Power to the People
An American State at Work,
by Gov. Tommy G. Thompson
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Click here for 30 full quotes from Tommy Thompson in the book Power to the People, by Tommy Thompson.
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OnTheIssues.org BOOK REVIEW:
Tommy Thompson is running for Senate in 2012. He wrote this book in 1996, when he was Governor of Wisconsin and planning to run for a 4th term in 1998 (which he won). He wasn't yet considering a future presidential run, which came to fruition in 2008, after he had served as Bush's Secretary of Health and Human Services.
His intentions in this book are entirely state-oriented, as he describes in his purpose: "My intention in this book is to tell the story of one laboratory of democracy that is working to change the relationship between government and people. It is about devolving power back from Washington--freeing Wisconsin and other laboratories of democracy from Washington's control so we can do more of what works for the people of our states." (p. 6).
Thompson's legacy as governor of Wisconsin is indeed a series of successful experiments -- in school choice; in welfare reform; in new ideas for juvenile justice. Those are not the standard Republican successes -- which would focus instead on cutting government -- Thompson actually believes in using activist government as a means of social change. He describes himself as a "progressive Republican" (p. 29) leading the "next Progressive movement" based on conservative values.
It's tough to swallow that term. Wisconsin has a strong progressive tradition -- with the usual meaning of "progressive," taking on entrenched power structures for the benefit of the underclass -- and one suspects that Thompson just wants to muddle the terminology so that he can tap into that strong state tradition. But certainly Thompson is a different kind of conservative than Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush -- so if he wants to call himself a "progressive conservative," it's as good a term as any. Just be aware that Thompson's term "progressive" is not the same as used in any other state or any other context!
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, May 2012
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy|
Bring state spending in line with ability to pay.
1986 pro-business campaign: more and better jobs.
1986: Tax cuts to show WI was good place to do business.
Exclude 60% of capital gains from taxation.
Zero tolerance: swift & certain justice makes safety.
Life means life: Abolish mandatory release laws.
Turn prisons into factories where all prisoners are working.
New ideas to improve schools conflict with teachers unions.
School choice for religious schools in low-income areas.
School choice is a philosophy that parents know best.
School-to-work: community-based youth apprenticeships.
EPA and OSHA make "government sense", not common sense.
No helmet law for motorcycles.
1987 first bill: more state funding for tourism.
Preserve state's natural resources without federal mandates.
1988: $250M Stewardship Fund to preserve sensitive land.
Multi-state purchasing agreement for recycled paper.
Families & Children|
Children First: father pay child support or go to jail.
1991 Central City Initiative: all agencies under one roof.
State government actively promotes private job creation.
Principles & Values|
For strong state governments, not federal power.
1966: Beat 16-year incumbent state representative.
WI tradition of progressive governing to get things done.
1993: Freeze property tax rates & control school spending.
Cut $1B in property tax without a general tax increase.
Uniform state computer standard saved $10M annually.
Welfare & Poverty|
1950s common sense taught by families, schools, & churches.
Scrap federal welfare & let states experiment freely.
Learnfare: teen mothers welfare cut unless attending school.
1992: Washington couldn't end welfare as we knew it; WI did.
The above quotations are from Power to the People
An American State at Work,
by Gov. Tommy G. Thompson.
2010 Election Analysis:
- Agains All Odds, by Scott Brown
- The Obamians, by James Mann
- Power to the People, by Gov. Tommy Thompson
- 2010: Take Back America, by Dick Morris
- 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future, by Marco Rubio
- Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove
- American Conspiracies, by Gov. Jesse Ventura
- Game Change, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
- The FairTax Book, by Neal Boortz and Rep. John Linder
- The Test of our Times, by Gov. Tom Ridge
- Saving Freedom, by Sen. Jim DeMint
- Giving, by Pres. Bill Clinton
- Going Rogue, by Gov. Sarah Palin
- Slouching Towards Gomorrah, by Robert Bork
- Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, by Pres. Ronald Reagan
- Third World America, by Arianna Huffington
- Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky
- Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet, by James Mann (March 2004)