distinction, and will long be remembered for your service in this confrontation. Numen Lumen!

  • portia:

    Congratulations, Prof. Cronon. Most bloggers have to slave away for years to achieve enough profile and relevance to become a target for GOP vituperation. That you have succeeded so magnificently (and so quickly) speaks well for the value of your efforts. I have bookmarked your blog, and look forward to enjoying your future posts.

  • Anna Haynes:

    Did their press release contain a link to your blogpost, to help its readers assess credibility?

    • Anna Haynes:

      They’re not saying that the Cronon *blogpost* was intimidating; what they view as intimidating is the groundswell of agreement from the rest of us, that what they’re doing to you is abuse of the FOIA process.

      • Anna Haynes:

        Framing: Groundswell of support against abuse, vs. Concerted effort at intimidation

        Interpretation: They were expecting a gross power imbalance in their favor; and are displeased that it’s turned out otherwise.

        • Anna Haynes:

          …though the power imbalance issues are a red herring that distracts from what’s relevant.

  • Did they provide a link to your blogpost, to help their readers to assess credibility?

  • These guys at ALEC want to wield the power that government holds while ignoring that ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Our government holds power because it is ours, and WE GAVE IT TO THEM, we chose to tax ourselves to fund them, to act on our own behalf more wisely, efficiently, fairly, and broadly than we can do as individuals.

    Instead of letting the Luntzian framing constantly pit “free-enterprise” against “government”, let’s talk about community-funded vs. privately funded.

    Both have distinct areas of excellence and moral hazard. A stable society needs both. A smart society limits the damage each can do.

    Currently, we limit privately-funded excesses through laws, regulation and boycotts. We limit community-funded excesses through sunset provisions and democracy. If these levers are too slow and ham-handed it’s likely that we could invent more effective, modern controls.

    When privately funded institutions attempt to control all the community-funded institutions and assets–as we are seeing now–we know exactly what they aim to do. Strip all the assets for short-term gain and abandon the results for the commons to deal with.

    Well let me remind you that those were assets WE funded. Community-funded universities. Community-funded K-12 education. Community-funded law enforcement, infrastructure and fire prevention. We fund institutions when we don’t want an outsider to pull profits out of our communities simply for doing things we all need done. These incredibly valuable assets belong to us. If we don’t fight to protect them, someone will figure out how to steal them. Just as they figured out how to steal the pensions of Wisconsin workers (the industrial workers over the past two decades, and the community workers starting this year).

    If you want a nightmare scenario, imagine we don’t hold the line today to protect our community-funded institutional assets. Imagine K-12 education run like a big-box store (School*Mart). Imagine privately funded law enforcement. If the prospect of police with a profit motive doesn’t stop you in your tracks, you’ve never known anyone who was marginalized.

    Along with all the people praising you, Professor, I do as well. Thank you for bringing this to light. Thank you for your courage. It’s going to get nastier. Steel yourself.

  • kurt squire:

    This is outrageous. If it stands, look for a mass exodus. Biddy better stand up.

  • Bruce Smith:

    Prof. Cronon,

    As you say, the lack of fair-mindedness in this statement is astounding. There really isn’t a sincere word in it. To even engage it as anything other than a hateful, concentrated smear is to lend it credibility, which I suppose is why brazen black-is-white lying has been such a successful political tactic for this version of Republican politics.

  • Alexander:

    ““I have never seen such a concerted effort to intimidate someone from lawfully seeking information about their government… Taxpayers have a right to accountable government and a right to know if public officials are conducting themselves in an ethical manner.”

    They are aware that “employee at a public institution” and “public official” aren’t the same thing right? That being a university professor doesn’t grant you power in the legislative process, nor does it actually make you part of a governing body? Because they seem to believe that subjecting a private citizen to a FOIA request regarding his personal e-mail account is the same thing as subjecting a state senator to a FOIA request regarding the content of a piece of legislation.

    Your McCarthy analogy is spot on, and it’s clear that this entire thing is meant as a smear campaign against someone who happened mention one of the Republican party’s dirty little secrets. They’re clearly very alarmed by the fact that you told people about APEC, which raises questions about their own issues with transparency. Since Republicans like to sell themselves as the Christian party so much, perhaps the best rebuttal of their outrage that you might post a polite response to their FOIA request outlining the perfectly reasonable legal and ethical issues that prevent you from complying should be “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” In other words, it strikes me as rather disingenuous that they are so upset at your refusal to comply with a transparency request when the whole issue was sparked because you pointed out that they might not be operating with full transparency themselves.

  • Phil:

    Fair-mindedness from Republicans is a dream we all have.

    Like winning the lottery, it isn’t going to happen. But is fun to dream.

  • UW grad:

    I’m sorry the fight has come to your front door. I never took a class from you but have long respected your work. Thank you for standing strong and speaking for so many.

  • liz:

    Hooray for Dr. Cronan. They can try to vilify education and the truth- but in the end it never works.

  • Josh:

    Professor Cronon —

    This GOP behavior is a complete travesty. It’s alarming, and sad, to see how afraid they are of an honest institutional history of their own party. Rather than dispute anything you’ve said or offer an alternate account, they want to go after you personally, under the pretext that you’re a public official?

    If they had real ideas, they’d come back at you with real ideas.

    Stay strong. You certainly have the support of this one, very uninfluential academic at a state university, who greatly admires your work.

  • Matthew:

    I feel deeply for your situation, being both an academic and a disillusioned idealist. I would love to believe that your straightforward dissection of why the Republican Party’s tactics are as bad for them as for you would reach your assailants — they have a strategy, so presumably they have strategists, who ostensibly have a vested interest in considering the cost-benefit of anything they might do. Unfortunately, the nature of modern political rhetoric in America means you made yourself a Them from word one; a Them they are not allowed to listen to or find common ground with under any circumstances, even as you advise them not to shoot themselves in the foot.

    It’s ugly and petty and dishonest and shameful, and it’s been tolerated and allowed to thrive longer than it should have by virtue of learned helplessness. The meme of “that’s just how politics are” is an insidious one, and I’m happy to see someone of maturity, compassion, and intellectual clout standing publicly against the inevitability of hardball.

  • Another UW Prof:

    You know, I suspect that your ability to think critically and to present your ideas with measured civility may actually be intimidating for these stooges. Also, is it me, or do I hear the voice of (not F.) Scott Fitzgerald in that press release? Sure sounds like his weird melange of whiny faux-victimization and imperial hauteur to me.

  • Another UW Prof:

    This would be hilarious if it wasn’t being done by the people who run the state. Good God.

  • Al Swearengen:

    “intimidate someone from lawfully seeking information about their government”

    That the Republican Party believes a history professors email account represents “their government” explains much about their woeful incompetence at actually governing and not just “playing” politics-the-game.

    The southern witticism we use in Missouri is “Can’t find their own rear ends with both hands.” [cleaned up]

  • Gizmo:

    If the Republicans in Wisconsin are so interested in defending the concept of freedom of information, perhaps they are interested in releasing all of Gov. Scott Walker’s emails to his cronies in Corporate Amerika.

    • Al Swearengen:

      We wouldn’t even need a long list of search criteria. “Koch” would be enough.

  • Genevieve G. McBride:

    Bill, I have wondered for the past month and more just who would be the historian to write the book about the events in Wisconsin in 2011. Now more than ever (allusion to the political past) — who better to pen that book than you? For one thing, you will have at hand the original copies of these crucial primary sources, the requests allegedly from “the Republican Party”!

    Now, hie thee to your publisher to get that book contract, and then everything that you have written or will write in or on Wisconsin in 2011 is related, and then you will have the publisher’s lawyers on the case in case of further requests.

    Stay strong.

  • Tim:

    If ONE FOIA request is good, wouldn’t thousands be better?

    Seriously, could we private citizens file FOIA requests targeted at known conservative faculty members throughout the State of Wisconsin?

    Let those faculty get the flavor of what is going on here, maybe they can explain it better to the Republican Party why this is a destructive and self-destructive tactic?

    Sent from a private computer from a non-union, non-government employee citizen of Wisconsin who thinks Randy Hopper is a great porn name (just so this email has more of the search terms listed by Republicans)

    • Tom:

      How about we all file FOIA requests with the republican representatives of this state on all levels with the only specific search term being ALEC?

      • Patience:

        Like the idea, but not using just one search term – you need ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, Exchange, Council, the names of each member of the board of directors (first and last, and last by itself), their staff and board of directors by individual name (SourceWatch has the list), Koch (the brothers are listed as major donors), and the proper and popular names of controversial legislation such as the “budget repair bill” and “voter ID bill.” There’s probably more, but that’s what I came up with after five minutes’ thought and the help of Google.

        Also, you could search the expenses of all the Republican legislators in Wisconsin and see if they declared their payment for membership in ALEC (and check to see if they used taxpayer money to pay for it). If they squawk about it, I’d point out that if their membership came out of their election to public office, then it’s disclosable.

        Finally, OT just a little – ALEC’s website is down. Don’t know if it crashed from the high volume of new visitors because of the visibility of Prof. Cronon’s plight or if they chose to take it down, though personally I’d bet on the latter.

  • Kurt:

    This is the classic tactic taught to republican operatives at the Karl Rove and Sean Hannity school of discourse: accuse your opponents of exactly the thing that you are doing. They accuse you of “intimidation” when, in fact, it is they who are doing the intimidation. Truly deplorable.

    • ” accuse your opponents of exactly the thing that you are doing”

      That’s a fair charge and a keen observation. It is a technique we see commonly from the modern right. It not only follows the “always attack, never defend” dictum but it directs attention elsewhere and functions to suggest that because all are equally guilty of the same behavior therefore the perpetrator’s guilt, being un-unique, evaporates. It can also be used pre-emptively. That is, if you are about to do something which would normally cause community approbation if revealed (and you understand it might well be revealed) you can spend a week or month charging your opponent of it, then if caught, the same dynamics as above come into play.

      @Professor Cronon

      Very sorry to see these characters come at you in this manner. It is their mode of operation and it is despicable.

  • Dear Professor Cronon,
    As someone who spent part of today commemorating the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the 146 workers who died there, the new attack on you reminds me, yet again, that we are going to have to re-fight things that we thought were safe. There can be no more complacency.
    Oh, I, too teach at a public university and am a member of a union.
    Solidarity.
    and Keep the faith.

  • Thank you Prof Cronon. You inspired me in 2005 and now again in 2011.

  • I’ve got a great idea, Professor Cronon: why doesn’t every History professor in the country teaching at a public university cc Scott Walker and Mark Jefferson on every e-mail we send and forward them copies of every e-mail we receive? I’d think it would be a boon to your state’s economy, since they’d have to hire a lot of people to read through all of those e-mails and decide whether or not we’re breaking our different state laws with our university e-mail accounts.

    They asked for a garden sprinkler, so let’s turn on the firehose.

  • Mea:

    Blogs, letters, newspaper articles — yes, here is another vote that laughter is the only rational response to the Republican party of Wisconsin clutching their pearls and screeching “deplorable tactics!” when confronted with rational discourse. So “ha ha” at republicans of my chilly state, and to Professor Cronon a great big THANK YOU FOR FIGHTING FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM.

  • John Wyatt:

    Mr. Cronon, keep up the good work.

    Perhaps as a follow up to your New York Times op-ed, you could write about the current republican party behavior relates to authoritarian leadership style discussed in Bob Altemeyer’s book, the Authoritarians (http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/)?

    • John Wyatt:

      Sorry for the typos, I meant to type:

      Mr. Cronon, keep up the good work. Perhaps as a follow up to your New York Times op-ed, you could write another one discussing how the current republican party behavior relates to authoritarian leadership style described in Bob Altemeyer’s book, the Authoritarians (http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/)?

      • Doug:

        John – I’m glad you bring up Bob Altmeyer – I’ve been recommending his book a lot lately. It’s definitely worth a read.

  • Seems like only cockroaches and men about to do evil are afraid of the light. Keep it up, turn up the light.

  • Jennifer Johnson:

    Hello!

    I thought you might be interested to know that your story has now reached Texas, and Talking Points Memo has picked it up and put it on their front page. The article is located here:

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/uw-prof-cronon-i-wish-gop-could-have-spelled-my-name-correctly.php?ref=fpa

    Although I am in Texas, and so am only watching the Wisconsin labor struggles from afar, you should know that you have some far-flung support. Things must be scary for you right now. Please don’t let yourself be intimidated! IMHO, the Republicans are out of line. Good luck!

  • Deborah:

    I stumbled across your “Study guide for those who wish to no more ” while I was researching WPRI. It was well thought out and well written so I passed it on. Seems a lot of people felt the same way. Please keep writing on this topic as it unfolds. Your clarity is refreshing.

  • Jim Ramsey:

    Please keep being the adult.

    Let the Republicans be the jerks.

  • Joe C:

    This press release inspired me to go to the Republican party of Wisconsin’s website to read more of their perspectives on recent events. They obviously excel at hyperbole and paranoia. Here’s how they characterize the protests at the Capitol:

    Source: http://www.wisgop.org/union-leaders-aim-for-mob-rule-at-the-state-capitol/

    Union Leaders Aim for Mob Rule at the State Capitol
    Security Threat Shuts Down Democracy

    Madison, Wis…After successfully chasing Senate Democrats out-of-state in order to circumvent the democratic process, unruly union protesters in the Capitol shut down debate by intimidation again on Friday at the State Capitol.

    The Political web site WisPolitics reported this evening that Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald adjourned floor proceedings because the safety of legislators and staff could no longer be assured in the State Capitol building.

    According to Mark Jefferson, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, union attempts to shut down the democratic process by mob rule are a deplorable insult to voters, taxpayers, and democracy itself.

    “To willfully prevent elected officials from performing their official duties in order to circumvent the legislative process flies in the face of democracy and is an insult to the citizens of this state,” Jefferson said.

    As their reckless behavior, threats to elected officials, and crass language have demonstrated over the course of the past few days, union leaders on strike to shut down democracy have once again put their own best interests over the interests of Wisconsin taxpayers.

    “Governor Walker was elected to fix a broken system,” Jefferson said. “Walker and Republicans campaigned and won on that platform, and the will of the people will not be suppressed by intimidation. State government is broken and the time for reform is now.”

  • Josh:

    Thank you, Professor Cronon, for your principled stance on this issue. I find it ironic and a bit disgusting that they accuse you of the very intimidation they are attempting.

    Keep up the good, and inspiring, work.

    • Joan:

      This is standard GOP SOP. Karl arove was the best; scream someone is doing something that you are doing – while they are not. Yell, moan, blame and detail ad nauseum why it’s awful, unlawful and only LIBERALS do it. It doesn’t matter that you are doing it and they are not, just say they are as that is always evidence enough. What’s truly sad is how often it’s not questioned.

      Standard Operating Procedures.

  • The Otter God:

    Of course the Republicans don’t support academic freedom; they don’t support educational endeavors at all. Just take a look at the funding hits that public schools all over the country are taking. We’ll get jobs back in this country when everyone is ignorant and trampled enough to work for cheaper than our current foreign counterparts.

  • So: you use “deplorable tactics” and they find you “appalling”?

    Really? blogging? writing Op-Eds for a national newspaper? Since when did that become deplorable or appalling?

    Thank you for taking the high road and staying “above the line” (as they would say in my children’s elementary school) in your discourse. We should be able to disagree and debate without name calling and bullying. We expect that of our children, do we not?

    ….But in their defense on one point, you name is rather hard to spell.

  • Republicat:

    Let’s see…obfuscation, not addressing any of the points, attacking third parties. Yeah, that sounds like a Republican Press Release. It looks like you’ve hit really close to home on this one.

  • Arishia:

    I’d like to leave a comment, but first I need to know if this blog is part of the government system or if it is private.

  • Oh, to be young again and involved in academic life. What better place to be than at the University of Wisconsin in these inspiring times? The easy question here is whether ideas, inquiry and truth are stronger than money. Money surely has a lot in its favor: news media, ability to bribe and scare politicians, ability to hire counter-protesters and other operatives, appeal to people of authoritarian bent, support from gullible and submissive people, and ability to spend endlessly on legal harassment and intimidation.

    The Achilles heel of money, though, is that by itself it is stupid. It depends on humans to be used properly and effectively. Ideas are ultimately more powerful, as tyrants have learned painfully throughout human history.

    So I say, to the games! Though your opponents are unworthy, they represent great evil. Defeating them should be great fun.

  • Debra Gold:

    You have supporters all around the world. Thank you for standing up for what is right and that is to tell the truth. Apparently you’re getting too close to the truth for comfort for these guys.

  • AJW:

    The question of motives is not answered directly by the Republican Party of Wisconsin, but it definitely comes through loud and clear in the statement released. I have always been proud to say I graduated from Madison. I really hope this does not impact its reputation.

  • Mike:

    Professor,

    I read about your blog and remembered this story NPR did last year on this.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130833741

  • Lisa:

    I’ve spent most of my adult life voting for Republicans. After all of the political games and accusations ….not to mention ALL of the lies the Republicans have had to publicly admit to over the past month, it will be a long time (if ever) before I have enough trust or respect for Republicans to even consider voting for them again.

    This response to Dr. Cronon is just one more reason for me leave the Republican party behind forever. The current class of Republicans is an embarassment to Wisconsin. Thanks, Wisconsin GOP, for helping me to see the light and realize what a mistake it was to ever affiliate with your party.

  • chocho:

    The part I have a problem with is the idea that all state instituions are equivalent to “government,” and by extension that any employee of one of these institutions is a “public official.”

  • Carmen:

    They’re shocked–shocked!–that anyone saw through their original ridiculous attempt at intimidation.

    Keep up the good work. You seem to be hitting at least a few of the right buttons.

  • Total:

    “I have never seen such a concerted effort to intimidate someone from lawfully seeking information about their government.”

    Eek! You put up a blog post! Next up in your evil plan will be to…WRITE A LETTER!

    • Ari:

      HAAAAAhahahahaha. I wanted to write something intelligent and reasoned, but I prefer the laughter cure better, actually. Thank the gods some of us still have a sense of humor.

      ~Peace

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