Democrats, don't boycott 'brat summit'

  • Article by: EDITORIAL , Wisconsin State Journal
  • Updated: June 12, 2012 - 2:01 PM

Wisconsin lawmakers who are snubbing Gov. Scott Walker's invitation to a casual cookout are acting like sore losers.

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Clayton Luther, 13, of Cottage Grove, Wis., enjoys his second bratwurst at the annual Brat Fest in Madison, Wis., over Memorial Day weekend.

Photo: John Maniaci, AP/Wisconsin State Journal

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If Wisconsin lawmakers can't even share a beer and a brat with their colleagues, what can they do?

Not much, apparently, when it comes to fostering more cooperation at the state Capitol.

Those state leaders who are snubbing Gov. Scott Walker's invitation to a casual cookout today at the executive residence in Maple Bluff are only furthering the problem of partisan sniping and distrust.

The friendly, bipartisan picnic is hardly worth boycotting. And it just might do some good.

The Republican governor has invited all state lawmakers to Tuesday's event. The idea is to encourage more good will following Wisconsin's bruising political battle over collective bargaining for public workers that led to last week's recall election, which Walker survived.

The "brat summit," as it's been dubbed, will feature donated beer, non-alcoholic beverages, brats and burgers from a host of Wisconsin companies, both big and small.

What's not to like about that?

"I refuse to be involved in what appears to be a media stunt," complained Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, who is running for Congress this fall in the 2nd Congressional District.

Not to be outdone in opposing all things Walker, Rep. Kelda Helen Roys - also of Madison and Pocan's main competition for the 2nd District Democratic nomination - called for "meaningful compromise on policy rather than a photo opportunity."

Actually, journalists are being barred from the event. Moreover, the governor's wife, Tonette, said the picnic was her idea.

Yet Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, plans to skip because of "offensive comments and threats of legislative chaos" by Democrats at their party convention last weekend.

Nass knows a thing or two about offensive comments, having hurled plenty during his career.

But after all the heated rhetoric and accusations of the last year, grilling out with political opponents shouldn't be so hard.

The good news is that most lawmakers - including Democratic leaders in both houses - plan to attend.

Those who can't reach across the aisle for a beer and a brat are clearly not on the side of bipartisanship.

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