|Executive Intelligence Review, May 11, 2001 Internet Issue
'New Democrats' Grow Stale in Wisconsin
by Stuart Rosenblatt
In a move described as a "sea change" in state politics, the Democratic Party Caucus in the Wisconsin State Legislature went behind closed doors in early May and removed the party leadership. In the shake-up, Reps. Shirley Krug (Milwaukee) and Antonio Riley (Milwaukee) were replaced by Spencer Black (Madison) and Spencer Coggs (Milwaukee).
According to observers in Madison, the ouster of Krug represented a blow against the centrist New Democrats, who have taken the Democratic Party down the road to destruction over the last several years, engineering massive defeats of Democratic majorities in statehouses all across the nation.
The other major casualty of the change in leadership, Riley, a leader of the school privatization policy called Milwaukee's Parental School Choice Program, had been a likely candidate for Mayor of Milwaukee. Riley was replaced on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee by Coggs.
Coggs is a well-known legislator who has been outspoken nationally on issues that pertain to defense of the General Welfare, as enunciated in the U.S. Constitution. Coggs is a leader in the fight against privatization, especially prison privatization, and has also played a national role in the fight to save D.C. General Hospital in Washington, D.C. In March, Coggs initiated a letter from the leadership of the Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus to U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D), demanding that D.C. General, as the District's only public hospital, remain open. Coggs's letter sparked similar letters from around the nation that catapulted the fight to save D.C. General into the national arena.
The shake-up also put in Black as Minority Leader in the House. Together with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Chvala (D-Madison), the State Democratic Party has new spokesmen.
The changes in Madison come amid the growing strength of an emergent "FDR" reflex in the party, in defense of the General Welfare, centered around 2004 Democrat Presidential pre-candidate Lyndon LaRouche.
As Riley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This is politics. This is a sea change. When your team is out of there, they have a right to put their own folks in who reflect their political philosophy. That's what's taken place, and that's why I was removed from the Joint Finance Committee."