By: Brian Sikma
Now is not the time to be seen as a politician; the outcomes of numerous primaries and general elections over the past few years show that incumbents and candidates perceived as insiders aren’t earning voters’ approval at the ballot box. Nevertheless state Democrats in Wisconsin are praising state Representative Andy Jorgensen for yet again earning the “Best Politician” award from the Jefferson County Daily Union. Jorgensen has for six times in a row earned the enthusiastic support of the paper’s readership in their “Best of” awards.
If the award is meant as a backhanded compliment pining the appellation “politician” on Jorgesen, it could well be deserved. Jorgensen voted for numerous deficit-creating budgets in Madison, supported tax hikes, and took money from the teacher’s union before voting against legislation that helped local school districts save millions of dollars without sacrificing the quality of education.
If the award is meant as a genuine compliment, it comes as no surprise since for months local conservatives have been outraged at the newspaper with some saying they are cancelling their subscription in the wake of bias and perceived partisanship on the part of an editor and reporter at the paper. During the recall elections reporter Ryan Whisner signed a recall petition and then privately praised the efforts of one of the Democratic candidates seeking to unseat a Republican state senator. Whisner’s editor also signed a recall petition, and the paper’s coverage of the senate recall race slanted in favor of the Democratic candidate.
The paper’s publisher was forced to issue a statement saying he would do his best reassign political coverage in the wake of the recall petition flap. Unfortunately, the publisher appears to have never thoroughly followed through on his promise.
That a paper with Democratic political leanings and an engaged audience comprised of more liberals than conservatives would repeatedly endorse a liberal with a “Best Politician” award speaks more to the existence of a liberal echo chamber and tone deaf candidate than it does to the accomplishments of a lawmaker.