I first met Burkee about five months ago. He purported to be a straight conservative who believed Republicans had a bad election in 2006 because they strayed from their conservative principles. He talked almost exclusively about too much government spending. I discouraged him from running because I felt he would not win (or even get close.) I also told him that he would send the message that conservative Republicans who stuck their neck out – be it on spending (against the Katrina package, transportation bill, etc.) or Bush’s lax immigration policy, would get challenged for being controversial. Sensenbrenner is the most conservative of our eight Congressmen. I also felt a primary would take Sensenbrenner from what should be his main focus – other races – helping Alberta Darling, John Gard, and John McCain.
Since then, Burkee has become much worse. As I understand it, some of my conservative/libertarian friends might vote for him. Here are five things that should give you concern in supporting a Burkee candidacy:
First, Burkee appears to tell different people different things. John Torinus wrote an article in the West Bend Daily News. I like John Torinus a lot, but in the article (see link) Torinus argues that we need Burkee because he is a centrist and the Republicans lost the majority by being too conservative. In other words, the Burkee trying to sell himself to Glenn Grothman was almost the exact opposite of the Burkee selling himself to John Torinus. In a related anecdote, Burkee filled out his Pro-Life Wisconsin questionnaire as 100% opposed to embryonic stem cell research. In the Torinus article, he reveals himself for stem cell research. I suppose all politicians color their comments for their audience, but Burkee seems to take this to extremes.
Second, in his own article in the Daily News, Burkee says to vote for him because our Congressman should be funneling more money to Wisconsin – in particular education dollars. The Burkee who I met painted himself as an across the board fiscal conservative. Burkee now comes across as pandering to spending constituencies. I don’t think most education spending is even constitutional.
Third, I never met a politician who more brazenly tries to win a Republican primary with Democratic voters.