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Sen. Robert Jauch compares Wisconsin Legislature to Soviet Union

Sen. Robert Jauch

Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, gave an impassioned speech to the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on Monday, during which a Republican senator stepped in and warned his comments were bordering on inappropriate.

Jauch was one of just two Democratic lawmakers present as the JFC debated a bill that would require Wisconsin residents to show photo identification when they vote. Two of the panel’s four Democrats — Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, and Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee — were absent because of a scheduling conflict.

The JFC passed the photo ID bill along party lines, 12-2, sending it to the Assembly, which is expected to vote on it this week. Before the bill passed, though, Jauch launched everything in his rhetorical toolbox at Republicans who support the bill.

Jauch, who spoke of his military service in Vietnam, told his Republican colleagues: “You bring shame to my service. You bring dishonor to what I did in protecting the rights of citizens.”

Arguing the bill would disenfranchise voters, Jauch continued, “I can’t distinguish the Soviet Union from Madison, Wis.”

As Jauch began comparing Wisconsin’s present leadership to powerful men in the past who prevented minorities from voting, Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, warned Jauch he was out of line in calling Republicans racist. Jauch responded that he wasn’t saying they were racist.

Jauch, though, certainly called Republicans every other kind of bad word he could think of.

The senator also reserved some scorn for protesters who interrupted the JFC meeting. Once order was restored, Jauch said the protesters brought shame to responsible and informed citizens who oppose the photo ID bill.

“I don’t condone that sort of behavior, because it unfortunately makes everybody else in this room who’s been so respectful and civil look bad,” Jauch said. “I find their behavior indefensible.”

Jauch then quickly resumed blasting Republicans.

“I find the behavior of the people perpetrating this bill indefensible,” Jauch said, adding, “We are harming Democracy when there are hurdles placed on legitimate voters who wish to participate in this process we were all elected by. And I’m appalled we’re at this point.”


  1. Irwin Fletcher

    I am sure Mr. Jauch’s actions earlier this year earned him great respect and credibility with his fellow committee members.

    He is lucky this is not the Soviet Union. If it was, we would have a wall along the Illinois boarder preventing his escape.

  2. Karen Jeffries

    The damning facts on Scott Walker’s Wisconsin-held-hostage:

    Scott Walker’s 52% electoral majority in November 2010 came after millions were poured into the Walker campaign from the US Chamber of Commerce through the Wisconsin Republican Governors’ Association, a key investor that spent $5 million, donated by Koch Industries, Texas builder Bob Perry, Target Enterprises and many other corporate interests. Some of that money stayed in Wisconsin, some to other candidates in other states, laundered through Wisconsin’s clear-as-mud reporting system.

    All of that money was spent with the goal of breaking unions, promoting corporate profits, and creating a permanent underclass to serve their wealthy overlords.

    Soon after, Walker threatened to declare martial law on public protestors who disagreed with his legislation to strip public employees’ bargaining rights.

    And Walker did it by killing off any and all debate, because Walker found a loophole where if he slipped it in as a *budget provision*, he could legally bypass public hearings and public comment and then push the legislature for a quick-hurry-up vote, and he said that anybody who took offense to his bludgeon tactics to the point of, say, a legal strike protest would soon be staring down the muzzle of a National Guard rifle, that the WNG was “prepared to respond if there is any unrest among state employees”, having already briefed them and other state agencies in advance.

    Russ Feingold called that “big government at its worst”, because no private employer could ever do what Walker threatened, nor should it.

    Wisconsin before Walker had always protected the rights of its workers to bargain with their employer on wages, benefits, workplace rules and other workplace issues, saying Walker used a bogus excuse to strip them of rights that millions of other Americans have.

    NOR does Scott Walker have any right to threaten law-abiding citizens who exercise their right to assembly and free speech with the National Guard. Remember when that was tried at Kent State in May, 1970, and the Memphis sanitation strike in 1968?

    Those donors didn’t pay in because they liked Walker’s looks. They had goals, like breaking unions, promoting corporate profits, and creating a permanent underclass to serve their wealthy overlords. That all sounds mighty “Soviet-Uniony” to me, too.

    The voters only thought they were electing a guy who might keep an eye on the state checkbook … not play the role of The Baron Of Wisconsin.

    Senator Robert Jauch was spot-on in his comments, and the electorate is ever-more seeing its mistake of last November.

  3. Yes, he was on the spot when he claimed we should be protecting citizens. Asking for gov. issued identification will protect all those who vote legally by prohibiting those who shouldn’t be voting from voting. It is not a dicriminatory bill if ID’s are issued for a minimal fee or even free of charge. Yes, there will be a cost and minor incovenience to those who don’t have ID’s, but they have to leave there home to vote so what’s the difference.

    If feel very mistrustful of a voting system that does not have checks and balances to ensure all voters are doing so legally.

  4. I don’t know how Ms. Jeffries can say Jauch was ‘spot on’ with his comments. Did she read anything other than the headline? The article is on the Voter Photo ID legislation, which she fails to address in her ongoing, endless, same-old ‘I hate Scott Walker’ diatribe. What say you, about voter ID?
    Regarding the Photo ID issue, I find it fascinating that the Democrats have not found a single person to put ‘a face’ on this issue. Every other issue that comes down the pike, they trot out someone who can garner sympathy from the public. A senior citizen, a single mom, a homeless person, a school teacher, a wounded military veteran, anyone…someone we can identify with as to their plight if that legislation is allowed to pass. Has anyone seen ‘the face of all the dissenfranchised’ who are unable to show a photo ID??? Hmmm? Anyone? I’ll help you out…You haven’t seen anyone to personify this issue because there isn’t anyone who will be unable to vote because of a photo ID. Believe me, if they could find someone, who will actually be unable to vote because of this, we’d all have seen them already. To object to the idea of actually proving who you are to cast your vote is nauseating.

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