It's no secret that I'm no fan of Alberta Darling, my State Senator, and I think it's time I tell you why.
About 14 or 15 years ago I was working at Oakland Cafe (Henry's? Harry's? is there now) in Shorewood. It was one of four waitressing jobs I juggled at the time along with classes at UWM, and I had a brand new 6 month old daughter. My husband & I lived just a few blocks away in a Shorewood flat (hence the 4 jobs).
One day this nicely groomed woman walked into the cafe and at the time happened to be the only customer in the place. She didn't order anything, but figured she'd try to talk to me since I was the only one around and especially after I told her I lived in the district. She told me her name was Alberta Darling and that she was a Republican running for State office. I told her I was a Dem and wouldn't vote for her, but she said, she was a different kind of Republican and she'd like to talk to me about voting for her anyway.
I went on to grill her about the environment, protecting the right to choice, protecting the right to privacy, the death penalty, schools, poverty, education, LGBT rights, women's rights, worker's rights, welfare reform, the economy, you name it, I asked her about it. On every question I asked, she told me her position and on every question, she agreed with the Democratic and my position exactly. After 45 minutes of this, I was honestly confused.
I finally asked her this question:
"I don't understand why you hold so many liberal positions on the issues and are running for office as a Republican."
She gave me this answer:
"Well, that's a good question. My family has always been Republican and all the people I know who would support me are Republican. I'm running as a Republican because its the only way I can win, but my plan is to go to Madison and stand strong for the values we've discussed. What I want to do is change the way the party looks at these issues from within. I promise I will always vote my conscience on every vote I take and stay true to the values we've discussed. If you vote for me, you will not be disappointed."
I was 23 and so naive, and maybe she was also...
Since then, Alberta Darling has gone back on every promise she made to me.
I'll spare you the detailed bills and the tons of stories behind them, but suffice it to say, I have never been so disappointed, angry and felt so betrayed by a politician in my life.
Sheldon Wasserman will most likely be running to replace Alberta in 2008. I will stand with him as will many more people in the district because Alberta didn't just lie to me that day. She lied to everyone in that first campaign. All the suburban soccer moms, all the Republicans and all the Democrats in the district were lied to and misled and we've all paid since.
Alberta knows this. She knows she played her last card on the amendment and death penalty referendum betrayals. She knows that the North Shore is turning solidly progressive. She knows that a Wasserman race will most likely be her last race.
So what does she do? Panic. Check out Seth's blog from yesterday.
Thanks Seth for scoping out the meeting last night in WFB!!